“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
In 1994 on June the 4th my wife Kristy and I were married…I’d known her for a couple of years, and she was the second serious girlfriend I’d had in my life. Though I had had two girlfriends and had been dating for four or five years and I was about to get married, I was still a complete idiot on the matter of girls and relationships…A complete idiot. This well-veiled fact was of little deterrent for my soon-to-be-bride and I. It had no power to deter her, because she wasn’t aware of my ignorance. Somehow, I’d been able to hide my stupidity. It had no power to deter me because I had no vested interest in listening to reason, and one’s wedding day is no time to start listening to anything that might “rock the boat”, as they say. So there we were: two people completely, blissfully, ignorantly, about to give our lives to one another…what a happy mistake.
I know describing a marriage, especially one that has lasted eighteen years, as a mistake is not romantic…it may even be borderline rude. But when I look back on all the years my wife and I have been together, and how little we knew about love, commitment, and one another, I would be lying to call it anything else. I couldn’t have written this story. I couldn’t even have coordinated this effort. Someone else deserves the credit. Someone who knows how to turn happy mistakes into lives that tell the story of redemption.
I’ve heard it said that the way people generally view marriage is something like this: “I know that I love me, and I’d like you to join me in the life-long quest of loving me.” I don’t know who said that originally, but it seems to me very apt. Though it will never make its way on to an anniversary card and it is an ill-advised way of beginning a marriage proposal, it is what people seem to be thinking when they decide to get married. I know that I put far less thought into what I needed to do to love my wife, than what she needed to do to love me. I don’t know if she was thinking the same thing, but I do know that in this scenario the ratio was in the 50% range, and that is as large a consensus as one could hope for in these tumultuous times…for good or ill. As such, I feel good about considering this an appropriate generalization.
It is an interesting thing, marriage. Two people trying to turn separate histories, separate ideas of family, and separate ambitions of what family can be into one singular story while everyone they love and who love them look on. It may not be the highest pressure situation known to human-kind…but it is close. It’s no small wonder, that the failure rate of said institution is so high.
So how did I get so lucky? Me, a guy who’d fought against all odds to even find love. Me, a guy who has no idea what the term really means, in the larger scheme of things. A guy who struggles in the most non-ironic way to understand it every day…a guy who cares less about reciprocating it than having the capacity to truly understand it, as life goes on…how am I so lucky? It seems unfair. And it is.
But what am I supposed to do? Apologize; try and make you feel better about your misfortune? I cannot. I will not. I lack the power. All I can tell you is that love is real. I never believed it, but for crying out loud I’ve seen it…even though I had no right. I’ve seen it. And now what can I tell you? Get off of your ass and find it. You are unable to do it in your own strength…and please believe me when I tell you this is no taunt…you are unable to find love in your own strength. But this does not preclude you from finding it…so go!
Eighteen years? Here’s to mistakes…beautiful, beautiful mistakes…thank God for them. I know I do…