Every romance book or rom-com movie is a different version of the same set up. Basically it’s: boy meets girl. Girl doesn’t like boy; boy likes girl and wins her over. Boy proposes: they live happily ever after. The End.
The stories almost always stop prior to the wedding. Bridezillas probably wouldn’t make for a good ending. Neither would the frustrations that come with the caterer canceling, the photographer double booking, the florist being unable to get the one flower that’s a must for what the bride wants. Nobody wants to read about reality.
The storyline certainly should not continue into the time AFTER the honeymoon. If the author crossed over into when the couple actually learns to live with each other: the open cabinets, clothes left in the dryer, the fact that dishes can never make it into the dishwasher, there would never be another romance written.
The reason that all of this came to mind is the fact that I’ve been to two weddings in one week. They were vastly different in location, cost, style and feel. Both were lovely in their own way. But because Paul was officiating both, I had a hand in writing the ceremony. So I was paying more attention to the words and the sentiments.
The wedding ceremony for couples is sprinkled with words like to have and to hold, loyalty, trust, faithfulness, giving yourself to each other, building a new life together. Weddings are wonderful. The promises of love and forever, unity and support, hope touching even the most jaded of hearts. I remember that stage and so does everyone who’s ever been married or even just attended a wedding.
Marriage itself however is different. It’s day-in and day-out. It’s compromise; it’s loving someone even though they drive you crazy. It’s knowing you drive them crazy and maybe secretly enjoying it a little. But it’s also safety and ease and comfort. In the beginning you don’t know it’s going to be so hard, and in the middle you can’t see how great it can be.
During these recent wedding ceremonies, I watched the bridesmaids walk down the aisle with their bouquets of flowers. Everything was orchestrated for beauty and reverence. I started thinking of how different most ceremonies would be for renewing vows. I have a feeling it would be a lot different. There might be some chastising and whispering as the wedding party made their way down the aisle. “I told you to make sure those pants still fit.” “Well, I told you it wouldn’t matter if we had candles or not.” Instead of flowers maybe the attendants should wheel suitcases down the aisle behind them because at this age we all come with baggage.
If it were my ceremony I think I would put labels on each suitcase: things like Petty Arguments, Irritation, Frustration, I Told You So, That Time He Stole MY Joke in 1996. But I would save the biggest luggage for last, and I would label them with Good Memories, Joy, Laughter, Love and HOME.