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Love and Marriage Article
The Perfect Wedding:
Jenna Bush Marries Henry Hager

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Ah, fairy tales do come true, it can happen to you!  And to Jenna Bush and Henry Hager, their dream is about to come true when they tie the knot in Crawford, Texas on May 10.  What makes the location even more special for us – we actually know where Crawford, Texas is!  We went to a barbeque there once when Charley was a Dean at Baylor University in Texas.  While a one-stoplight town, it will soon be home to the wedding of one of the twin daughters of the President of the United States, George W. Bush, and to First Lady, Laura Bush.  Thousands will gather for the wedding and the ensuing celebrations.  We are excited for them!  We are excited for the Bush family.

Getting married is exciting.  And we have no doubt that the President (whom we met once in Austin, Texas) and the First Lady are as excited as Jenna and Henry about their upcoming marriage.  When two people decide to marry they also decide to commit themselves to each other through thick and thin – through the good times and the bad.  They give to each other their love, their trust, and their sacred honor.  We wish Jenna and Henry all the best.  It is our profound hope that their marriage will last a lifetime.  Someday, perhaps, they will celebrate their Golden Anniversary together.

On the surface, it would probably seem unusual for ordinary citizens like us to give a gift to the daughter of the President of the United States and her betrothed.  And we thought about that a lot before we sent them one.

But in the end, we packed up our gift and sent it off to the White House.  Hopefully, Jenna and Henry will end up with it sometime soon.  We hope that our gift to them will be viewed as the perfect wedding gift!

The long and successful marriages of her father and mother, George and Laura, and of her grandparents, George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush, are the stuff of legends.  Both have had by all accounts wonderful marriages.  Jenna had good role models growing up.  We are sure she has learned much about what makes marriage work by observing her parents and grandparents over the years.  And here is where our story comes together.

As we recently wrote, newly married couples are showered with gifts – many expensive – when they get married.  Those who give these wonderful gifts are all well meaning, of that we have no doubt.  But think about it, will crystal and china, expensive kitchen appliances, and all of the material things we give to newlyweds, make their marriage successful?  Will it add to the happiness of their relationship?  Will it guarantee that their marriage will last a lifetime?  Of course not!  As well intentioned as all these gifts are, they are not the gifts that will ensure a long and happy marriage.  These are only material things.  The perfect wedding gift is something else.

What did we send them?  Well, we sent them what we think is truly the perfect gift.  We shared with them the testimonies of nearly 500 successfully married couples representing some 15,000 years of marital wisdom across the USA, across continents, and around the world.  And why you might ask?  We did it because the greatest gift of all might very well be the gift that helps Jenna and Henry get it right the first time around!

You are probably champing at the bit to find out what we sent them, huh?  Well, we sent them our book entitled Golden Anniversaries:  The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage (2008).  We studied successful marriage across cultures and continents for 25 years and decided that our perfect gift to Jenna and Henry was for us to share the poignant and real-life stories of loving couples who did, indeed, get it right the first time around!

We hope you celebrate your Golden Anniversary together, Jenna and Henry.  Fairy tales really do come true.

Love well!

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