To Have and To Hold…

Last weekend the kids and I took advantage of my husband’s work travel to surprise him with some master bedroom changes. In all of the digging and moving, I found my old video recorder as well as the video from our wedding nearly nine years ago. I got the kids settled on our bed and told them to prepare for a treat – a young, attractive version of mommy and daddy getting married.

I was amazed watching the video from my own wedding, hearing words that I don’t think I heard in the moment. As I listened to the pastor’s words very carefully, it felt like I was hearing them for the first time.

He talked about the unity candle placed before us and how we should rely on it in the years to come as a reminder of our love on this day. The truth is, I’m not sure where our unity candle is stored. It likely is sitting in my parents’ home, covered in dust. Have we failed each other over these nine years by not remembering what was said to us on our wedding day? Should we have gazed at each other a bit less, stopped daydreaming about the party to follow, and really absorbed the messages conveyed to us by the minister?

I’ve decided that on our special day we should have skipped the candle and poem and instead been each handed a pair of hip boots and told something more along the lines of…

You’re going to need these, because you’re stepping in it now. You thought that life began last year when you finished graduate school and got your first job, but the truth is, you ain’t seen nothing yet. But here’s the good news. Today you’re joining with a partner in life. You’re not alone. You’ve got at least one person on your side, and your job isn’t just to love, honor, and cherish, but instead to support, guide, and back no matter what.

And it gets better. Not only did you just gain a partner, but you’ve got a chance to build a whole team. That team will grow and grow and you’ll know someday that you’ve got an entirely new family there to care for you, and all because you’re standing here before me today.

Forget the romance now, because the most loving thing you’ll ever be able to do is to put each other first. When that mean lady at the PTA questions what your wife is doing, you be sure to tell your wife she’s right. When the boss is riding your husband for no reason, remind your him what a wonderful father he is.

Today you both look amazing, but that’s not what will keep you together…and that also won’t last. What you really will come to cherish are the inside jokes, the back stories, the assurance that comes from knowing one other person in this world at least as well as you know yourself.

So slide on these waders, take each other’s hand, and begin your journey. I now pronounce you husband and wife.

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