Ecclesiastes accurately claims, “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” While my youngest credits the Peter Seeger lyrics to the 1965 Byrds song “Turn, Turn, Turn” that he has memorized from his 26 watchings of “Forest Gump,” the Bible, pardon the pun, is the genesis of the apt description of the natural patterns of life.
There was a time, not so very long ago, that we were attending the weddings of our own contemporaries and close friends. The late spring and summer months would find us travelling on seemingly every weekend to some hometown bridal destination. But as the years have marched on, most of us have comfortably settled into life. Save the occasional remarriage or renewal of vows, our June weekends have been largely nuptially unencumbered.
Yet as the verse predicted, with the end of one season another has begun. Now we are finding our way to the ceremonies of the children of our friends. Somehow, these youngsters have matured to adulthood and have initiated their own routes to the altar. And, we consider ourselves lucky to be included in the procession of it all.
The hopeful nature of engagement and eager expectation of a new life together inspires reflection on the accumulated wisdom of our own successes, and failures, in marriage. What advice would, or should, we offer to the newlyweds? Can our own lives serve as a suitable guide?
Make a commitment to the institution of marriage as much as to the other person. Remember that love and commitment are not the same thing. Laugh. Be honest. Don’t conflate caring for each other with taking care of each other. Understand what matters, and what doesn’t. And most importantly, enjoy each season, rain or shine, secure in knowing that as one passes another will follow.