Who didn't want a wedding like hers?

My wedding day was perfect in the way that young girls dream of. My voluminous silk taffeta gown, reminiscent of Lady Diana’s, was the ultimate cream puff and my flowing veil of the finest French tulle, concealing my disastrous layered haircut, was long enough to grace Westminster Abbey. Masses of white flowers in my hands, on the pews and by the altar completed my 80’s bridal look. Waking up I remember thinking this will be the happiest day of my life yet there was a part of me that felt fear at the idea of the great unknown, of melding my future with a young man, however much I knew and loved him. The day, however much planned and longed for,was a giant leap of faith. I made those vows in front of family and friends with such solid conviction yet I really didn’t understand the implications of all that I was promising. The confidence of my youth and the trust I had in my choice gave me the courage to jump into my future.

I married young, much younger than is the norm today, and I married with all the rosy expectations of my generation. Looking back I realize that I was unprepared, naïve and extremely lucky that I chose a good man and that we worked well together. Marriage was what girls of my age did.  My mother would have disowned me if I had, “lived in sin,” her expression for those couples she thought were treading water. I came from a traditional family and defying my parents was not in my genetic makeup. This sounds like a complete recipe for disaster except that I believed with all my heart that “he” was the one and that our marriage would last. I had no backup plan for when our lives together did not live up to expectations. Together we had made a commitment to each other and dissolving our partnership was never an option.

“Marriage” is a loaded word in every which way. It has connotations of the very best kind and the very worst kind. I have been married to the same man for nearly three decades and I think that this makes me some kind of a dinosaur when it comes to understanding marriage today.  Sometimes I even joke and say that we have been together longer than the longest sentence of life imprisonment. But that is all it is, making fun, because the truth is I am very proud of our togetherness. To be knowledgeable on any subject suggests that experience is involved and therefore logic would dictate that the more marriages we make, the more expert we become. I don’t know if this is the case or not.

What I do know are the reasons why a marriage can last. I believe in “marriage’” because I believe in commitment. I believe in facing the future together, celebrating all the joys and sharing equally in the pain. Marriage is not easy, it never was and it never will be. To mold two individuals into one functioning unit is a challenge of the greatest kind. Success means retaining each individual spirit and working together for a united future.

Marriage is undoubtedly one of life’s great challenges but when all is said and done, the dream of finding true love and a soul mate for life will ensure that we keep jumping in. Would I say, “I do” all over again? Yes I would, but without the billowing taffeta and voluminous headgear and only if the same man asked me.

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