Dearest Brother...

You are about to embark on a Big Deal. I know that it might not seem like anything special. You have numerous friends with bad marriages or with a low opinion of marriage. You've actually been in a bad marriage and I know that the whole process has soured you on it. But I want you to rethink things. I want to draw an analogy and I hope you might see things differently.

Once upon a time you were a little boy in Eureka, CA. Life was good. You had everything a boy could want. You had a whole world for a playground. Every so often though you would encounter something you didn't have. Every so often a kid would ride by on a bicycle. Now that was incredible. Freedom. Speed. Fun. Really every other toy paled in comparison. You dreamed about riding. You could picture yourself going down the street. Faster and faster. Jumping curbs. Bunnyhopping. Going places that you've never been able to go before. It was glorious. Unfortunately it was just a dream. You knew that it was possible. You saw it displayed. But for you it was just an idealised dream.

Then one day you got your first bicycle. Possibilities undreamed of lay just at your fingertips. Unfortunately you didn't know how to ride. You knew that it was possible and you dreamed of bicycling expertise but the reality was pretty daunting. Every time you tried, you fell. Sometimes you even skinned your knee or otherwise hurt yourself. Bad experiences! But Nathan, what I've always admired most about you is that you never give up. You knew that prowess and expertise on a bike was possible. You dreamed that it was possible for you. No amount of bad experiences were going to make you give up. And you know what? You succeeded! You mastered that bike to a degree that probably surpasses me. That's what I admire most. No amount of hardship has ever been able to stop you. You keep trying until you master it or it kills you. Not only that, but you are always willing to encourage those around you along the way. You helped me learn how to ride a bike but you mastered it by yourself. You've been an amazing brother. You're an amazing person.

Nathan, marriage is like riding a bike... I know it's a cliched phrase but in your case it's true and I don't mean it like most people. You've had bad experiences. You've skinned your knees. But you've seen, even if only from Mom and Dad, that it can be done and done well. What I'm asking of you is huge. I'm asking you to be that man that I know you can be. I'm asking you to succeed. I'm asking you to master this thing called marriage. I'm asking you to show your friends what marriage can and should be when a man never gives up. You are going into this marriage thing before me so I'm asking you to show me how it's done. I'm going to need your help someday.

You've had some spectacular crashes in your lifetime. You've screwed up big. But giving up isn't in your nature. Don't give up now. This is the biggest adventure of all. Nicole needs you to never give up. Ariana needs you to never give up. I need you to never give up.

Here's to your marriage. Here's to the Ride.