At this time fifteen years ago I was preparing to get married. It was the usual flurry of hairdressers, chattering bridesmaids, make up, finery and photos. Then there was a pause when I was ready, the girls had driven away in their cars and I was sitting with my Father waiting for my turn. I wanted to arrive at the church on time. My Mum had wanted to arrive on time, and hadn’t. I wanted to do it for her, I wanted to ‘break tradition’. (I was too young to realise that I actually love keeping traditions. The youth in me just wanted to break status quo.) My father didn’t agree. “Brides have to be late”, he had said and then wasted time and ignored my requests to get in the car. I was nervous. I knew what came next was enormous, life changing and meaningful. I was nervous, but I was certain. I wanted to marry my Alex.
And so I eventually arrived at the church (late) and married him. My Alex. My best friend. So cliche, but so true. He was, and is, my best friend. I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.
I wish I could say I never regretted the decision to marry him. It’s not true. Because marriage is hard. I can remember driving in the car with him sometime during our first year of marriage. Absolutely furious and wondering what on earth I did. What had I got myself into for the rest of my life? Because at least I always had the perspective that this was a life deal. There are times when it would have been so easy to walk away from the deal. If I had, I would have never known the amount of happiness I would have been missing out on just because I chose to halt in a moment of unhappiness and unforgiveness. Instead, I can say that I love him now more than I did on that wedding day when I passionately, with all my heart said, “I do”. I know that I am absolutely 100% glad that I did marry my man, my Alex.
There are times when I have been so frustrated, hurt and angry at this man I love. There are times when I think I never want to see him again. I want to pack up and leave this whole crazy scenario called marriage. And, I know that he is just as frustrated. But we don’t leave. Somehow we grit our teeth and we stay.
When I made those vows, “Until death do us part”, 15 years ago, unlike current trends, I really did take them seriously. To stay together until death parts us takes an enormous amount of hard work. It requires humility, graciousness, patience, acceptance, compassion and a whole list of other character traits. Divorce is not an option. Happiness is an option, and we have chosen it. We have chosen that the times after we have fought to apologise and to make things right, to sacrifice our own agenda for the sake of our marriage, and now for the sake of our children. Our marriage isn’t easy, because it never is when two people from different background, different desires and each with sinful natures combine. However, our marriage is happy. It’s fulfilling and it honours God. It means that for the one time that I wish that I wouldn’t see that man again, there are 20 times that I am infinitely glad I share my life with the guy that makes my heart full with his corny jokes, his silly mannerisms and his unconditional love.
Fifteen years ago I had one of the best days of my life. It was the perfect celebration of the first day of our marriage. Our lifetime commitment.
Keep tuned as the story continues. For it will. Until death do us part.
What does marriage mean to you?
And because I’m thankful for my marriage this Thursday, I’m joining in with Six By The Bay
for Thankful Thursday.
On another note. Congratulations to Sharon Fawcett, Melissa Bowdler and Juanita who wrote funny rhymes about burps, missing undies and nose picking. My son loved them and couldn’t resist awarding, “Good Night, Sleep Tight” to your amusing poems!