Organizing weddings is an inexact science. If there is any exactness about the youngest of social sciences - political science - that's the kind of exactness you will have (and probably less) when you have a wedding.
I wish we could have done some things differently that would have made my sister's wedding more special than it was already. Of course there were some miscues that could have been altogether prevented with more foresight and delegation. However, hindsight, as they say, offers 20/20 vision all the way.
Meantime, take a load of me in this picture. Dang, I look wider than ever! Hmmm... must study old pictures to motivate self to exercise more. This was a great shot care of our eldest brother. Great timing on the shot, and most of all, it included me in it, hahahahahaha!
The experience of this wedding also offers succinct advice to anyone (I mean anyone) who is contemplating making a lifetime commitment such as marriage:
- All relationships are about roles - you take the role that is required of you in the relationship, and adjust to it accordingly. And, however set or rigid your personality is, you always have to make an adjustment. I'm sure this is a lesson exercised daily by this couple, as they had met in a later stage of their lives. Younger people may have the advantage of growing into a relationship, but they may not have the maturity to make an accurate read and thus make the wrong decisions.
- It is always better to visualize what kind of life you will be living with your partner. This is both an exercise in creativity and in realism. The creativity entailed is that of projecting the status of the relationship and stretching it over a longer continuum, while the realism, simply, is to limit the idealism and wishful thinking to make such a projection free of sentimentality. Cold-blooded? Not necessarily, but since it is more costly to get into something half-planned and spend your life trying to extricate yourself out of it than it is to refuse getting into it in the first place, a plan almost always works. Which leads to...
- After holding out so long, if the wish list is too tough or doesn't work, throw it out and start with a new game plan. My ate did this and I'll give it two years before I change my call as "toss-up." Just to be fair to both of them. I don't know exactly what her game plan was given her relationship choices over the last ten years and I didn't pry, but this move, though not exactly sudden, was unexpected and refreshing. I believe they will get along famously, but my natural skepticism creeps in on this one.
- Keep things simple. Man + woman = love, children, and careers. Begin with the end in mind, which is happiness for both of you. Naturally, one would suppose children is a natural part of the equation, but for some couples, maybe children shouldn't be the norm. In this day and age, the desire for progeny, while natural, isn't necessarily the best choice. Some couples really couldn't cut it as parents. And --- we can all do our part by helping keep the world population in check. As to careers, they just don't cut the mustard on the priority meter UNLESS they were what that brought the couple together in the first place. In this couple's case, careers play a more important role.
- Savor the journey. Hey, things may not work exactly like you planned, so get ready to suck it up to handle disappointment. We are all on borrowed time, anyway, so make the best out of every situation. As in every situation. Yup, this could be the toughest discipline to maintain.
- There is no formula to relationship success. I don't want to point out any specific people that I know because they will not be able to offer any defense, and besides, it's just my point of view (okay, stop the disclaimer already --- too defensive!). There is just isn't any way to intellectualize you and your partner to follow a specific plan outlined by the relationship experts. What I've learned in life is that there are no best practices, only best fit. If this is so with companies, more so for one-on-one relationships because they serve as the building blocks of all sorts of relationships. So, before you get frustrated that your partner isn't coming up to spec, it's not necessarily his or her fault.
- Back to the beginning --- relationships are about negotiation, giving and receiving concessions, and keeping commitments. Of course, in order to keep the relationship moving the partners should be hard enough on themselves as to the commitments they keep to themselves and to one another. The only exception to this and all the other things I've mentioned is that if they are happy and the life they are living is consistent with their own individual and shared values. That's how things will be measured in the end, anyway.
That's the only exact score I have right now. Insh'Allah, we will score a few winning points in the next few days. As God wills.