15 Jun 2011

A Sentimental Mood… About The Wedding Day



That was me when asked to ponder the question of marriage…I wrote,


My wedding day was perfect in the way that young girls dream of.

My voluminous silk taffeta gown, reminiscent of Lady Diana’s, was the ultimate cream puff and my flowing veil of the finest French tulle concealing my disastrous layered haircut was long enough to grace Westminster Abbey. Masses of white flowers in my hands, on the pews and by the altar completed my 80’s bridal look. Waking up I remember thinking this will be the happiest day of my life yet there was a part of me that felt fear at the idea of the great unknown, of melding my future with a young man, however much I knew and loved him. The day however much planned and longed for was a giant leap of faith. I made those vows in front of family and friends with such solid conviction yet I really didn’t understand the implications of all that I was promising. The confidence of my youth and the trust I had in my choice gave me the courage to jump into my future.

I married young, much younger than is the norm today, and I married with all the rosy expectations of my generation. Looking back I realise that I was unprepared, naïve and extremely lucky that I chose a good man and that we worked well together. Marriage was what girls of my age did.  My mother would have disowned me if I had, ‘lived in sin’, her expression for those couples she thought were treading water. I came from a traditional family and defying my parents was not in my genetic make up. This sounds like a complete recipe for disaster except that I believed with all my heart that ‘he’ was the one and that our marriage would last. I had no back up plan for when our lives together did not live up to expectations. Together we had made a commitment to each other and dissolving our partnership was never an option.

‘Marriage’ is a loaded word in every which way. It has connotations of the very best kind and the very worst kind. I have been married to the same man for nearly three decades and I think that this makes me some kind of a dinosaur when it comes to understanding marriage today.  Sometimes I even joke and say that we have been together longer than the longest sentence of life imprisonment. But that is all it is, making fun, because the truth is I am very proud of our togetherness. To be knowledgeable on any subject suggests that experience is involved and therefore logic would dictate that the more marriages we make, the more expert we become. I don’t know if this is the case or not. What I do know are the reasons why a marriage can last. I believe in ‘marriage’ because I believe in commitment. I believe in facing the future together, celebrating all the joys and sharing equally in the pain. Marriage is not easy, it never was and it never will be. To mould two individuals into one functioning unit is a challenge of the greatest kind. Success means retaining each individual spirit and working together for a united future.

Marriage is undoubtedly one of life’s great challenges but when all is said and done the dream of finding true love and a soul mate for life will ensure that we keep jumping in. Would I say, ‘I do’ all over again?

Yes I would, but without the billowing taffeta and voluminous headgear and only if the same man asked me… xv

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48 Comments

under spanish moss

Vicki, this is a most beautiful post! We have tears in our eyes. Going to plan something special for our dear sweet husbands. You are an inspiration for all of us!

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carolyn bradford

Vicki…this is so beautiful and I feel like you spoke my heart as well! Our 28th Anniversary is this August and I too would marry Jim all over again. It hasn't always been easy but we have always been in it together. I so wish our young people could understand that it truly is a commitment! It is so worth it in the end to have someone by your side that you know loves you more than anything else. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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Verdigris Vie

Well written Vicki! It's true that there is no real recipe for success, but there is definitely one ingredient, "commitment".

And I loved Lady Di's wedding dress, poufs, train, veil and all.. a true princess. Best, Vie

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I Dream Of

Beautifully said. You should indeed be proud of your togetherness — and the way you look at your marriage. I firmly believe that you make the best choice you can and from there marriage is a state of mind. Knowing that it will be far better than you ever dreamed and disappointing, too, but that your in it together and committed to the road ahead. Congratulations on your success. It really is quite the accomplishment.

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Anonymous

Hello Vicki,
Your post is so beautifully worded and you have described marriage very clearly. Your "commitment" was always at the core and how you never had a plan B. Congratulations and wishing you continued blessings on your marriage.
We, too, married the same year as "the royals" and will celebrate our 30th anniversary this year. On reflection, it is the challenges and the pain that strengthened our love and in September we will renew our vows and have a small reception for our wedding guests(those who are still living).
A beautiful and timely post
Helen

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Karena

Vicki this is a wonderful tribute to your marriage and the institution of marriage! After being widowed I certainly know another good man is in my future!(Being very particular though!)

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

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Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane

Lovely post, and I agree with what you say about marriage, but then I'm an even older married dinosaur than you ;) and proud of it (too).

