Twenty-five years ago today, which would have been a Thursday night, John and friends were having a bachelor party (and the less said about that the better!) while my friends and I celebrated more sedately at the family home of one of my bridesmaids. We were married two days later, on August 12, 1989, which means that we are marking our silver anniversary this week.
Yes, we have been married for a quarter of a century. It sounds even longer when you put it that way, but no matter how you put it, it is an accomplishment, and nowadays it seems like a rare one. John and I both have definite ideas about the importance of marriage and commitment and what has to be done to maintain that, and luckily those are issues we agree about strongly. I told John I would probably be writing a “marriage tips” blog post some time this week, and asked him for his input, and I didn’t disagree with anything he said.
Sometimes it seems like it’s been more like half a century, and sometimes it feels like we were married yesterday. No one going in truly understands what “for better, for worse,” really means. Like everyone, we’ve had joy and sorrow, bitter arguments and harmonious agreement. There have been long stretches when we couldn’t stand each other, when love was something we DID, not something we FELT.
You love your kids unconditionally from the moment of their birth. That’s biology. Loving the person you are married to is a decision and a commitment that you must renew every day. You might know that intellectually when you get married, especially if you’ve been lucky enough to undergo some kind of marriage preparation, but you can’t and won’t understand what that’s like until you are in the middle of it.
I vividly remember saying to John, when we had been dating all of six months, that it didn’t seem like enough just to SAY “I love you,” anymore: I wanted to LIVE it. That’s what marriage is, and we didn’t know how hard, or how rewarding, it would be. Those romantic early days were wonderful. I love remembering them. And I’m happy to say that we still like romance and spending time together and that spark has never gone out. But love sustained and nurtured over twenty-five years is stronger and richer and deeper and profound in ways we could not have understood back then.
John and I were only 22 and 23 when we took this life-altering step, when we yoked ourselves together forever. We were young and we didn’t know a lot of things but we knew that we believed in marriage and that no matter what happened we would not break the vows we made.
Just see how young we were:
And we were surrounded by friends who were just as young, almost all of whom are still important parts of our lives:
And of course by family, many of whom are gone now:
Emily and I were talking yesterday about why Catholic wedding ceremonies are supposed to take place inside a church. I’ve been to some lovely outdoor weddings but as I sat this morning at Mass I was thinking how grateful I was that I still attend church every Sunday in the building where my parents were married, where I was baptized, were we were married, where four of our kids were baptized and two have been confirmed. That’s a blessing.
We haven’t decided yet exactly how we will celebrate on Tuesday. There probably won’t be dancing:
But there may be cake!