On Saturday, June 23rd, 2012, I officiated at the marriage of one of my yoga students from UCLA to her boyfriend of seven years. When Veronica asked me to marry her and Alex, I was so astounded, I burst into tears. What an honor!!! I immediately froze. What do I know about marrying two people? What could I say that was meaningful to a couple who, although not exactly beginning their lives together, were going to commit to each other in love in front of family and friends. It is at that moment that I knew nothing about love and commitment.
My experience in that department were sketchy. A marriage that lasted together fifteen and a half years, followed by divorce three years later, and then a sixteen year relationship with a man who was probably the soulmate I always dreamed of. We didn’t marry, however, because we believed that marriage was to protect children. We already had our children and we were committed because we simply wanted to be committed. But that was later in life. What about when two people first begin to solidify their love in a relationship that we hope will last their lifetime?
What could I say? What actually did I want to say? It took me days to find my thoughts. Here is a excerpt of some of my thoughts:
In its simplest definition, marriage is a creation by two people that encompasses the idea that happiness is at the core of the relationship. And arriving at sustained joy is somewhat like creating art. A work of art is not something that just happens. So, too, marriage is not something that just happens. The art of a good marriage, like art itself, begins with the intricate arrangement of little bits and pieces of living together, and those bits and pieces grow and flourish and eventually develop into a living, breathing art form.
Finally a beginning. Then I found a poem called, “The Art of a Good Marriage.” The poem expressed the simplest of ideas: Hold hands when you can; never go to bed angry; speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways; not looking for perfections in each other, cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor; having the capacity to forgive and forget; giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
I referenced my reactions upon meeting them for the first time – how they were distinct individuals so very poised and calm but how as a couple, they assumed an energetic couple brain – the third brain which is so important to sustaining a relationship or a marriage.
I went on to say:
You seem to possess a deep understanding of who you are and how you fit together. And probably more importantly, you are devoted to one another in friendship and that devotion weaves it way into your conversation and into your dreams and manifests in a generosity of spirit, of love, of compassion and forgiveness.
This precious love you possess, this love and laughter expressed from your hearts is the glorious sound of your souls waking up!
Gratitude will make your souls soar together and bring you good fortune and keep you steady on the path of love.
This was my wish for them:
That you affirm your love and devotion to one another frequently; that you promise to be open to one another; that you will come together as a strong and vibrant family; that you will cherish your unique visions of the world and challenge one another to continue your growth as individuals; that you promise to work towards reaching your dreams and goals; that you will support, respect and honor and love each other and help each other through times of difficulty and times of joy and celebration.
I closed with a verse from the I Ching – the ancient texts of Chinese wisdom:
When two people are at one
in their inmost hearts,
they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.
And when two people understand each other
in their inmost hearts,
their words are sweet and strong,
like the fragrance of orchids.
Veronica and Alex gave me a gift I will cherish forever.
Namaste to them and to all of you,