Dear guests, thank you for coming to us today to celebrate the 11th anniversary of our marriage. Eleven years ago I asked this woman to marry me and was childishly thrilled to call her my wife for the first time in my life. I can still recall the slightest particulars of that day, up to my astonishment when I saw Helen in the awesome wedding gown going down the aisle.

More than a decade is a long period; it makes up almost three presidential terms and three Olympic games. But for me time has elapsed too fast… they say this always happens when you are happy. I am happy to be still violently in love with my wife and I appreciate all her care and tolerance throughout the years. Of course, I should admit that marrying for love was a reckless thing to do – but as Josh Billings put it, such marriage “is so honest that God can’t help but smile on it”(1). Ladies and gentlemen, my wife and I were lucky to be presented with some Lord’s graces during this decade – the chief of them is our son, Jim.

In these years we’ve done a lot together. We have built a house and planted a garden; we have climbed the Everest Mountain and tried parachute jumping. But most importantly, we learned to tolerate with each other’s habits and traits, to say “sorry” when you are wrong and “I love you” on all other occasions. We learned to cherish every evening spent with the family – even if it means doing nothing special, just sitting on the sofa and trying to read a newspaper, while Jim is rushing about the room imitating the sound of the helicopter’s engines. We learned being happy with what we have – and we have a family, a son and you, our good old friends.

Of course, there were some ups and downs – but I must confess that the former greatly outnumbered the latter. Like a good wine, a good relationship becomes better and better with every passing year. It worked for our marriage and still makes my wife and me happy.

Today I am offering to raise our glasses for love, the cornerstone of any household, and hope to see you at our silver wedding party. Bottoms up!