I have never wanted to be divorced, therefore I knew I would never get married. Why in the world would you ever want to be with someone forever? As a small child my perception of marriage was lots of yelling, drinking, pregnant bellies, an occasional slap or beating. As a teenager, watching the marriages of my parents and some of their friends disintegrate into bedlam, deception, thievery, brainwashing and cruelness decided it for sure. Oh no, not for me. Never mind the legal hassles of a divorce. I thought that if I ever did get married, I'd want to live in a duplex. He could have his side and I would have my side. Maybe a connecting door in between the bedrooms...maybe.
Fast forward through the years, my 20's, 30's, 40's and now 50's. I've always been a good, no, make that a great, observer. So I've had a somewhat change of heart of what marriage really is. I've seen marriages start with certain doom, others with a baby bump, and some that planned so well for the wedding but were completely unprepared for the days (and years) after.
I have had a wedding night! Get your mind out of the gutter, it wasn't my wedding night! It was Tom and Jan's wedding night. A few of us went back to their room at the Sheraton, hung out for awhile, partying a little, until Tom and Jan fell asleep. We then let ourselves out of the room about 3am - okay, it was half a wedding night. They're still together, their oldest daughter is 25. I'm sure it's been bumpy at times, but as Jan says "I love my life, I think god loves me a little bit more than others."
Other friends of mine, Faith and Jerry, had the unimaginable and unexplainable happen to them in their first year of marriage - the loss of a baby. Yet, their marriage flourished, they went on to produce 3 more children, proving to be great parents. You would think that they had been married last week or last year, yet it's been 31 years, (Faith being a bi-centennial bride, after all) the way they hold hands or always give a kiss, coming and going. My parents were in the middle of their very nasty divorce during the time Faith was planning her wedding. My mother's advice to her, "don't get married, you'll regret it." Needless to say, Faith disregarded and disproved that not so wise advise. Faith's favorite saying is 'Life Is Good'. I love these guys.
So, I've learned that marriage can be good, it just has to be between the right people, be they man and woman, man and man or woman and woman. And, that it's not always easy, but can be enjoyed. These people, my best friends from high school - Jan and Tom and Faith and Jerry - have shown me and others around them that with the right attitude, alot of hard work, a good sense of humor and a commitment to their commitments that maybe marriage is okay. Though it's still not for me.
You must be wondering, why today? Why is love and marriage on her mind? I'll tell you why.
Another best friend of mine, Dawn, was married to her Joe recently. Due to illness, I was not able to attend their wedding in New Hampshire. Because of technology, I was able to look at their wedding pictures today via the internet. As I looked at my fellow full-figured friend in her wedding gown I felt a flicker. A twinge, maybe, of what I would have looked like. It passed, thankfully!! I was able to see my friend Dawn and her Joe and their friends ('cept me) and family celebrating such a happy occasion.
I had met Dawn while I was in my heyday (mid 30's) and she was just a child, recently graduated from college. We were at a conference and were introduced by Maryann, our late, great friend. The three of us became fast friends and we were on the hunt...for men!! Over the next few years we hit many, many, many 'singles' events, dances, weekends, workshops, conferences, etc... stretching from New Hampshire to New York. And we were very successful, I might add. Lots of fun, drama, tears, broken hearts. Maryann's type was the middle eastern man. Dawn liked the preppy type and I tried all the flavors, ultimately always reverting back to the blue collar guy. Maryann's first husband, who was from some middle eastern country, left the US for Canada the day after their wedding and was never allowed back into the country. And this was before 9/11!! She never saw him again! I have to admit I always found it to be a rather funny story. Her second marriage was, sadly, cut short by her death in 2000. And I met Dennis, but that's a whole nother story. So Dawn really was the only one of us still out there, year after year, looking for Mr. Right. She really persevered and never, ever settled for Mr. Alright, or Mr. He'll Do. She'd call me up and tell me all about this one or that one so that when she did meet Joe and told me all about him, all the info she gave me went into short term memory (like all the others before him) and the info was flushed a few days later. But wait, she kept seeing him and his name, and only his name, was repeated in our phone conversations. Little pieces of info started to stick in my mind; he builds guitars, wears an earring or two, was married previously... Then she called with the good (no, great) news that she was engaged and now she is married. She was a beautiful bride and he a handsome groom.
So, to my dear friend Dawn and her Joe, I wish you continued love and happiness. I wish that you always feel about each other the way you felt on your wedding day. I hope that the sad and painful days are few and far between. I hope that your children (should you choose to accept that assignment) are as precious to you each day as the day they were born. I hope that you feel blessed by your god after 25 plus years of marriage and that for you, life is good.