The Toast

— Chris & Tabitha, October 25, 2013, Owen Farm, Chapmansboro, TN —

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Owen Farm. Filter courtesy of Instagram.

[Text of toast that I gave with my gal pal, Courtney, the Magnificent Matron of Honor]

Bill:

In trying to figure out what to say today, I asked for help. I reached out to people who have been in relationships for varying lengths of time, and asked them to offer a few words about their relationship, about commitment and, if they wanted to, about marriage. Some of these come from your friends and family, people you know and love, some of whom are sitting here tonight. Some of them come from people you’ve never met, from friends and family of mine whose relationships I admire and who were kind enough to help me crowd source this toast! Here’s what they had to say.

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Owen Farm. Filter courtesy of Instagram.

Courtney:

-Being in a relationship that is not disposable has really taken years to figure out, but ultimately I think it really takes deciding – again and again and again – that I do not consider this relationship to be disposable. It’s a subtle, but important distinction.

Bill:

-Years 1 through 7 are all about working out which of your own things you can keep and which you have to let go, negotiating space and ownership. We have no idea how we got through it, but sex and kids were helpful.

Tabitha and me, afternoon of rehearsal. © 2013 by JP.

Tabitha and me, afternoon of rehearsal. © 2013 by JP

Courtney:

-You can’t expect more out of a relationship than you are willing to put into it.

Bill:

-Commitment is not really something you make or think or say so much as something that you do, endure, survive, and feed.

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Owen Farm. Getting Ready.

Courtney:

-Adventure. It doesn’t have to be dangerous or exotic or expensive, but doing new things together is a great way to build and share a life. Whether it’s exploring a new (or familiar) city or climbing a mountain, seeking out new experiences has allowed us to learn about ourselves, each other and the world around us.

Bill:

-I know myself better than anyone else, and *I’m* sick of me at least once a day – how can I expect someone else to deal with the good and bad with perpetual good nature? I’m certainly not capable of it. So, ultimately, for me, it’s about acknowledging that a lifetime partnership won’t always be a delight, but knowing that there’s nobody else you’d rather be in the trenches with.

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Owen Farm. Inside the barn. Filter courtesy of Instagram.

Courtney:

-Self-care and self-love are foundational to being able to love a partner healthfully. Coming to the table with ourselves sorted out sweeps out enough space for real intimacy to take place.

Bill:

-Say sorry and mean it, say thank you and mean it. Share the remote. Take photos. Go on trips. Pull your own weight. Split up the chores. Listen. Talk. Listen some more.

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Owen Farm. Outside the barn. Filter courtesy of Instagram.

Courtney:

-Go into a marriage knowing you are not trying to mold a person into what you might want them to be but to love that person for exactly who they are.

Bill:

-Marriage isn’t ALWAYS happy or sad, rich or poor, fun or serious, exciting or boring, good or bad, easy or hard, but it is ALWAYS worth the effort.

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Owen Farm. Filter courtesy of Instagram.

Courtney:

-Being together is like having our own team, where we can be ourselves and relax, where we can be weird if we want and we always have each other’s back.

Bill:

-We are a team and committed to infusing our own corner of the world with good things in the form of laughter, hugs, eye-opening discussions, celebrations, magical experiences, and the support we each need when times are challenging, sad, or unpredictable.

Mom and Dad rehearse. © 2013 by JP

Mom and Dad rehearse. © 2013 by JP

Courtney:

-Perhaps it’s less about a long-term commitment than it is about the choice we make in each moment to stay together and to stay true.

Bill

-Here’s the point: Marriage, or commitment, is about acknowledging that we all have our own valid ways of going through life, and your partner has a lot to teach you about how to manage a situation, you just have to let them do it in their own way.

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My place card at the rehearsal dinner.

Courtney:

-Compromise is important, but compromise cannot always be approached from the perspective of giving in, or giving something up, or losing out. Rather, it must be framed in terms of setting priorities, figuring out what is *really* important, and then working together to determine what path makes the most sense.

Bill:

-Try to always assume the best in each other.

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J’s place card at the rehearsal dinner.

Courtney:

-At the end of the day, marriage should not be about right or wrong, but about being reliable, kind, and understanding.

Bill:

-It’s more important to be kind than to be right.

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J and me, day of rehearsal. #sunshineselfie

Courtney:

And, maybe most importantly,

-Don’t stop being sweet to each other.

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Owen Farm, overlooking the Cumberland River.

Bill:

I ran everything I got through a word cloud program, to see which words were used most often and appeared most prevalently in the tag cloud. Unsurprisingly, words that stood out were:

balance

communication

patience

understanding

respect

honesty

kindness

compromise

adventure

trust

laughter

forgiveness

perseverance

friendship

happiness

The Matron of Honor and I give the toast.

Courtney and I give the toast. © 2013 by JP

The three words that were used most often, however, that showed up the largest, in the biggest, boldest font, the words that capture most succinctly and completely all the stories that people shared and all the reflections on being in relationship and advice about commitment and marriage, were these:

LOVE. TOGETHER. ALWAYS.

To Tabitha and Chris – cheers – we love you.

© 2013 by JP

© 2013 by JP

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12 Responses to The Toast

  1. Amanda Esper says:

    I’m so happy to have read that, Its just as wonderful as I imagined it would be. The picture of you, Chris and Clay really just got to me, I can remember each of you looking like that and it just brings back so many happy, happy days with my fabulous cousins. Love you and am so glad I got to see you and share the weekend with you.

    • randasfans says:

      I know, me too – that was my favorite picture; I’m not sure I had ever seen it before. I loved that it was at Jeremy’s place, so naturally we stole it 🙂 Loved seeing you, too – hopefully things won’t be so crazy next time, but what a fun weekend!

  2. tawannab1977 says:

    This is super cool. Especially the sunshine pic of you and J and the reminder to be nice to those we live with.

    Wish we could hang more,
    k

    • randasfans says:

      I wanted to contact you the whole time we were there, but there wasn’t any time – total chaos, a ton of work but a lot of fun. I’d like to come down more, so hopefully next time!

  3. O. Closely says:

    Well done! It leaves me with a lump in my throat. The photos are perfect punctuation. I’m proud of you!

  4. chris says:

    Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing this! xoxoxo

  5. Jenn says:

    That was so great- a really creative and touching way to do it. Makes me unashamed to admit how much I love love. The venue looked like it was fantastic. I hope you and Jeremy had a terrific time- thank you for sharing this- it is perfect.

    • randasfans says:

      We had a great time. Thanks for commenting; I’m so glad it all worked out and, most importantly, I think C&T were happy, so that’s what counts. See you soon I hope!

  6. rebecca johns says:

    Thank you Bill for sharing this.

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