When WordPress’s Daily Prompt suggested the topic “That’s Amore,” I was in! Within a month, my love and I will have been married for fifteen years. When we wed, we were DINKS (dual income, no kids) and took a 16 day honeymoon to Italy and Greece. That’s amore! And, one of my dearest friends is getting married this summer! I get to be in her wedding and stand and pray for the commitment that she and her beloved are undertaking. Celebration is in the air. New love and love that has weathered a decade and a half. Amore.
All those years ago, when making all those decisions about who to invite, where to marry, to blow out the other two candles or leave them lit, what kind of cake to have and how to outwit my revenge-crazed sister-in-law-to-be. That is a story all of its own. But since I mentioned it, many, many years ago, she was the victim of my husband’s silliness when she wed his brother. She intended to get even–all in good fun, of course! But, I wanted NO part of anything prankish, childish, or anything less than full-on honoring, even if my husband deserved it. We were staying in our home town for a few nights before departing for Italy. We came up with an elaborate scheme to hide the location where we were staying because she called all over looking for our room. And, when we made sure no one followed us, we traded cars with someone they did not know. Finally my knight in shining armor carried me across the threshold of our hotel in peace!
That was a fun trip down memory lane but back to planning we go. When we were deciding what our service and reception would look like, there was one tradition that came under my scrutiny. It was the part where all the single guys would gather and watch Tony crawl up my dress and take my guarder off with his teeth, if he were really an animal about it. And then there was gathering the single girls, who mostly, unless they were 10 and under, didn’t want to be singled out. They would stand and I would throw my flowers to one lucky girl who would be next in line to wed, even if she was the ten year old. Sorry to the rest of my single, age available friends that I didn’t throw better!! Shiver.
Remember my desire where I said I wanted to be honoring in all aspects of the wedding and celebration? As counter culture as it is, Tony and I made the decision to wait until marriage. Wait. You get it. So, the idea of him crawling up my dress in front of people, well…wasn’t my idea of romantic. As I thought about what to do, or not to do about the garter, I had an idea. Tony’s parents had been married a long time and one of our dear family friends had been married a long time too. What if we used the garter and bouquet to honor longevity of marriage instead of the traditional version of prophesying who’s getting married next? Please don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to weddings where this is what they do and there was a lot of fun had. But, it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t for us.
Tony graciously accepted my idea and during the reception, we asked all the married couples to stand. We asked those married less than five to sit, then ten, and so on. Tony’s parents and our friends fared very well, but they were beat out by Paul and Marge McClure. They were a part of our church family. Paul and Marge were married for 52 years! Paul was as robust as they come and full of joy. His hugs were full on and he didn’t know a stranger. Neither did Marge. She always had huge smile and a laugh, even though breathing was difficult for her. She was in a wheelchair for as long as I knew her. Tony gave Paul the garter and I gave the bouquet to Marge. They were like little children they were so happy. We honored them for their years of marriage and thanked them for their example. Tony told them that they inspired him to be married for 53 years! All the years Paul drove Marge around in their handicap conversion van, the rearview mirror was adorned with my garter and I was proud.
The love that Paul and Marge had, that’s amore! That is the kind of love I want and the kind of love I want to give. Love sticks. Real love cost something. I still think about them and think of how many more years we have until we celebrate 53 years of marriage. I am going to be SO old!! One of the rings I looked at my husband vetoed. He said it wouldn’t look good on my finger when I was 80. Now that was planning ahead.
As I look forward to my friends wedding, I look forward to celebrating with them in their new life. I look forward to their covenant decision to love when it is easy and when it is hard. I wish them 53 years.
When Tony and I wed, we promised not to play games with each other. He told me a secret, he cannot read my mind. We promised to honor and serve each other. We promised to not get selfish and demand our own way (on a regular basis–yes, we are human). I pray, that no matter what comes our way, that I will love Tony like Paul and Marge loved each other. From what I can see, real love begins when life gets hard. He’s been there to take my hand and he reminds me, that he’s glad he married me and that we only have 38 more years to go. Now that’s amore!