What a privilege it was to stand before you and Caleb and speak those sacred vows into your hearts. First, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your graciousness. I don’t know another bride who asked her future mother-in-law to go with her to pick out a wedding dress. Then, you came and shared with us your plan to include one specially-colored flower in your bouquet honoring our Grandma Lucile who recently went to be with the Lord. Your attitude has been that this wedding was not just about the bride or even the marriage, but the entire family. I could go on and on about the other qualities that endear you to us. We feel blessed to have you as our daughter-in-love.

As someone who has performed a number of weddings, I also have to tell you that you were one stunning bride. I am not biased (well, maybe a smidgen), but you were gorgeous. Your dress, your hair . . . everything was perfect. And when the door opened for you to walk down the aisle, your smile lit up the entire room.

Now, you and Caleb have entered a new phase of life. You spent the first part of your relationship trying to discover God’s will. Is this the right person for me? Will he meet my deepest needs? Will he be a good father and supporter? Will he love me for better or worse? After coming to grips with these issues, you moved into the engagement period. You focused on the wedding and prepared for married life.

Now that you are husband and wife, it is all about discovery. You don’t really begin to know each other until you are married. I am still discovering things about your mother-in-love even after 33 years. There are four phases of marriage: pre-children, children, post-children and . . . grandchildren! Today, I want to focus on the first phase, the pre-children time of discovery.

I loved this phase. I remember it as though it were yesterday. Cathy and I spent this time building memories. These served as the glue that held us together through some of the more difficult days. We were just wild and crazy kids living in a garage that had been turned into an efficiency apartment. One night, a skunk crawled under the house and did what skunks sometimes do. The smell was so bad that all we could do was laugh at our predicament. Next, we decided to get up and drive the hour and a half to Forth Worth, Texas so we could be first to enter the zoo and ride the train.

During those days, I was attending college in Tyler, Texas. On the way home, I passed the famous Tyler rose farms, each with a little booth out front selling a dozen roses for a quarter. You should have seen our apartment-roses everywhere! Cathy used to say that we were the only people in the world with a dozen roses decorating the top of the toilet tank. In those early years, we bought our first dog and first car. So many firsts, so many wonderful memories, including the lifelong friendships we made with other newlyweds. We were free, we enjoyed life and we enjoyed each other.

This phase was also a time of learning each other’s differences. I remember the first meal Cathy cooked. As we sat down to eat, I noticed something missing. “Where’s the bread?” I asked.

“In the cabinet,” she told me.

You see, I grew up in a home where a plate stacked with bread sat on the table at every meal. Bread, that great utility tool, can be used to help put the peas on your fork, to sop up gravy or clean your plate. In my family, bread was very important. In Cathy’s family, bread was used mostly for . . . sandwiches.

To this day, no plate of bread sits on our table. Marriage is about giving and taking. Cathy took the bread.

In our home, we have established a new normal: not what I did growing up, not what she did growing up, but something we established for our home together. What Caleb knows as “normal” was the blending of two lives, and what your kids call “normal” someday will be what you and he determine as you discover each other.

Welcome to our family! We are honored that God brought you to us, and we are praying for you as you establish your home.

And Adrian, would you do one thing for me? When I come to your house for dinner, would you put a plate of bread on the table?