Today, July 24, 2020 would have been our 39th wedding anniversary. R.I.P., Mr. Right. I miss you.
What follows was originally written for ricochet.com, one of a series of themed posts on the subject of “Will.” My contribution was posted on August 6, 2018. In hindsight, using Harry and Meghan’s wedding as a jumping-off point may not have been especially propitious (check back in another 37 years, and I’ll report on whether they made it as long as we did), but it is what it is:
To put it plainly: People are talking about the proper way to celebrate and bless a marriage, and why Harry and Meghan said “I will” at a crucial time, rather than “I do.”
Now, you may rate the importance of this topic, in your own mind, somewhere down there with Liliput’s Big-Endian/Little-Endian controversy, but I’m a bit of a language
nut aficionado, so it caught my interest.
I was raised a high church Anglican in the UK, and the church of my childhood adhered to the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. So the marriage ceremonies I attended in my youth contained the following direction and Q&A session:
If no impediment be alleged, then shall the Curate say unto the Man,
[Name]: WILT thou have this Woman to thy wedded Wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?
The Man shall answer, “I will.”
Then shall the Priest say unto the Woman,
[Name]: WILT thou have this Man to thy wedded Husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?
The Woman shall answer, “I will.”
I’m a woman. Last time I checked, anyway. So, when I was asked the question in a slightly different way on July 24, 1981, that’s what I answered.
Now, it wasn’t exactly a traditional wedding. We got married in Conway, NH. On a camping trip. The bride wore shorts. The groom was hirsute, and wore jeans and a shirt that looked like one of Barry Gibb’s cast-offs. There were three children present; one acted as best man, one took photographs, and the third took the role of flower girl. The setting was lovely; a cottage garden filled with beautiful flowers and birds, including a few hummingbirds; and the officiant was a wonderful old gentleman who wanted things to be just right. So I said my piece (Ruth 1:16-17) and the about-to-be Mr. She said his (Sonnet 116). And at some point, I said, “I will.” (I can’t remember what Mr. She said, actually. Something, I suppose.)
The conclusion, as far as I can see, among the “I Do/I Will” crowd, most often fell on the side of “I Will!” being an exclamatory declaration of intent in perpetuity, as opposed to “I Do!” being more of an “in the moment” sort of thing. Intertwined with much (sometimes almost correct) history, speculation about the Church of England, Henry VIII, the Puritans, the fundamental differences between the Brits and the Yanks (who knew?), and Lord knows what else. A bit over-the-top, in my estimation. Me, I don’t judge. Either “I Will!” or “I Do!” is fine in my book, although I’m a bit of a stickler, and quite traditional with regard to the rituals of my faith, and I know which I prefer for myself.
Here’s another rather uncharacteristic gesture from me — a link to a Beatles song, in this case sung by an older Paul McCartney. That’s good, I think. I’m not really certain it’s a young man’s song. It’s the Lennon/McCartney song, “I Will,” originally released in 1968 on The White Album. I think this is a charming version, as one of the comments says, just one man and a guitar, owning the stage. The audience shots are charming, too. (Can’t embed the link and play it here; the poster on YouTube has disabled play on other sites).
And another version, much slower in mood and tempo, from Alison Krauss. It takes her a while to get going, but I’m a sucker for some good banjo playing/pickin’, so I love this one too:
Let’s raise a glass to Love, wherever it may be found. I Will! How about you?