(I have performed countless civil wedding in my judicial capacity. Here is my wedding talk.)
Ten Laws of Matrimony
Over the years, I have become convinced that to have a strong and happy marriage, we must abide by the laws of matrimony. Let me briefly share with you ten of those laws.
First, a strong marriage requires commitment.
I know of a man, who on his wedding day, said to his bride, “I told you today that I love you, and I’m not going to tell you again. If I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know.”
Obviously, a lasting marriage requires much greater commitment than that. Each spouse must be totally committed to the relationship.
Second, a lasting marriage needs loyalty.
I heard of a wedding where the judge asked the groom, “And do you promise to love, honor, and cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer.” The groom responded, “Yes, no, yes, yes, no, yes no.”
Marriage does not grant us immunity from hardship. When we marry, we promise to remain loyal not only in the best times, but also during the challenging times.
Third, a happy marriage takes understanding.
In the fairy tales, like Snow White and Cinderella, the couples lived “happily ever after.” But have you ever notices that the story stopped at the wedding.
They never explained what happened when Snow White came down with morning sickness, or when Cinderella’s wicked stop mother moved in for a few weeks, or when Prince Charming was away on business for extended periods of time.
During these trying times, we need not only commitment and loyalty, but also understanding.
Now, this may come as a complete surprise to each of you, but your future spouse is not perfect. But, then neither are you. The more you deal with your spouse’s imperfections with understanding, the more your spouse will deal with your imperfections with understanding.
Fourth, a strong marriage requires common goals and values.
A husband and wife should be headed in the same direction. You should strive to agree on your priorities. The greater the agreement, the greater the harmony.
Fifth, a happy marriage needs humor.
Humor helps us keep things in perspective. Although you should take your spouse and your marriage very seriously, it is not wife to take yourself too seriously. As my wife frequently remined me, “Why take yourself so seriously when nobody else does.”
Life is full of absurdities, tragedies, and ironies. We should meet these challenges with humor.
Sixth, a strong marriage needs teamwork.
You should agree on your respective roles. You should do all you can to help your spouse develop their talents and achieve their potential.
We hear is said that marriage is a 50/50 relationship. I disagree. I think that is a formula for failure. If you ever say to yourself, “I have given my half, and now it is up to my spouse to give their half,” your marriages is in trouble.
Marriages is a 100/100 relationship. Each spouse should strive to give 100% to the relationship. Your question should always be, “Have I given 100%?”
Seventh, a happy marriage needs effective communication.
I am convinced that any challenge can be handled successfully as long as the couple is communicating. And, the most important parts of effective communication are not only speaking, but also active listening.
We were born with two ears and one mouth. That is a hint, from mother nature, that we should listen at least twice as much as we speak. And, we should listen not only with our ears, but also with our hearts.
Eighth, a strong marriage requires an ongoing courtship.
You should continue to date each other. You should continue to kindle both the passion that comes from romance, but also the warmth that comes from holding hands and embracing.
Ninth, a happy marriage requires a lasting friendship.
Wise King Solomon declared that “a friend loves at all times.” Remember, from this day forward, there is no more important relationship that your relationship with each other.
This brings us to the tenth, final, and most important law of matrimony, and that is love.
Marriage is a union of love. Love means saying, “I love you” each and every day. Love is remembering anniversaries and birthdays. Love is remembering to hold hands. Love is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
Indeed, love is patient and kind. Love is selfless and giving. Love is loyal. Love is understanding. Love is an ongoing courtship and an everlasting friendship.
No other human ties are more important, and no other vows are more sacred, than those you now assume. If you keep these vows and live the ten laws of matrimony, then your home will be happy and filled with love.
-Judge Brett London