I watched an old movie on PBS tonight as I was doing dishes and mopping the kitchen floor. (It was “Royal Wedding” starring Fred Astaire, if you’re interested in that kind of thing.) The end of the movie came, and the two main characters, brother and sister, each getting married (to different people, not to each other!) and the two new couples walking off into the sunset to the sound of triumphant music in the background.
It struck me tonight how much real life is different from that. Getting married is not the finale of a person’s life, it’s the dawning of a whole new stage of life. It’s not the ending, it’s the beginning. No matter how grand and glorious of a wedding a couple has, or if they have a simple affair with just a few people present, it’s never an end. It’s always a beginning.
I look back to the person I was when I married JJ, eight and a half years ago. I have heard it says that nothing helps a person grow up like a good marriage, and that’s certainly been true for me. JJ and I have grown up and changed so much since we were married. Add to that the fact that we have been far away from our families and the friends we grew up with for most of our married life, and you have two people who are knit together more tightly than we ever dreamed possible when we first married.
Today is Valentine’s Day, and a Saturday, which means my pastor-husband is working in his office preparing for tomorrow’s service. And that’s okay. My expectations for Valentine’s Day have changed a lot over the years. Flowers are nice, but they’re certainly not necessary. Wine and candlelight and a fancy meal are lovely, but even more lovely is being in our home and surrounded by our daughters. Mushy love letters are wonderful, but even more wonderful is the day-to-day life that we have created for ourselves.
I cannot adaquately tell JJ how thankful I am to be married to him. When we first married, people told us that our love for each other would continue to grow, but I had a hard time believing that would be possible. Now I understand. We’ve been through so much together and understand each other so well, that I literally cannot imagine my life with anyone else. And I know JJ would say the same about me.
Somewhere along the way, from the time we got married to now, JJ and I became best friends. We always loved each other, but I don’t think we were best friends when we got married. But now he is the first person with whom I want to share ideas and news, and he’s the first person whose opinion I want when I have a problem. When we were on our honeymoon, I remember saying to JJ, “What if we run out of things to talk about when we’re married?” Remembering that makes me laugh, beacuse I know now there’s NO CHANCE of that ever happening. JJ and I could talk all day and still not run out of things to say.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, I want to say how happy I am to be married to my husband. Any sacrifices I make are completely worth it for the joy of going through life by his side. I know I am loved and respected, valued and cherished by my husband, and that means more to me than anything else, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.