We didn't do the traditional routine since we were in Africa, with our families on two other continents, and we had no money. Our rings, the ones we still have, are 9 karat gold.

It's not in the fancy bridal gown, or the cheap rings; it's the commitment that counts.

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Suzi

Lovely today Vicki,
I am having some time to reflect also on my marriage as I vacation with my hubby. I have realized there is no one I would rather share my time with. As the years roll by we have more and more in common. It's a great feeling. I am still surprised by him and him still by me.
Love….it's more than a feeling.
X Suzi

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Hellohello baby

Thank you for this lovely post. It makes me think and ponder. Do I have what it takes? I hope I one day will eksperience three dekades and on going, of marridge…..

It must be so special to know another person like you do after so many years together.

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Julie

That was really beautifully said Vicki and I agree wholeheartedly! We celebrate 24 years together in August and tho hard sometimes, it's totally worth the effort to stay committed to each other and to the marriage. :)

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flamingodancer

"I married young, much younger than is the norm today, and I married with all the rosy expectations of my generation… I came from a traditional family and defying my parents was not in my genetic make up."

This paragraph was also me! I married at 19 and I am grateful that I did pick the right person. 34 years later and three children we are still together, through thick and thin.

I suspect that we had some gut instincts at work in our choices!

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Penny

Lovely post, I really must be a dinosaur, married at 19 and still married and happy 52 years later. Life does have its ups and downs, but friendship and love and a will to talk and work things out helps, but and I emphasise the but, the right choice in a partner helps a lot.

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shiree segerstrom

Vicki, Your post touched my heart. As a widow who was married to the most amazing man for 25 years I can attest to your words. I loved being married to Jim. He made me feel special every day of our lives together. Karena…there is another for you love! I found David 3 years ago. Who would have guessed one women would find the two sweetest men in the world. Keep a positive outlook. When you're least expecting it, he'll come calling.

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cnjhooker

Poignant, heart-felt,and a tribute to both you and your husband. I can think of nothing more important. Thank you for sharing your deeply felt connection and feelings with us. Isn't commitment wondrous?
Hugs from California, Christine

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designchic

Such a beautiful post, and you are certainly right – their is no magic formula for a successful marriage, but I too feel richly blessed to be celebrating my 30th Anniversary this month!!

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jeanetteann

Lovely words Vicki. It is lovely to reflect on such a traditional,beautiful event in a girls life.
I have been married for 49years this year and although started very young, only 17 I would do it all over again to the same lovely man.

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Renée Finberg

V,
this is such a moving post.
i am quite sure that taking 'the option' of failing out of the equation is key.

i wish i could say the same for my experience with marriage.
you are so fortunate to have had such an excellent 'man picker' at such a young age.
it certain that it must come from your family's solid values.

g-d bless you both xxx

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mary

Hi Vicki, I read this with tears in my eyes: so beautifully and truthfully stated–marriage. Congratulations on remaining in love, committed and thankful for the love of your life. Be well. Mary

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Karen

Vicki,
You put into beautiful words what I feel in my heart after 38 years with the same, loving hubby. Thank you. It's so nice to stop and ponder some of life's gifts/challenges.
Karen

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david terry

Dear Vicki,

Well, that's a lovely, evocative(witness all the comments) posting….particularly the statement "To be knowledgeable on any subject suggests that experience is involved and therefore logic would dictate that the more marriages we make, the more expert we become.".

For various reasons, your posting made me recall a passage from a Thomas Hardy novel. For some reason, I can't recall WHICH novel, and I can only paraphrase the passage. I wrote my dissertation on Hardy's novels, so I should be embarassed over this lapse in recall, but I also turned fifty on Saturday (in addition to it's being only 9 am this morning)….so I'll just paraphrase-away:

In describing a well-attended wedding between two very young people, Hardy notes that any number of attendees found any number of subjects upon which to remark favourably or critically…..the length of the bride's train, the choice of altar flowers, the groom's nervousness, the mother-in-law's dress, the choice of refreshments, the bridal veil's material, etcetera…..but not a single person in that crowd thought it odd, or even worthy or remark, that two very young people would stand in front of a crowd and earnestly vow (before God, their families, friends, and acquaintances) that they would always feel about each other as they did on that particular morning, at age 20.

That's a sobering, if not exactly chilling, observation. But, then, one scarcely ever goes to Hardy for "uplift".

And regarding multiple marriages?….

