The Father of the Bride
My wife told me that I had to do a toast. I told her I’m on a low carb diet – I don’t do toast. Besides, I’ve forked over enough bread and taken enough heat over this wing-ding that before it’s all over, I’m liable to be toast.
With my wife having duly noted my objections, I am nevertheless instructed to proceed. You might say, with regard to this toast, that I just can’t get out of the jam.
I have several words of advice for any future father’s of the bride:
First of all, do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, participate directly in the day to day planning of the wedding. Leave that to the lady folk. Suicide is not your mission. If they want your advice, they’ll give it to you.
You may think that if you’re footing the bill, you ought to have some say, but you’re wrong, and they’ll tell you that. With apologies to Leslie Gore, “This is their party, and they’ll buy what they want to.” Just sit back and enjoy the cartoon feature.
It may help to focus on the advantages which this order of doing business actually secures for you. For example, the guest list. We could have easily invited a thousand people, but for practical reasons, the number had to be cut back to 250. Somebody has to be left out. In fact, a whole bunch of somebodys have to be left out. You do not want to be held personally responsible for who has to be left out. You want to be left a certain plausible deniability. Leave that to the lady folk. So if you’re not here, it’s not my fault.
I did step in and insist that certain persons must be invited. So if you are here, it may be by my graces alone, and you can thank me later.
Second item: the budget. Set the sum at as low a figure as you think you can get away with without seeming stingy, so that when the final figure comes in, which I guarantee will be way over budget by geometric proportions, it won’t be too far beyond the real figure which you secretly determined in the first place. I learned this one the hard way. We’ll be eating beans for the foreseeable future.
Third item: Look out for flying female emotions. At one moment they’re flying in opposite directions at the same time while tearing you asunder; at the next moment they’re flying back together in a power dive with you at ground zero for the point of collision. With what I’ve experienced in the past few months, I now know for sure that I must be going to heaven, because I’ve already been through hell.
Finally, prepare yourself to handle little last-minute emergencies. Like your daughter, who is arguably one of the best drivers, happens to total the family car a week before the wedding. The basement, which has been dry for a decade, floods two days just before the wedding – that’s twice – two different days just before the wedding. Then, while you’re trying to deal with these and several other emergencies of similar proportions – like the electricity in the entire city of Galesburg including this pavilion, is down due to a catastrophic storm – you’re wife decides to surprise you with, “Oh, and you have to give a toast.” Thanks for the three minute warning. I’ve been losing yardage, perhaps I should punt.
But instead, to change to a baseball analogy, I guess I’ll go for the suicide squeeze.
I have some words of counsel for the married couple, and then I will read a blessing.
The primary purpose of marriage is true and trusted companionship. But beyond this, it is also to force a man to become civilized and to give a woman a safe and protected place to build a nest.
The husband, whatever his weaknesses, is nevertheless designed to guide, protect, and provide, and the wife, whatever her frailties, is nonetheless designed to be his companion, his coach, and his counselor. It’s part of the hard wiring, and you can only disconnect it, you cannot really change it. Play out your respective roles, and respect each others roles, and you will have no trouble understanding each other and building each other up. But apart from special emergencies, if you cross those wires, then when the current is turned up, the sparks will fly.
Now, I will read Psalm 128, and I apply this word of blessing to you.
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.
When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of your life.
Yes, may you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!