Newlyweds and Minute Rice

To the couple I saw getting married on the beach:

Congratulations. And thank you for allowing me, a total stranger, to throw rice at you as you left the public beach.

I was out for a sunset walk, barefoot, when an older woman in a fancy dress grabbed me and several beachgoers and asked if we wanted to throw Kraft Minute White Rice at you. What a treat.

We tossed rice by the handful while the wedding guitarist played the song “All You Need is Love.”

And I thought it was the perfect song for your big day.

The thing is, some people will tell you that you need more than love. They’ll tell you that you need money, a few cars, a three-bedroom-two-bath, a good job, great insurance, a dependable beer refrigerator, IRAs, etc.

Which scares a lot of young people away from getting married. But I’m glad it didn’t scare you two. Because marriage is the most fun you’ll ever have. Even more fun that throwing rice at strangers.

Once you’re hitched, you will learn big things. You’ll learn how to argue in the middle of Piggly Wiggly. You will understand that being “right” doesn’t mean jack squat. You’ll learn how quickly money vanishes. And you’ll finally understand what your mother meant about sharing.

Actually, that’s the best part about marriage. The sharing. It actually enhances day-to-day life, like a super-powered magnifying glass. I don’t know how it works, but it does.

I’ll explain what I mean:

I once visited the Grand Canyon by myself. I stopped by the Big Ditch. I snapped a few pictures, and hung out awhile. To be perfectly honest, it was uneventful. Don’t get me wrong, the view was incredible, but I had nobody to share it with.

A few years later, I took my wife to the Grand Canyon. This time the grandeur was amplified by 4,750,000 times. Same view; different experience.

That morning, my wife and I woke up early to see daybreak at the north rim. There were several tourists doing the same thing. When the orange sun lifted above the redwall limestone and granite, it was pure magic.

The only thing my wife and I could think to do in this moment was hug.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Hugging during a sunrise sounds really cheesy. And you’re right. It is cheesy, but do you know what I noticed that morning? Most other couples were hugging, too.

Everyone was showing some kind of affection. There was an elderly couple smooching. A young woman, secure in her husband’s arms. A middle-aged couple, touching foreheads.

This is precisely why I have always found it ironic that people claim this world is full of such horror. Experts love to talk about how the planet is overrun with bloodshed, greed, injustices, and worldwide hatred. But I don’t buy it. Certainly, those things exist.

But have you ever gone to an airport on a weekday? I wish more people could visit airports to watch passenger arrivals.

The first thing you will see in an airport are a bunch of people waiting for friends and family. You’ll see kids, dizzy with excitement. Parents, telling them to calm down. The whole place will be pregnant with anticipation.

A plane will arrive. A few hundred travel-weary passengers will exit, striding through the terminal, carrying luggage. And they will look so tired.

Then it will happen. The passengers will see people they love.

A businessman with a carry-on bag will see Her. His face will break into a tearful smile. They will collide into one another and kiss.

A woman dressed in hiking gear will throw her arms around a young man in a McDonald’s uniform.

An old man in a windbreaker will drop his luggage to hug his elderly wife and his three adult kids.

Soon, there will be a mass hugging like nothing you’ve ever seen. You will watch young lovers cry, and laugh. You will see children so full of electric joy they are glowing. You will see families run toward long-awaited fathers in military uniforms.

There will be bear hugs, bunny hugs, Yankee squeezes, Southern back-slaps, hand-holding, hair-petting, tear-wiping, piggy-back rides, Eskimo kisses, and embraces that last fifteen minutes. And you will wonder how anyone in their right mind could believe hate wins.

I am not a smart man, and I don’t have any advice for you two newlyweds. I don’t know what lies ahead of you. I don’t know whether you’ll have more good times than bad.

But I can tell you that marriage is a thrill. There will be moments when you realize how lucky you are, and it will overwhelm you with warmth.

There will be moments when you will wake up late at night, click on your bedside lamp, and just to look at the woman sleeping beside you. Her smooth cheekbones. Her dark hair. She’s been sleeping in this spot for the last eighteen years.

You will touch her face. She will let out a sleepy moan and mumble, “Turn the light off.”

But you won’t. Because all you can think about is a beach wedding you saw earlier that evening. You were a stranger on the sand, just walking by. The mother of the bride pulled you aside and asked you throw rice at a happy couple. You did. And it blessed your heart.

So you will stay up late, writing this. Because throwing that rice reminded you of what you believe about this earth. In fact, it is the only thing you know to be true in a frantic and unpredictable universe.

All you need is love.


  1. Sandi. - July 13, 2020 7:01 am

    Sean, I hope that newlywed couple reads your wonderful post! No doubt they’ll both be abundantly blessed.

  2. Kathy Jackson - July 13, 2020 8:15 am

  3. Marilyn Ward Vance - July 13, 2020 8:33 am

    Love may not be all you NEED in life, but it DOES make that life worth living to share it with someone special! Thanks, Sean!

  4. Warren Evans - July 13, 2020 11:07 am

    Beautiful blog Sean. Thanks!

  5. jane davis - July 13, 2020 12:34 pm

    Ok that one made me cry.

  6. Jo Ann - July 13, 2020 12:44 pm

    Thanks again, Sean. Thanks for reminding us about some of the beautiful things in our lives. Love. It seems like all we see is hate & evil. There are so many nice people in the world, but we aren’t shown the love & niceness. I guess we need to look a little harder & remind ourselves of the love around us.

