Saturday, May 17, 2008

22 Years of Wedded Bliss

Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary. As I look at our wedding album I wonder where the years have gone. I look on outside shells and see many changes, but the changes and growth on the inside are far greater. As a young couple little did we know the trials that life would throw into our paths, making us grow and strengthen both ourselves and our relationship.

Rich's father was the founding pastor of the church where we were married. We had both grown up in the church and ours would be the first wedding in the church in many years. Rich's sister Shawne was engaged to be married at this same time, so the idea was brought up to have a double wedding ceremony.

Now this may sound good in theory, but our wedding styles just wouldn't have meshed. I am a traditional person (cherry wood, four poster bed, vacation at the beach, Vera Bradley purse kind of person) while Shawne is a much more free spirit person (sleeping bags, hike Mt Everest vacation, no purse kind of person.) And even as a naive bride I knew this would end in the wedding of neither bride's desires.

Shawne didn't want to have attendants, she wasn't planning on wearing a wedding dress or even shoes, no wedding cake and everyone was told to come comfortable or bring a change of clothes for a volleyball reception with both wedding and reception held outdoors at the Virginia's National Forest Park. I, as a traditional person, wanted a church wedding, several attendants, a wedding cake and I wanted it all wearing a wedding dress and in shoes.

Even though we understood the reason of expense (Rich's relatives that would need to travel in state) we just felt that since "til death do us part" this would be our only wedding and we should remember it as our day. So since our date had been set as May 17th before Shawne became engaged, we would hold our church wedding then. Shawne would hold her park wedding two weeks later, after our return from our honeymoon.

It probably was a good thing because the church was already overflowing with people and there would not have been room for any more guests. It was also nice for me, as a young bride, since I was able to really meet some of Rich's relatives. At our wedding I was so busy, like all brides, that the memories would have been a blur. I was also able to enjoy Shawne's wedding and have fond memories of this very unusual, but beautiful wedding. Shawne did eventually wear a tea length Portuguese wedding gown (with no shoes) and one lady in the church made a small wedding cake for the reception.

Looking at our album it saddens me that many of the people smiling back at us have gone through divorces, some are no longer with us (some with the Lord while others sadly not—as far as we know). I am happy to say that Shawne will celebrate her 22nd anniversary with Harold in two weeks. In some ways I don't feel any older than the young bride in the picture, while in other ways I feel that the growth and experiences we have achieved couldn't have occurred in just 22 years.

Tonight we will have a wonderful meal at the nicest restaurant in town and sleep in our bed and not at a fancy hotel, but we will sleep much better since there won't be prom kids yelling up and down the hall all night long as there were the night of our wedding. Next week we will prepare for our son's thirteenth birthday party and not be getting a sunburn on the white sandy beach in St. Thomas (OK, only Rich got sunburned).

Thank you, Babe, for 22 wonderful years of marriage. PS I'd do it all over again.


Richard D said...

Thank you, my love. This made me cry. You're the best thing that ever happened to me.

And I would do it all again too. Well ... maybe I'd try to skip a few boneheaded things I've done. Thanks for putting up with me for more than two decades.

I love you.

Sharon said...

What gorgeous wedding pictures! You both are so beautiful! How wonderful. Congratulations on 22 years! We will celebrate our 26th in July. We had the same wedding topper as you!!!

Again, congratulations!

:0) Sharon

Kim said...

Sharon, I think we are very much alike. I know the cake topper was very popular at the time. Our's is on a shelf in our bedroom.
Isn't wonderful to know that through all the hardships you worked as a team and love each other all the more. You have also been an example for your son as he prepares for his own marriage.

Rich- What boneheaded things? OK, please don't list them then I might remember them too.

Richard D said...

I think there is a limit to the length of the comments on blogger, so I don't know that I can list them all. Maybe just the top 20 percent or so.

I started [the list] last evening
When the sun was going down
I'd barely just begun it
When the sun came back around