Marriage Stories: The Decisive Moment

“There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment…”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson (citing Jean François Paul de Gondi, cardinal de Retz)


Photograph of Alberto Giacometti by Henri Cartier-Bresson

In 1952, the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson would publish his classic book of images, The Decisive Moment. In the treatise on  his creative philosophy, he defined his pursuit to capture “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” This, Cartier-Bresson said, was “the decisive moment.”

On Friday, I announced a bit of a marriage story project. I’ll be collecting stories of marriage done right, compiling them into a single narrative,  a tapestry of sorts. It’s a project that’s been birthed from my need for these good stories, my need to hear the stark stories of love and marriage, the ones that make good on the vows–for better or worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness or health, till death do us part. It’s the cloud of witnesses that gives you the courage to carry on. Right?

And as I  collect these stories, I’m looking for the bold ones, the ones with a definitive  “decisive moment.” I’m looking for the significant events, the critical decisions, the  “precise organization of forms which gives [marriage] its proper expression.” (See Friday’s piece for a brief example.)

Do you have a story to tell? Maybe it’s the story of your grandparents, you parents, your neighbors, or your church elders. Maybe it’s your own story. Whatever the case may be, if you’re interested in sharing, feel free to drop me an email (seth.m.haines at, fill out this form:

I’m looking forward to hearing more of your stories over the coming days. (There have already heard some great ones.) So, who’s first? Who wants to share that decisive marriage moment?

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