On the 21st February 2015, I got married to a truly wonderful woman and on the day I made a speech, as is convention. At the risk of appearing to be incredibly self absorbed, I’m sharing the speech here for a couple of reasons:
- People asked me to – no, they really did!
- To share some of my beliefs about what marriage means to me
These are only the notes, the actual speech wobbled on and off track, but here it is anyway!
Doctor Rockso voice:
WELLL HELLLOOOOO BRIIIIISTOOOOLLLL!
So, err, do you come here often? (in the voice of Papa Lazarou) You’re MAAAAYYYYY WAAAAYFEE NOOOOWWWW!
To the room:
Hello everybody, my wife and, I pause for applause, oh, actually, I was meant to pause there, not read it, still I guess that’s what you get when you download your groom speech off the interwebs…. Well anyway, we would like to thank you for being with us today! It’s really lovely to see you all, to have so many of our families and friends together.
I couldn’t think of what to get mum for her birthday so I got her a daughter in law!
Because, of course stare at bride oops sorry, distracted by the sexy, it’s been quite a mission getting to this point. Organising a wedding takes an enormous amount of planning and preparation and I’ve done almost none of it. Kathryn’s done an amazing job, if it had been down to me, we’d have all been eating McDonalds off a bin in a pub car park. She even managed to pick a day that WASN’T a six nations game – you’re welcome!
So, today’s a great day, I hope you’ll agree, but it’s just the start. This wedding day is the front door to the house of our new life together, and at the risk of mixing metaphors (like mortar), we’ll be building it together, brick-by-brick, day by day.
We are soon to share a house, a bank account… A bed! We’ve already shared a spreadsheet, so I reckon the rest will be pretty easy. Really, though, neither of us are under the illusion that this is going to be easy; as CS Lewis said, because you can’t have a Christian wedding without quoting him, “we are all fallen creatures and all very hard to live with”. I thought I’d start with a cat and work my way up but I’ve gone in at the deep end with a fully grown and entirely wonderful woman!
I met Kathryn when we were both speaking about application prototyping at an event. I was tired, in the grip of a dreadful post-birthday hangover (don’t tell anyone from church!), and I saw this girl as soon as I walked in. Stars appeared, I heard the music of harps, and deep in my heart, I thought; “a girl at a tech event? I wonder whose girlfriend she is!”
Thankfully, this moment of sexism quickly passed as she got up and started speaking. She quoted Douglas Adams and several 90s Britpop bands that I’m fairly certain she is too young to have been into at the time. She spoke quickly but I kept up; she was clever, smart, funny, and cute, and I decided I wanted to meet her. I spent the rest of the evening trying to talk to her, but getting cornered by enthusiastic young men who wanted to talk about computers. Story of my life! Thankfully, I got a couple of minutes to say hi just as she was leaving and I was sold; she was lovely.
Since then, Kathryn has shown me that love comes in a wider range of flavours than I’d ever dreamed possible. Being loved by Kathryn has actually broadened my definition of what love is. It will probably take me the rest of my life to fully take this in; but this woman actively, intentionally and deliberately LOVES me, when she didn’t have to, I started out as just some guy to her. Now I really know what steadfast means; it means making a decision to love as a choice, day in day out. Kathryn’s taught me that by the way she treats me, by how she listens, how she comforts, how she helps, how she encourages, and I almost can’t believe that I get to spend the rest of my life with such a wonderful teacher.
There was a Christian priest in Germany who resisted fascism and ended up being executed by the SS. He was called Dietrich Bonhoeffer and he described marriage in the best way that i have ever heard:
“It is not your love that sustains marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
And that’s what our marriage is going to be. We’ve made this commitment today, and we both take it absolutely seriously. Every day henceforth, we make it again, whether we’re happy, sad, angry, afraid or whatever – we commit to love one another – actively, intentionally, deliberately. I want this marriage to be a safe place for us to make mistakes, to be who we are, and to grow together.
I have always looked up to a great example of love – the greatest – Jesus Christ. A lot of you know I hold a faith, many of you think I’m crazy or it makes you uncomfortable. I’m certainly not very good at expressing it or living it out, and if I’m the only Christian you know, please seek out others because there are some great ones out there! Anyway, I see in Jesus this figure of love – the way He was willing to lay down His life for others. I ask for His strength, wisdom and character. So, Kathryn, no matter what we go through, no matter what life throws at us, I am committed to you. Like the Bible tells me, I am willing to lay down my life for you, day by day. That’s what I’ve signed up for. We’ll put each other first and together we will build something greater than we could have ever been by ourselves.
To Kathryn, here’s what I ask:
I know I’m flaky, but rely on me anyway.
I know I’m weak, but lean on me anyway.
I know I’m uncertain, but trust me anyway.
So many of you have helped us in getting this far and it falls to me to pay thanks. I’ll get the personal stuff out of the way first. Four men I see as mentors are here today, Gavin, Francis, Les and my dad Dave, who have taught me a lot about integrity, about God, and about life. In all of you I’ve seen different colours of wisdom, and I’ve tried my best to learn.
Thanks to my best man Jenni for pulling me out of the fire on more occasions than I care to remember. She did a great job organising the stag party. Only 3 people died, which I’m sure we can all agree, is a strong result. Thanks to the ushers, no-one fell in a canal, which is also braggable.
Mike and Gill, you’ve raise a wonderful daughter. I promise I’ll take the best care of her that I can! She truly honours you. She’s kind, wise, and practical and I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather spend the rest of my life with.
There are so many people to thank… Thanks to Helen for all the help with organisation
Thanks to Bonny for the table decorations, Dewi for the sound and Jon for the lighting. Place looks great! Thanks to Tuuli for the photography, and Les and the band for the music in the ceremony. I won’t thank the evening band yet because they might have secretly prepared a set of exclusively Coldplay numbers, hopefully they haven’t because I’d hate to have to execute Stone Cold Stunners in this suit. Thanks to Ben for helping me choose this suit. Thanks to the setup and pack down teams. You should see Kathryn’s spreadsheet – there are about 50 people who made this day possible. I don’t want to make this a long list, you all know who you are and we all want our dessert!
So, to all of you, our sincerest thanks and also a request for help. So, we’re on this journey, Kathryn and I, but you are on it as well. We’re going to need your help! We’re naive but not so naive as to think that we aren’t naive! Thank you for your friendship and support!
So, ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses, hmm am I meant to do this bit? Anyway, drink some booze for Kat and I!