LESLIE CRISS: Weekend wedding more than 30 years in coming

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced.”
– Robert Sexton

“ The essential matrimonial facts: that to be happy you have to find variety in repetition; that to go forward you have to come back to where you begin.”
– Jeffrey Eugenides

“Love is lovelier the second time around …”
– Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen

I don’t much enjoy a wedding. But I will show up on occasion if my connection with the bride or the groom is a close one. Such was the case last weekend when I traveled to Birmingham for the wedding of my lifetime friend Melanie to Rowan, a fine human being.
Thirty-three years ago I was Melanie’s maid of honor when she married for the first time.
We were just out of college, where we’d succeeded in surviving four years as roommates in a small dorm room at Mississippi College.
That marriage lasted nearly a quarter of a century and produced two amazing, big-hearted, handsome sons.
And, as often can be the case with the dissolution of any long-term relationship, a mess may muddy the wake, leaving behind a whole lot of hurt.
Then, if we’re mightily blessed, someone amazing may come along, sweep us off our feet and begin cleaning up the mess.
That’s what happened to Melanie.
She’d met a young man in 1978 to whom she took a shine. The feeling was mutual. But for whatever reasons, the relationship was not destined to take flight all those years ago.
Some say things happen as they are supposed to. Perhaps that’s true.
Nearly seven years ago, Melanie and Rowan met again at Rowan’s father’s funeral.
And the rest, as they say, is history, and now a part of their story.
They’ve dated steadily for the past seven years, the relationship made more challenging by the fact that nearly 367 miles lay between the places each called home.
But they’ve not let the distance keep them apart. And back in November, Rowan proposed to my friend at his alma mater of Yale.
She, of course, said “yes,” which is how I came to be sitting in a pew on May 12 in a beautiful Presbyterian Church celebrating the miraculous marriage of two fine folks.
Who’s to say why it took three decades for these two people who are clearly a perfect match – if there is such a thing – to get to this forever place.
The looks on both their faces in that holy space – and beyond – is all the proof needed to understand the wait, however long, was worth it.
And it was a wedding I would not have missed.

Click video to hear audio