On a beautiful Friday eight years ago today (9/19/03), Frank and I were married. It was the last Friday of summer – the kind of Friday that you wish lasted all year: sunny, warm and fragrant.
I remember feeling peaceful on my wedding day. I remember being happy and content. Was it perfect? Not at all. I believe that God uses the engagement and the wedding to prepare you for what is to come. I think of the engagement as a boot camp of sorts – how to deal with the family, the friends, the job, etc – how to set precedents.
Frank and I didn’t live together, which is how I prefer it. As unpopular as it is to not live together these days, I wouldn’t do it any other way. I’ve had roommates before. I know about globs of toothpaste in the sink, one tablespoon of milk left in the jug before it was put away (I mean, really? Just drink it!), missing food, too-long showers – etc, etc, etc. I was friends with Frank for four years before we started dating. We dated for nine months before we were engaged. We were engaged for six months (almost exactly) before we were married. If he was a jerk, living with him wasn’t going to expose anything I shouldn’t have already known. And if leaving the toilet seat up (which he doesn’t really do anyway) was going to be a deal breaker, well, gee whiz, I need to examine my own heart first!
So really, our wedding was the beginning of a new era for us. Our lives were about to radically change in very real, tangible ways. And there I was (as someone with major anxiety issues) feeling peaceful.
Peace, as I’ve learned over the past years, is precious. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, does not necessarily mean the absence of conflict. Instead, it means fullness or completeness.
On our wedding day, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew it would always be worth it.
At last my love has come along, my lonely days are over and life is like a song
Oh, those were the words that were supposed to float over us while we danced our first dance as husband and wife. But alas, our DJ, who swore he had five copies of the song, came up empty handed when we took to the dance floor.
Watching in slow motion, as you turn around and say, my love, take my breath away…
Instead, we danced to Take My Breath Away. You know, the hot, steamy, cheese-errific song from Top Gun (oh, the pilot cliches!). Also the title song for my junior prom, it was the only song we could come up with in the two minutes we had to come up with a new song. Oh, the agony. Through gritted teeth and pained smiles we hissed at each other on the dance floor through the entire first verse of the song. But then we laughed, realizing that it was silly to get all worked up. By the end of the song, our smiles were genuine and we knew we would laugh about the first dance mishap for years to come.
It was like God gave us our first lesson as husband and wife – gently telling us that life would not be perfect, but as long as we could laugh together through it, it would be so worth it in the end.
When we were first married, we would lie in bed, listening to the wind rustling through the vertical blinds in our apartment and the distant sound of train horns, and we would talk about our future. Frank would hold my hand and say, “I just feel like we are on the launching pad – we’re getting ready for a great adventure – we just don’t know what it is yet. I can’t wait to go on this adventure with you!”
And oh, what an adventure it has been! It has not turned out the way we imagined it would – there have been curve balls and disappointments and challenges and victories – but it has been so worth it in the end.
So, to Frank, on the occasion of our eighth anniversary:
I love you. This much, always.