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The Wedding Gift…

Last Sunday, my eldest niece was married to a darling gent.

They’re perfect for each other in all the important spheres.

They share passions, values, even careers. Both are philosophers. Both academics. Both brilliant.

Last year, when they announced their wedding plans, it was clear I would not be able to attend. The ceremony was taking place far away and, quite frankly, traveling is not in the cards for me. Let’s just say, “I don’t travel well.”

I was heartbroken…

She understood completely, though it broke my heart. This young woman is very special, as all my sisters’ children are.

She has a PhD in philosophy and teaches at a university. Her new husband is following the same career path, though his area of study differs. They complement each other divinely.

When the subject of gifts came up recently, they both stressed that they didn’t need or want anything, until I suggested that I write something for them.

Their eyes glistened…

“Yes,” she said. He smiled, instantly. I knew my work was cut out for me.

What can one possibly say about marriage to two philosophers?

As their wedding date grew closer, my mission loomed large in my mind.

What could I possibly write for this divinely inspired young couple?

What do I know? What wisdom have I?

Even on the subject of marriage, I’m a mere neophyte approaching my 11th anniversary. A babe in the woods. Every marriage is so different. Every relationship, unique.

The value of “lived-experience”…

Then, it occurred to me that philosophers ~ ancient and modern ~ may not approach marriage from the vantage point of mere “lived-experience,” which I value enormously, as a journalist and writer ~ and now a blogger. Would these two philosophers value it, too, I wondered?

Ignoring my apprehensions, I forged ahead and started thinking of all the couples I knew “participating in a great marriage” ~ all married for at least 15 years.

Calling all happily married couples …

It amazed me, when I was able to draw up a list of more than 25 couples that Marty and I know and adore ~ several married for more than 30 years. One couple recently celebrated their 54th anniversary.

In a group email, I described my niece and her fiance, their wedding plans and my idea for a “special gift” befitting them. Then, I made the following request for their help:

“There is such a wealth of wisdom among you, I was hoping, if you have a moment, that you would share with this fresh young couple one simple little piece of advice, one choice snippet of wisdom on marriage from your experience. This, I think, is the most fitting gift I can give this utterly delightful young woman and her equally dazzling young man.”

What riches started trickling in…

Marty and I were enchanted by the responses we received. Our friends came through exquisitely with genuine, astute and often amusing “words of wisdom” ~ all their own.

If you knew these captivating couples, together and individually, as we do, you’d know why. They are a joy to be around.

A few days before the wedding, my sister, the mother of the bride and a graphic artist, helped me create an elegant presentation ~ pale ivory paper, a “clean and modern” font, and a simple flush left design. I enclosed an elegant off-white and turquoise filigree “Congratulations” card with a personal note. I was a little nervous, I admit. I had no idea how this gift would fly.

What would they think?

Yesterday, after the last of her guests had departed, my niece sent me this note:

“What a gift!!! Really and Truly: WHAT a gift! This is such a thoughtful, heartfelt, original gift; it brought tears to my eyes. I can’t think of a more meaningful thing that anyone could have given us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

I know she wouldn’t mind my sharing this “Miscellany of Wise Words on Marriage” with you as June, the traditional ‘marriage month” draws to a close. It’s timeless, really.

You’ll note that I’ve not attributed these quotes. That’s because I didn’t ask for permission to publish them when I sent out my request. I hope the authors don’t mind.

Our friends, Marty’s and mine, are primarily writers, artists, actors, academics ~ people, for the most part, involved in the theatre, film, entertainment ~ arts and letters. They are extraordinary.

I hope their thoughts resonate with you and inspire you. Perhaps you can share some of your own. We’re all philosophers at heart, don’t you think? With “lived-experience.” Especially when it comes to love and marriage…

A Miscellany of Wise Words on Marriage from our Well and Long-married Friends…

  • “Your relationship is the main course. Sex is the dessert.”
  • “Always sleep in a double bed… unless you’re royalty.”
  • “What could happen shouldn’t happen. When the groom is desired, no words are required. Laughter is the best medicine.”
  • “There is a line from a semi-obscure Kinky Friedman song (1983) … ‘Time is the Money of Love.’ Be generous with your time, never argue over money.”
  • “Never go to bed angry with one another. Do something nice for your partner every day. Tell them you love them every day.”
  • “Sometimes marriage is 50/50. Be willing to give 150% when you don’t feel like it.”
  • “Understand that words hurt. Treat your loved one like a beloved treasure. Take your time to think and choose fair words before you speak.”
  • “When your spouse asks you what’s bothering you, don’t say, ‘nothing.’ Say what’s bothering you, without being hurtful.”
  • “Being right in an argument is highly overrated. Choose when it’s really important to be ‘right’.”
  • “Even the most in-love couples need their own space. Give your partner the space she or he needs.”
  • “When making a decision, consider not whether it is a good choice for one partner or the other, but whether it is a good choice for the marriage.”
  • “The relationship is sacred… build a wall around the two of you, with lots of windows, but no doors.”
  • “A marriage takes work. It has to be lubricated daily. The lubricant is love ~ attentiveness, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, trust, forgiveness, generosity of spirit. Every marriage requires proactive love.”
  • “Bring your happiness to the marriage, and hold in awareness that the love is in you, and need not be earned and cannot be contained. Make it your practice to love what is, not what could be, and to experience your happiness in the moment, not on the morrow.”

We’re all brides and grooms, whether we’re marrying or not. Life is relationships. So, here’s to you ~ and your relationships.


The Wedding Gift…

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2011). The Wedding Gift…. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from


Last updated: 14 Dec 2011
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