Dear PJ and Ashlee,
With as many people possible, I wanted to share this letter to the two of you. Not to embarrass you at all. You have only done wonderful things for all those who are blessed to know you / be a part of your world. I share this letter with as many people possible because people need to hear my message to the two of you and I would like to see all of us do a better job being married.
First, to the two of you, congratulations for graduating from the University of Idaho. My heavens. Ashlee – for you to be able to graduate in THREE YEARS? And with such outstanding grades, makes me just in awe of your ability in academia. And then PJ, despite CALCULUS (giggling…thinking of your Best Man’s “toast”) you showed such a strong sense of perseverance and determination. When other people would have given-up, SIR, you kept going. May I also remind you? By you “keeping going” you were able to meet a GORGEOUS young lady, Ashlee. How can a dad not be more proud of a son? A man (son) who never gives-up! DAMN! That is cool.
Secondly, PJ to see you commission as an officer in the United States Navy is humbling. When a father sees his son become a better / stronger man than he was at the same age is “the” goal for fatherhood! I mean … at your age (23), I was just hired to teach music at Tokay High School. I always wanted to be a high school music teacher, but my LORD… to be in the military? One who chooses to be in the military knows that harm’s way is every day – including wearing a uniform in our nation. Today, there are those who will mock / hurt a person in uniform / even say, “cut their pay.” Being a high school music teacher is not being an Ensign in the United States Navy. Do not misunderstand. Being a high school music teacher can be a challenge, but not a “life-threatening” challenge. I will cherish and remember the standing ovation the officer candidates received at the University of Idaho graduation. When over 5,000 people stood and applauded you all, gives me great hope that the United States does still respect / honor those who choose to serve.
And then … in the same week… you two decide to get married. May 12 – Commissioning Ceremony; May 13 – University of Idaho Commencement; May 20 – WEDDING!! Look at that… Look at those amazing events that you shared in one week. The weekend of your wedding was a real blessing from the Lord, Jesus Christ… and a lot of work from your families!! To see how much your families did, including extended family members and friends was inspiring. Other couples do not get that level of support. However, those couples who don’t receive that level of support, have NOT been as wonderful as you are. I will write about that soon. Ashlee – loved the setting for the ceremony. Your family church is beautiful. The day following your wedding, seeing church members outside applauding you and PJ as you drove up to your childhood home across the street from the church… so special!!
The amount of time your family spent planning / executing the plan in the reception … HUGE! To see that a family friend would give their beautiful property as the site to host the reception speaks highly of what your family means to the Port Angeles area. The food – INCREDIBLE. Your maid of honor – OUTSTANDING. Worked her fanny off! PJ – your “man of honor” (formerly known as “BEST MAN”) did a great job with the toast … or was it a “roast” of you?! The Dancing; the cake; the music… so AWESOME!! Truly an incredible experience. WELL DONE, ASHLEE AND THE REID FAMILY. Diana / Katy and other family members and friends – THANK YOU FOR MAKING YOUR WAY FROM CALIFORNIA TO PORT ANGELES, WASHINGTON and getting in there to help. May I also say, one more time, thanks to all who helped with the set-up and clean-up… folks don’t know UNLESS THEY HAVE HAD A WEDDING, the amount of time and energy it takes to make this once in a lifetime event happen! Also, thank you for all the wonderful gifts given to these two-wonderful people. WOW!! Very generous.
Now, comes reality – as I experienced today (Monday, May 22, 2017) at work – reality will set in. At your rehearsal dinner, I was given the honor to give a “toast” to you. At the toast, I used the phrase: DEFEND YOUR MARRIAGE. I am reading a great book: DON’T DIVORCE by Dianne Medved. GREAT BOOK! Buy the damn book. IT IS AMAZING. I chose to read the book because, I don’t want to divorce. I want to learn how to NOT divorce. Now, that mom and I are without children living in the house, I really need to know how to get to the “end.” I need to step-up my game. I want to share some thoughts that I have received from Diane Medved’s book DON’T DIVORCE.
So, let’s get fired-up PJ & Ashlee (and any other couple) and DEFEND YOUR MARRIAGE. Defend your marriage.
1). NO WINNING AN ARGUMENT IS WORTH LOSING A MARRIAGE – When the two of you fight, listen to one another and allow one another to speak. It is so important for us to listen to what the other person is saying, but it is also important for us to listen to what we are saying! Fights / confrontations are normal. Hurting another person is ABNORMAL! So, fight / confront and learn. And then following your “discussion” … and this is extremely important … say, “I love you.” You will never say, “I love you” enough.
2). BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND (Stephen Covey – SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE) Our goal as married couples, “till death us do part.” (page 7 of your “Wedding Program”) SERIOUSLY. When that day arrives, we want to die as – in your cases – PJ’s wife or Ashlee’s husband. And when we stand-up, eulogize our spouse, we want to be able to say wonderful-truthful things about our spouse. Well, the only way we can speak the truth is by what we see. Actions speak louder than words. So, as you eulogize your spouse, you want to be able to say positive / truthful things, your spouse deceased better have “walked-the-walk.”
3). THE 101 PERCENT PRINCIPLE. You need to agree on ONE THING and you will give 100% to that one thing (JOHN C. MAXWELL – my favorite author; WINNING WITH PEOPLE); that one thing? DEFEND YOUR MARRIAGE! When either one of you feels your marriage…THE MARRIAGE; not you as an individual … is being attacked… DEFEND YOUR MARRIAGE! You need to work together. Use God’s word as THE defense mechanism… the nuclear option, if you will. When you see that your marriage is being attacked, put on the armor of GOD. Read your Bible. Say your prayers. Go to your pastor. Talk to your family! Losing your marriage IS A BIG FRICKIN’ DEAL. Do not let our society tell you, “divorce is an everyday thing.” NO. NO, IT ISN’T! Divorce leads to really rotten things: children being in the middle of adult problems; health goes to hell; money is lost… and on and on! OF COURSE, WHEN THERE IS ABUSE…DIVORCE BECOMES AN “EVIL NECESSITY.” No person should live their lives in an abusive relationship. But, my goodness, “We just grew apart.” WEAK. “We just don’t enjoy the same things anymore.” WEAK. “She doesn’t fill my needs anymore.” WEAK. Do all you can to DEFEND YOUR MARRIAGE.
In the end, PJ & Ashlee… from your May 20, 2017 Wedding Program, “Now that PJ and Ashlee have committed themselves to each other in holy matrimony, have given themselves to each other by their solemn pledges, and have declared the same before God and these witnesses, I pronounce them to be husband and wife, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. What GOD has joined together, LET NO ONE PUT ASUNDER (apart; divided).” So, it is YOUR JOB to LET NO ONE PUT ASUNDER. Yes, from time-to-time, we fail, but my goodness … whenever possible (all the time), we should do all we can to avoid failure. Avoid the bump in the road -WE SEE. Avoid the pothole in the road – WE SEE. Learn from failure, but avoid from allowing failure to end what “GOD has joined together.”
We love you PJ & Ashlee. We are here for you. We know you two are meant to be together. DEFEND YOUR MARRIAGE.
Your Dad and Father-in-law (aaaaaah, love the sound of that — “father-in-law”)