My song today is ‘Marry Me’. Not to be confused with another different song with the same title by Jason Derulo in 2013, the song that I sing today was recorded by Neil Diamond and Buffey Lawson and came from the album ‘Tennessee Moon’ (1996).
Becoming formally engaged to be married today still plays an important part in the process of declaring one’s private and public commitment for another person they love.
In my day, becoming engaged conveyed several important messages to society at large. It told all other potential suitors, ‘Hands off, she’s/he’s already betrothed to another”. It said to society at large, “I pledge to marry my fiancée” and failure to do so by unilaterally breaking off the engagement, invoked ‘Breach of Contract’ proceedings in the courts, which invariably led to financial compensation being awarded to the injured party.
With half of all marriages ending in divorce today, commitment at the engagement stage (although vital) is unfortunately never enough in its own right. However, when a marriage works out (and in half of all cases it still does), and the couple happily negotiates life together, it is well worth it. Finding one’s other half not only makes one feel whole, but it adds a new purpose and dimension to one’s life and provides a level of personal satisfaction that no other relationship can bring.
Unfortunately, there are too many people getting married today who are seeking a ‘quick fix’, but such love addicts are doomed to failure. They may have just left one unsatisfactory relationship and are jumping into another before old scars have had time to properly heal. They may still be living in the parental abode and view getting married as a means of ‘getting out and getting on’ with their lives. Such people are avoiding ‘unfinished business’ and often finish up being the type of husband or wife who wants to change their partner to their way of thinking as soon as they get back from their honeymoon. From the moment your husband or wife shows signs that they want to change the person they walked down the aisle with, they are no longer the man or woman who you married. You have now stopped being their husband or wife; you have become a project, a sort of progress in the
My previous record in the marriage stakes prior to meeting my Sheila ten years ago and marrying her on my 70th birthday in November 2012 is certainly nothing to write home about. I was unfortunately in that half section of society whose marriage experience didn’t last the course! At best, I could have been described as an outright ‘loser’ in my first marriage, and when my second wife of 28 years also indicated she wanted to separate after the children had grown up and had flown the family nest, for a few years afterward, I considered myself as being an ‘also ran’ in those marriage stakes also. Then, out of the blue, one cold December afternoon in 2010 while walking up Main Street in Haworth, I met Sheila, and for the first time in a long time, I started to feel like ‘a winner’ again.
And that is how true love can make any runner in the romantic field feel, ‘like a winner’. To meet a loving person, and to know that even after they discover your character flaws and weaknesses, they still love you and want to marry you, is to experience all of your Christmases and birthdays rolled into one. In a single magical moment, one is given a glimpse of the happiness to come. I remember the first time I heard Sheila tell me, “I love you”. It was such a good sound to my ears, I felt that I was floating on cloud nine. I instantly pretended not to hear Sheila profess her love for me, just so that she would repeat the sentence, which she did. Her sincerity humbled me, and instead of responding in my usual arrogant way by replying, “Of course you do, sweetheart, what’s not to love about me?”, I immediately slipped into an intimacy with the new love of my life from which I have never recovered.
Over the following week, before we met up again in Haworth, I could not stop thinking about her. Sheila disturbed my regular sleeping pattern because once I began to realise the reality that what lay in store for me was far better than what I could ever find in any romantic dream, I preferred to stay awake with my beautiful thoughts than go to sleep.
Aimee, what can I truly tell you about my son, Adam? Anyone who knows me well knows I am not the type of man who tells untruths, whatever the circumstance or consequences. Like all men, Adam has his strengths and faults, and without identifying either (as that is what marriage will lead you to discover), I can honestly say that he has more character strengths than he has faults and that there is far more to like about him than dislike. I can also reliably say that being a ‘Forde’, if you can handle him at his worst, then you will most certainly be able to enjoy him at his best. As I have always believed, Aimee, “Marriage works best when both man and wife row the same boat and sing from the same song sheet”. That is why one of my favourite quotes by Oscar Wilde is, “You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”
So, Aimee, Sheila and I congratulate you and Adam on your recent engagement. We also wish you a happy birthday. Enjoy your special day. Bill and Sheila xx
Love and peace Bill xxx