Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Marriage: A Perspective

My dearest M.,

Oh, sweetie. Your wedding was so beautiful. I loved every single thing about it. I loved the video your friend posted on Facebook that morning, the one she shot after your first date with your new husband, when you admitted "I think I like him" then pulled a blanket over your head.  I loved that you cried during the entire ceremony and still looked radiant. I loved the song you chose to symbolize this ceremony; it made me cry right along with you. I loved seeing your parents, our dear friends, who have been such wonderful parents and role models--I have felt that internal seismic shift of joy that comes with placing my child's hand into another family's child's hand. I loved the joy that was rising from all of us--so many of us who have loved you for so long and have wanted this moment for you.

Would you like to know how Husband and I spent the hours that bracketed your ceremony, while you were busy pinning your veil under your braids and snapping pictures of your new ring nestled in your bouquet?

We'd both been busy that morning (I was painting and Husband was at the office) and we hadn't seen each other much. We left home a little later than I had hoped, and I worried that we wouldn't get to Big City in time for the processional. Maybe that's why I tried to pick a fight as we walked from the car to the sanctuary.

"Want to go in that door and stop at the restroom first?" Husband asked me as we walked through the parking lot.

"No, let's just go straight in," I told him.

"Are you sure?"

And for some unknown reason those words lit a fuse.

"Why do you do that? Why do you always ask my opinion, then when I give my opinion, you try to talk me out of it? Fine! We can go in that door!"

He looked over at me, but didn't say much as we went into the church.

As I mentioned, I loved your wedding. I loved every single thing about it--except the little patch of dry rot that was hanging around from my sharp words. I also loved the reception and I'm going to eat my cupcakes the right way from now on. But still...a tiny bit of sadness that I had trashed a piece of joy from the day.

So we started home.

But on the way home, forty minutes from the reception and twenty minutes from the House on the Corner, we stopped at a rest stop so that Husband could make a business call. That's where we realized that some time during your special day, a very important paper had disappeared from the back seat. It had been there when we left home, it had been there before we reached the church, it was not there now.

It was a windy day--could it have blown out when we opened the door at the church? Or maybe when we stopped for a Coke at the fast-food restaurant, wasting a little time between the ceremony and the reception? Where else had we opened the car doors?

This was bad. Not end-of-the-earth bad (identity theft wasn't at risk), but bad enough.

Husband looked at me, and before he even said a word, I knew we had to retrace our steps. The odds of us finding that paper were next to zero. It was so, so windy, a little bit rainy, plus at every place we'd been people were constantly cleaning up.

Still we had to try, so instead of going home where my comfy robe and slippers were waiting, we turned around and headed back for the city. We got to the church and drove slowly around the parking lots, checking the lawns and bushes and most likely setting off some concern in the rooms where security cameras were monitored. The fast-food restaurant lot was clean, and the paper wasn't in the top of the trash can (we were in agreement that pawing through the trash was a terrible idea).

The reception parking lot was our final hope. By now it was almost full dark, and spitting rain. All of your friends and family had left long ago and the venue was deserted, We drove into the grassy area where cars had been parked and started to circle the perimeter when I saw a shadow in the headlights' glare. Suddenly I was clawing at my seat belt and grabbing the door lock.

"There it is!"

And it was. Crumpled and damp, the very important paper had caught in some grass at the edge of the field. I grabbed the paper, smoothing it as I did a happy dance right there in the parking area where anyone could have seen. And then we went home.

At this point, my dear M., you are wondering why I am telling you this long, convoluted story, and what it has to do with your beautiful wedding day. It's just this:

You are going to be the best wife in the world. You are going to love your groom unconditionally. You are going to support your husband even when the cause seems hopeless, and you are going to go to whatever lengths it takes to be by his side, giving him confidence and helping him fulfill his potential.

Except when you are a terrible wife. You will be cranky and snappish, and you will KNOW you're being cranky and snappish, and you'll pick a fight, then you'll hate that little spot of dry rot that being cranky and snappish creates.

But this is worth it.

This commitment, this marriage, this new stage of life, is worth putting up with the times either one of you is cranky and snappish, because getting to the times when you are working together toward a common goal with the person you love and have pledged your life, especially when the odds are against you--it's so, so worth the work. This is the anti-dry rot that will keep your relationship healthy.

Many blessings to you and yours, M. May the dry rot be minimal and may the joy of your common purpose fuel your love now and forevermore.



  1. *happy sigh at hearing the wedding story*

    1. You were the one who convinced me to do it!

  2. So glad you found the paper! My CPA heart sank at the thought of losing an important document. I loved the story and it is so true, isn't it? The good times working as a team are the best of times.

    1. You know exactly the kind of paper this was, and how distressing it was to Husband. Even though there wouldn't have been any legal repercussions, it wounded his conscientious and orderly soul, and mine by extension. Your last sentence? Word.

  3. Very sweet. And excellent advice for the newly married (and this not so newly married).