Kathy Smith, the administrator of the Edgewood Court called me when a young couple wanted instruction on How and Who To get to marry them. Since 2000 I have been certified as a Chaplain for multi-denominational weddings, baptisms and funerals. Oh, and did I mention I charge no fee? It is a hobby of mine. Since 2000 I have performed 187 weddings, in all styles, along with six baptisms and 12 funerals. (I have to admit the food is best at funerals and, no, I don’t do this for the cake. Well, it helps.) It is a joy to join people in matrimony. Of course, I warn them even if there is no charge, if you hire a humorist to perform a wedding expect a few jokes! That is for later. I did not do a single wedding in 2020. Tells you something about the year, right?
From the Princess Bride, the scene where the bishop says: “Mawwidge, yes Mawwidge, is why we are here today.” That scene is so fixed on our brains. We laugh because the Bride does not want to marry the Prince. He has the Bishop say, “Man and Woman,” and boom the wedding is over. After 20 years, I have done everything from Irish ribbon ceremony to a very glamorous wedding at the University of New Mexico Chapel, to a family blessing at Our Lady of Loretto in Santa Fe for my Godson, Brian. To be the bearer of marital bliss to people of all ages and occupations is a treasure, and I love it.
Did you know: The first recorded wedding was in 2,350 B.C. in Mesopotamia. They were not registered! Marriage did not have anything to do with love or religion. It started after eons of human teamwork. Men hunted, and women gathered. They had children and both tried to protect them. And then the idea of Marriage for Profit came along and the notion of wives being bound to their husbands as property was invented. Suddenly, men knew who were caring for their children. It was a done deal. Women were valued by how many sheep they were worth. I am from Iowa; I would prefer hogs. The Hebrews, Greeks and Romans came along with the idea. A Greek father handed his daughter over for the wedding with the words, “ I pledge my daughter for the purpose of producing legitimate offspring.” And if you did not produce, you could be sent back. Multiple wives were assets, like fine horses or many blankets.
In 1563, the Council of Trent accepted marriage as a Catholic sacrament written into canon law. Marriages were abundantly being arranged all over the world. Forced marriages, child brides and marriage to family members were common. Bride prices, or dowries, were going up and up. How would you like to be getting older, say about 15, and have to go to church with a sign that said, Half Price Sale With Reasonable Dowry going all this week? Yuck!
The notion of romantic love came around with the French. The 12th century brought the idea that men should worship women and write love notes about their beloved’s eyes, lips or hair. It was a Hallmark moment when the man she loved jousted on horseback just to wear her scarf. Touching, yes. Go ahead and wipe your eyes. Let’s get down to business. Women in the United States gained equal status starting in 1920 with the right to vote. We can now be full citizens who can own land, file charges if we get beat up or divorce a guy who cheats on us. We now can get child support and earn a decent living. In the past if you married a foreigner, you lost your citizenship and offspring belonged to him. Not any more. It was a start, and we’re not done yet.
There are church weddings, and civil weddings; they all come with rights and obligations. Marriage now can come with children, natural, step-, or adopted. Parents, you owe them your time and attention. Husbands and wives, you owe each other love, kindness and concern. You make vows, a sacred promise to be there for each other. If you marry for money, it is the hardest money you will ever earn. Now the joke. Marriage is like a hot bath—when you get in it, sometimes it is not so hot. Work to keep the flames of marriage burning just right. Roaring Mouse, married 49 years and looking for my wedding album. Out.