Today is a very special day. It is the 18th anniversary of the day I bought my wedding dress. Yesterday was also a very special day. It was the 18th anniversary of the day you asked me to marry you. I meant to write this yesterday, but you were away and I was schlepping kids to soccer and birthday parties, and – you know – life. But maybe today’s a better day to write this anyway.
Yesterday’s anniversary calls to mind the romance and the dreams and the idealistic expectations of marriage and love. Today’s anniversary reminds me of more practical things. I bought that dress straight off the sale rack and checked it off the to-do list. Sure, there were all kinds of dreams and expectations of a romantic wedding surrounding my dress, but I wasn’t obsessed with finding the “perfect dress” or having the “perfect wedding”. The dress wasn’t going to make or break our wedding, much less our marriage. I wanted an adequate dress for an affordable price. Done.
That practicality is a better picture of us. We are on the same page about so many things. Very early on in our relationship, we discovered our mutual appreciation for “The Princess Bride”. (Mind you, if that was the only criteria for a successful relationship, we could have married just about anyone on the planet. But still, it was a fun starting point.) As our relationship deepened, we grew to appreciate new depths of humour and sarcasm. Oh, it is fun to laugh with you!
Practicality extends to how you express your love. You married a big, strong, tough girl – there’s not much dainty femininity about me! I like being capable, and I am pleased to have your trust in my capability. But I love that you still find ways to take care of me. When you carry in firewood for me, or shovel the driveway or mow the lawn, it’s not because we’re sexist and those are the “manly” jobs. It’s because you take some of the heavier jobs simply to be kind and loving towards me. If there ever comes a day when I am incapacitated due to illness or injury, you have already established that you’re taking care of me out of love, not obligation. Sexist or not, that makes me feel very feminine!
Not everything is about the heavy lifting, though. Do you remember when we were working at camp and during staff training we had to go on a group trust walk? Most of us were blindfolded and tied together in a line and we had to walk around the camp, through the woods and everything. You knew me well enough already to know that I was completely terrified. And you, as one of the guides, didn’t stray far from my side. You weren’t allowed to talk to us, but every couple of minutes, you touched my arm so I would know you were right there.
And through these 18 years, you have stayed by my side. We have walked through some pretty dark woods – sometimes with both of us blind at the same time – but your steady presence keeps me sane. Your perseverance is love. Your reassurance is love. Your gentle guidance is love.
I love your practical faith, too. You love God and you want to do what’s right. It’s not complicated. It’s not always easy to live out, but the bottom line is simple. And I find that really attractive.
18 years ago from yesterday, we were dreaming big and laughing at all the old fogies and their stories of “being more in love now than the day they got married”. Obviously they weren’t as in love on their wedding day as we were! (And they probably weren’t, but it’s nice that they’ve made progress since then.) We were so young and naïve. But 18 years ago today exemplifies the simple, practical way we’ve lived out our marriage, and because of that outlook, we’ve enjoyed a relatively drama-free relationship. That has given us the space to dream new dreams and it has also kept us grounded through really tough stuff.
I guess I don’t have anything super profound to say. I just wanted to mark this weekend for what it means to me (in the midst of all the fake fluff of Valentine’s Day). I like what we’ve got going on. You and me against the world, baby. Bring on the next 18 years. They’re going to be fantastic!