The Flower and the Donkey: Russian Cupid’s Arrow Leads to Marriage
A few days ago, I had the great pleasure of officiating the wedding of Luc and Galina, my first wedding of 2017. The couple’s story is somewhat unique. Luc is French-Canadian, from Montreal, and Galina is Russian, from Moscow. On a whim, Luc decided to check out an internet dating site called “Russian Cupid”, and there he met Galina. Cupid’s arrow created an immediate spark. And it wasn’t because there were no one else interested. In fact, Luc got applications from around 300 women, but there was no one else like Galina. She and Luc are both middle-aged and mature, and she was the only one that he sensed would love him for who he is, not as someone to be used to get a ticket out of Russia. With Galina, it didn’t feel like something selfish or an infatuation, but rather a sincere friendship with the main purpose of wanting the other to be happy. Yes, there was an immediate spark, but it was the experience of a deep and loving friendship that was the glue between them. Their courtship, over nearly two years, included frequent Skype calls, even cooking together via Skype, spending time together in Moscow, and eventually meeting again in New York City, where, on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, they became engaged.
Now some might wonder, did they rush into it? Some might insist they should have spent more time being together in person, perhaps living together, before making the marriage commitment. The reality is that there are no absolute rules that, if followed, will guarantee success, certainly not in terms of time and distance. Human relationship don’t quite work that neatly. As a counselor and officiant with couples, I am always looking for the glue, the energy, that shapes, guides, and holds two human being together. Of course, at the beginning, it will be very fluid, tender, and often based on romantic love, but is there also present some strong seed from the soul, that will grow, that will sustain and nourish the couple in the inevitable challenging times? With Luc and Galina, while I cannot know for certain what will happen in the future – and things do happen, things change, that can break apart even the strongest of marriages – what I do know is that that seed, that glue, is there with this couple. May it fully flower.
Due to scheduling, travel, and other challenges, the wedding had to take place on very short notice, minimally organized, and without any rehearsal. They got married at a hotel in Burlington, Vermont. Several of Luc’s family and friends were there. Galina’s two grown children were also there – virtually via Skype. With someone holding a laptop, her children “walked” down the aisle and presented the couple with their wedding rings.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the ceremony was when Luc and Galina shared aloud the fairy tale story that they had written about their relationship (and even put into a book that they read from). Called “The Flower and the Donkey”, it’s the story of one particular young flower in a garden, a flower that was struggling because it didn’t have enough light to grow. One day, a donkey comes along and starts eating all the plants around the flower, giving it the light that enables it to grow into a beautiful flower. As a result, the flower and the donkey become great friends, always hanging out together. So close are they that when the king sees the flower and wants to bring it to his royal garden, the flower will only go if the donkey can go too, because “donkey loves me as I am.”
Overall, the wedding was, in the words of the happy couple, a “fun and unpredictable event, that made everyone smile, with good humor and openness that made everything fit together and unforgettable. It was exactly as we envisioned.”
Blessings to Galina and Luc. May you always love each other for who you are, and may your life together be filled with caring, joy and wonder.