November 29, 1969… 6:30 PM
Our wedding was very solemn. We’d wanted it like that, especially after Pastor Sweeting had challenged us to make it so. Partying would come later, but as we were actually being ushered into marriage, we hoped there would be no silliness, no nervous laughter, no antics from the children. And there weren’t.
The pastor had told us that all the couples he married were special to him forever-after. When we met with him weeks before the ceremony, he said that by marrying us, he was voluntarily taking on some of the responsibility for seeing to it that our marriage was a success. “If you ever come to a place in your relationship, where things get too hard to handle, please come to me, and we’ll work it out together. Remember that.”
We agreed, but on that day, standing at the starting line, we couldn’t imagine ever having a lick of trouble before we reached the finish line.
Once all of us were assembled at the front of the church, the bridesmaids sang “Thanks be to God.” Without 7 microphones in front of them, the congregation didn’t get to hear the words as well as Nate and I did, but the message of the song was perfect for the occasion, and I was so grateful they’d been willing to sing.
Thanks be to God for love divine, The hope that round my heart entwines. For all the joy that now is mine, Thanks be to God.
When we came to the part of the service where Nate and I would say our vows, we faced each other, holding hands, and the pastor nodded for him to start. He recited each line perfectly, looking me square in the eye without any nervousness. I could see the depth of his sincerity on his face and drank in every word.
Then it was my turn. I had the feeling I was going to fail, but I forged ahead, knowing the pastor would help if I went blank.
“I Margaret, take thee Nathan, to be my wedded husband, from this day forward, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…” and… what came next? I knew I’d skipped something, but kept going.
“…to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I give thee my word.”
Pastor Sweeting moved on as if I’d said it all without a mistake, and of course the minute I finished, I remembered the part I’d missed: “for richer or poorer.” I’d have to explain later.
In just a few more minutes the pastor was announcing us as “Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Nyman!” and everybody clapped. An exhilarating ripple went up my spine like none I’d ever felt, and as we headed back up the aisle, we clung to each other – like two who’d just “become one.”
Nate couldn’t wait to get to the back of the church, and we picked up speed as we walked up the aisle. Once we’d cleared the back doors, he grabbed me up off the floor in a big hug and began spinning me around.
I laughed with joy as my long train and veil wrapped around us like fancy gift-paper. We shared a very special kiss, and as our wedding party joined us two-by-two, we were still twirling.
From that point on, my crown was askew, but it was a small price to pay to get that passionate, timely kiss… a kiss that sealed our marriage, a kiss I’d never forget.
“Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Matthew 19:6)