Do I hear wedding bells?

June seems to be a popular month for weddings.  Maybe it’s the flowers, maybe it’s the warmer weather, or maybe it’s simply the time of year when guests are more able to travel.  My husband and I were married in June — but for us it was no other reason than timing. 

“You ready, honey?  Great!”  *POW*  Three months later we were married.  (Girls, when you have a live one on the hook you must act fast.) 

Bliss and joy aside, it was a huge transformation of our lives.  No longer strolling through the garden of life alone, we were now walking hand in hand, happily contemplating our future together, planting the seeds for children, change, career…having great fun while we were at it! 

Our daughter was a honeymoon baby (speaking of fun) so change began almost immediately in our case.  But most couples have time to adjust to their new life as man and wife, time to ease into the new routine. 

When asked the other day by a young friend, I jokingly compared marriage to eating vegetables.  (I mean, we were in the garden.  Why not?)  “Marriage is easy.” I said.  “It’s like choosing your favorite vegetable — the one you want to enjoy ALL the time.” 

She screwed her expression at the comparison.  “There’s NO vegetable I want to eat ALL the time.  I like variety in my diet!”

So much for analogies.  I like variety in mine, too.  But there’s more than one way to cook a tomato  —  healthy and raw, chopped and marinated, sizzling fried, saucy and delicious! 

Yes, well…you get the point.  Mixing it up prevents same-old same-old from settling in, much the way we moms do with dinner. 

“Potatoes, again?” the children whine.  “Can’t we have something different?”

Nope.  We married a potato, we’re having potatoes.  Period.  “Now go put your right attitude cap on and enjoy the meal.”

Granted, marriage is more involved, but truthfully, in my book, it comes down to commitment.  And a sense of humor.  Celebrating our anniversary with some friends recently, an unmarried couple was on hand.  Upon learning of our big day, they were eager to toast, eager to learn the “secret” to a good marriage.  Seems they’ve been together now for three years and were considering the prospect for themselves.

I turned to the young woman and thought, “careful what you wish for — you just might get it.”  But I smiled.  Married over ten years, I’m a big fan of the institution.  “Well…there’s one thing you need to know before you get married, if you expect any sort of success.”  She waited with bated breath.  “Marriage is hard work.  If you accept that going in, you’re good to go for the long haul.”

“Oh,” she returned, somewhat discouraged.

Apparently, this wasn’t the insight she expected.  But ever the positive one, I linked my arm through my husband’s and added, “Not to worry.  Look how happy we are!” 

My husband sweetly agreed.  “Yeah, what she said.” 

He’s a real card, isn’t he? 

A short while passed and she approached me again.  Courageous little thing.  “But is there really a difference between living together and marriage?” she asked, her tone urging better news.  (Seems they’ve been living together for that last couple of years.)  “It can’t be that different, can it?”

Uh, oh.  She forgot the “careful what you wish for” rule.  But she asked, so I smiled again (it’s always best to deliver hard facts with a soft edge) and replied“Here’s the difference:  When you’re living together, you always have that back door — the exit door — as in, ‘if he doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that, I’m outta here.’  You can always leave if he’s not living up to your expectations.”  I leaned ever so closer.  “When you’re married, you have to close that door, lock it, and throw away the key.”

Her jaw dropped. 

“It’s a shift in attitude.  You must be willing to work through the hard times, you know, like you do with family.  We all have those members with whom we don’t see eye to eye, may even go without speaking at times, but eventually, we come back together — because it’s family.  They’re not going anywhere.  You’ll see them at Christmas.” 

She nodded dully, but I could see this was not what she wanted to hear.  “Do you want kids?”  She shook her head to the contrary.  “Then continue dating,” I advised.  “There’s no need to change your name.”  You’ve already changed your address

Later my husband remarked, “I don’t know what you said to that woman, but she looked like someone kicked her dog in the gut.”

Not privy to our conversation, he had no idea that I was totally innocent.  “She asked my advice.”

“Oh, no.”

“What?  She asked.”

He balked.  “That’s because she doesn’t know you!”

I chuckled.  “True.” 

But I did answer honestly, as I always do when asked my opinion.  While no longer offering it unsolicited (per my husband’s request), I feel it’s perfectly acceptable to answer when asked.  Who knows?  I may have saved this poor woman from an ugly divorce.  Satisfaction swelled, filling my chest with pleasure.  Chalk up another good deed in my column!

As for own marriage, so far, so good.  At the very heart of our relationship, we’re friends.  I think it’s one of the things that keeps us together.  Everyone’s marriage is different, but I would venture to bet all successful marriages share a strong sense of commitment. 

For all you June brides out there, “Happy Anniversary!”


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