With These Words...

First notes of Pachelbel’s Canon in D begin to resonate over the pews...

“This is it. The moment we’ve been waiting for.”

Christy takes one last breath before the French doors open to reveal all of the most important people in her life - behind them all, the man who would very soon become her husband. Michael looks back and sees a vision that he knows will stay with him for rest of his life. Moments later, Christy and Michael, childhood best friends, are holding jittering hands, listening to the officiant’s speech about love and matrimony. The groom looks into his bride’s eyes and has a sudden awareness of what is to take place, “These two words that I am about to say will make us husband and wife.” As the “I do’s” are repeated, the newlywed couple, as well as their guests, feel the weight of these little words. Words that we say almost every day, placed within this context and said at this time, have become life altering, now and for the rest of this couple’s lives.

As the brand new couple traverses back down the isle, reeling with excitement and utter disbelief that the ceremony is already over, there is no room in their minds for thoughts of the future, of bills, children, or the sleepless nights ahead. Christy and Michael can only think of each other, and how unexplainably happy they are as they enter into the reception hall with cheers and smiles all around them. As they begin their first dance as man and wife, their guests think of the beauty of marriage and some of them wonder if this one will last. This decision will frame all other decisions for the rest of their lives.

Truly, it was the little decisions that have lead up to this momentous one. Everything from the second date to the planning of big day acted as stepping-stones to the finale. Even though some of these choices were made through quixotic lenses, the couple must have discussed the reality of the marriage after the wedding. It can prove quite difficult to talk about the future in the hustle and bustle of the engagement period, but we promise that we’ll give it the attention it deserves. But, first, where’s the officiant?

There is so much excitement in the air as you prepare for the ceremony: Drawing up plans to bedeck the hall in fragrant flowers and whimsical fabrics is only part of the fun for the interior decorator in you! Nevertheless, once things start to fall into place and your big day moves closer you’ll find yourselves thinking about the fidelity that this strong of a commitment requires. For sure, the wedding itself has been exceedingly costly, financially and emotionally. But a lasting marriage will take everything you have, hopefully making you a better person and couple for it. The phrase “yours is mine” becomes all the more real: It can be comforting as you share in happiness as well as responsibilities, or it can be threatening, leading you to compromise your ideals and individuality. You might think that getting married is unlike anything else and there is no way to prepare for such a shift in priorities, but that, fortunately, couldn’t be farther from the truth! A marriage of two or more things is actually more common than you might think, and commitment has been something we’ve been practicing virtually our whole lives.

Life, overall, is a lot like marriage. When we choose to spend time with specific people or with our hobbies, we commit ourselves to them in some way or another. The people we share our lives with and the ideas that we dwell on become part of the fabric of our identity. Similar to how spouses adopt each other’s families, histories, passions, and dreams, we take on and espouse that of our friends and our pursuits, whether they be educational, vocational, entrepreneurial, or recreational. In fact, whether we realize it or not, we “marry” each word that we speak or write everyday. When we use a certain word, we are choosing to commit not only to its denotative meaning but also its many connotative senses, nuances, and possible stigmas resulting from its use. Not only that, but when you utter a word, it and you are carrying it’s etymology, or in other words, what it has ever meant! The idiosyncrasies of one word are sometimes countless, and when we employ its usage we are embracing its uniqueness, for better or for worse! There’s nothing worse than using a word that doesn’t really say what we mean. But when a word exactly resonates our inner thoughts, we relish that fidelity. In addition, the way that others think about you is often based on the words you use (as well as those you don’t). It’s amazing to think that the thing you use to communicate also communicates much about you! Just like everything in life, the people and things you connect with start to become part of your personality and life choices. Thus, before you “settle down” on your word, it’s best to consider what you’re about to unite yourself to…

So, if you’re on the verge of making a decision based on an affinity for something rather than a fervid love and complete understanding, take a moment to weigh all of your options. The relationships you hold speak volumes about your values, and the words you commit yourself to affect every other relationship in your life. Though choosing our words is not nearly as important as choosing a future spouse, our vocabulary is far from simply a sartorial addition to our lives. Marriage is hard; marriage to another person, their ideals, and views is much harder. But if we start by making some easier decisions and learn to live with their consequences, making the biggest of them all can seem a little less daunting. Start by learning new and better words to say what you mean, always making sure to do your research before plopping them down on the page. Giving a little more thought to the process shouldn’t make it any less fun, however; there’s still a wedding to be had when you finally make your decision! We promise it’s not as hard as it sounds! To help, we’ve included a list of words that you’ll have no problem committing to. It’s best to know what you’re getting into before you make a decision, especially a big one like marriage, so go ahead and go on a few dates with these words!

Affinity: Before you start to love someone, you usually begin by liking them first! From the day you met to the night of your engagement, you had probably begun to develop an affinity for your significant other. Maybe you couldn’t keep looking at his dazzling blue eyes, or laughing at her wonderfully clever jokes; there was just something about them that you fell in love with. Even now, as the wedding draws near you can’t help but think just how lucky you are to be marrying this amazing person. When you’ve made it to your 5, 10, and 20-year anniversaries, we hope that your affinity for one another hasn’t waned.

