Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Toast to Marriage

Sarah has been my dear friend for over twelve years. We used to go skinny dipping in Medicine Lake on hot summer nights in our hometown. I helped her move into her first apartment. She, Katie and I spent a decidedly hazy New Year's Eve in Barcelona and got matching tattoos in Madrid. The two of them drove with me to New Mexico when I started a new life there. I love her.

This weekend she is marrying a wonderful man named Greg. He's a nurse, where his kindness and easy going nature serve him well. He's an athletic disc golf enthusiast with a tousled mop of curly red hair. He adores Sarah and she him. They have a beautiful daughter and a lot of life together under their belt already.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to say at their wedding, should the moment present itself. I suppose because a wedding is a momentous beginning, I keep thinking of the heart wrenching endings that sometimes happen. I keep thinking about this phrase- so often heard at the end of a relationship:

"He/She is not the person I married."

I believe the person who utters this phrase has misunderstood marriage. Wouldn't it be a shame to still be the same person you were at sixteen- with all your naiveté, insecurities and childish concerns? How could you expect the person you love to remain eternally unchanged if you wouldn't wish that for yourself?

You will change and your partner will change, because life changes you. The challenge of marriage is to understand and empathize with each other anyway, through the changes. Real love does not demand that the other remain frozen in time. Instead, it delights in helping the other find and express their truest self.

Like every journey, there are peaks and valleys, but most of all, there are plateaus. These plateaus can be dull and predictable, unless you learn to marvel in each aspect of the journey, and the blessing of making it together. Watching how your partner reacts and adapts and being self reflective about the changes you are going through makes it easier to understand one another. Instead of merely surviving the journey, you can take joy in the steps by sharing them. Your life will be a source of amazement and renewal because you created it together.

So my wish for you, dear Sarah and Greg, is that years from now, you will look at each other and fill with wonder at the person you traveled with. I hope that your gaze on his face will fill you with recognition and gratitude at how life and love changed him without making him a stranger to you. I hope that on your 75th wedding anniversary, you are standing next to someone who is unknown to you today, but someone you have also known forever.


Chel said...

I love this- so sweet and definitely food for thought :)

Simply Sarah said...

oh becky... in a way i'm glad you didn't say this at the wedding, as i would have been a weepy mess. thank you so much for the kind words and inspiring insights... i love you so!

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