A.C. Snow

Snow: Don’t lose uniqueness in marriage

On a recent Sunday, while thumbing through the Old Reliable, I was surprised by the number of wedding announcements. When did February become such a popular month for matrimony?

The month of June, named for Juno, Roman goddess of marriage, has long ruled as the most popular month for traipsing down the aisle and trading “I do’s.”

Also, according to one internet source, June became the marriage month particularly in agrarian America because it was likely that the bride would give birth to the first child the following spring, when the young mothers could recuperate in time to help with the autumn harvesting of crops.

During medieval times, a person’s annual bath usually fell in May or June, meaning that June brides still smelled relatively fresh.

Regardless of those good reasons for June weddings, July is now the most popular month for matrimony.

One of my nephews who recently “gave away” his second daughter mentioned his marching orders as the father of the bride.

“All I’m supposed to do is show up, shut up and pay up,” he said.

My daughter reminded me that her mother-in-law said she had heard similar advice for the mother of the groom: “They are only supposed to shut up and wear beige.”

Getting through the wedding is the easiest part of a marriage. The challenge lies in the post-honeymoon years. Marriage can be wonderful, but still something that must be worked at every day.

A friend, Ed Kizer of Charlotte, shared some wise advice on marriage.

When his daughter Page was married, he told the couple, “Keep God in your marriage and always keep separate checkbooks.”

When my daughter and her fiance were discussing money management after marriage, Katherine explained that they would have separate bank accounts. Household and related bills would be paid from his account while she would have sole discretion over her exclusive account.

When Adam questioned such an arrangement, she said, “That’s the way Mother and Daddy handle their finances and it’s always worked fine for them.”

Too many couples enter into marriage thinking it will be an eternal honeymoon. They need to know that there will be differences and hurt feelings along the way, even in the best of marriages.

A friend from Andrews gave my wife and me a hand-painted cutting board that hung over our kitchen sink for decades. It read: “If two people agree on everything, one is unnecessary.”

I once attended a wedding officiated by the Rev. Sandy McGeachy, then pastor at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church. He gave the young couple a bit of unique advice that made a lot of sense.

“Hold on to each other on the road of life,” he advised. “But do not get lost in each other. Discover all you can as a self and then share it with the other.

“In your togetherness, never lose your God-given uniqueness. Only as you are a separate person can you be a complete partner.”

Ah, there’s the rub. So many spouses find it difficult to live with each other’s uniqueness and want to redesign their mates.

John Ruskin, English essayist and critic, immediately became disenchanted with his bride, Effie.

“I married her thinking her so young and affectionate that I might influence her as I chose, and make of her just such a wife as I wanted,” he wrote.

“It appeared that SHE married ME thinking she could make of ME just the husband SHE wanted,” he continued. “I was grieved and disappointed at finding I could not change her, and she was humiliated and irritated at finding that she could not change me.”

When two people make a marriage work it becomes one of life’s greatest adventures. One of my readers, who has experienced both, once told me that he preferred a bad marriage over living alone.

That great philosopher Socrates also recommended marriage: “By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

Snow: 919-836-5636; asnow@newsobserver.com