Every girl’s wedding day is memorable. I don’t know anyone who says, “Wedding? I had one of those? Right. Um ya, it was good I guess” (I do know more than a few who may say that about their reception. Courtesy of alcohol….or the stomach flu).
We spend the years that lead up to dating/engagement dreaming about the day we’ll get to be a princess. We spent months pouring over bridal magazines, and wedding planners. We spend hours doing trial hair, jewelry shopping and make-up practice, and almost as much time making sure the groom understands two things – “1.Do NOT wear your runners with your tux, that’s why we bought you those horribly uncomfortable (suck it up dude, it’s a few hours. Let’s talk heals for a lifetime), shiny shoes. 2. And the answer is – “I DO!” nothing else is acceptable, no “Yups, mmhmms or sures” allowed.)
So, with all of that time and energy invested it’s only natural that you’re going to remember the day, with some if not perfect clarity. And I’m not much different, that day feels permanently ingrained in my memory.
I remember waking up early that morning to the buzz of my phone with a text message from Corey saying “IT’S TODAY and I didn’t puke last night!”, I remember my Dad and brother going shopping for a tie and returning with a Booster Juice for me, I remember hairspray and laughter as we sat waiting for hairs to be put in place and bobby pins to be jabbed into our scalps, I remember running to the bath tub post hair and make-up, 5 minutes before I had to leave for the church because I remembered I hadn’t shaved my pits – in a week. I remember my brother driving me to the church that day, he opened the car door, he took great care as he drove, and I had 15 minutes of time with him that I will go to my grave cherishing. I remember hearing Corey and the boys arrive, the sound of his shoes on the floors above us, realizing I bailed on bringing the gifts for our wedding party, and that once my dress was on I could no longer reach my feet to do up my shoes. I can still feel the warmth of my Mom’s hug before she took my brother’s arm to take a seat and see the smile on a good friend’s face (Hi Tianna!) as my nervous laughter threatened to bubble up when we stood at the top of the aisle. I won’t forget the tears in my Daddy’s eyes as he gave me away or the look of love in Corey’s eyes when he took my hand.
And then of course there is the part where my brother-in-law fainted, the pen I was signing the registry with died and someone stepped on my train as we raced down the aisle, newly married. The pictures tell the tale, so does the video, but somewhere, in the recesses of my ever faltering Mommy Mind (child birth = memory failure) that day replays over and over.
When I look back on that day, I can’t forget the message. Pastor Gary did such a wonderful job of making us laugh, of sharing the message of God’s love and the sanctity of marriage. He didn’t say “Lawfully Wedded” but he did say “Wedding Wings” and he was exactly who God planned to marry us. He also shared an analogy with us that rings through my mind so very often….
He pulled out two towels, one white and clean – the towel each couple has at the beginning of a marriage. Then he pulled out one that was dirty, old and torn – turning to my grandparents, who’ve been married 65 years this year, he smiled and said, it was theirs. Then he talked about serving each other, he talked about how Jesus washed the disciples feet and that in a marriage it’s our job to serve and love our spouse. That marriage isn’t always easy and that we need to “wash the feet” of our spouse.
The analogy stuck out to us, and for me hit an emotional chord.
Every person who enters into a marriage comes in selfish. Not necessarily in a negative way, but more because all we’ve ever know is to care for ourselves. Sure we’ve loved our partner through dating and engagement. Some have raised their younger siblings, love and care for their parents and those around them, but we’ve still ultimately been single. Then you get married, and you are forever bonded to your spouse and you no long think in “I’s”, it’s “we’s”. There’s someone else who needs a shower, who wants dinner (regardless of who cooks it), who’s had a hard day, who needs to cry – who farts in their sleep ahem. (Let’s not even talk about what happens to ones self once children are born)
It’s an adjustment, and sometimes we fall into the ol’ “It’s all about MEEEEE rut”. At least, I do, more often than I’d like to admit. But so many times, when I feel myself start to complain “He had to leave his lunch kit there, on the floor, instead of in the kitchen. Why do I have to do everything, for everyone, what about me…..” I see the towel. I may need to be smacked upside the head with it 4 or 5 times before I listen, but none the less it’s there. And I try to change my tune, to make dinner with a willing heart, to put his lunch kit away without giving him a lecture, to serve the husband who serves me with so much love and respect each and every day.
We have a good marriage. We love each other, we laugh together, we love our kids together and life is pretty good. But we’re human, which means while we don’t flat-out fight, we disagree (apparently, marriage also means I cease to be right all of the time), we get frustrated and we fart in our sleep (bet you can’t imagine what’s been happening for the past 4 nights while I’ve been reading…). So sometimes, being human means we need a reminder to be grateful for the wonderful spouse we have, instead of complaining about their flaws or our own short comings, and sometimes all it really takes is to grab hold of the towel rather than throw it in.