So you wish to marry my daughter:
I assure you I will not ask if you can support her
In the accustomed manner or any such banality.
For twenty-five years ago I stood where you now stand,
And my father-in-law was kind to me;
Did not make light of the moment,
Nor yet overreach its seriousness.
Yes, he was kind to me,
Though he had his reservations,
Of that I am certain.
Nor will I speak from the lofty heights of our twenty-five years,
For God’s grace is in these wonderful years,
And to claim merit for such would be vanity.
Yet while I would not sermonize,
Nor speak of trifles,
There is something,
Something on my heart:
(Please bear with me, for this may well be presumption),
Yet it seems that an abyss yawns at our feet,
Yours, mine and hers,
As we seek each other’s happiness.
- - Something I would ask you:
Do not those vows terrify you?
For twenty-five years on they still terrify me.
“ – for better for worse.”
Is having and holding sufficient recompense?
Ah, but I know your answer.
“ – for richer for poorer, in sickness and health.”
Amidst the splendour and pageantry of the day,
Will you yet take time to tremble
As you take these vows.
“ ‘Til death us do part.”
Celestial Cement from the One who joins,
Our only hope.
What else withstands the stress and press
Of a life together in close vulnerability?
But there, I foreswore all sermonising.
Forgive me this gloomy cast.
It seems the field lies littered
With the corpses of brave spouses-at-arms
Who took these vows and could not keep them.
Why only these past few months:
A close relative and some close friends - -
What was that you said?
Ah yes, my daughter’s hand in marriage.
Of course, of course.
You are welcome in this family
And more than welcome.
May you enjoy a long, happy and fruitful life together.
My blessing on it.
Have you set a date for the wedding?