One of the first decisions we made regarding the wedding was that we wanted my brother, Ben, to officiate. He has officiated weddings in Kansas, and we just knew he would best represent us at our wedding. He didn’t disappoint. He set the tone from the first words out of his mouth…

Ben brought many aspects of himself and us to the ceremony–the longest he’s ever performed (which I may never live down). I think my favorite, though, was his charge to the couple. At the rehearsal, he mentioned he had yet to write the charge, so he must have gotten inspired. The charge couldn’t have been more perfect.

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Every Superhero Needs a Sidekick


Chances are good that, if you have known Val for a while, or if you’ve known Lloyd for a while, or if you’ve known Val & Lloyd as, well, Val & Lloyd for a while, you know very well that they take this superhero business pretty seriously. Don’t believe me? Open your wedding program. See what I mean?

And of course, you probably know by now which superheroes they each individually aspire to be. Valerie is, of course, Ladybug Girl. Ladybug Girl is strong, doesn’t back away when things get hard, and always meets challenges head on. Ladybug Girl is stubborn, but loving, fiercely protective of her friends, and has a heart that’s probably 3 sizes bigger than any other superhero. And, if you’re still wondering why Val identifies herself with Ladybug Girl, then you probably don’t know her as well as you thought you did 3 minutes ago. Val is among the strongest individuals I know. She has the biggest heart of almost anybody I’ve ever encountered. She is fiercely loyal and is never afraid of a challenge, especially the really hard ones…

And of course, Lloyd is Batman, the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight. Batman is a force for good. Though Batman does not possess super-human powers such as flight, laser vision, or invisibility, Batman is an everyman; he’s just like you or me, except that he’s driven by an unmatched passion to do what is right and use all he has to fight for good. He also has really, really cool toys. And Lloyd embodies these characteristics to a T. Like Batman, Lloyd also cannot fly and possesses neither laser vision nor the ability to make himself invisible. But Lloyd does possess a passion to do what is right and fight for good. He also has really cool toys. Now, granted, they’re mostly Batman toys, but they’re REALLY cool toys.

Now, being a superhero is great (or so I hear), but sometimes, it’s just not enough. Sometimes superheroes realize they’d be much better off with a sidekick. Sometimes superheroes realize this when sometimes, superheroes just realize that it’s lonely work saving the world all the time and that maybe life would be easier and challenges would be less daunting if they had a bit of help every now and then.

And sometimes, just sometimes, superheroes fall in love. Sometimes superheroes realize that they were never meant to fight alone, and that other superheroes are really cool too, and that life really can be better when you have somebody with whom to share it. And I think I speak for everybody here (and a great many who are not) when I say that I am so very, very glad that you have both decided to bring along a permanent sidekick, and kudos to both of you for choosing another superhero.

So with that in mind, here’s a little bit of friendly, non- superhero advice for you. As one who has been married for 11 years, 4 months and 12 days longer than you both, I can tell you this about love and marriage. Love has many facets, of course, but I want to focus on just two. Love, in the marriage context, is both a choice and an obligation. You will both, in just a moment, vow to love and cherish each other. It’s sort of a contract in that regard. And I should know, because I’m in law school… but that’s the first facet.

The second facet I want to talk about is the fact that love is a choice. Every day you will wake up with a choice whether or not to fulfill the obligation you establish today. And I promise you that, if you make the right choice, your relationship will grow and mature and become so much deeper and valuable than it is today (even if that seems impossible). But make no mistake; it is a choice. And choice requires action. Sometimes that action will be difficult. Life often is difficult. But Ladybug Girl never runs away when things get difficult, and Batman always uses every tool in his belt to do what is right. Sometimes it really helps that your sidekick just happens to be another superhero.

**If you listen closely at the end, you can hear Cooper say, “Grandma, that’s from the book!”

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Ben, thank you for that. We will forever treasure your words.

***Images courtesy Margaret Belanger Photography