I recently came across a polaroid from our wedding. It was taken on expired film, so it has the hazy glow of the memory of a warm summer’s day. It was one of the last shots taken of the party, and David and I are walking through the crowd of onlookers, being sent off into married life. My dress swirling around my ankles, my bouquet is tightly clutched in my hand, and I’m smiling. David is holding my hand, and doing a little half wave.
I remember when I saw the polaroid right after the wedding. Because of its faded haze, it looked like a memory from long ago. And while I was still basking in the glow of that intense, imperfect day, I thought to myself, “Someday, this is probably how our wedding will feel.” And now, just three years later, that picture looks exactly like my internal vision of our wedding. Like a hazy glow, a memory of warmth, held close to our hearts.
But what struck me about that polaroid when I picked it up last week is the fact that, at that second, we were walking into our marriage. As a couple that had been together five years, I knew that something intense had happened that day, but I wasn’t convinced that our marriage was different than the foundation of our relationship that we’d laid, year upon year.
Last week, when we were having a conversation about wedding guests, and the need (or not) to have people in attendance that fully supported your marriage, I said that I wanted to know that the community that had surrounded me at my wedding backed my marriage to the hilt. And someone responded that they didn’t know about that, but they always backed their friends to the hilt. While I totally understood that sentiment (David and I have had enough friends divorce that we’ve done things like hand them large sums of cash to see them through), I realized that wasn’t what I needed.
Somewhere along the line, my marriage became its own entity. Something separate from my individual self. Something that needs care and nurturing. Something that supports me in my darkest hours.
And this summer, there have been a lot of dark hours. It’s been one of those summers where the waves keep coming, and at some point all you can do is try to ride them out, hoping that they will slow to little lapping gushes at your feet. Add to that the fact that society is deeply invested in pregnant women being happy, regardless of what’s going on for them. Happy. Excited. All the time. And when you’re not, you can be made to feel like you’ve let the whole team down.
If you’d asked me a few years ago, or probably even six months ago, what would happen to our relationship in a summer of discontent, I would have told you it would suffer. But what I’ve learned is that my marriage is its own entity. Bigger than either part. A whole. A life preserver in the storm. It traces its roots back to that hazy warm day, walking together into whatever came next.
To echo Lily, I learned this summer that (while being a feminist) I can say, my marriage is the most important thing.
My marriage is the most important thing.
Happy three years, David.
Photo of our wedding by One Love Photo, all rights reserved, please do not repost