By Anne-Marie Hughes
A few years of marriage brings change in song choices
I, I love you like a love song baby
and I keep hittin’ repeat-peat-peat peat -peat -peat
The 13-year-old version of me would have been all over Selena Gomez’s
new song and it definitely would have described the intensity of feeling
I had for Donny Osmond or Andy Gibb, artists I loved, but who were rather
interchangeable in the 1970s.
You wouldn’t have seen a lot of growth or maturity if you looked
to the songs associated with the meeting of my husband 26 years ago:
I’ll stop the world and melt with you
You’ve seen the difference and
It’s getting better all the time
I am still looking forward to some day meeting a couple who bonded to
the Alanis Morrisette lyrics:
I remember how beautiful it was to fall asleep
on your couch and cry in front of you for the first time
you were the best platform from which to jump beyond myself.
Music and the songs of the day are often markers that bring us back to
more than just memories of our spouse. Often they trigger an entire emotional
response that stimulates the senses of a certain moment, touch, feeling.
Purple shirt, wide belt, granny boots, plastic hoop earrings, the smell
of lip gloss, cigarette smoke (people did that in public places then),
a crowded table, a sidelong glance, furtive gesture, an invitation to
the dance floor and the rest is history. All brought back by the timeless
lyrics of The Modern English.
Nothing brings about the attachment to a certain song like a wedding.
As a wedding musician, the experience of gently walking through the expectations
that a bride, in particular, may attach to her wedding music is not much
different than gingerly walking through a mine field in the dark with
a one-inch map and a flash light. Things can blow up even with extreme
The non-judgemental explanation is that the priest may not see inclusion
of the lyrics “forever and ever amen” as enough reason to
consider your favourite song as a hymn. Or that while “All you
need is love” by the Beatles could be an interpretation of Corinthians,
probably something closer to the literal text would be more appropriate
for the church. I would put this at the top of the set list at the dance
Like many brides, I have had moments of thinking that sometimes this
Catholic Church is just a wet blanket when it comes to love.
It is amazing what life experience and a few years of marriage
brings out in song choices. That is not to say I would trade the heady
experiences of first love I associate with these songs — if anything I try
to revisit those feelings with my husband on a regular basis. Those days
were full of hope, sheer joy and the confidence that it would get better
all the time. These feelings may have been naive but the simple faith
that love could get us through anything was probably more useful at that
time than any kind of worldly sophistication and a cynical “consider
the odds” mentality.
The 13-year-old me would certainly roll her eyes if presented with the
the song that most exemplifies my vision of love were I to plan a ceremony
now. In fact, the 20-year-old version of me taking woman’s studies
would be having a snit as well. For a start, it is called the Servant
Song by Richard Gillard. No hook there. But for anyone who has walked
marriage for a while it holds sensory images more eternal than the first
joys of new love.
Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let me be your servant too
I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born to all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony
Having had the Christ light held for me in the nighttimes of my fear,
I know no image holds more meaning for me than this. Sometimes life hands
us more than our initial romance can handle and only a song that includes
Christ’s love and agony can describe a lifetime.
Hughes and her husband William have five children. After
her involvement in marriage preparation, Time Out for Moms, youth ministry
and the Diocesan Preaching Program, she began covering events for local
Catholic media and pursuing freelance writing. Hughes lives in Saskatoon.