there will come a day not too far from now where we will have spent as much of our lives together than we did apart. psst dave, this is you & me!! yikes — i fully understand the implications of this admission, it’s basically this: we’re getting old. we’re giving each other wrinkles — so far they’re mostly laugh lines.
it also means we’ve lived long enough together to realize that our love is not perfect, and we’ve got the battle scars to prove it. we’ve come a long way from believing that we had something different or more pure than any other pair of human beings trying to love each other. where i once looked at marriages that ended and confidently knew that would never be us, i now feel that i can understand how easy and shocking it must be to wake up and suddenly find yourselves there.
i’ve taken lately to seeking words of guidance from women who have a few more years of life experience on me. this is very apparent if you take a look at my bedside table, littered with piles of books. the following, from one of those books with more dog-eared corners than not, i copied out these words. written by a mother in her fifties, who’s words i now cannot help but replay over and over at every wedding we document, as a reminder in my own life. there you are. if you want to know what’s going through my mind it’s basically this:
“not long ago, i came across a box of old family photographs. now, with both boys at home at the same time, we open it up. we all sit down to leaf through our wedding, a glimpse of our ‘before’ world. the shock of seeing long-ago versions of our loved ones gathered on the eve of our marriage, glasses raised for a rehearsal dinner toast, is funny and wrenching all at once. i catch my breath as my heart swells. so many of these people have died. at yet, miraculously, here they are, alive and well, smiling and cracking jokes and wishing us everlasting happiness.
what i did not know twenty-four years ago, on the day i donned a lace dress and became a wife, was that every marriage is a gamble and the stakes are always high. love, after all, is not synonymous with permanence; we offer our hearts into each other’s safekeeping on faith alone. our relationship has survived, adapted, deepened, but it is hardly immaculate. in fact, the landscape of our lives together is a muddy criss-cross of mishaps and memories, exultation and grief, hallowed landmarks and forgotten detours made along the way as we each learned, one day at a time, what it means to love another person for the long haul.
our marriage may not be perfect, but it is proving to be resilient. and, most important of all, we’re both trying to do a better job of hearing each other, of being kind, of allowing for each other’s different needs. i sense a new tolerance between us, as if in revealing the flaws and fissures that have sprung up and acknowledging them, we’ve also allowed in a little more light, and found a little more faith in the imperfect, enduring beauty of us.” — katrina kenison