Wedding Invitation

Today’s post is taken from a wedding message that I gave in July of 2009. I laughed and cried a little when I read it, and I hope you do too.

Good evening everyone.  Welcome to the marriage ceremony of Alison Andaloro and Adam Parla.

ap-ap-jh (2)My name is Jon Harris, and for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Alison’s brother in law. For those of you who do know me, yes, I really got ordained online and yes, I’m really going to go through with marrying my sister in law.

When Alison and Adam first approached me to do this my initial reaction was a resounding “Yes!”… what fun to be a part of such an important day in Alison and Adam’s lives. After reality set in and I realized that I had agreed to take on a major responsibility. After all, this is a one-time deal for Alison and Adam, and me as well.

What value can I add here as someone who has known Alison for over ten years? I actually have some vested interest in this marriage.

Alison and Amy (the beautiful bridesmaid who happens to be my wife) are sisters and best friends. To my children, Alison and Adam are celebrities. Alison is like a sister to me and now I welcome Adam as a brother. What else?  I’m a father of two amazing little boys. These boys mean the world to me, and should the worst happen to Amy and me, Alison and Adam would be on point to raise these boys to be respectful, mature, responsible, and loving adults. So do I care who Alison marries, and do I care about the success of this marriage? You bet I do.

When I watch Adam and Alison as a couple I love the way they interact and respond to each others’ needs. They’re loving, gentle, kind, thoughtful. What warms my heart even more is the way they treat our children. When I watch Alison and Adam interact with Peyton and Preston, I see a glimpse as to how they will be as parents and lifetime mates to each other. Selfless.

Look at these two individuals up here. So full of life and passion for each other. Alison’s “Andaloro smile” beaming. Adam, I loved watching you as Alison walked down the aisle.

Take today slowly. Enjoy each moment. Take a step back and observe. Family and friends, support this marriage in any way you can.

Take my words to heart. Many tears of joy went into what I’m saying to you today.

For those of you who are or ever were married, can I ask you to close your eyes think about when you stood before a crowd and professed your commitment. Think about the nervousness. Think about how little you knew (and maybe how much you thought you knew). Now smile knowing it isn’t you up here, but it is these two wonderful people we know and love.

As today is the beginning of Adam and Alison Parla, this is a good segue to the beginning… Genesis, the first book of the Bible… you know, the one that starts with “In the beginning…”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

  1. Adam, man, first man, found his helper. The Bible uses the word “helper”…. And we all know she was more than his helper, right?
  2. Genesis 2:24 says that man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife. Adam and Alison, you loyalty is to each other. Parents of the bride and groom, this verse is also for you. You’ve raised your children well, they’ve been out of your homes for a long time, but now you are encouraged to let these lovebirds fly. Let them make mistakes, let them learn, let them grow in their love for each other. Smile inside when they think they know it all.
  3. Verse 24 continues…They were united and became one flesh. The first of many references to “oneness” of marriage…

Speaking of one flesh… yeah, I’m gonna go there…

Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:5)

So take a break from physical intimacy only so you can pray then get back to it. I’m not making this up.

I pose the question to all: What do we as a culture know about marriage? If we looked at statistics, a good answer might be “not much”.

A few things we do know:

  • Anything worthwhile takes work. Let’s not sugar coat it. Marriage is hard. Being a husband or wife is one of the most difficult but also one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have.
  • We know weddings are expensive.
  • We know divorce is even more expensive; so let’s all save some money today and think back to the direction you heard and also the benefits of the Bible verses we went through (yes, I’m referring to the intimacy parts).

What is the number one challenge in marriage? Most people say money but we need to dig deeper. What causes the problems related to money or the other big and small problems in marriage, or even in life? It is selfishness. Marriage was designed to be a partnership and when the intent is distorted, that’s when bad things happen.

Adam and Alison, I ask you to be partners in marriage, and yield to each other. Especially in the first year of marriage. Practice yielding. Die to your own needs and give to the other.  Find the joy that comes with giving to your partner; the best gifts are those that are the hardest to give. I’m not instructing you to be something you are not, and I’m not asking you to be a pushover.

A letter to each:

Adam, lead this marriage as a man and husband. Love this beautiful woman and remember each day why you married her. Find new reasons to love her. Love her for her misgivings. Love her for who she is, who she wants to be, and who she will become. Love her because today you are making a promise to love her. You’re promising in front of all these people. Use your creativity and laid back attitude to the advantage of the marriage. Come up with new ways to have fun, to tell her you love her. Kiss her before you leave for work each day. She’ll remember if you don’t and she’ll always have something to brag about to her friends.

Alison, follow Adam as your husband and leader of your home.  Love your best friends because they’re your girlfriends but love Adam because he’s your husband and the only person who is going to be with you through it all. The guy who got down on one knee to beg you to marry him. Well maybe he didn’t have to beg, but you know his heart belongs to you, you’re the woman of his dreams. Look at him right now, his smile is all for you. You’ve known for a long long time that Adam is your man. The man you want to be with for life, to grow old with, to share in your old favorites like Coast Guard, and in the new experiences you will have as Mr. and Mrs. Parla… treat today as the beginning. You have a lot of history together but start over today. Today and for the next year you’re newlyweds, embrace it.

1 Samuel 26; 1 Corinthians 7; Ezekiel 5; Psalms 42–43

Father God, I pray for your blessing on our marriages today. May we see our partners as gifts from you. Forgive us for our selfishness. Show us the way. Show us your will. Thank you for the joy that marriage brings. Let our marriages become a light that shines and points to you as the author of love, the author of marriage. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.