A few years ago, my younger brother (I have two) remarked of my rowdy,older brother (who was two years into his THIRD marriage and experiencing "difficulties) "Good Lord….to have done it so many times, you'd think he'd have figured out a way to make it at least LOOK easy."

Not entirely by the way?….the younger brother met his wife when they were both 15. They dated each other (quite exclusively and to the alarm of their respective mothers)all throughout high school, college, and gradschool. They sensibly married afterwards and had two fine boys in the following five years. they live in my small hometown, with her parents one mile to the East, and my parents exactly one mile to the west.

As you evidently have cause to know, constancy and good deal of willing work DO, after all, pay-off in the end.

Thanks for the lovely posting…and congratulations,

David Terry
http://www.davidterryart.com

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Emily

Vicki, Well stated. Such inspiration for all, young or old, married or single. I'm so blessed too, I could have written this except I'd have to add years to the story. Thanks for sharing such a sentimental moment with all.

~Emily
The French Hutch

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Joyce@canadianoriginals.net

Your words reminded me of how rare a long and good marriage is. I too married young. We'll celebrate our 29th anniversary this summer. We've raised three wonderful children — one of whom has autism. Life isn't always easy, but marriage is worth it when you're with the right person. Thanks for your lovely post Vicki.

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Anonymous

The words in your heart are beautiful! I am fortunate enough to say that I feel the same way about my husband of 31 years. The journey is a wonderful part of life. ~Peggy

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Splenderosa

Vicki, this is the most poignant piece. I read it in WVFC and I reread it now. The sentimentality is overwhelming and so is the honesty. Love you….

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Eugenia210

Hello Vicki!!

What a beautiful post!!
I can´t find the exact words to let you knwo how I feel. I have tears in my eyes.
Has your husband read this sublime post?
He must do it!!
All the best from Rosario, Argentina.

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FOR HEART AND SOUL

Dear Vicki

Thank you for echoing the sentiments of my heart. We, too, married young and were told our marriage would never last. Thirty-three years later, through many tough times but even more joyous ones, my darling's is the face I look for in any crowd, and the hand I reach out to hold. He's a man of great integrity, compassion, warmth, patience, humour and joy and he blesses my life every day. I would not change our eternal journey together for the world.

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Millie

Unbeknown to me, MOTH took all my boys out for a meal & asked them if it was OK with them if he asked their Mother to marry him. They were 8, 9 & 11 at the time. How could I possibly refuse a bloke who's heart was that big! You are many things dear Vicki, but dinosaur-like you are not.
Millie x

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david terry

P.S……

Regarding this last posting of yours, Vicki?

I haven't told you (and, so, perhaps it might seem odd to do so quite publicly), but?….

After Herve, you, and I had lunch in St. Remy and afterwards spent the afternoon at your house, I asked him what he "thought" of "you".

He said (and I promise you I'm happily quoting) "She reminds me of you…neither of you ever gives yourself full-credit for your own talent or work. You both talk as though good things happened just by accident."

In any case, that was a lovely and evocative posting, Vicki.

Just to be sincere (in public….!)…..?

My good guess is that you're a far better writer than you give yourself credit for (I know…just ended a sentence with a preposition…can I depend on the generosity of native Australians to forgive me?).

Once again… a lovely posting by you. I just printed it out and sent it to my mother in Tennessee (who wouldn't touch a computer anymore than she would pick up a rattle-snake).

Admiringly,

david terry
(who now, at almost noon, has no excuse to avoid going out to the garden and tilling in the 2 truckloads of composted cowshit that arrived last week…welcome to my glamorous life…)

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Dumbwit Tellher

Vicki what a brilliant testament to your marriage, so well written. I really enjoyed what you wrote and how perfectly imperfect you made your marriage, any marriage really, sound.My parents were married the week before my mother turned 18. They were married 57 years before she died. Some people, no matter how old they are when they marry, are meant to be together.You two are those people.

xx Deb

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Annie Starr

I love this and think, if I dare to be so presumptuous, that our experiences (and wedding dresses) are similar. I wrote a similar post on our anniversary this year, seeing as the Hallmark cards fell somewhat short on appropriate wording. Perhaps you'd like to read it at http://www.starrgazing.com.
Wedding: linguistically simple but with huge expectations and interpretations. Delicious…this took me back to something I should spend more time relishing.

