My wife and I wanted to get married on Halloween, but while planning for the ceremony and reception, we realized that we would someday be forced to choose: celebrate our anniversary or take the kids trick-or-treating?
We chose the trick-or-treating.
So we settled our wedding day on Oct. 16, 2004. It was a day of joy spent with family and friends, of making vows before God and our assembled guests, of officially proclaiming to the world—or at least the state—that we were henceforth and forevermore a unified force with which to be reckoned. (I originally wrote “to be reckoned with,” but the urge to correct my own grammar was too strong to let it stand.)
The day was amazing: a masquerade ball come to life because a lot of people who truly love us worked to make our vision a reality.
But it was also merely the first day of our marriage. What we were really looking forward to was yet to come. Is still yet to come.
We didn’t pick a wedding day because we wanted a wedding. We picked a wedding day because we wanted a marriage, and there is a difference. Of course there’s a difference.
I make a habit of telling engaged couples that the wedding is great and all, but the marriage is what they should be really excited about. Because the wedding—as special as it may be—is done in less than 24 hours. You plan for months or (I don’t recommend this) years, and it’s over in less time than it takes to watch an entire season of 30 Rock on Netflix.
Your parents, siblings, cousins, and die-hard friends are picking up scattered trash as you drive off, you get a few days of honeymoon, and then reality sets in.
You need to be in it for the long haul.
Nine years ago, my wife and I took our first step together, trusting that we would then take another step, and another, and another, for as long as these bodies will allow. Into the Shallows.
To my wife, my best friend, my lover, my sparring partner, the mother of my children, and all the titles and nicknames you have and will have: Happy anniversary. I love you.