They are political animals (I first met Aisha when she was the spokesperson for Integrity B.C.) and huge fans of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. Fortunately, I love politics and history, so this was right in my wheelhouse.
I tailored my opening comments to include an excerpt from a love letter from Winston Churchill to his wife Clementine:
Now, there are many amazing marriages these two could pattern their own after. But there was one deeply romantic couple that they felt would serve as a most apt inspiration. Of course, I speak of the great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his beloved Clementine. When one thinks of Churchill, we think of his courage, his stubbornness, his magnificent leadership during the darkest days the free world ever faced. We think of his perseverance, his ability to speak hope to terrified people, and his brilliant wit. We don’t necessarily think of Churchill as sweet or romantic, but to his dear Clemmie, his wife of 56 years, he certainly was. They wrote one another hundreds of love letters during their marriage. This is an excerpt from just one of those letters:
My darling Clemmie,
… you wrote some words very dear to me, about my having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love... What it has been to me to live all these years in your heart and companionship no phrases can convey.
Time passes swiftly, but is it not joyous to see how great and growing is the treasure we have gathered together, amid the storms and stresses of so many eventful and, to millions, tragic and terrible years?
With tender love from your devoted,
I love the idea that Winston and Clementine recognized that they enriched one another’s life. They made the other better – they didn’t agree all the time, but they love one another unconditionally and encouraged one another relentlessly. Those of us lucky enough to have fallen in love know precisely what that feels like. If a couple can treat one another with that kind of deep, abiding gratefulness, they forge something that can never fail.
Neil and Aisha, we know your love runs deep, and all of us here today bless you to have a happy, full, wonderful life together. May you enrich one another’s lives for all time.
And when Aisha finished her vow, I was able to throw in a tip of the hat to her hero, Margaret Thatcher. "What Aisha is really committing to, Neil, can be boiled down to just six words: 'Neil, this lady's not for turning'."
Be amazing married people, Neil and Aisha! Congratulations - and thanks for having me as part of your special day.