She's brown and Catholic; he's white and Baptist. They're both young adults, full of hopes and dreams. They met unexpectedly. The law of attraction worked. They fell in love. They got engaged. Finally, after a year, they tied the knot.
This is what Love can do---the union of two young adults who have pledged to love each other forever.
Earlier this month, my only daughter and her fiance were united through the sacrament of matrimony. The wedding ceremony took place at a Christian church and the reception at a vineyard.
Love made it possible for the bride's and the groom's families, friends and relatives to witness and celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime, special event in the life of Christine and Robbie.
God is love made manifest in these two lovely children of God who promised to love, care for and respect each other, in sickness or in health, in sadness or joy, "'til death do us part.'
Like their parents---the two sets have been married for a total of 80 years---they believe in the sanctity of marriage. They sought God's blessing of their marriage through Father Rolo Castillo, pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
Months before their wedding, Christine and Robbie participated in afternoon and evening meetings and sessions about Christian marriage, facilitated by the pastor and Deacon Ed and his wife. They also attended a one-day session at another church where they met other couples preparing for marriage.
A year ago, Robbie and Christine had their blessings from me and Father Ongen, parochial vicar of four clustered parishes in Portsmouth and Chesapeake. (These four parishes are St. Paul's Catholic Church, Church of the Resurrection, and Holy Angels- all in Portsmouth, and St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chesapeake.)
I told them about author and host of FamilyLife Today, Dennis Rainey, who suggested four commitments to fulfill your marriage vows for a lifetime: 1) Do not get married unless you plan to keep your vows; 2) fulfill your vows by staying married; 3) fulfill your vows by maintaining emotional and moral fidelity; and 4) fulfill your vows by praying faithfully with your spouse.
One night I told them that marriage is a sacred covenant and a lifelong, serious commitment between two loving persons and their God. "It is not like food, once you've tasted or chewed it, if you don't like it, you can spit it out," I said.
The "lovebirds" kept still and looked at me, puzzled.
Weeks before their wedding, while we were having lunch with Robbie's parents, I shared this thought, based on my experience and observation: In marriage, love is the bottom line. God is love.
When there is love, there is commitment, communication, compromise, cooperation and companionship.
When there is commitment, there is open communication. When there is communication, there is compromise. When there is compromise, there is cooperation. When there is cooperation, there is commitment. And when there is commitment, there is companionship. And when these things are, there is love.
It was such a beautiful wedding, well-attended and happily celebrated.
It was a beautiful wedding because love reigned in the hearts and minds of those who were present.
[Thank you, God. And, on behalf of both families of our newly-wed couple, my daughter Christine and son-in-law Robbie, I sincerely thank you all loving people who were involved in their wedding (before, during, and after). Thank you, dear friends and family members (especially those who came from California, Washington State, and Canada, and from out of town) who've shared your precious time, talents and treasures in making their wedding special, beautiful and memorable. May God bless us and our families always! May God bless Robbie and Christine always and forever, as they embark on a new chapter in their life as husband and wife! Wishing you all the best, and all the happiness and love in the world.]
-Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Appeared in the Opinion page of the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, May 25, 2017. For more information, visit www.suffolknewsherald.com.