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My niece was married last weekend at a beautiful old inn in Vermont. The ceremony took place in the garden, followed by a raver of a reception, out in the barn. It was the first wedding in our family for her generation and we all had a great time.
At the last minute all the bridesmaids kicked off their shoes and walked down the aisle barefoot because their heals were digging into the lawn. I loved this. They looked like beautiful beaming fairies.
And the bride, oh my goodness the bride.....it still brings tears to my eyes to think about how gorgeous she was, alongside her very sweet and handsome husband.
Being the romance junky that I am, I love weddings, and I like how every marriage I attend, makes me think about my own.
I remember when I married Tom almost twenty-five years ago, my much older sister Sarah shared with me that my satisfaction with marriage would go up and down. She explained that marriage naturally ebbs and flows, and that part of the beauty of marriage is making it through the hard times because they make marriage stronger and solidify it. She has been so right about that and knowing this from the get go, when I was only twenty-seven, has really helped me. I never expected a fairy tale, although after witnessing my parent's loving union, I could have easily anticipated one.
Anyway, the day before the wedding I wrote a toast to the bride and groom on two sides of an index card. Having forgotten a small purse to carry at the wedding, I decided to fold the index card in half and tuck it in the top of my underwear band, in the front. The only problem was that when I went to pee, I forgot it was there and it fell into the toilet! "Great," I thought, "It's hard enough for me to do toasts, let alone with a soggy piece of paper!" But I washed it off, dried it, and carried on.
I realize that this is probably way too much information!
Some weddings need another toast, but with such an articulate group, this wasn't one of them. So in the end, I didn't even read mine. Phew! I thought though that I'd share part of it here as it speaks of what I have learned over the years about being together with someone for so long:
"In the years to come
remember to take care of each other,
and to take care of yourselves.
Remember to leave each other lots of room to balance, and re-balance,
and make mistakes.
don't ever forget to always hold each other very, very tight."
I have also learned over the years, that when we grow bored, or lose patience, or focus too much on each others inevitable flaws, it's clearly a sign that it's time to work on ourselves first and foremost.
The best way to bring new fuel to a marriage, I believe, is to refuel ourselves first.
I also wanted to include this, that I read recently from Roger Ebert who has been married for 20 years, and has had many health struggles:
"My wife continues to make my life possible, and her presence fills me with love and a deep security. That's what a marriage is for. Now I know."