Marriage is a Dragon

“We aren’t having a ring bearer. We are having a wedding dragon,” declared one of my favorite couples at our initial meeting. I remember meeting this couple for the first time. They squeezed me in over a one hour lunch during their busiest season of the year: Halloween. Before meeting them, I was not even sure who I was meeting. Their names were gender neutral, and the work site was in the hippest part of town. My first thought as I saw them walking towards me: they are way too cool for me. No way I’m getting this job.

But, our meeting went really well: they were delightful, creative, kind. And that wedding dragon? Well, the son of a friend who’d been asked to bear the rings declared he’d do it – but only as a dragon.

Now, dragons are quite the creatures. They’re wrapped in mystery, myth, fire, magic, power. Dragons defy all labels, shapes, colors, and sizes. They cross cultures, weaving their way into every society’s mythology. Dragons exist as something separate and set apart. Chasing dragons is desirable and admirable. We celebrate those who’ve tamed dragons. We sing of dragons, write poems of dragons, paint dragons, dress as dragons, dream about dragons. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a dragon in life, much less a wedding?

And marriage? Well it’s a dragon, is it not? We come to marriage full of fire! As Bishop Curry declared at this summer’s royal wedding, that fire of love is powerful stuff. But no matter what we read, what we hear, what we witness, marriage is a mystery. For each couple, it’s the undertaking of an epic journey. And each journey is unique, weaving together cultures, stories, families, histories, as well as individual people each with their own likes and dislikes.

I am often asked if I can tell whether a couple will “make it” or not. First of all, I am not even sure what “making it” means. But to answer the question: no, I cannot. How can anyone predict such a thing when we’ve no idea what adventures await a couple?   We’ve no idea when we head out into marriage what life will throw at us. The journey of marriage is its own beautiful task and undertaking. Some, it seems, have smooth seas and easy trails. They get Puff the Magic Dragon. But I’ve watched other couples encounter storm after storm on rough seas, and uphill marriage all the way. They clearly drew the Hungarian Horntail Dragon. There is not one way to chase it, tame it, slay it. That ring bearer was smarter than he realized! Marriage is, indeed, a dragon.


Telling the Story of Marriage

Tellin’ tales

My husband Joe and I are parents to two delightful children, each with their own particular gifts. The second child, our son, is a keen observer, with a wry sense of humor. When he speaks, it is often to pepper us with witty puns and anecdotes, as well as insightful observations. Somewhere in his third year of life, after returning from his half-day of preschool, he amused us with a little story about his day. Whatever the story was, I knew it to be a stretch of the imagination. As the story wrapped up, I commented, “Oh, T, you’re just tellin’ tales!” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Yup. That’s what I do.”

Tellin’ tales. That’s what we do, isn’t it? Humans, in the end, are storytellers. And we all have a story to tell. Think of stories you tell about yourself and your life: rituals you had in your home, unbelievable events that happened to you, happenings that made your heart soar, or your head hurt. These stories help make sense of our world, and create meaning. A good story stays with us, and we can revisit it, reread it, rehear it and something new emerges each time.

I am a minister. Most people think that means I live within the walls of a church, and work on Sundays. But the truth is – my story is — a little different. My ministry is marriage. That’s correct . . . I marry people! You know that person that stands up at the front, says things, calls for a kiss, and voila – a couple is married? Hey – that’s me! So, I mostly work on Saturdays. But in reality, my work is all week long.

Marrying people has been my job for years. And marriage has been my work since saying “I do” to Joe in 1994. Between the two – marrying people, and being married, I feel I’ve been immersed in intimate relationships for several lifetimes.  And during those lifetimes, I’ve learned a few things, heard some great tales, and spun a few myself. Now I’ve decided to share these stories with you.

I’m gonna tell ya some tales . . . cuz that’s what I do!


Welcome to the Austin Weddings Unlimited Blog!

Welcome to our blog:  Telling the Story of Marriage

How do you tell the story of marriage? As professional wedding officiants, we have been helping couples answer that question for almost twenty years.  We (that’s Sarah, Sam, Cam, and Carolina) wanted to find a way to reach more friends, couples, and the curious with stories about love and marriage — its joys, challenges, and its daily learnings.  From this desire, our blog was born.  Welcome!

We hope our weekly musings, compiled in this blog “Telling the Story of Marriage,” will inspire couples in all stages of their marriage journey.  Here we provide a space for talking about larger philosophical questions posed by modern marriage.  We welcome your stories and commentary in the comments section and look forward to learning from you all, as well.

Because every marriage has a story to tell.