Goal: To make my new wife happy and content

I am told that during the last several years in July I wrote about love. Personally, I never noticed it, but I do believe it to be true. So why break the trend now.

During the last 12 years, I have been a single parent, after being blessed to be married for the previous 30 years. After this season of raising our three children alone I am happy to announce that this July I am getting married. This fact makes me happy and nervous at the same time. I was surprised to find out some information about mother-in-laws and marriages.

Did you know that at one time in northern Australia a man who spoke to his mother-in-law could be put to death? Or that in parts of the South Pacific both parties would commit suicide?

Navajo men believe they would go blind if they should see their mothers-in-law. And Yucatan men believe that meeting one’s mother-in-law face to face will render a man sterile for life. At one time, in more than three-fifths of the world’s societies, severe penalties followed if a man met his mother-in-law, so they shun each other accordingly.

Though some of these practices may seem a little harsh (all mother-in-law jokes aside), some married men (and women) would likely welcome such an arrangement.

All of the above facts are in the book “IN LAWS, OUTLAWS” by Dr. Norman Wright, well-known marriage counselor and professor of psychology who was at Biola College. I personally have not had any problems to speak of with my past mother-in-law and do not expect any with my future one.

Because married couples have their ups and downs, Janalee Tomaseki and Allen Heinemann of Clayton, Mo., had an unusual wedding.

They exchanged their wedding vows in a glass elevator somewhere between the fifth and seventh floors of the Plaza Tower office building. Their wedding kiss lasted 12 floors. Guests gathered outside on a walkway and watched the well-lit elevator whisk the wedding party up and down the side of the building.

The newlyweds said their relationship blossomed after meeting in an elevator a year before and they often returned.

Marriage ceremonies are being done in a number of unique ways. Here are some examples culled from the news media of couples who tied the knot. There was a couple who married in a swimming pool. The bride and groom wore swimsuits and the justice of the peace stood in the shallow end with his pants legs rolled up. There was another couple married while jogging around a track, as the minister ran alongside and the guests trotted behind. There was yet another couple that got married in a hot-air balloon. The bride and groom floated up and away as the earthbound officiating judge pronounced them husband and wife. Still another couple got married while riding on the roller coaster in an amusement park. The minister sat behind the couple and shouted out the vows as they whipped up and down and around. Lastly, a couple was married in the back seat of a taxi (hopefully, with the meter turned off).

I have shared these ideas with my intended. She has assured me that we’ll be married in a church.

Something else I found out about the engagement ring. More than five hundred years ago, Maximilian of Austria longed to propose to the noble lady of his choice. The perplexed prince took his problem to an older counselor and asked advice on how to impress her.

His friend suggested that Max give his beloved “a ring set with a diamond.” The prince followed the advice, had a ring designed and made and proposed to Mary. Her response was a positive one, and the prince slipped the ring on the third finger of her left hand. (It is thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.) With that incident began the custom of engagement rings.

I have done my part to keep this custom alive.

The last thing I want to share is about how valuable a spouse can be. Did you ever say to your wife, “Honey, you’re worth your weight in gold?” Do you know what that really means?

The price of gold at the time of this writing was approximately $1,222.40 per ounce. As you know, it changes daily. Imagine the price was only $500 an ounce. Your wife, if she weighs 125 pounds, is worth at least $1 million. If she weighs as much as 175 pounds — and we understand that some do — she’s still more precious, being worth $1,400,000. If she weighs more or less than that, do your own math. No matter what her weight, please know how valuable a spouse can be.

Before he married, Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “Whatever woman may cast her lot with mine, should any ever do so, it is my intention to do all in my power to make her happy and contented; and there is nothing I can imagine that would make me more unhappy than to fail in the effort.”

What Abraham Lincoln’s goal was then is my goal now. Pray for me as we start our effort.

(Cummings is pastor of Bethlehem Temple in Wheeling and Shiloh Apostolic Faith Assembly in Weirton.)