This week we celebrate the silver anniversary of an event that almost didn’t happen because I’m a flake, and back then I was worse.
The summer I graduated from college, Mike drove me home and we started talking about our shared, bucolic vision of owning horses and rearing children who would wear gingham and have double names we could holler from the front porch like proper folk. Mike thought naming a kid Cletus would be hilarious, so we agreed to give at least one kid a single name just to make fun of.
That was all before we realized both horses and children make an awful lot of poop, and also that picking out a baby name based on how much it made us giggle would be kind of cruel.
Some of this is less than completely true, but our early conversations about a life together did involve horse ownership. Mike has first-hand knowledge in this area, and familiarity with the smelliness and general unruliness of actual horses. My experience consisted of the model horse I pretended belonged to my Barbie, and a dream I once had of my own horse that was white and magical and would stomp on my enemies with his mighty hooves and slay them with his invisible unicorn horn. Even though he wasn’t a unicorn. I didn’t have many enemies either, only Christina who once made fun of my hair.
Even with such disparate experience in horse ownership, we thought ourselves a perfect match and so I set about planning a wedding while Mike returned north to finish college.
My days thereafter consisted more of experiencing the local nightlife with some of my future bridesmaids than calling caterers or DJs. By the time Mike finished college and we had about three months left before the big event, I had successfully acquired four wedding magazines and hired someone to make a dress. I had also purchased many lengths of tulle and some beads out of which I hoped someone could fashion a veil. My bridesmaids and I had practiced our bachelorette party several times, and we almost had it down.
My industrious groom had his work cut out for him that summer if we were going to get hitched. By the grace of God and everyone who wanted us to tie the knot, things turned out well. My mom took the tulle and made a lovely veil. My dad bought a keg. Mike’s folks brought food. His dad, then mayor of their hometown, performed the ceremony. There was laughter and a few toasts and carrot cake. Later, a few people ended up in the lake.
I’ve since been a fairly good spouse, which I think goes a long way toward making up for my early procrastinations almost ruining our wedding. For example:
- I compensate for my husband’s inability to read road signs, reminding him of the speed limit or when a light’s coming up. Being the sensitive soul I am, I do my best not to appear to be telling him what to do with his life. That would be annoying.
- If he’s deep in thought, he won’t hear anything, or appear to be aware of the world around him at all. For 25 years I’ve refrained from using many opportunities to play practical jokes. Even though it’s tempting. To be honest, I’m not actually any good at thinking up practical jokes, and I’m rather terrified of retribution. Nevertheless, I’ve shown what I think is incredible restraint. That’s love.
- I rarely blog about him doing stupid stuff, even though I’ve threatened to, and even though he doesn’t give me much material, except recently cutting his thumb on a kitchen slicer after years of telling me I’m the one who uses knives improperly, and not giving me credit for never having cut my own thumb slicing vegetables. That’s more love. And restraint.
The point of all of this is even though I was kind of crappy at putting together our wedding, I’d say I’ve made up for it by holding our marriage together over the years.
Lest you think the last two and a half decades has been all work on my part, though, I’ll point out some areas we balance out nicely:
- Being on time. Mike’s motto is “why wait until the last minute?” Mine is “did you see that funny cat video?” People dig promptness, but I think it’s actually kind of rude to inundate someone with stuff before they want it, or have to remind you they actually wanted it yesterday. In a way, my procrastination comes from a place of generosity. I will put up with the anxiety of not having something done early in order not to overwhelm you by giving you what you asked for on time. Because I am a giver. This balances well with Mike’s selfish need for being early.
- Remembering stuff. Mike has a stellar memory for what folks call themselves and where they met. It’s kind of his superpower. My superpower is acting like I recall who someone is until I can get Mike in a corner and quiz him. This means I’m going to be friendly to you even if I have a grudge I can’t remember. Even if you once made fun of my hair in the eighth grade and I’d like my magical unicorn horse to stomp on you.
None of this is what I wanted to share, by the way. This blog started out as an advice column for those who are interested in being married for a long time. I’m just realizing I don’t actually know what to tell you except sometimes things work out well even if one of you is a complete dingbat and the other can’t competently cut cucumbers.
Were I to give advice, though, it would have something to do with not expecting too many horses.
Happy anniversary to my funny, kind, driven, considerate husband who’s super sexy and can tell the world’s worst dad joke with a completely straight face.
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