Charles E. Richardson

What’s the secret word that’s key to a happy marriage

Weddings are special occasions. Nothing earth-shaking in that statement, but I hadn’t been to one in a while, particularly one where I had known the bride since she was a baby girl.

Morgan Nicole Burgamy had a name change on Aug. 26. She was wed in holy matrimony at First Presbyterian Church to Jonathan Tyler Adams. It was a short, dignified ceremony, but there were a few special touches. The father of the groom, Wade Taylor Adams Sr., was also his son’s best man. What a special honor. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall when son asked father to serve as best man. A tear comes to my eye just thinking about it.

Rev. Hunter Stevenson reminded the couple — and all the other couples in attendance — the duties of a husband and wife. Not to reprint his sermon — but it all boiled down to humility and forgiveness through thick and thin. Those were appropriate words, because as any married couple will tell you, being married isn’t always a cake walk.

So with my limited vocabulary, I’d like to expound on one word, “humility.”

There’s really nothing I can add to Rev. Stevenson definition, which is to put your partner first. However, I can add how hard it is to practice in the heat of the moments (notice, the plural). We — both grooms and brides — are flawed and imperfect. We want what we want when we want it. That doesn’t happen all the time in marriage.

There are times of wonder and befuddlement. You’ll look at your spouse and all you see is Beelzebub. But the right reverend gave the newlyweds the key to a long-lasting relationship. When those trying times occur, take it to the Lord, for what he joined together, let no man tear asunder.

It takes some getting use to. When we’re single we’re accustomed to charting our own course, but once married, that course has to be a collaborative exercise. That takes work. The rules for what you’ve done for the first third of your life no longer apply — and together — you have to establish new rules.

Example: My wife is a better keeper of the cash than I am. We have a $500 rule. If either of us decides to spend more than $500 it warrants a discussion. Do I like the rule? Hell no. Is it a good rule? Hell yes.

Weddings, of course, are much more than ceremony. They are community reunions. Everyone who had anything to do with Morgan and Jon — from pastors to Little League coaches to neighbors to aunts, uncles, friends, classmates and acquaintances, end up at weddings — and receptions. And, if you don’t know somebody, it’s perfectly OK to walk up and introduce yourself because you — and your newest, bestest friend — already have a connection. This occasion was super special. Not many weddings have musician extraordinaire, Susan McDuffie, play at the ceremony or Ashley Childers sing or the Grapevine Band play at the reception.

Morgan’s father, Kenny, or as the wedding program stated, “Kenneth David Burgamy” and I have known each other for more than 30 years. We’ve hosted several radio and TV programs together — pitted left versus right — but we’ve never had a cross word. We’ve shared our children’s lives; their ups and downs as we have our own. We’ve seen each other at our lowest points and now we share another high point. Morgan’s married and she’ll be a great wife because her mom, Dawn, taught her well.

My advice to all newlyweds is to find out what each of you are good at — and what you’re not so good at. If you’re a control freak — get over it. No one is strong across the board. God made couples so that each partner could fill in the gaps of the other. Let God’s plan work. And when you deviate from his plan, ask for his help to get back on track.