Fourteen years ago today, I made the biggest commitment of my life. Bigger than becoming a mom, bigger than what college to attend. I walked down the aisle, on my Daddy’s arm, and then said I do to my Hubby.
I’m going to be painfully honest with you. When people tell you “When it is right, you’ll just know,” they are lying to you. I was petrified. I knew I loved my Hubby, or at least as much as I understood about love at 22. My Dad likes to joke that he and my Mom married because they were in lust, which matured into love. Sounds like a plausible line of reasoning to me. I was afraid that down the road, things would go to crap, and we’d end up divorced, like so many people we knew. Shoot, some of the marriages I’d thought were the most solid, people who had been together since before I was born were starting to fall apart. It freaked me out. Those of you who read this, who have known me for more than a minute know that I tend to over think, over analyze every darn thing. Saying yes to R’s proposal was an easy decision, walking through those doors at the back of the church was 100 times scarier. My Darling Daddy even told me, right before they opened the doors, “If you aren’t sure, you don’t have to do this.” He wasn’t concerned about my choice of hubbies, he wasn’t sure of me. He will tell anyone who asks, he thought I was going to bolt. I was a nervous wreck, right up until my college friend Cristy showed up to the rehearsal, a surprise to me. It was like someone turned my crazy switch down a couple of notches. I can’t explain it, but it’s how she affected me. I am forever grateful. There are so many people who helped keep me sane that weekend. My Mom, who was my kept us both together the morning of the wedding. My Aunt Bev, my Matron of Honor. Uncle Bob & Aunt Glenda, who allowed R and I to have a little time together the night before, without people asking us wedding questions or giving us advice, then they drove us from the ceremony to the reception, and they took the LONG way to give us a chance to spend a little time together, mostly because I was freaking out again! Have you ever had 3 pounds of birdseed down your dress on the hottest day of the year in a church with no a/c? I was a tiny bit crabby. I’ll let you in on a little secret. We were finding birdseed the whole week of our honeymoon. Who knew that stuff would stay with you like that?! I think this new thing of bubbles is the way to go.
Anyhow, it’s not magic. There’s not this big sign that says, “yep, he’s the one, you have made the right decision.” I think in this day and age, with the sheer amount of marriages that end in divorce, if you aren’t afraid of divorcing, you are in trouble. I’m about to say something that a lot of people aren’t going to like. Marriage isn’t something you can go into thinking if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay, we can just get divorced, because I guarantee you will find something about your marriage, your spouse, yourself that just doesn’t work. We have had some tough marriage days, weeks, months, but we decided when we first started talking about marriage it was for keeps. Divorce just isn’t an option. There are only a few, very select reasons that we agree are grounds for divorce, although I’m not going to go into it here, because it’s not exactly a black and white thing. We went into this knowing we were going to be together, until one or both of us kicked the bucket. I’ve been asked, what about if you fall out of love? That’s an asinine question. (Or my favorite phrase, “I love them, but I’m not IN love with them.” That’s the biggest crock of malarkey I’ve ever heard!) Love is like a roller coaster, it has it’s up and downs. You aren’t always going to be madly, passionately, over-the-moon in love. There will be times when you don’t like each other very much. You both will change and grow. Life isn’t stationary. Your personalities change and alter as you live life. I am not even close to the same person I was 14 years ago. Another thing, love is a choice. When you choose to spend your life with someone else, you have to decide to accept them for who they are, and what baggage they bring with them. They aren’t just like you, they haven’t experienced life just like you, they weren’t raised just like you, and they don’t think just like you, so you are going to butt heads. There have been days when R and I have had to choose to love each other, because we just might not have felt very loving. Some days we aren’t very loveable. I know I can be bull-headed, stubborn, crabby, angry, and sometimes just plain mean. If I feel like there something that needs to be “dealt” with I want to just fight about it and get it over with. I married a man who wants to think about stuff and then discuss it a day or more later. Crap, if I have to wait until the next day, I’m over it by then. Works out for him that way, doesn’t it? 🙂 But we always do our best to work it all out. My mother-in-law says being a parent is like a having a job you can’t quit. There is no one or nowhere that will accept your resignation. Marriage should be like that, as well. You don’t quit!
Okay, so what gives me the right to even “preach” about this? Fourteen years. In this day and age, that seems like a minor miracle. I am blessed, because I made the best decision in the world 14 years ago. I walked down the aisle, and joined myself to the man who has become my best friend, my partner, my better half, the best roommate ever, my husband. A man who loves me for all my crazy, neurotic, obsessive-compulsive faults. A man who is proud of me, who finds joy in our family, who didn’t freak out to find that less than 6 months into our marriage we were going to go from a family of 2 to a family of 3. (The math on that reads funny…We married June of 1998, and had our first August of 1999, so it’s all kosher.) A man who gave up a good job (albeit with crappy hours) at a large well-known company, with room for advancement, to move his homesick & depressed wife home. No, we no longer live in my hometown, but we are close enough that I’m okay with it. A 18 hour drive was too much, especially since the kids were little. The man who has been beside me during some of the hardest situations I’ve ever gone through. In our first 5 years of marriage we attended something like 15 funerals (I used to know the count by heart, but decided I needed to let the information go), that is a true test right there. A man who only laughed the first time I had to do the funny, almost-stand-on-my-head “exercises” to try to turn our first baby, who held my hand and kept me calm while two doctor’s tried to manually turn the same baby, then stayed with me during my c-section, and held that emesis basin while I barfed through the whole thing. The man who had the most unromantic notion about meeting me, I meet the criteria on his “list”, and when he talked to his Pastor (thank you Pastor Doug Inglish) about what decision to make, was asked if he could see me reading stories to his children and he said yes… he wasn’t even sure he wanted kids, the man who handled two babies in less than two years. Babies he loved, and doted on, now young ladies he is proud of and enjoys hanging out with. Heck, he still wants to hang out with me after all these years!
Would I do it all over again? In a heart beat! Someday we will. Maybe 20 or 25 we’ll do it all over again.
So, yeah, 14 years ago today, I married the guy who said, “Marry me? Let’s not have a long engagement,” and “Flag Day would be good, I can remember that.” Best decision EVER!