Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father of the Bride

It is now nearly nine years since I gave the happiest speech of my life.


Ladies and gentlemen,
I will try to follow the advice that a university president once gave a prospective speaker. "Think of yourself as the body at an Irish wake" he said. "They need you in order to have the party, but no one expects you to say very much."

Accustomed as I am to public speaking, I have never before received so much advice on what to say, or rather on what not to say. The etiquette books outline what you should say then family and friends tell you what not to say. These have ranged from the obvious, You must not embarrass your daughter, ight through to dire unnamed consequences to be visited upon me by a certain guest if I asked him to sing.But no, for once in my life I am resolved to do the right thing.

First of all I must express my gratitude to certain people today. And first of all to you all for all coming. Some have motored over 200 miles to be with us and I am pleased to have one guest from half way round the world, New Zealand. I want to tank Derek and Thelma for giving me such a good husband for my lovely daughter, and to thank them for all the practical help they have given us towards and on this happy day.

Parents are always concerned about who their child befriends and then wants to marry. We are very thankful that our children have all chosen Christian partners from Christian families. Education begins with our parents. If we have learned from them what it means to love and serve God , how to live together as a family, then we have received the best possible preparation for married life in a world where marriage is increasingly devalued and scorned. So thank you Derek and Thelma for all your help and for Adrian.

I should also like to thank the ladies of their church, Oldfield Baptist for decorating the church and for the birthday tea., and also the minister, Darren Hurst

Now there are lots of other people to be thanked, but I have to leave those to Adrian in his speech. And it is to him, my first son in law that i now turn. To Adrian goes my warmest thanks for taking Rachel as the new Mrs Little.However I have to say she comes to you with a little extra, namely father in laws advice. I don't think this can be a bad thing because I have never heard a father in law joke, so this must be a serious matter too. After all I have had 26 years experience of the life of this young lady, as well as 32 years experience of marriage. So here goes.

Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener...and that is a positive thing.A man may be ignorant of his own faults, but not if he is married.Martin Luther said that There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.However, it is evident that There are two times when a man doesn't understand a woman - before marriage and after marriage. Sigmund Freud wrote The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ``What does a woman want?' Geoffrey Chaucer had given an answer 600 years before Women desire six things: They want their husbands to be brave, wise, rich, generous, obedient to wife, and lively in bed. A more modern feminine perspective is this from Round the Horne where CELIA says, : Oh Charles - a woman needs certain things. She needs to be loved, wanted, cherished,sought after, wooed, flattered, cosseted, pampered. She needs sympathy, affection, devotion, understanding, tenderness, infatuation, adulation, idolatry - that isn't much to ask, is it Charles

Marriage is the process of finding out what kind of man your wife would have preferred. I can tell you now one sure and certain thing about Rachel, she prefers a man who does not embarrass her.This is a lesson you must take to heard now. Failure to do so could have dire consequences.

Let me tell you a true story. It is July 1987 and 12 year old Rachel has been at her farewell party at Christchurch School. Father turns up to take her home dressed somewhat less elegantly than I am today. I was wearing a tattered pair of shorts at least ten years old. Rachel asked to go back into the dance to say goodbye to friends. I followed her. Immediately she asked to go straight home . I said I wanted to stay to dance with one of the mothers there. No, says Rachel , You are embarrassing me with those shorts. We left and for the next three of four years my daughter refused me any show of physical affection whatsoever. no kisses, no hugs until the day she was walking out late lamented dog and another hound attacked. I came to the rescue, got a hug of gratitude and the past was forgiven.

So Adrian, beware. If you embarrass your wife you could be in for a lonely time. Marriages may be made in heaven, but man is responsible for the maintenance work. All men should freely use those seven words which have the power to make any marriage run smoothly: You know dear, you may be right. To do this you have to learn to listen My wife says I never listen to her. At least, I think that's what she said. Lyndon Johnson said I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her way. And second, let her have it.

So I conclude with Ogden Nash
To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
Whenever you're right, shut up.

That is what iIwill do now after I give you the toast, so Please be upstanding, Ladies and gentleman, to the bride and groom Rachel and Adrian,

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