It is two weeks before their wedding.

The gift and card I bought for them sit on my desk.

“What should I write on the card?”

“Best Wishes?”

Of course!

“Advice to the newlyweds?”

A reluctant “No.”

Though tempted, I won’t dole out advice. My history of giving out advice is dismal.

Besides, most people find their own paths to the important things in marriage. But one of the wonderful things about weddings is that they afford the opportunity to reflect on our own experiences.

When Bill and I married in the mid l950’s, I divided my time between two worlds. College classes, tests and studying made up the first part of my day.

In the late afternoon, I’d dump my textbooks on the sofa, fix dinner, and swap my bobby socks and saddle shoes for high heels, stockings and a dress before Bill and I had dinner in our third floor apartment.

While I loved being a student, I also desperately wanted to be a proper l950’s wife and homemaker. I devoured Good Housekeeping and the Ladies Home Journal for guidance on my new role.

While customs and fashions change across decades, the heart of marriages—of relationships—remains the same.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that marriage has more to do with compassion and humor, respect and resilience, hard work and light heartedness than with how I dressed for dinner.

I suspect the soon- to-be bride—a graduate student— will wear jeans and sneakers while fixing dinner. And I have a hunch the groom can easily whip up a meal in the kitchen.

My guess is that this young couple already knows that there’s more to marriage than its outside trappings.

I wish them delight in one another and the strength and courage to love deeply.

Whatever sentiments I will write on the card, will soon be written in the hearts of this young couple.

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