Monday, June 8, 2009

Reflection on a marriage

“You ready, Lyndie?”

With that and my nod, Dad tucked my left hand under his arm and we stepped on the white runner that lined the main aisle of Lincoln Park First Baptist Church.

This was his second offspring’s wedding and Dad knew his job. Ask few questions. Be available. Write checks. Show up on time. Walk this daughter down the aisle and hand her off to that red haired guy she brought home from college. Wish them well. Pray, pray, pray.

What was he asking, this man who could always let me be his little girl? No matter how old, I was Lyndie (Lou) and he was Daddy.

The year before the wedding, I had been away from his home, beginning my teaching career. A few phone calls, several trips home for bridal showers and the choosing of festivity arrangements…that was about it for Daddy/daughter time. Mom had been in the details and Dad, well, he had been on the financial end for this second sending off of a child.

Was I ready? For the show? Sure. With the ultimate wedding planner (Mom) all was set and ready. The dress, the dresses, the groomsmen and their duds, flowers, church decorations, time frame, organist, reception, honeymoon.

(Historical note: 1st class postage rates had just gone up to 10 cents. This was my part of the wedding expense)

Out-of-town guests had found their way. The pre-ceremony primping, the raised eyebrows at our choice of music, the unusual high noon commencement. Light the candles. Dim the lights. Places, everybody.

And then, Dad. “You ready, Lyndie?”

For what, Daddy? For my new adventure? For this next chapter in my life? As one who rarely gazes far into the future, well, sure. No problem. Let’s go!

This man, who along with his wife, had lived the example of a committed marriage for his children. This man who had seen a lot of life, had lived with parents who set the same example. Married. Keep only unto you. Til Death. He knew that it was more than that day's dance in the fancy white dress.

As I strolled to my waiting fiancé, I was grinning as wide as my face could stretch. I maintained that grin throughout, having a carnival of a time. We got through those vows. We squeezed fingers with ‘better, richer, health.” These were our hopes. We smooched. We turned; we sauntered down the aisle, a married couple. Whoo Hoo.

Ready? For the bumps that come when two become one? For inevitable arguments, hurts, compromises, and advancement? How does one prepare?

Our first fight broke out on Sunday night, 18 hours after all the Fa La La. Part of my fallen nature is a capacity to remember. My love informed me that, in our home, HE would select all the furniture AND it would be Early American.

Let’s just say we were tired from our big weekend. We had no money to buy furniture, let alone a house. We knew we would have at least three years of tight budgeting, while Mike attended law school and I worked on my Master’s Degree, living on a young teacher’s salary. So his point was moot.

And those of you who know the author also know that when it comes to decorating, well, let’s just say that our early crate/cinder block/mattress-on-the-floor motif suited me just fine. BUT being informed, being told, intimating that I no longer had any rights, well THAT was a straw (not the last straw; we haven’t found it yet).

So, BOOM, the first fight. And there were others, especially during that first year. All those prayers. We were able to figure out a pattern; we saw that by Thursday night we were both so tired that it took nothing, not even the mention of furniture, to set one or both of us off. How many Fridays did I go to school with heavy brown eye shadow to ‘hide’ the puffy eyes? How many times did I look at myself in the mirror and say, “What have you gotten yourself INTO???”

Our solution was OUR solution which we reached on a calm, Sunday afternoon. We agreed that whenever one of us was just fixin’ for a fight, no matter what day it was, the other could say “Thursday” and that meant “End of discussion.” We had many more Thursdays than we had weeks in those first few years.

And, I’m wondering, how many brides would have stuck it out? Although it’s easier today, it was plenty easy to uncouple in the early years of our marriage. Easy except for

His parents…they were praying.
My parents…they were praying.

And those vows. “In front of God and these witnesses (each costing me 20 cents)” Better/Worse. You hope and squeeze for Better. Sometimes, you get Worse.

God does not take vows casually. He keeps His promises. He wants His children to follow His example.

When He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5) He meant it. And His perfect plan for marriage is that His children will not leave nor forsake each other. He intends that they will become each other’s support and strength.

When you don’t think you need all that support, it’s easy to forget. BUT when life throws you a curve, when all that you had planned crumbles, when God indicates a different, more difficult path, in addition to His presence, you can’t do better than your spouse.

I am so blessed these days. I am held and hugged and honored. The price is dear and the payoff is sweet.

Happy Anniversary to us!

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