Meeting at the temple

Five years ago today, I took a very early morning flight from London to Stockholm, and then took a train to the suburb of Västerhaninge. There, on the temple grounds, I met Vaimoni for the first time in two months, who had taken the overnight ferry from Finland with her parents. My parents had also flown in from New York, where they were serving a mission. (When I asked if the mission president gave them permission to come to the wedding, my father said, ‘We let him know we were coming.’) It was an exciting moment: my parents and Vaimoni had not yet met, and since the two sets of parents didn’t share a common language, there was a flurry of translations.

We went inside the temple and met our sealer, a Helsinki ward member who made the trip a day or two earlier. We had one other guest: a guy I had met on a stake canoeing trip in Finland: he worked as a bus driver and happened to be there with a busload of Russian members.

The sealing was done bilingually, with parts of it directed at me in English and other parts for Vaimoni in Finnish. His advice bit was done twice, in both languages. (From experience, I’m glad to have been in a situation where he had to prepare something, not just wing it.)

After having some sandwiches and cake in the temple kitchen, we all said goodbye. Two days later we were in Helsinki, Finland for the reception, and the day after that Vaimoni and I flew off to London to start our new life together.

Two things stand out now in the memories of that day five years ago. The first is the feeling I had about these two families coming together, and the serendipity of it. Here we were from opposite sides of the globe, in this particularly Mormon moment, meeting together in the house of the Lord on a little hilltop next to a forest in Sweden, and now we have this link, this eternal connection, the creation of a new lineage. It still strikes both of us as a miracle.

The second is a moment I had with Vaimoni before the sealing as we walked to the store to buy a few things for lunch. After having been away from her for a time, I was nearly ecstatic with the sensation of being close to her, being able to touch her, kiss her, see her smile. I still feel the same distilled joy in her presence.


  1. Congrats Norbert! Thanks for sharing such a sweet moment! It’s nice to read something about marriage that doesn’t make my head hurt.

  2. Mark Brown says:


    Congratulations on the anniversary to both of you. A bi-lingual temple ceremony sounds interesting.

    Also, I like your Dad’s attitude.

  3. Happy Anniversary Norbert and Vaimoni!

  4. Thanks. It brings back cherished memories of my own wedding, even though my parents and in-laws didn’t have to travel nearly as far. And my wedding wasn’t bilingual, and, well, OK, the experiences have very little in common. Except that they both happened at a temple and the memories are equally cherished. Congrats!!

  5. Beautiful stuff, Norbert. Congrats, and thank you.

  6. I still feel the same distilled joy in her presence.

    It’s been almost 22 years for us, but that sentence says it all.

    Thanks, Norbert. This was touching.

  7. so very sweet–your post is a love poem. Congratulations to both of you.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    I love the image; thanks for sharing, and happy anniversary.

  9. Happy anniversary! May your great-great-grandchildren read this with the same appreciation we had for Joseph’s letters to Emma this past week.

  10. Sheldon Miller says:

    A beautiful image. But surely even wives have names other than wife.

  11. Happy anniversary Norbert; thanks for sharing such a fond memory with us all.

  12. Happy anniversary!

  13. But surely even wives have names other than wife.

    True, her name isn’t Vaimoni, which is Finnish for ‘my wife.’

  14. Vaimoni, what a nice name! I’ve never heard that name before. Your temple ceremony sounds wonderful.

  15. Researcher says:

    Lovely post. Happy anniversary!

  16. Congratulations on 5 years

    My wife’s family and mine didn’t meet until the wedding day either. In the end, my wife and I had only spent about 2 weeks together in the three years before the sealing, but we are 5 kids and 18 years into it and all is still going strong.