This weekend, Carl and I, will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. I decided it would be fun to pull out the wedding VHS tape and watch it with our kids the other night. As we watched our wedding video, I was struck by how much had changed over the years. People who were alive but have since passed on. Children who were now in high school or college graduates. Hair that had been then present but was now gone. People who had gotten married and who had gotten divorced. As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” A lot sure has changed in 17 years, but my love for my spouse has not wavered. During the ceremony the pastor cited three main reasons marriages work while others do not. They were good reminders, and they were respect, friendship, and commitment.
Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was a liar. Some of the most hurtful things I have ever experienced have been words said by those whom I love. I know that once words come out of my mouth, they cannot be taken back. We have always tried in our marriage to speak the truth in love. I have never called Carl a name. I have never screamed at him. I have been angry or hurt by things he has done, but I have always tried to express my feelings in truth but also with respect. We have discussions, not fights.
I have been blessed by God to have been given my best friend to be my husband. Marriage is much easier when you walk through it with your best friend. In the movie Sleepless in Seattle, the architect Sam says about his late wife, “It was like coming home…only to no home I had ever known.” Being with Carl is like being home. Once the warm fuzzies of romantic love wears off, once the skin starts to sag, what you will still have is friendship when you marry your best friend.
A friend recently asked me if I had ever regretted marrying my husband. I told her not even once. When I came home and recounted the conversation to Carl, he started shaking his head no before I even finished my story. “No, not even once”, he agreed. I made a promise to love, honor, and cherish him until death do us part, and I meant it.
Carl and I didn’t have a honeymoon. We actually joke with each other when someone talks about their honeymoon. We look at each other, and say, “What’s that?” Our honeymoon was spent driving across the country in a Budget Rent a Truck which had the words “One Way” written on the side. As we drove across country together, Carl said something silly during the trip. I said to him jokingly, “You are such a retard.” He smugly and quickly responded, “I guess that would make you, Mrs. Retard.” So, there we were, Mr. & Mrs. Retard, journeying down the highway. We were in this together. Where he would go, I would go. What he went through, I would go through. We were joined together for the good and the bad. And with God as our Captain, we plan to go one way, all the way, till death do us part.