"I now pronounce you husband and wife," my father said.
Daniel and Amanda beamed and swayed toward each other.
"You may kiss your bride."
It all began years earlier with Amanda and I conspiring on a swing to marry her off to one of my brothers (since her brother was clearly too young for me). It became hopeful when she started dating Daniel and ended tragically on Valentine's Day 2007. In fact, it was only with the random influence of a friend that Amanda and Daniel got back together; but regardless of the trials they experienced, Daniel and Amanda Martin were married Friday, Aug. 5, 2011.
There are three major events in our lives: Birth, marriage and death. These are three events that cannot be ignored - they are three of the greatest events in our very, very short lives. Birth we're going to address second and this from the perspective of parents (because who actually remembers their own birth, and of those who do, how many of them aren't traumatized?) and death we will leave for last.
Marriage is an event that takes place less and less in today's culture. Instead of husband and wife the world has shifted toward "partners" and "cohabitation." It is no longer considered a prerequisite to a shared life. In fact, marriage in some cases is frowned upon because getting out of it is not as easy as getting away from a "partner." Parting ways with a spouse is often more expensive than moving out of "cohabitation."
So the question is raised, why should I get married? What do married people have that cohabitants don't?
"When you stand in front of God and everybody, and say I will be with you forever, you can trust in that," Margie McConnell said. "You said it in front of the whole world."
Diana Price said marriage provides a level of security.
"I feel incredible peace," she said. "He's my best friend and I understand people who live together say that's true, but they have a back door. That doesn't mean (marriage is) perfect, but you have a knowledge that you're in it for the long haul."
My dad, who has married more people than Elizabeth Taylor (but in a different way), said, "Trust is the foundation of all great relationships. The deeper the trust, the stronger the relationship can grow. Cohabitation is based on distrust and stymies a relationship from the start."
On Aug. 4 I practiced my Maid of Honor speech. I paced across the stage and imagined the wedding party sitting at their table after the fateful "I do's."
"From what I have observed of love," I said. "It is a gift from God, a gift given in portions depending on how hard you want it, how hard you seek it, and how hard you hold on."
McConnell described marriage as being comprised of trust and a deeper commitment.
"When you make a commitment you have a deeper level of intimacy," Price said. "It's your soulmate - your confidant."
On Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, I stared at the bride and groom seated at their wedding table.
"The love God is going to give you is dangerously beautiful," I said. "It's a love you don't want to lose and you don't want to give up on."
Marriage is not the same as having a "partner" or "cohabiting." No matter how you look at it, legally, socially, or emotionally - marriage is completely different. Research it, learn the facts, observe reality. Because, the truth will show you the better choice, and if truth tells you that marriage is the better deal then don't let society, strangers or even family dissuade your reality.
Don't just take it from me. Take it from people who know, from people who agreed to be filmed so they could share these truths with you.