Espouse: Anyone who’s ever been married can tell you that, after a certain amount of time together, you start to act more and more like each other. You’ll start to espouse his love for football or her weakness for sappy rom-coms because, slowly, their values and way of life will become part of your own. Don’t worry, you won’t adopt all of their beliefs and attributes – his receding hairline (probably) isn’t contagious! It only makes sense that the longer you’re with someone, the better you become at understanding them and sympathizing with their causes. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that to espouse used to mean to marry; after all, becoming more like your spouse does seem to come with the territory!

Officiant: The whole point of having a marriage ceremony is to make it all official! You love each other, yes, but you’ll need an officiant to marry you and sign your marriage license to be lawfully wed. Unfortunately, your commitment to one another just isn’t enough for the government. Certainly, this is the one cost you can’t eliminate; flowers are unnecessary and you can have your guests be your photographers, but you can’t have a wedding without the officiant! Although it’s the vows you say to one another that really tell you what the marriage is about, it’s the paperwork and the government’s stamp of approval that give you rights as a married couple. Paper and ink are ephemeral though, so ensure that it is everlasting love that is truly binding you together!

Bedeck: There are so many things that go into planning a wedding, and decorating is one that’s often overlooked until the last minute. Even though all of the vendors are booked and the RSVP’s are flying in, the hall will still look bare if it’s not properly bedecked in marital fashion! Depending on your theme, you’ll want lights strung up on the ceilings, elegant sashes laid over the pews, and candles lining the aisle to create that one-of-a-kind ambiance that will make this day what you always dreamed it would be. Obviously, your wedding will be unforgettable no matter what, but it always helps to add some pizzazz. And, of course, make sure you take time to bedeck yourselves as all eyes will be on you!

Sartorial: Speaking of attire, you and your fiancé will have to decide what you –and everyone else- are wearing to your wedding! Today, you no longer have to settle for traditional white ball gown or a black suit and tie; (almost) anything goes nowadays, so let your sartorial style shine! From a slinky red dress to a fashionable kilt, you can wear whatever makes you feel the most beautiful (or handsome). As far as the dress code, why not give your guests a little room to breathe by encouraging them to “come as they are?” Or, if you want to highlight the importance of the occasion, maybe a black tie affair would do the trick. Your sartorial choices can go a long way to communicate a playful, relaxed, or even solemn vibe, so remember to plan before you dress!

Quixotic: Before you were even engaged (or, even had your first date!) you probably imagined marrying this, the guy (or girl) of your dreams, walking down the aisle to greet a life full of blissful happiness and unending romance. This type of quixotic thinking has intoxicated us all at some point; we think that our relationship is different than all the rest: that arguments and drama are for the other couples. However, after we settle down with someone, our ideal picture is often shattered and replaced with a more realistic, human one. As you prepare for (or reflect on) your marriage, remember that it’s easy to be swept away by the quixotic images of a picture-perfect wedding and forget about the real reason you’re going to say, “I do.” You can still have that to-die-for honeymoon in Bora-Bora, as long as you make sure to keep everything in perspective!

Idiosyncrasy: The days of fairytales are over once you’ve encountered a hair-clogged drain or a toothpaste tube that refuses to be closed. The way your significant other chews with his (or her) mouth open might be endearing now, but once you’re living together, you might feel like you’re living on a farm. Sometimes, we aren’t aware of our partner’s idiosyncrasies until we’re up close and personal with them. Couples that have been married for quite a while know all about these strange habits and have had years of learning how to cope with another human being. When you commit to someone in marriage, you are, whether you like it or not, signing up for all of the little things, that make up the lovely person that will be your spouse. There’s really not much you can do about idiosyncrasies; just be grateful there’s someone who can accept you for your own.

Fidelity: One of the reasons why marriage is so beautiful is because there’s no other ceremony where two people devote themselves to one another in complete love and fidelity. When you think about all of the people in the world and how different we all are, it truly is a miracle that two human beings can find each other and, then, pledge undying loyalty to one another until “death do them part.” Maybe you’ve been married for 50 years, or your wedding day is just a month away. Wherever you are on the marital spectrum, it’s important to know how much of a commitment marriage is meant to be. You and your spouse are in this for the long haul, and we don’t just mean the trip with the moving truck! Fidelity is much more than “I do;” it is unwavering support and faithfulness no matter what happens.

Fervid: With all of the solemnness of the occasion, your fervid love for one another should still excite and propel you towards your wedding day! You’ve probably heard it said that passion is the reason why we do anything, and the case is definitely true with marriage (at least it sure should be!). Our enthusiasm for another person is what keeps us together, and what encourages us to put their needs before our own. Although wedding planning can be stressful and overwhelming at times, it’s necessary for the two of you to fervidly work towards compromise and mutual happiness to prevent the craziness from taking over.

Now that you’ve learned some words that could be part of your life to the very end, consider bedecking your vocabulary with a gamut of exciting new terms! Don’t let today be the only time you’ve discovered the powers of language. Promise yourself you’ll be in it for the long haul; continue to expand your lexicon by perusing ours at WinEveryGame!