The Wait, The Wedding, The Wonder

by Kevin Burton

   Turns out our ultimate 10th anniversary celebration is not a shout, but a sigh.

   You can’t go shouting your way through life all the time. I should have known better by now. 

   My wife Jeannette and I have been talking about what to do on the big day, which is tomorrow.  Should we fit in a mini-trip just to go somewhere? If so, where should we go?

   What restaurant should we go to? Should we go out for breakfast, which is always nice, or would we rather sleep in?

   Then it hit me; what exactly could we find in a restaurant or a trip that would measure up to the delicious feeling of celebrating ten years together? 

   Well here we are on the eve of the big day. We do have a plan, but mostly we’re just going to roll with it.

   We’re going to remember and relax, we’re going to sigh.

   And isn’t that a good roadmap not for just our anniversary, but whatever lies beyond?  We have a plan for sure. But if we are smart, we’ll look to God and allow Him to take us where He wants us to go. After all, we didn’t get where we are through our own planning.

   Our shared backward gaze counts not ten years, but fifteen.  We dated for five years before I proposed.

   Now some people think that’s a long time, too long.  I say it isn’t. To see why it took five years to get to the altar, you’d have to look into the more distant past. In Jeannette’s story you would see failed marriage. In my story you’d see rejection, and self-doubt to the extreme. 

   There was a lot to wrestle with, even before you consider the getting-to-know-you part, which is tough enough.

   God was in it, that’s why it worked. But it took time.

   Yesterday we looked at some pop music with a love and marriage theme (“Wedding Bells Are Music To My Ears,” April 12). Let’s go there again briefly.

   How many lyrics have you heard, along the lines of “so glad I found you, build my world around you”? You think that sounds good at first, but think about it.

   Good marriages don’t work that way. It can’t be my world even if my wife has the honored place in it. It has to be our world.

   That “build my world around you” stuff is like building your living room around your entertainment center.  Your TV-stereo set up may be the main focus, but it’s still the centerpiece of one person’s vision.  It’s like treating your spouse a trophy wife.

   Doesn’t work.

   At the altar you’re entering a new world, a shared world. For us it was, now entering K&J world.  At its borders, things necessarily changed.

   We didn’t completely disappear as individuals. But if you haven’t embraced the shared world, the double driver’s seat if you will, you are not ready to say “I do.”

   Think of colored lines showing our life’s journey, leading to the wedding; a blue one and a yellow one that led us to the altar, then a green one showing our progress ever after.

     It took me five years to get there. I thank God Jeannette was patient enough to wait for me to arrive at that point. That allowed us to have a true wedding day, not just a business agreement.

   From there God’s grace got us to a honeymoon in London, which was a shout, and to a lot of other places.  I’ve loved the shouts but we live in the sighs.

   Jeannette often recalls a time in my old apartment, before the wedding when we looked out my kitchen window. “Look at all those people running around,” I said. “We have no idea what they are doing, where they are going, nor do I care.”

   “But we are here together. We know what we are doing and where we are going and that’s all I need to know.”

   We still inhabit that moment but we’re also in our first dance moment. Our first dance as husband and wife was to “Only Yesterday” by The Carpenters.

    “I have found my home here in your arms. Nowhere else on earth I’d really rather be. Life waits for us, share it with me. The best is about to be. So much is left for us to see.”

   So here we are rejoicing in the shouting, and the sighs.

   If I could, I’d sign us up for three or four million more years, with an option to renew after that. Since I can’t do that, I’m embracing the moments, the milestone days, the ordinary days, all the days of K&J.

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  1. Happy Anniversary to you both! Wishing you many more happy years together! God bless you both and all your journeys each day!



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