We just returned from our first wedding since we ourselves got married a year ago. The groom and bride are pretty awesome people: geeks, fans of the outdoors, interesting and engaged in the world. We were glad to be part of the community witnessing their vows. A highlight for me was the acoustic metaphor of how each one is an interesting tune alone, but the tunes combine and vary to make beautiful music. Just as cool was the groom’s ring: not a ring at all, but a tattoo around the finger, unveiled at the ceremony. This would be just about the only type of tattoo that I would consider having myself!
I found it interesting to reflect on how I feel at other people’s weddings. There’s always happiness, of course, but also a bit of introspection. When I was single, I wondered whether I would find the right man with whom to face life together. When I was dating, I thought about how contented I was and how “maybe, someday….”
Now that I am married, seeing others pledge their vows reinforces the solemnity of my own. Two people freely choosing to be partners in life, to face the obstacles together and celebrate the triumphs, to help each other grow as individuals. A couple asking their community to witness their promises, to hold them accountable, to provide support and validation. Oh, and how the future stretches out before us! What challenges will we face as the calendar turns, what fights and ailments and frustrations! And how many tender moments, how many unexpected gifts, how many adventures and projects!
Being married does not change the work that it takes to be in a relationship: communication, empathy, respect, selflessness. But being married is a constant reminder of a choice freely taken that I will gladly stand by my husband even at his worst, and the reassurance that he will stand by me even at mine.