Fourteen years ago I donned a formal white dress that I had picked out on a girl’s weekend trip to Seattle. There were three attendants to help me dress, but I didn’t know any of them before that day. Across the hallway, in the groom’s dressing room, my soon-to-be-husband was putting the finishing touches on the tuxedo he had bought for the occasion. We were at the beautiful Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, then the height of luxury in a city that specializes in out doing itself over and over again.
When I was dressed, I walked down the aisle of the small chapel. The ten or so pews on each side were empty, but my beloved stood at the front of the room, and he was the only person I needed to see. The ceremony was short but beautiful, and we received a package of six video tapes (VHS, of course) with which to memorialize the event. They came in a heavy case that held two beautiful champagne flutes and a little frame for our marriage certificate.
After the ceremony, we had a photography shoot outside, on the beautiful grounds of the hotel, and drank champagne while we laughed and posed. It was a glorious day.
Although we were in our thirties, I suppose in many ways we were as naïve as any couple setting out on the grand voyage that is a marriage. Of course we had a few misconceptions about the trajectory of our trip, as I’m sure every newlywed couple does.
We experienced hardships that we could never have fathomed on that sunny day in 2000, and received help and encouragement we never could have imagined to get us through them. I had the blessing and joy to get to participate in the raising of Greg’s three beautiful young daughters when we married, and then at the age when many couples are preparing to graduate their kids from high school, if not college, we welcomed the first of our own two beautiful children into the world.
We have laughed a lot, cried a little, and fought….well hardly ever. It’s not that we have agreed on everything, but I think we had the benefit of experience to help us try to respect the other’s point of view. There has only been one epic fight that I can remember, though to this day I don’t recall exactly what it was about.
That’s not to say that it’s always been easy. There have been hurt feelings, misunderstandings, even moments of silent fury over the years. To quote one of my favorite people in the world, “Have you ever thought about divorce?” “Divorce no, murder……maybe.” In the end though, we have always worked through things together. We’ve learned that the only things we can’t handle are the things we don’t talk about.
Through it all, we have developed over time a well-honed partnership, driven by mutual respect as well as love. We are committed to making a happy life not only for our children but for each other. And although it sounds cliché, we truly are each other’s best friends.
So while it’s not been perfect these fourteen years, it has been perfect for us. I truly would not change one footstep of this path we’ve travelled together.
Happy Valentine’s Day hon, on this fourteenth anniversary on the fourteenth day of February in 2014. I am looking forward to fourteen more.
And fourteen after that.