On my twenty-second anniversary

Twenty-two years ago I was twenty-two years old.  My tux-clad father escorted me up the aisle of our rather homely little Assemblies of God church, where he handed me off to my husband-to-be.  I wore a wedding gown of taffeta that I sewed myself in the dining room of my dad’s brown-carpeted home.  (I returned home in January of that year after college to work for six months and plan the wedding.  My husband-t0-be lived in Texas with his family during that time.)

My wedding was simple.  I had contemplated eloping, but ran into two obstacles:  1)  My dad; and 2) My husband-to-be.  A friend of the family convinced me that my dad would be sad and hurt and disappointed if I didn’t get married in a church.  And my husband-to-be told me that if we didn’t have a wedding in my church, we’d have to get married in his church in Texas.  So, fine.  I planned a wedding.  Whatever.

I cringe a little bit now because my wedding probably broke all two hundred million rules of wedding etiquette.  For instance, I didn’t serve anything but cake and mints and punch and coffee at the reception.  I know!  I didn’t really feed the people who came to my wedding.

It was cheap.  It was plain.  Someone arranged the flowers for me for a hundred bucks.  My friends sang.  It was barely a wedding at all, really, especially considering I didn’t feed anyone at all . . .  also, there was also no dancing and no drinking.

But no matter.  Hopefully they’ve all forgotten about it by now.  And, hopefully, the bridesmaids have forgiven me for dressing them in bright purple dresses with bubble skirts.

Twenty-two year old.  Twenty-two years ago.  Although a lifelong pessimist, I assumed that choosing a spouse and planning a wedding meant I would also choose my life and plan its events.  How wrong I was.  Turns out marriage is not a bed of roses, a walk in the park or any other cliche’.  Rather, marriage is plain-old messy life–but life lived with a spouse.  Marriage does not detour you around life’s rocky spots.

Two years after my wedding, my husband couldn’t find a job.  My forty-seven year old dad was diagnosed with cancer and died four months later.

Our infertility was diagnosed. I spent a lot of time crying.

My husband accepted a job that paid a pittance.  We adopted twins, we moved to Michigan.

My husband was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and had two surgeries.

We got pregnant (surprise!) and had a homebirth attended by an Amish midwife.  We moved back to the Pacific Northwest.  Welcomed another baby (SURPRISE!).

Twenty-two years ago I married a good man who still makes me laugh, a man who keeps his promises, who calms the storms in our lives, who wants to live a worthwhile, productive life of service.  He takes plenty of naps, reads about theology, watches political shows on television, loves football season, genuinely cares about people and adores books.

And finally, he’s stopped thinking that I’m going to turn into a cheerleader and wake up with a smile on my face and start describing the glass as half-full.  He laughs at my jokes and understands that sarcasm is my love language.  He rocks.

Happy anniversary to us.

(They say the first twenty-two years are the hardest;  then it gets easier.  Fingers crossed.)

13 thoughts on “On my twenty-second anniversary

  1. “Turns out marriage is not a bed of roses, a walk in the park or any other cliche’. Rather, marriage is plain-old messy life–but life lived with a spouse. Marriage does not detour you around life’s rocky spots.”


    Happy Anniversary to you two. Hope your day is terrific.


  2. This is so awesome, Mel. All that’s really important to make a wedding a wedding is the commitment you make to each other. If the guests didn’t eat before they came, that’s their concern. 🙂 Happy day, you certainly deserve it.


  3. Congratulations! We had a simple wedding, too, although the church was gorgeous. The rehearsal dinner and reception were both at my family’s house, and there was nothing more than punch, cake, and whatever else. The bridesmaids’ dresses were made (NOT fancy), and our honeymoon was 2 nights at the Dollar Inn and a trip to Lion Country Safari 🙂

    We celebrated our 35th anniversary in June; can not believe we’re old enough for that.

    And beware – we had been married 23 years when WE had a surprise baby and a shocking set of circumstances that led to a complete upheaval of life as we knew it.

    It ain’t over till it’s over. Or something like that.

    Happy 23 more!



  4. Well, I’m 35 years down the marital path now and it still is something definitely worth keeping. I married my soul mate, let alone my best friend, and I still enjoy seeing his face next to mine on his pillow. Here’s a link to a post I recently wrote about long-marrieds. I dunno if you ever read my blog or not, what with your busy life, but you might stop by for this one. The comments left were interesting, too:


    Anniversary blessings to you both, Mel!


  5. Oh, and we got married 5 months and 4 days after meeting on a blind date. Got married in front of my brother’s fireplace in his living room. Had 25 close friends and family. A barbecue in the back yard afterwards. A ton of money spent doesn’t guarantee longevity, eh? And I bought my peasant-style dress off a rack at Nordstrom for $49.99


  6. 17 yrs ago, we spent a grand total of about two grand on our wedding. This included my dress, my mom’s dress, my dad’s tux, all the food, church, pastor, flowers, photog, etc. Everything. Two thousand dollars. My friends brought dishes to the reception potluck style to pay me back for all the help I was at their weddings and showers. But from the pictures, no one would know it wasn’t catered.

    We were young, stupid, immature, and so deeply in love. We are still stupid and in love.

    Maybe cheap weddings guarantee lasting marriages? Happy day to you both.


  7. I really like your no-nonsense view of things.

    Even though I am 39, hubs and I are going to celebrate only 5 years of marriage this fall. I got married “late” not because it was my idea, but God had His reasons. And, boy, am I glad He knew what He was doing. Anyhoo, I am always so happy to hear of “early” marriages like yours that are working!


  8. Happy anniversary, Mel and Mr. Mel!
    Congratulations on making this far down the road of life together. It’s something to be proud of, in this day and age, in this country.


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