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Annie Starr

I cannot imagine how these past years have vaporized into memory dust, when it seems as though we are only now truly settling into married life? I’m not one for the clichés – but I can’t seem to find an adequate description that tops ‘time flies.’ It evaporates, it disintegrates, it implodes – all this lands at the feet of the same conclusion – where has it gone?
I can barely remember what I was doing the week before my wedding, what my thoughts were, what I looked like.
I do recall that my parents and I went out to have a’tasting’ lunch at the hotel which was catering for the affair. We tarted up and sat in the formal dining room in downtown Durban: the Royal Hotel which rather sums things up and reduces the need for further description. My Dad handsome and suntanned in his suit, and my Mum glowing in a pretty floral dress and freshly permed hairdo.
Where did I start? “Thank you Mum and Dad for the 25 years you have given me, swaddled in love and everything a girl could want. Thank you for the small and unreasonable fortune you are about to spend on my ‘big day,’ and the large fortune you have spent on my education, clothes, extra-lessons and braces.’
Did I start? Did I tell them that my youth and ‘girl-hood’ had been one of unparalleled contentment, and that I loved them with all my heart and in many ways couldn’t even imagine leaving home officially and starting my own home?
Did I ask them how, after so many years together they kept their love so passionate and their life so full of each-other? Did I ask them for tips and advice and ‘how-to’s’?
I can’t recall Agatha. I know the food was the least of the ceremony and certainly hope that I mumbled at least a little of what I have written above.
I do remember that one afternoon my Mum and I drove to a house in the leafy suburb of Kloof which I did not know well. We sat on orange sofas in a tiny sun-room and listened to the mother play the organ and her daughter sing “Perhaps love is like a butterfly” with tears streaming down our faces. I remember the pair playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Wagner’s Wedding March and deciding which I wanted to walk down the aisle to. I chose Vivaldi.
I remember brothers arriving from America, wives and luggage in tow, friends and relatives, and soon-to-be in-laws coming in to town from Johannesburg, Cape Town and London. I remember people borrowing my car for multiple trips to the airport, and the number of places at the table increasingly exponentially when it was returned.
I remember going for a dress fitting and the dress-maker had a sty in the corner of his eye the size of a hockey-ball and as red as a pomegranate. He was pinning things onto me with one eye open and the other clamped shut, more than once pricking my skin and not the satin and the two of us swore in tandem. I remember that at the final fitting the night before the big day, the dress was in three separate pieces and I couldn’t put it all on at once.
What I don’t remember is my husband from that week. We never saw each other once, he could well have been in another country. We spoke sporadically on the telephone but never in any depth because there were so many people humming around and so many things that needed doing.
I do remember that I had absolutely no doubt that I was the luckiest girl in the world and that I had the heart of the perfect man for me. I knew there would be ups and downs and days in-between. I knew him well and he knew me better. What I didn’t know then is that I would look back all these years later and think to myself that way back then, I didn’t even have an inkling just how lucky I was. That he has surpassed and exceeded and bettered each and every expectation, and that X years seems to have been a shooting star of time. Often I want it to stand still so that I can suck in just a little more of the moments we have together before they pass.
I look back to X years ago and think “can it be that long?’
Have we come that far in so short a time?
Yours in wedded bliss,
Annie

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Sarah (Snippets of Thyme)

I married young too Vicki. I was probably the last girl my classmates said would marry young. Like you said, "Thank goodness you had the luck to marry 'him'". I feel the same way. We had no real idea of what we were doing. Thank goodness it was HIM that I was infatuated with. Love was completely guiding our decisions. This was a wonderful piece to read on this "Father's Day" because have married the most wonderful, gentle, caring man…and father.

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Angel Jem

It certainly seems that a commitment for life seems anachronistic in an age when every little thing has a built in obsolescence, but I too am a believer in marriage is for life. One should view marriage in the same way as one buys a good bag; look for quality, not always the most expensive, nor buy just for the name and in a classic style that won't date. Congratulations on a long marriage and a thought provoking post!

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Gigi

Vicki, your thoughts on marriage mirror my own. I have been with my husband for twenty years, and come August we will have been married for seventeen of those twenty. My experience has been that while the challenges of marriage never end, neither do the rewards. Like you, I've always believed in commitment. Period. When people ask us how we've stayed together so long, Todd and I agree that respect is the foundation of our partnership. Respect . . . and a really, really good sense of humor!

Thanks for this incredibly beautiful and honest post. You're the best. xoxo Gigi

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