July 1, 1972. I was 17 years old; what did I know? I'll tell you what I knew.
It was a beautiful day. I was a blushing new bride who took hold of my daddy's arm and walked down a fifty-foot aisle to a young man in a crushed-velvet tux with two dollars in his pocket. He carried me across the threshold of our $100 a month rented trailer.
Of course, I'm sure he would relay pretty much the same thing, that we knew nothing about how to make a marriage last. Very few high school sweethearts stay together forever. Or were meant to. We, like so many others, just simply grew in two different directions. For seventeen years we drifted further and further apart, like two continents divided by one big ocean. Unlike my parents, or his for that matter, "for better or worse" didn't mean a damn thing.
Some say you need God in your marriage to make it last. In our case, there was too much "God." Too much religion, not enough love.
A couple good things came out of it. Two fantastic kids. A few good memories, (sigh.)
But now all these years later I look back at the bliss and the horror and find it tangled in my memory like some nasty vine that needs cut and trimmed back, making way for air and light to get to the buds. Thank the good Lord, time slapped salve on the worst of it and I've allowed myself to go on. I'm so glad I did.
Thirty-seven years later and six and a half years into my marriage with Michael, I wish I could wrap up what I know now and sell it on the Internet. I look back through time and see a foolish young girl. I wish I could talk some sense into her. Make her see her mistake. But all that's left is this middle-aged woman, in the youth of her old age. No, you can't go back. That's for damn sure.
Many times Mike and I look at each other and say we wish we could've met way back then. Back in our youth. But time has made us both different. Life's worst moments made us who we are today. They strengthened our resolve and created a love with bonds made of steel.
I suppose some marriages last a lifetime, while some drift along for twenty years before crashing into the rocks. A few long marriages should've ended decades ago, giving way to healing and a better life. And yet, I'm a strong believer that marriage is forever.
My forever had an ending.
I'm more than glad. Because sometimes you have to go through the fire and the flood to find the love of your life.
Blessings to you and yours.