“Do You Take This…”

Source: Max Pixels, Public Domain

Here is the latest of my short-short stories that are composites of real-life events with psychological or practical implications.

Paula and Justin met on OKCupid, attracted to each other by shared interests, both having middle-income jobs, both liking to think things through, and most of all, finding each other attractive but not too attractive.

After the requisite first check-out over coffee, there was the movie date, the dinner date, then the dinner-plus-dessert date. A few months later, they moved in together, and soon after, decided to marry. There was no drama, such as one person wants to marry, the other isn’t sure. They were at the age when the keep-up-with-the-peers and parental pressures plus a desire to finally be grown-ups and to have kids, all sprinkled with pixie dust, made Paula and Justin’s decision a no-brainer.

Although neither was religious, Paula and Justin knew that at least some invitees would prefer a church wedding while even the atheists would just shrug their shoulders. So First Lutheran it was. After all, Pastor Christine had baptized Paula.

So there were Paula and Justin at the moment of truth: the vows. The pastor didn’t make the mistake of rushing through the vows. She wisely allowed plenty time for the couple to let each of those time-honored phrases fully soak in.

And indeed, both Paula and Justin, consistent with their liking to think things through, reflected on each phrase:

“Do you Paula Delaney take Justin Novak to have and to hold from this day forward…”

(Paula’s thoughts are in italics.)

“The sex is still good ,although not as good…”

“For better, for worse…”

“Kathy and Tom seemed so perfect and now they’re divorcing.”

“For richer, for poorer,”

“What if Justin quits to work for a nonprofit?”

“In sickness and in health…”

“Mary left Jim when his MS got bad. What would I do?”

“To love and to cherish, till death do you part?”

“Forever is an awfully long time.”

After just a wisp of hesitation, to unconsciously compensate for her doubts, she proclaimed, “I do!”

“And do you, Justin Novak take Paula Delaney to have and to hold, from this day forward…”

(Justin’s thoughts are in italics.)

I have a roving eye. I haven’t cheated yet but…

“For better, for worse…”

“Peter and Trish are exhausted by their kids.”

“For richer, for poorer…”

“Trish told Peter she always wanted to work but then…”

 “In sickness and in health, “

“What if Paula got cancer? What if I did?”

“To love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

“Forever is an awfully long time.”

Having heard Paula’s hesitation, Justin jumped right in with an assertive, “I do!”

“I pronounce you husband and wife.”

The crowd went wild.

The 2nd edition of The Best of Marty Nemko is now available. You can reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at mnemko@comcast.net.



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