Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Holy Cow. I've been married 22 years as of today. 22 years!

I remember that day well. I'd had no sleep. I remember my dad kidding me that I was so high-strung that if I fainted as I went down the aisle, he was just going to leave me there and keep going. I remember that little facilities man coming in and out and asking me a million questions. I believe I finally looked at him and said "Look, I'm just going to get married here, ok? I think you can figure everything else out!"

Hunk O Man did start to cry as I went down the aisle. I remember trying to be "in the moment." That's always been hard for me -- I'm a planner and doer, so I'm always either living ahead or behind, fixing and preparing and rueing a mistake and hopeful at an new idea. It's an odd thing to live in the moment. You have to let everything else go. I think Hunk O Man is great at that. I, however, am not.

So he cried and we sang and my best friends and my precious family were all there. It was a wonderful day, full of emotion and love and moment after moment.

And I never have looked as good since as I looked that day. I think that's one of life's little truths: you again never look as good as the day you got married, and you never again look as bad as the day you give birth! Hunk O Man was my prince, and he definitely looked the part.

In the 22 years since, that day has paled. It almost disappears in comparison with every day that has followed since. Days when I have fallen in love with Hunk O Man all over again, days when I have seriously contemplated divorce, days when our children were born, days when our parents have died, days when dinner was good and work was fulfilling and dreams were high. And the days when work was long and tedious, and dinner -- what dinner? -- and there were only disappointments.

I got the best anniversary present from Hunk O Man one year when we lived in California, and had finally started to come out of our very bad time. Over dinner, he gave me a card. When he handed it to me, he said this:

"You know, Hon, I watched our wedding video and I can't believe how lame my vows were. I was so clueless. So on this card, I wrote what I should have said to you then."

Wow. We had said the traditional vows along with our own vows at the wedding. And he was right; his were pretty lame. We were very selfish and single and clueless, both of us.

The card contained promises that reflected the truth about marriage. Loving God, loving me, and resolving that this "cord of three strands" will never be broken by him. And this because he loves me -- not in a way that is idyllic, born of hope for an unknown future with a relatively unknown person -- but in a way that is resolved, amid the good and the bad, and knowing me -- really knowing me -- that he will love me.

He once told me that real love is when you love someone not because of who they are, but in spite of who they are. I believe that. We joke that we can't leave each other because it would be far too difficult to break in someone new! But the honest truth is that we can't leave each other because we simply love each other. Because of -- and in spite of -- who we are.

I am thanking God today for the best 22 years of my life, and for the day when my name changed from Jen to Hon.

1 Comment:

Beachy Mimi said...

Jen-Thanks so much for dropping by my blog. And thanks for the encouragement.