When writing for the weddings pages of The New York Times — which I have done since 1992, at first on a weekly basis and now occasionally — the job is to walk into a room full of well-dressed strangers and collect the best descriptions you can find about love and marriage, mostly love. It isn’t easy. For one thing, people sense a stranger in their midst as acutely as a herd of gazelles might, and they tend to scatter, or stare from a distance in a menacing way.
Over the years, I have filled many spiral notebooks with quotations. On the subject of love, clichés are hard to avoid. I have heard, “They/we are like two pieces of a puzzle,” or “It was fate/bashert/kismet/meant to be” thousands of times, or that’s how it feels anyway. Occasionally, though, people say something original and sparkly about love, and as a reporter, I want to hug them. It’s like finding a diamond in the sand. As a sort of thank-you to all of those whom I have written about, and those whom I have written for, here are 10 of those jewels:
1. “In a sense, the person we marry is a stranger about whom we have a magnificent hunch.” This is my all-time favorite quotation about marriage, spoken during a 1992 wedding in a small, unheated chapel in Cold Spring, N.Y., and sourced from the 1991 book “Weddings From the Heart” by Daphne Rose Kingma. In its own way, the quotation also explains a lot about divorce.
2. This remark, from a Vows column about the 1995 wedding of Elizabeth Burbank and LaMott Britto, describes how it feels to finally find a partner: “I’ve always felt like a fish out of water, and when I met LaMott it was like he was the same fish.”
3. According to Stacy Cor, who became engaged to Dan Polner 10 days after they met on an airplane in 1993, examination should not be necessary to determine if love is real. “When you know you know, and don’t believe it any other way,” she said. “When someone asks you to marry them, you shouldn’t have to make a list of pros and cons. You just know. You jump into their arms and say, ‘Yeah!’”