Today was a pretty big day for us in this whole process of getting married. After one unsuccessful attempt (which, admittedly, could have been avoided if we’d done a bit more research), we applied for and received our marriage license! It was quick, and the office was very impersonal, but I did appreciate their effort by hanging a related Norman Rockwell painting on the wall.
After filling out a form and forking over our $44, the clerk asked us to raise our right hands while we pledged under oath that all of the information we gave was correct, neither of us were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and that neither of us had been married before. It was cheesy, but I get it; it was a legal thing. But on our way home, I thought about how this wasn’t the first promise that we’ve made on our way to the altar.
During middle school, along with hundreds of thousands of other 13-year-old girls, I thought that ‘N Sync’s “This I Promise You” was like, the ultimate love song. I know I’d totally be swooning over Joey Fatone in two-toned red leather (pleather? vinyl?) saying a bunch of romantic things to me in a redwood forest. Can you blame me? They’re pretty romantic things to promise to someone, and they will do them “till the day this life is through.” I don’t know about you, but those sound like wedding vows to me.
In all of our discussions and mumblings and whispers about the future, there have been lots of things we said we would do, or wanted to do. Some of those things have happened, some are yet to be, but we’re getting there. In just under a month, we’ll stand in front of our family, friends, and loved ones, and make the most important promises to each other as we recite our vows. (Love, honor, cherish, of course, but much like Princess Kate, and Princess Diana before her, some words will be left out.) We had briefly talked about writing our own vows, but it was decided that we would not. I don’t remember the exact reason, but I recall being relieved, as I knew that I could never write anything to compare with what Brian would have written.
At the last wedding he was in, Brian gave a speech at the reception. I always knew that he was a good public speaker, but I had no idea how eloquently heartfelt he could be. (I think the bride was surprised, too.) Ever since we nixed the idea of self-written vows, I’ve been mulling over what I would say to him if we had decided to use them. They aren’t anything fancy, but I mean them all.
to never make you do that hands-into-a-heart thing for pictures. That’s stupid.
to always help you push your car across the parking lot and give it a jump at 6 in the morning.
to provide you with light to moderate comic relief.
to always take down the smoke detector before I start cooking.
to never make you share a Facebook page with me, or post ridiculous things if you leave yours logged on.
to make weird faces at you when words fail me.
to quietly hold your hand when you’re feeling overwhelmed, but know when to smother you with love to put a smile on your face.
to leave you notes of love and encouragement and stupid doodles when you need it, or when I need it.
to always invite you along and always offer to share with you, even when I know you’re not interested.
to never put you down. You were my choice, too.
to work hard every day for us.
to pray that I be the wife and friend that you need and deserve, but also that God make you the husband and friend I deserve, too.
Through all of the wedding-induced stress we’ve had in the last few months, it’s this moment that I put first in my mind. No personal, random love note or public Facebook post could compare to the declaration we’ll make that day. And we’ll mean every word.