This past weekend we watched close acquaintances exchange their vows in a small and intimate ceremony at the Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach. The grounds of the monastery were lit with torches, and the banyan trees glowed with small lanterns softly lit by votive candles.
The night was serene except for our children who flitted about the labyrinth gardens like dragonflies and butterflies. Their laughter punctuated the hushed tones of our voices as we waited for the ceremony to begin. Nobody minded. Our children gave voice to our own sense of joy and hope, and hearing them made us smile.
During the ceremony, our children slowly inched closer to listen as the couple made their faithful promises. They knew a curtain had been drawn aside, so in rapt attention, they watched this ancient ritual unfold. I suppose what they confirmed that evening is fundamentally simple: two people chose to share their lives, love is the common denominator that joined them together, and the rest is figured out along the way.
At least that is what I affirmed to my children that day. Of course marriage is much more than that. And truly, the strength of a union is only as strong as its weakest point. But our children will learn this and more later.
For now, marriage begins like this: a resplendent bride, a determined groom, supportive friends and family, soft candle lights and well wishers, and of course, Frank Sinatra.