Friday, January 12, 2007

Four Years Later

To celebrate our anniversary last night, we used the gift card Gregg’s aunt sent us for Christmas and went out to dinner at Cracker Barrel. Gregg found out yesterday that he is getting a 5% raise this year, so we had two things to celebrate over dinner! Right after we arrived at the restaurant, his parents called to wish us a happy anniversary. His mom said that they were sending something small that they thought was perfect for us, and it should arrive next week. This, in addition to the $100 Sears gift card they already sent! On the way home, we stopped for soft-serve at Twisty Cone even though it was a bit chilly out (ha, you know, only 60 degrees instead of the usual 75). We were both full from dinner, but wanted a little something sweet to top it off.

To complete our night, we watched the DVD of our wedding. We had only seen it once together two months after getting married. Watching it again four years later, I’m struck by the fact that our wedding day is only one day, while (God willing) we have the next fifty or sixty years to “do life” together. It was beautiful and nearly perfect in every way, all the details coming together seamlessly- very much unlike marriage itself with all of its ups & downs.

Watching it we remarked how little our niece and nephew, who were our flower girl and ring bearer, looked, how shiny my ring was and how I couldn’t stop laughing the first two minutes of our first dance together (my guess is it was just nerves since every single eye in the reception hall was on us). I got choked up when I saw Gregg holding back tears as he danced with his mother, laughed as I watched us dance all the traditional wedding songs like the Hokey Pokey and the obnoxious Macarena, and snuggled closer to Gregg as we watched us say our vows.

We also realized that we no longer keep in contact with over half the people we invited to our wedding. I’m not friends anymore with the three girls I asked to be my bridesmaids (my sister was Maid of Honor). Things were tense between myself and two girls in particular during our brief engagement, in large part because they were jealous I was getting married first and they thought I kept blowing them off. In reality I was trying to keep my sanity while working full-time and planning a wedding in 3 ½ months, and I was stressed out and probably said some things out of frustration that I shouldn’t have, which rubbed them the wrong way. I know one got married about a year after we did, and another is getting married this August.

The video ended two hours after it began, with a scene of us waving good-bye and driving off in Gregg’s Jeep which had been decorated by his friends. As the screen faded to black, I think both of us secretly wished we could relive that day over and over, with all of its magic and romance. I know I just wanted to camp out there and not have to go back to the daily routine of life which for us right now involves piles of bills and minor annoyances like a broken dryer.

I really enjoyed looking back on our special day, which was truly a dream come true, but I’m also grateful to be at a point in our marriage where we’re so comfortable with one another and are best friends. The first two years were hard, as we learned how to live together in a tight space (a.k.a. apartment) and combine our finances, values, goals and pasts. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of clashing going on. We had to learn to get rid of most of the expectations we had of each other, based on how we watched our parents interact, and let things go. Most of all, we had to learn how to trust God when faced with difficult circumstances that wouldn’t seem to go away no matter how hard we prayed. I wish I had paid better attention to our pastor as he instructed us how to “get along” in marriage.

Our wedding day is a wonderful and precious occasion in our lives, to mark the beginning of our history as husband and wife. The DVD shows a blissfully happy, giddy couple, a sacred ceremony involving the joining of two people by God, lots of laughter and tears. Everyone was dressed to the nines, smiling and laughing celebrating. Ironically, you’d never know that only weeks before our wedding I had an all-out, shouting down the house fight with one of my bridesmaids and she almost wasn’t in the wedding. Or that just one week before, I sat on the phone for hours in tears as I listened to my mother tell me what a huge mistake I was making. Everyone “put up and shut up” so to speak for that one day, as Gregg and I began our future together. I’m so glad they did.

I thought I knew Gregg on our wedding day. I thought that I loved him. But I learned that there was much, much more to know and love. We’ve really had a chance now to see each other at our absolute best and worst, and can still say to one another four years later “you are my beloved and best friend”.

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