The Happiest Day of my Life....
If there is one great lesson I have learned in the short time I’ve been married, it’s that your wedding day (if I may be so bold to say) is not the happiest day of your life. I would even go one step further and argue it shouldn’t be the happiest day of your life.
I think in our media-rich culture we can tend to get obsessive over weddings—what colors were chosen, who wore what dress, what songs and words were used. I’m certainly not minimizing the excitement or beauty or importance of a wedding day—after all, a wedding is one event at which I will almost always shed a happy tear :-)
I suppose my concern with wedding days is that they are just so short—and a lifetime commitment so long. When browsing through any Brides Magazine one gets the sense that this day whose every detail you have painstakingly agonized over, is the pinnacle of you and your spouse-to-be’s life. Specifically, your romantic life.
However, when the soft music and the last of the candlelight is snuffed out, all too often the jokes begin on how long it will take till you’re feeling and acting like the proverbial “old married couple”. Soon enough, the worries of falling into a rut or falling apart come to fruition as every horror story of marriage you’ve ever heard begins tap-dancing through your mind.
Perhaps I sound dramatic…but I’ve kinda been there, feeling what I’m describing. The strange guilt I feel when someone tells me that was the happiest day of their life, and I don’t really feel that way. Our wedding was beautiful, but it was not the pinnacle and everything else has been downhill after!
And on the flipside—I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out, the infamous “7 year itch” when the marriage starts going sour and kids have ruined the intimacy we once had. Everyone tells me it will happen…just wait…we haven’t been through enough yet maybe. Well…to be honest, we’re happier now than we’ve ever been, and I’m saying that after adding a second child to the mix!
And it leads me to wonder…though we are FAR from perfect, what makes the present such a happy time for us as a married couple? What makes us look with excitement to the future, instead of with regret and resentment over our lost past? What brings us through the inevitable disagreements and stress and mess of life?
A wise woman, Amy Carmichael, once wrote: “In acceptance lieth Peace”.
And here is my caution to all of you, based on much trial and error in my own life and relationship: don’t let yourself get caught in the myth of “the good ole days” and start pining for those days again. Don’t look to your wedding as the happiest day of your life, to which every other day only pales in comparison. Don’t wait for your anniversary to rekindle the romance.
Instead, look at the person you pledged your life to first thing in the morning—yes, when their breath is funky and hair is a mess and in that once-sexy morning voice now whispers things like “Whatever you do, don’t lift the blanket”, and then rolls over and resumes snoring—yes, that person. Watch their sleeping face, the innocence and trust of a sleeping face. If you have children, marvel at the realization your baby has the same sleeping face—gentle eyelid flutters, slightly parted lips and all. Be humbled at the sight of budding crow’s feet by your lover’s eyes, and lines that are slowing becoming permanent etched across their forehead.
Yes, allow yourself a moment to remember the early days of waking up to this person—the excitement the first time he greeted you with the sexy morning voice actually saying something thrilling like “Good morning MRS. So-in-so”. Acknowledge those were happy times, but bring yourself back to the present. Tell yourself that TODAY is the happiest day of your life of loving this person, if you will let it be. Accept the present for what it is, and love your spouse all the more for how far you’ve come.
Now, just before the kids come crashing into bed with you and disrupt this peaceful moment—look to the future with tenderness and a new kind of excitement in your heart as your imagine all the “good ole days” to come…