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Next Saturday, I'm marrying my co-worker Nate Carlisle. It's a first marriage for both of us, so we're more than a little nervous.

Not only is Nate my co-worker, he's also … um, wait. This isn't sounding like it's supposed to. Nate and I are NOT marrying each other.

It's Nate's first marriage because he's marrying an attractive young woman named Brook, and it's my first marriage in the sense that I'm performing the ceremony.

So technically I'm marrying both of them. Not to me, of course. To each other. As husband and wif — ah hell, never mind. I'm marrying them.

Since announcing that I had become an ordained minister ("or-damned minister" as one perturbed reader insisted) several months ago, I have declined to perform other weddings out of respect for Nate and Brook. I wanted them to be the first.

It was their idea that I go to Internet divinity school (eight minutes) get licensed (100 bucks), and become a wedding official (seriously).

Five months ago the wedding seemed like a long way off. I had all the time in the world to practice and get it right. Now the big moment is almost here.

It's especially poignant because I tried to line up Nate with my daughter several years ago. However, they both saw what a bad idea that was.

My daughter figured that one journalist per family was enough. Meanwhile, Nate correctly determined that his life was enough of a mess without having me for a father-in-law.

As the clock ticks down for Nate and Brook, I snuck in a little quasi-wedding official practice last week. I performed a recommitment ceremony for friends Gary and Millie Watts.

A week ago Friday was Gary and Millie's 50th wedding anniversary. Their children — all of whom didn't get beat enough growing up — almost gave their poor mom a heart attack with a surprise party in Provo.

About 100 friends and family members gathered to hear Gary and Millie say two things that are becoming increasing rare in our society.

First, that after half a century they were still married and still in love. Second, that they would marry each other again. And they did. I know because I'm the one who pronounced them good for another 50 years.

Listening to Gary and Millie read/sniffle their recommitment vows, I couldn't help but think of Brook and Nate. Where will they be in 50 years from next Saturday? Still together? Still in love?

It's a good question. No matter how much in love you are at the beginning, marriage is a tough business. Every human being has issues. Nobody is ever so in love that their patience isn't sometimes seriously tried by their partner.

This is true of Gary and Millie because Gary — and I'm not going to apologize for this later — is a known golfer. You can't tell me that wouldn't put a strain on a marriage. But with enough love and understanding, Millie was able to get past that.

Seriously, there are no perfect marriages. There is no one piece of advice that is of equal importance to every couple. Every successful union I've ever known required constant updating and recommitment.

In the end, a successful marriage is not something determined by mile posts. Whether five minutes or 50 years, it's being able to look at each other and honestly say, "I'd marry you all over again."

Robert Kirby can be reached at

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