  7. Sharon Brock - July 13, 2020 12:52 pm

    I took my talkative teenaged granddaughter to the Grand Canyon last year. At her first glimpse, she stopped dead, her jaw dropped, and she was totally silent. It was perfect and I am so glad we got to share it together. Thank you Sean. Great blog.

  8. Becca, Columbiana - July 13, 2020 1:17 pm

    Thank you for renewing HOPE in this world!

  9. Bobbie - July 13, 2020 2:21 pm

    The thing I admire about you Sean, is your enduring and sweet love for your wife. That in itself show who you are. A sweet soul. And Jamie …how blessed you are to be loved by this dear man. Yes, indeed, all you need is love❤️❤️❤️
    Thank you for another blessing this morning. It’s a new day …..let’s count our blessings. 🙋🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  10. Suzanne McElroy - July 13, 2020 2:27 pm


    Thank you so much for this positive, love filled comment. You are right! There are so many negative sad news items about the world today. But you saw a precious scene just passing by that sparked this post. One of hope and joy which is what we need today. Your perspective is always thought provoking and makes me think of life and situations in a whole different light. Thank you for being you and sharing what you see in places all over the world.
    Keep doing it, and I agree “all we need is love”.


  11. Annie Walsh - July 13, 2020 2:53 pm

    Thank you that was beautiful!

  12. Steve Winfield [Lifer] - July 13, 2020 2:57 pm

    It took me 3 times to get it right & boy I’m glad I didn’t give up!

  13. Barbara - July 13, 2020 3:11 pm

    So true. My husband of 57 years passed a few months ago. Throughout our lives together not every thing was perfect. We had disagreements. We had $$ worries. We loved our way through it all. Just had his headstone ordered. Under our names listed 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. We loved him as he passed to his Heavenly Home. As newlyweds all we had was love. As an old married couple all we had was love plus years of memories and our love passed on to generations to come. So I wish the newly weds years and years of love, happiness and memories!

  14. Patricia Gibson - July 13, 2020 3:25 pm


  15. Linda Moon - July 13, 2020 4:35 pm

    Weddings and barefoot walks on beaches are beautiful things. John and Paul said it best…..about Love. I bet the guitarist played it well, too. Fun, adventure, a few ordeals, and even arguments can turn weddings into long-lasting marriages. Love and Hugs to you, Sean, and to Jamie and the dogs, too. And thanks again to the Fab Four for bringing that song to us!

  16. John - July 13, 2020 4:58 pm

    Sean, I’m glad you found the happy side. I’ll probably be the wet blanket on this picnic but not all is love or touching feelings. After 45 years there is no warm and fuzzy feelings here. It’s nice to fantasize about all the things you wrote. But it’s not always that way. At least in my experience. I’ll not bore everyone with details. And don’t tell me to just leave or break it up or go to a counselor. She wouldn’t have it. It’s not a pretty scene.
    I’m glad you’ve found it and I wish you many more of the same.

  17. Robert M Brenner - July 13, 2020 5:56 pm

    Life is what you make of it! It can be tough or it can be spectacular! I’ve been married to the same women for 46 years, we got through the tough times and the great times with each other. Finding the right partner is not always easy but when you do find her or him life can be wonderful ❤️

  18. Karen - July 13, 2020 6:23 pm

    Such an uplifting article on love. It’s so nice to read something so pleasant.

  19. Becky Souders - July 13, 2020 7:26 pm

    Realizing how lucky you have been is even more evident when that partner is no longer with you. And you wish you would have said that more often, like daily, or maybe even more. “I am so lucky to have you.”

  20. allisvant - July 13, 2020 9:17 pm

    Hey Sean; I know you will not read this on time, but I feel that it is my civic duty to inform you that the Braves are televising an intra-squad game tonight-Mon; probably on FS SE.

  21. Christina - July 13, 2020 9:42 pm

    True love is enduring but not all the love stories endure. It is a gift to be able to share the joys and hardships of life in marriage. God bless all the marriages

  22. Charmion - July 14, 2020 12:52 am

    You get me every time!❤️😭
    Sharing this with my son who got married three weeks ago.

  23. MAM - July 14, 2020 2:29 am

    Beautiful and thanks! Yes, there will be good times and bad. But approaching 52 years together, I am so thankful we found each other!!

  24. Beryl - July 14, 2020 9:14 am


  25. Sherry Harris - July 14, 2020 2:09 pm

    This is one of your very best. In this crazy world and country in which we live, I still believe love is all we need. And I still hold hands with my husband wherever we go and it will be 50 years next month.

  26. Nancy M - July 15, 2020 5:06 am

    Almost 52 years and closer than ever. I’m very grateful that we have each other, especially in this time of pandemic and self-isolation. J

  27. Aunt Si or Martha Black - August 17, 2020 8:31 pm

    Rest assured one moment of blissfully being completely & truly in love is so much more overwhelming and worthwhile than all of the other stuff combined you have to endure in life.

    What is blissfully, completely & truly in love?……… well……….. it’s like……”when you are “overwhelmed with warmth. Moments when you will wake up late at night, click on your bedside lamp, just to look at the woman” (or husband in my case) “sleeping beside you.” Their features. Their hair. They’ve “been sleeping in this spot for the last” number of “years.
    You will touch” their face.” They “will let out a sleepy moan and mumble, “Turn the light off.”
    But you won’t…………….”

  28. Mary Hicks - August 17, 2020 11:44 pm

    Love is an amazing attribute!! Wish more people would try it!!💖 Once watched a wedding on the beach at Gulf Shores, from the balcony of a condo!! Been married to the same wonderful man for 55 years!💖 Marriage is a good thing!!💖


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