This time next week I’ll be pinning a boutonniere to my youngest son’s lapel for his wedding. Although the wedding plans have been in full force for over a year, the imminence of the date has ambushed me. Where did the past fifteen months go? When we celebrated Sean and Beth’s engagement back in March of 2018 at a “Meet the Ring” party, they announced the wedding wouldn’t be until the summer of 2019. That expanse of time seemed inconceivable to me; would the elusive date ever arrive? Now that it has, I find myself wanting to share with them some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve experienced during what only seemed like a long wait.Weddings are joyous events for families and friends of the happy couple, and while it is a day the new Mr. and Mrs. will never forget, the marriage itself is so much more important. In the years that follow your big day Sean and Beth, your vows will be tested and you will need to decide if the words you spoke at the ceremony have meaning. For better or worse means just that. You will have bad times as well as good times, and you won’t always like each other. Right now each of you may think the other is perfect, and can’t imagine such a thing. But, the truth is both of you will make mistakes, maybe big ones. There may be times when you feel you no longer know if you can spend your life together. But, if you are both committed, you will find love remains. If your love is unquestioned on your wedding day, it will not wither without your effort. It will always be there, but it’s up to you to share it. Use that love to solve your problems. It will make the worst times better.For richer or poorer is a relative phrase. Some feel wealthy with few material possessions, while others feel destitute with many. You may not realize it when you’re struggling to pay bills, but struggling together makes you rich. Love is free. And, no you can’t live on it, but it will make the challenges feel less so. You will find riches in a meal of scrambled eggs, a walk in the woods, or a game of cards. The strength of your vows will enable you to stick it out, and soon you’ll find yourself where you want to be. Someday, you may even occasionally long for those simpler times, or at least remember them fondly. In sickness and health may seem inconsequential as you begin your marriage. Being young and healthy, it is difficult to imagine life any other way. Hopefully, you will not face any chronic or serious illnesses, but no one knows what is to come. It takes more fortitude to see the person you love most suffer than it does to suffer yourself. Sometimes, you may have to be strong enough to allow the other to carry you. Love nurtures strength–spiritual love, family love, your love. To love and to cherish is the foundation of the covenant you will make next weekend. Love fortifies all that you will build together. And, when you cherish each other, you will feel secure in all that you have built. Till death do us part is the only vow I don’t affirm. If love is true, it goes beyond anything we can explain or see on the surface. It is a binding of souls. Sooner or later most of us are physically separated from the one whose soul we hold in our heart, but our souls do not die. What other idea of heaven can there be but to have our souls entwined with those we love for eternity? You have found each other. Your love is real and true. You will feel this intensely on June 29 at 2:00. The key to a happy marriage is to remember it all the days of your life.