Fifteen years ago today, I was a young woman right in the middle of a long engagement to be married. We had an almost two-year engagement in order to save money for the wedding and for our first home. So on October 2, 1998, I was still 12 months away from my special day, but I received a surprise gift… a dozen red roses. My fiance gave them to me to celebrate that it was 12 months until our big day. On the second of every month after that, I received another dozen roses, but the number of red went down by one, and a white rose took its place. So on November 2, 1998, 11 red, 1 white, on December 2nd, 10 red, 2 white, and so on.
October 2, 1999 was the day all the hard work, planning, scrimping and saving paid off… our wedding day. It was as beautiful weather-wise as I’d hoped it would be. I woke up in my childhood room, surrounded by the sisters who once shared that room with me, and the whole morning was spent with my family and seven (yikes!) bridesmaids, all primping and preening and running around like crazy women. In the midst of all the chaos, a messenger arrived at the door, and a package was delivered… a dozen white roses, with this accompanying poem:
Whenever you reach a destination
You tend to ponder its realization
Not because you don’t believe
Rather you appreciate what you’ve achieved
You and I have gotten here
Through smiles and laughs and the occasional tear
After today we will be husband and wife
Our relationship will take on a whole new life
I can only imagine what’s in store
Because knowing you, it’ll taste like more
These past 1,345 days have been the best
With each day more enjoyable than the rest
My heart beats faster when I think of you
Especially when I think about saying “I do”
So as I told you 12 months ago
This is how the roses would go
When you saw no more red
It would be the day we wed
Can you imagine all the hearts fluttering in that house?
That is the kind of man I married 14 years ago today. The rest of the wedding was as magical at the moment I received those flowers and that poem. There was not a single hitch it that day. Alright, maybe one tiny one, where I had forgotten to tell the man I was marrying that he was supposed to memorize our vows, so we did have to speak on the phone for a bit that morning to make sure we knew what the heck we were saying, but even that went off perfectly. The reception was, hands down, the most fun reception I have ever attended. Not one person sat down the whole night, because we were all too busy dancing. The church, the food, the music, all as perfect as a bride could imagine.
When I think back to that young woman, and what she was looking for in life, all her dreams came true in that one day. At that point in life, all I wanted was to start a family of my own, and my family started that day.
So what about the woman of today? Like any married couple, we have been through many highs and lows in these past 14 years, many of which I write about in this blog. Do I still think all my dreams came true? And with that question, my mind asks the inevitable follow-up: are we happily married? How does one define a successful marriage?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, the defining characteristic of a successful marriage is that you are each other’s “go-to.” When things are going great, who is the first person you want to tell? When you have a problem, who is the first person from whom you seek advice? When you have down time, who is your first choice to spend it with?
Almost 18 years ago, when we first started dating, my answer was Dan. Almost 16 years ago, when he asked me to marry him, my answer was Dan. And, through everything we’ve experienced in the past fourteen years of marriage, my answer is the same: my husband is my go-to person, and my dreams continued to be realized with each passing year.
14 years of marriage… enough said!