What I’m re­ally think­ing Fa­ther of the brides

The Guardian Weekly - - Mind & Relationships -

“You should speak at the re­cep­tion,” my wife says. “It’s tra­di­tion, she should have that.” Your mar­riage, how­ever, is not tra­di­tional. You, my daugh­ter, are mar­ry­ing an­other woman. The cliches about fa­ther of the bride speeches do not ap­ply, though I des­per­ately want to say some­thing that you and your lovely bride, my new daugh­ter-in-law, can re­mem­ber and cher­ish.

Your mother and I are so proud when you read your vows to each other. It’s a small civil cer­e­mony, yet the high­est priest in the tallest cathe­dral could not have said any­thing more pro­found or mov­ing. What­ever hand-wring­ing the church might do over the prej­u­dices of its faith, you both ex­pressed some­thing fun­da­men­tal to be­ing hu­man; you as­serted the an­cient rite of love and com­mit­ment, around long be­fore the church wrapped it in sanc­ti­mony.

Your mother and I now feel all the same pro­tec­tive parental urges for our new daugh­ter as we do for you. You have ex­panded our fam­ily in a unique way and we love you for it. And if the per­sis­tent re­li­gios­ity of my up­bring­ing pushed me away from the church, I am happy – for that jour­ney al­lows me to wel­come your bride into our fam­ily with­out hes­i­ta­tion, doubt or re­gret.

“Are you go­ing to speak?” your mother asks. I look around the room at your young friends, mil­len­ni­als from all imag­in­able back­grounds. Do they want to lis­ten to me? I take a knife and ting my glass. I am taken aback at the clar­ity of the sound, fol­lowed by im­me­di­ate si­lence and at­ten­tion – they were wait­ing for this. Of course, it’s tra­di­tion. I stand up. I am the proud fa­ther of two brides. I start to speak.

Tell usu what you’re re­ally think­ing at mind@the­guardian.com­mind

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