Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Birthday to...

{Previously published on my old blog in July 2012}


Our anniversary was a couple weeks ago.  (If I look like I'm twelve in the above picture, it's because I almost was... okay, almost nineteen, but still).  

Our wedding was... a whole lot of work.  A lot of stress.  A big headache (literally).  We both have to fight back shudders when we think about it.  We wanted it to be very small and intimate -- maybe a getaway wedding -- but got talked into doing something bigger.  I wanted to wear a simple white dress, but got talked into a bigger, poufier, never-to-be-worn-again satin number that I spent way too much money on.  We got married at the church my uncle pastored in Lake Tahoe, and since we were trying to do everything as inexpensively as possible, I can guarantee that no one talked about how beautiful our flowers were.  My cousin's then-girlfriend cut the cake for us, and some of our guests didn't even get a piece.  I was running around the day before trying to do everything, forgetting to eat and not giving myself time to adjust to the altitude, so I had a monster headache that caused me to throw up for the first time in seven years after our rehearsal dinner.  It was still pounding through the ceremony and reception the next day.

Yeah.  Not exactly fun.  

But here's the thing.  I think people put way too much emphasis on the wedding.  Yeah, it's definitely supposed to be a celebration.  But if things go wrong or stressful or whatever, if the day isn't exactly what you wanted to be, it's not an omen for the marriage.  So often when I see a beautiful wedding now, one where the flowers are something to write home about, I wonder if the couple has any idea what they're getting into.  I've seen plenty of gorgeous weddings end in divorce or at least unhappy marriages.

The things I think we did right?  We got each other.  We said, "I take you for all that you are, and all that you're going to be."  That's a good thing to say when you're eighteen and twenty-two.  We said, "For better or worse, in sickness and in health, for rich or for poorer..." and acted on it (i.e., it was "for poorer" when we got married!)  We said, "As long as we both shall live."  (even if sometimes, to quote Ruth Graham, we thought, "'Divorce?  Never.  Murder?  Yes.'")  We dedicated our lives and marriage to God.  And even though it wasn't the small, intimate affair we'd wanted, we were surrounded by the blessing of our family.  My granddad, who officiated part of it, died the following January, and I'm so glad he was there.    

We've had our share of struggles and tears, and I know there will be more. (There is still a "debate" that rages over the worst movie we've ever seen together.)  We have moments of staring at the other in disbelief, thinking (sometimes saying), "I married that crazy person??!!"  But we practice the difficult art of saying sorry, of begging forgiveness, then more importantly, of giving and receiving it.  We learn to let go of our frustrations and reach for each other, while clinging to God.  

So our wedding wasn't great.  But I liken it very much to a birth.  Having given birth four times without an epidural, I can tell you that it's HARD. (!!!)  It's messy.  It should scare you a little.  It doesn't always go as planned.  At the end of it, though, you have a beautiful child in your arms.  Our wedding gave "birth" to us.  We need tending and nurturing as we grow, just as children do.  And hopefully, prayerfully, someday, those who can remember the wedding will say, "It's wasn't the most spectacular.  But the marriage... now that was really something."  

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