“There is no remedy for love but to love more.”
– Henry David Thoreau
by Ian Duhig
I will be faithful to you, I do vow
but not until the seas have all run dry
et cetera: although I mean it now,
I’m not a prophet and I will not lie.
To be your perfect wife, I could not swear;
I’ll love, yes; honor (maybe); won’t obey,
but will co-operate if you will care
as much as you are seeming to today.
I’ll do my best to be your better half,
but I don’t have the patience of a saint;
not with you, at you I may sometimes laugh,
and snap too, though I’ll try to learn restraint.
We might work out: no blame if we do not.
With all my heart, I think it’s worth a shot.
The longer the pandemic goes, the more I hear about older couples retreating to one of two extremes in their marriages or partnerships; either the past year of social isolation has strengthened their commitment to each other and they have grown closer being cooped up together or they are in process of filing for divorce. There are sure to be the vast majority that are somewhere in the middle, but they don’t make the headlines in the rumor mill.
If you are considering first time nuptials, late March or first week in April is a good time to get married in Minnesota, it doesn’t cut into your summer plans and it is warm enough the bride doesn’t freeze in her dress on the way from the ceremony to the reception. It doesn’t tend to be terribly in demand so chapels and reception halls are generally a little more available than the summer months. Obviously I speak from experience.
I think we make too much of marriage as an event and not enough of it as a process of ongoing commitment ceremonies. I have often felt marriage should be like the military. You sign up for a 4 year tour of duty and at the end of four years, you either re-up for another 4 or give each other an honorable discharge and a bus ticket to a destination of your own choosing.
If you’re looking to re-up, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to invite guests or spend money on a spectacle; write out some vows that seem genuine or use one of these poems. Try saying it over breakfast some Sunday morning. Look each other in the eye and step over the broom lying on the kitchen floor; the first step towards another year of partnership. Then pick up the broom and the dust pan and help each other sweep up the mess and move on with your day.
To be said by senior couples renewing their vows
1. (He and She, together)
Partner, partner, on the wall,
Nailed there so you’d never fall,
Hope you like this shade of blue
I’ve lightly painted over you.
2. (He and He, together)
Randy, dandy, twist and shout –
B-and-Bs once threw us out.
Now we’re poor old Zimmer-geezers,
Folk think we’re twin-brothers. Jesus!
When I’m toothless, bald and grumpy,
Dump me gently as you dump me.
Dumping you would be invidious:
You’re already old and hideous.