The First Year of Marriage

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

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.


  1. This is such a beautiful post. You are such a lovely writer. I remember getting an email from you where we talked about dating, expectation, and the idea of being best friends with a boy. It was so helpful and I am so grateful to learn from your experiences and through your stories. You're such a gem.

  2. Well... Crying. That is the loveliest thing I have ever read. Sweet girl.

  3. Well... Crying. That is the loveliest thing I have ever read. Sweet girl.

  4. A lovely story Fran.

    (I, too, had 2 weddings. One in Africa in Oct 2010 and then the 'real' one (which isn't legal) in Canada in July 2011. We celebrate both anniversaries.)

  5. Oh, my word, YES, The part about the troll. That is SO it. It's not like, what people want to hear in toasts or wedding readings, but people should say it anyway.

  6. This is beautiful! I love your story, and I really appreciate the honesty you provide to your readers. I think sometimes people create such a big, fluffy, happy idea around a marriage that it's easy to get swept up in it all. It is exciting and beautiful, yes, but there is also real life and real situations that occur that need to be remembered.

  7. I love how you can intertwine being a troll and Christ loving His bride in one foul swoop, because that is the most accurate way to put it :) It also reminds me just HOW excellent [and what an honor] it is to participate in that whole equation. Congratulations on your year Fran & Bryan!

  8. beautiful Fran... made me cry. But I'm also a raging ball of hormones right now.

  9. Love this as usual. My husband really was my best friend when we got married. We had been friends since we were 15 and got married at the ages of 27/28 so there you have it. However, it is a totally different thing actually being married and making sacrifices for one another. It's at a different level of friendship.

    My best friend actually got married a year before her wedding because her husband was getting deployed to Afghanistan and she would have more rights as a wife instead of a fiance if anything happened to him. It was a quiet thing, and they count their day of wedding (white dress day) as their actual anniversary date even though they give it another year. :) Not a lot of people knew that they were already married except close family and friends. It's a funny thing.

  10. Wow. This was so good and so spot on. You have portrayed marriage beautifully but also in a real way. That's the best way to tell a story.

  11. I really love your writing. If my math is correct - ONE of your anniversaries is the same as mine.

  12. Listen, Fran Dorsey, you just perfectly put into words what I've been thinking for awhile about my own marriage. I grew up being best friends with boys (most girls and I don't understand each other), but my relationship with James was and is so different than the "he was my best friend but now we're getting married" thing, and sometimes people saying that made me feel like I'm doing it wrong. And I love what you said, because I've often thought that watching the way my husband treats me helps me better understand the way God loves the church.

    You rock, dude.

  13. Beautiful story and wonderful writing. Wishing you many more good years.

  14. How wonderful to have that secret moment... well, not so secret now. But you know what I mean. I hope you've had a wonderful time being married and adjusting to the career change.

  15. Your spouse knows your mind far too very well in case these matrimonial people hook people following these, they may sense that you've got tricked the trust.

  16. My sister has two anniversaries. She had a big wedding planned in January, but my mom had a brain aneurysm in the fall and so sis and fiancé ended up getting married in a beautiful, tiny ceremony in the hospital courtyard so Mom could be there. They also celebrate both days.


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