Do you wonder what happens to relationships between families when a marriage occurs?  I never gave it much thought until my wife and I have attended three weddings in 11 months, with a fourth one coming in less than 60 days.  Wow; is all I can say.  Marriage brings all sorts of things into play.  What with a ton of decisions to make from dress colors, to gown selection, to bridesmaids, to groomsmen, to best man, to maid/matron of honor, to flowers, to seating charts, to who to invite, to ceremony orchestration, to food, to photographs.

I always thought family was family and when two people married, two families became related.  I never really looked beyond this thought.

Imagine, people from different backgrounds, different parts of the country, different religions, different parts of the world, different cultures.  Did you get the last two – different parts of the world and different cultures.  The joining of two people in marriage is not only about the planning of the events surrounding the marriage ceremony, but the merging of differences, and the recognition of similarities.

Look at the diversity of family – brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and friends.  When one says ‘I DO'”, they take their partner for all they are, their friends and their families – everyone from the oldest to the youngest.  This is quite an undertaking for families can be quite small or large.  Think of personalities and beliefs; think about likes and dislikes.  Even though you have gotten to know your partner over time, how well do you really know their friends and families?  How well will they respond to each other?  This, since it may be the first time any of them have met and talked, is an important consideration.

The big question with families and friends, is will they get along; will they like each other.  Of course for me, it is whether they will become one family or remain two.  I think the most successful marriages are those where families become one, and each accepts the other with all their faults, with all their good and bad, with all their heart.  It is this union that will bring the ultimate joy to a marriage – Family.

What about cultures and religions?  How do you combine and reconcile the differences between them?  You don’t!  You accept the differences and determine how to make everything work.  Why?  For the success and joy of two people who love each other very much, and look forward to a life together.  Without the acceptance of culture and religion, families do not come together; and if they do not come together the likelihood of success is compromised.

In my nephew’s wedding a few weeks ago, I saw the getting together of multiple cultures and religions – Jewish, Catholic, Quaker, American, and Korean. (and believe me when I say there is a difference between North and South).  What about the families and friends – what do they do? Acceptance, love, and understanding – the basis for the creation of a new expanded family.

How does one take all in stride and blend each of these into a single loving celebration of the joining of two people.  With great pride and love!  That is how.