A brocade, off-white rented dress, silk flowers, unity candles that wouldn’t light… An argument with my mother as the music played for bridesmaids in black and white walking gracefully down the aisle.
A small group of friends and family gathered to wish us well. I wonder how many wondered if we’d make it.
His voice was familiar but his touch was still new. 7 months and 7 days since the moment our eyes met. 21 days spent near one another in all that time. Hours of hushed, fervent conversations that led us here. To the CD playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D and the orange sherbet frappe melting in the re-purposed gymnasium under dimmed lights glinting on brass figurines. An ode to childhood left behind.
Oh, the first few years were hairy. I won’t deny that. But there was no endgame here. Only two people determined to make it work. And then there were babies and struggles with identity and purpose. I grew up, he mellowed, we plodded on.
What is the secret to 18 years of matrimony? Well, it’s not sexy. It’s work. A lot of work. A lot of willingness to bear the weight of your own failures without using the weakness of your partner as a weapon. It’s prayer and coming back to the table when the words have cut and the tears are still fresh.
There are no secrets. I know him. He knows me. Even the ugly parts and the insecurities. I know the turn of his jaw when he struggles to contain that tidbit of knowledge I need to gain on my own.
I know I have it easier than many. I married a man whom I can readily respect. He is honorable, honest, diligent, kind. He works for us, laughs with us, loves us intensely. He is steadfast in his commitments and true to his word.
Eighteen years. I’ve spent almost half my life with him. His are the only arms I’ve ever woken up in and the only hand I want to hold.
I am so blessed. And thankful.