I want to talk for a minute about groomsmen. Specifically, the best man.
The best man’s job has turned into little more than bachelor party social director. But it can be, and should be, much more than that. Your best man is your voice of sanity in the wilderness. He’s the one who should say to you what nobody else will say, even as he knows that saying it means he might get punched.
I want to talk for a minute about my best man. Specifically, my brother.
Imagine this: it is your wedding day. It is a beautiful mid-May day. There are clouds moving in, but everyone has told you that rain on your wedding day is– Alanis be damned– good luck. (At least the Italians in your soon-to-be-wife’s family think so, and that’s all that matters.) You are standing in an apple grove, about to be wed in a verdant garden behind a house that dates back to the 1600’s. You are staring at that house, watching the stragglers arrive, knowing that on the other side of that building sit all of your family and friends, waiting for that instant when you will become a married couple. You are getting married to somebody you truly consider your best friend, somebody you’ve known for over a decade. Somebody you’ve lived with now for four years. It’s time. You’re ready.
It was in that moment that my brother, my best man, said to me what I instantly realized was the most important part of his job as best man. A sentence that has stuck with me now for years, and occasionally haunted me.
He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said “If you don’t want to do this, for any reason, we can get in my car now and drive away. No questions asked.”
At that time, in that moment, I was sure. I wanted to get married. I’m divorced now; that’s what I meant when I said his sentence occasionally haunted me.
When you agree to be a groomsman or a bridesmaid, consider that you’re not just agreeing to stand by that person as they get married. You need to stand by them even if they want to get in your car and drive away. No questions asked.