On Weddings and Decisions
This post was originally published on the Integrity Blog.
So, I'm getting married next week.
It's ironic, because all my life I have loved love. I grew up dreaming about a man like Robin Hood coming and sweeping me off my feet and living happily ever after. Yes, I actually preferred an animated scruffy fox to a two sentence-speaking, beardless Prince Charming. Or, a man like Maximus from Gladiator. I was so in love with the idea of love that I would write down love stories in a journal. You can ask my childhood friends. I literally have pages of stories about Obi-Wan Kenobi's fictional lover, who was me. It was all beautiful and awesome and I was just dying to get my butt to Franciscan University and find the perfect guy. I had my preferences of a membership in Brothers of the Eternal Song or AMDG, a beard, etc. It was obnoxious. Every new male I encountered was like an instant screening for the possibility of matrimony. Hungry, hungry, hungry for love.
Fast forward five years later, and I am engaged to the long-haired, completely non-scruffy, non-Franciscan boy who had lived in the house next door ever since I moved to the neighborhood in eighth grade. Love was not some fairy tale. It looked a lot like some really stressful, intense walks down our road figuring out our feelings, some cheesy flirting via text messaging, and late night chats making scrambled eggs. Love looked like awkward Skype dates at 10pm in Austria. Love looked a lot like a series of decisions and scary leaps of faith. Love was choosing to stick it out even amidst our heated theological arguments over the Medici popes at Bahama Breeze, the times I was a complete jerk, the times that he made mistakes, the awkward reunions after long periods of long distance, and the times when we saw each other at our worst and trust me, no butterflies present.
I found that I only truly gave up on my idealistic, perfectionist, narrow-minded, crappy mindset about the magic of love when I said yes to marrying Garrett.
When he got down on one knee, I didn't get overwhelmed in a whirlwind of happiness. I didn't start crying. I didn't giggle. I remember so clearly, so logically, taking in the moment and stepping outside of space and time for that one decision that would change me life. I paused, and I saw Garrett holding my hand when I delivered my first child. I saw Garrett beside me when I was standing at my little sister's graduation ten years down the road. I saw Garrett with me when I tried to stay strong at my mother's funeral. I saw Garrett as he would be in fifty years: older, greyer, heavier, still laughing at jokes and still acting bewildered in the morning and still shining that bright light of joy in that pair of brown eyes.
I saw the intense gravity of his request, and I didn't feel a resounding, a hundred percent yes. I was actually terrified.
Then, something inside of my soul just decided to decide. I looked at Garrett and I simply decided that I would have him as my person. My spouse. Done. I said yes and I have never doubted my answer. I have chosen to love my person.
Let me tell you, the feeling of raw, authentic depth that flooded my soul as I formed those words rocked me with so much more fierceness then my petty dreams of love ever did. This was the real deal. Loving is choosing and choosing is loving. The love I have for Garrett is so much more profound than any reality I could have imagined. He is perfect for the needs of my soul and the desires of my heart.
So, in the moments when I have felt like physically setting a blowtorch to all the wedding Pinterest boards, all the swearing and the individually cut and packaged Save the Date cards, and all of the moments of rash yelling out and panic and stress, I have to remind myself that this is about nothing but Garrett and I and God.
If we lived in a perfect world, there would be no stupid, expensive wedding traditions that squander the college funds of my five younger siblings. There would be like a massive village pot luck and bonfire and a polka band and ale and dancing and a pretty lace dress. And it would look like Bilbo Baggins' birthday party, only cheaper and with the Electric Slide.
It's not a perfect world, and there are no perfect weddings, perfect brides, or perfect grooms. There are only some good people, some crafty and thrifty wedding planners, and a whole lot of love and joy. And that real, decision making type of love is what everyone should get out of life anyway.