The First Year of Marriage
Two days before our wedding last year, Bryan and I got married.
Our friend that was officiating on our wedding day wasn't technically licensed to do so. In an effort to cover all bases and make sure the jig was legal, it was recommended that we get married by a justice of the peace beforehand.
My parents live about twenty minutes from a place called Falmouth. It is a little town that has "thrift stores" called TIT FOR TAT, and a hardware store with an ancient pug that roams the aisles like an old wise owl. There's also a little flower shop in which a man named Bob works as a florist and (coincidentally) is also a justice of the peace.
He was a quiet man that preferred to "just get it done in the flower shop before he left for the day," so we did just that. Bryan's parents, my parents, and my little sister Carynn accompanied Bryan and I to the flower shop where we stood in front of a fireplace covered in plastic foliage and smelled of Hallmark potpourri, and we got married. I wasn't wearing makeup, my mom was crying, and my little sister was distracted by something in another room.
After we signed the papers, I took off my ring and gave Bryan a kiss. "I love you. I have to go to my bachelorette party now."
I went out for dinner and drinks with my friends to ceremoniously bid adieu to my singleness, and Bryan celebrated our marriage with my parents in a Mexican restaurant in rural Kentucky.
We refrained from sharing this little story with too many people because, how boring to go to a wedding when you know they're already married? Inevitably, it also raises confusion as to what our actual anniversary is, or the questions of consummation (not until the actual wedding). I say it was the day I wore the white dress, not the day we stood in front of the fireplace. Technically, we have two anniversaries.
Right before we got married I thought, are we supposed to be best friends right this second? It seemed a matrimonial rite of passage to say things like, "I GET TO MARRY MY BEST FRIEND TOMORROW!" I absolutely agreed with the sentiment, but it seemed such a tall order for me. Best friends are a serious thing. Being best friends with a boy was really foreign to me, and I am pretty sure one of my spiritual gifts is over thinking something into oblivion. Just kidding, THAT'S NOT A GIFT.
All of that to say, Bryan and I weren't best friends on our wedding day the way that we are today. When we were dating, I found myself worrying so much about spending forever with someone and running out of the things to say. I would get too caught up on the hypothetical scenarios of the future instead of just enjoying the pursuit.
I was nervous about marriage, because my family is full of divorce on both sides, and I've grown up being told I was a statistic likely to fall prey to my upbringing. I wasn't going into it with rose-colored glasses. I treasured the wisdom of married couples that spoke words of hope and excitement about marriage. What is a great adventure without conflict or growth?
God has been merciful and gracious to us in our first year. I love marriage. While there have been many instances of it being a mirror of the Gospel, there was an evening that was really defining to me. I'd spent a whole day being a menace to society. By society, I mean most people I came in contact with, but mostly Bryan. I complained, whined and was super annoying. If I had been in a contest with that troll from Harry Potter (the one that trapped Hermione in the bathroom and got boogers all over Harry's wand) over who was more of a troll, I would have been the victor.
We were standing in the kitchen listening to The Lumineers and in the midst of whatever wretched thing I was complaining about, Bryan just smiled and hugged me and laughed a little bit and just started dancing with me. And just like the grinch, my heart grew and I started crying.
He treated me with goodness I didn't deserve. He didn't make a fancy show of it but he showed me he loved me in such a loud way without any words at all. In that moment I understood what people meant when they said that he was supposed to love me like Christ loved his bride, and I felt so honored to be a part of that.
Perhaps the better question besides "Is this my best friend?" should be, "Can this person love me when I am a troll?" The latter begets the former, I assure you. That's all I know about marriage so far.
"What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: You can always change your mind." - Nora Ephron
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