Weddings are often put at the end of movies, at the end of plays, at the end of books, as if this single event was the culmination of a lifetime. There’s always a feeling of “ta da!” like some magician was pulling back the curtain to reveal a happily married couple and end scene.
But we know better, don’t we. Or at least we learned this lesson along the way.
With my first marriage and it’s wedding, so much time, effort, and emotion was built into the wedding that there was a feeling after it ended of “now what?” Every little girl dreams of her big fairytale wedding and I’d had mine. And what was I supposed to do now? We hadn’t talked too much about the marriage part. It was just assumed that things would go on as before. But that never really works, does it? Things change, people change, and we weren’t really prepared for that as a couple.
The second time around the wedding was so much more about putting a stamp on a paper and celebrating our relationship, than it was about some giant event. Our wedding was extremely personal. It was exactly how we wanted it to be. My flu-ridden son slept between us both on our wedding night and the night of our reception. We walked our three dogs before dropping them off at my parent’s house. We rushed to get them as soon as the party was over. The day after the reception we did laundry, cleaned, and went to a family birthday party.
It felt as if our wedding had just been some huge family party that everyone came to, like a confirmation or high school graduation. And then life resumed.
Perhaps it was because there was no fairy tale this time.
Fairy tales are typically about single, starry-eyed young men and women looking for an epic love. They’re typically not about divorcees with a child looking for a stable committed relationship, drama free. Most of the single parents in fairy tales are tragically widowed fathers who end up marrying a beautiful but cruel woman.
There really aren’t any fairy tales to describe the situation I was in. Single working mother of autistic child seeks understanding, patient, practical man. Not exactly the plot of a romance novel.
All this made it easier to see the wedding as just a stamp on a paper, as not an ending but a beginning.
There’s no epic-ness about our relationship. No hills and valleys. No drama. No vase throwing, no screaming. Our love is a simple country song. We watch tv together, we take turns making lunches, we talk in embarrassing voices to our three dogs. And I love him. And I know that I love my husband more when he’s carrying my sleeping son up the stairs than when we’re sipping wine over a candle-lit dinner. And I think that really says it all.