Sunday, November 13, 2011

Marrying Later in Life

A Maine couple, ages 87 and 88, married recently after 17 "beautiful years" together. Here's a link to their story in the paper.

Most wedding marketing is aimed at the young couple. Yet, I regularly marry couples who meet later in life. Some have been married before. In every case, there is a feeling of coming home to your current partner - and of honoring the full journey of life that brought you together at this time and age.

With same-sex marriage in New York, I also now am marrying many couples together 17, 21, 37, and over 40 years. These couples are already married in their hearts, and have been so for decades. They are simply making legal the bond they already share. 

With both gay and straight mature couples, marrying brings up a question: what is important to us now? Sometimes, couples want to share a short and sweet ceremony, leaving the fanfare for the younger crowd. Other times, older couples have much to share, and want to celebrate the details of their story and how much each appreciates the other.

I recently married two women to each other who had been introduced as friends years prior by one of their late husbands. He was briefly honored in the ceremony for who he was - a great man, a sassy personality, and unknowingly a catalyst for love between the two women years later. During their vows, one wrote a letter and the other a poem. Their words were deeply loving and also playful, teasing each other a little, to everyone's delight. One guest, who has been married to his wife for 48 years ("and it just gets better..."), shared with me that one can only speak like that - with so much appreciation, wisdom, and wit - about your partner when you have been together for a long, long time.

In every case with mature weddings, there is a sense of peace, and often a very lively peace indeed! Some of my biggest laughs are at weddings with older couples - because everyone tells the truth of life: it's a lovely, zany, serious, moving ride. And to share life with a partner is even more so.

If you're marrying later in life, you have a lot of freedom to celebrate who you have become and who you are becoming, in yourselves and together. Enjoy it!