It seems like only last week when my husband yelled over the roar of the jet engine into my ear, “I cannot believe it has been fifteen years since we have been alone together in a tube filled with recycled air and screaming babies.” In fact, it was just last week when the two of us headed to a Floridian resort to celebrate the fact that twenty years ago we vowed in front of God, friends and family, and the church janitor to stay together for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health—without the need for noise-reducing headphones, costly therapy sessions, and unsolicited advice from the postal carrier.
Take it from me: fifteen years is a long time to go without taking a vacation with the one who has seen you (and your hair) at your very worst. Not to worry, our excuse for not going is completely valid and used daily by couples around the world: we have children. But now, they both have finally reached the age where they claim to have never had parents at all, therefore, completely freeing us up to leave town with nothing more than our suitcases and a simple threat: Do not get into trouble or else.
We couldn’t get to our beach chairs soon enough. Hours after leaving our suburban lives behind, we lay sprawled in the sun like two scantily clad lizards. As the sound of the waves immediately lulled us into a hypnotic state, I glanced over at my husband who was slathering sunscreen on his earlobes. He smiled and emphatically said, “Boy, we really needed this trip, didn’t we?”
I nodded. He was right. We really had needed the time away together. As I watched people with imperfect bodies stroll along the beach in front of us, occasionally stopping to admire a shell or build a sand castle, I wondered what they were there to celebrate. It was not long before a young couple wandered near us, laughing and holding hands. I watched them closely, mesmerized by their energy and obvious love for each other. As they began to gather shells in a pile, I soon realized their mission as I watched them create two words with the shells in the sand: Our Honeymoon.After admiring their work, the young couple walked down the beach until they became tiny dots on the horizon, not realizing that I was quietly blessing them with the wish that they would always remember that moment—that happiness—that love.
Twenty years goes by fast. I turned to my husband and picked up his hand. I held it tightly as I watched waves crash onto the shore and thought about our lives together. Just like all married couples, we had been through a lot, but we were definitely stronger for every experience. I smiled as I remembered my father-in-law’s comment on our wedding video, “You two are perfect for each other.” He was right.
Just then, my husband squeezed my hand, prompting me to look over at him as he said, “I’m glad I married you.” I leaned over and whispered, “Me too.”
And that was the moment that two scantily clad lizards vowed once again in front of God, an elderly gentleman armed with a metal detector, and two stingrays to stay together forever.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”