When We Got Married The Only Music In The Room Was My IV

The only music was my IV beeping.

bride and groom walking up stairs

When we got married, I wasn’t wearing a white dress. Your mom wasn’t sitting in front with tissues in her hand. My brother didn’t play his violin, and my mama didn’t sing.

When we got married, you were crying in the dark and I held you close. You thought you were dying and I said that I loved you. It took some time, but you got better.

When we got married, we said our vows through late night phone calls and too few flights across the country. It took some time, but we found a way to be together.

When we got married, I wore a hospital gown. You read me Where the Wild Things Are while I cried. Your mom started a prayer chain and the church ladies sent cards. My dad told the doctors you were my next of kin. The only music was my IV beeping. It’s taking time, but I’m learning to live with the body I’ve got.

These weren’t the moments when I knew you were the one. They were the moments when we became one. It took time, and distance, and two natural disasters. We inched forward and back. We didn’t always know what was happening, but when I wore a white dress and your mom sat in front with tissues in her hand: I couldn’t have done that if it wasn’t already true.

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  • Well, come on guys, shouldn’t this have some with a “cry at your desk” warning??

    Simple and beautiful.

    • meg

      It has a crying warning!

      • The warning needs to be in all captial letters. I’m bawling and really, that is the best post ever. Can we put in a APW all stars file?

      • The warning needs to be in all captial letters. I’m bawling and really, that is the best post ever. Can we put it in a APW all stars file?

      • I should have included the winky face up there ;) How could I ever be upset at you guys for showcasing such beautiful writing?

  • Kamille

    All I can say is Wow.

    And yes, I needed a cry at your desk warning.

  • LoLauren

    wow. goosebumps and tears. so sweet. This is impossible to read just once.

  • Gigi59

    Brilliant; absolutely brilliant. And so very true…

  • Wow, an absolute punch to the gut (I mean that in the amazing way). Another crier over here.

  • Mira

    Pure poetry. <3

  • Wow and beautiful. I’ve read this about five times over and those are the only words I can come up with.

    • Hannah


  • Christa, thank you. This is simply amazing. This puts into better words than I could ever find some of my own thoughts about my own relationship.

    I’ve known my mister for seven years, we’ve been dating for five (four of them long distance), and we’ve been engaged for three weeks. A lot of people have asked us what has taken us so long, why my mister didn’t propose sooner, why we’re waiting until next fall to get married.

    It’s hard to explain to them that the wedding feels like just a formality, that we’re taking our time because we can. We’re in no rush. We’re already each other’s people.

  • Gloria

    hot damn.

  • Celesta

    Graceful, elegant, poignant. Beautiful and heartbreaking. *tears*

  • Corrie

    So powerful. I read this three times in a row. Even though I suspect this was not part of Christa’s vows at her wedding, that’s how I picture the delivery in my head because it’s such a beautiful expression of her love and marriage. What a fantastic piece of writing.

  • Christa

    Hi All,

    I’m the author. Thank you for your very kind comments. I wrote this while I was trying to process why our wedding felt more like a terrifying obligation than a celebration of anything, so I’m glad you like it.

    I acquired a lifelong disability in the hospital stay I refer to, and we got “officially” engaged at the same time (Sweet Starling, yes, after years and years of dating and long distance- I hear you). Navigating the worlds of wedding and new disability at the same time was quite the adventure. To my family, the wedding was sort of a coming out party for my new body- they were learning how to treat, interact, and think of me, in addition to the more straightforward physical adjustments I needed them to make for me. In the end, I realized that the wedding was a public confirmation of what we’d already been living, and our community needed time to processes my shiny new disability just as much as I did. The timing was such that it happened at our wedding, which is the way life turns sometimes.

    • Annnd I loved reading this comment almost as much as the original post. Damn.

      • Shiri

        Agreed. I want to hug you, Christa, and be your friend (and force you to write posts once a week, yes?).

    • Hannah

      Thank you.

  • I have nothing to say that has not already been said. At the same time, hitting Exactly on all of these posts is not enough. Thank you, Christa, for sharing your story. For opening up with all of us. The bravery of putting something this raw and emotional out for everyone, of making yourself vulnerable like this, is amazing. The succinct way that you describe everything a marriage (and relationship) should be is breathtaking. Thank you.

  • Katrina

    I went from watching a cute video of two kids singing pop lyrics to classical music, now I’m crying. Thank you so much for this heartfelt post. It said so much with so little needed.

  • Jen

    Wow, that’s amazing. I want to keep going back and re-reading it.

  • Goosebumps and tears. Absolutely beautiful.

  • Shiri

    Thank you, thank you. Thank you so much. And good luck.

  • This is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read. Overwhelmed here. Read it four times already. Christa, amazing. Wishing you the best as you move forward in your new worlds.

  • Vanessa Helene

    Oh wow. Beautiful. Thank you.

  • So beautiful. Thank you!

  • Jane

    Just mild amounts of weeping happening over here. Thank you so much.

  • This is lovely.

    Also I love these short ruminations on what a wedding is or what marriage means. It reminds me of old school APW. :)

    • meg

      Old School APW is Maddie’s and my theme for the year. Not that we can take ANY credit for Christa’s mindblowing work.

  • Kellilu

    Stunning in beauty and in heart. Thank you for sharing this.

  • hot damn. tears.

  • Katie

    Thank you. In tears with the sad and beautiful truth to your story.

  • Your post is written so beautifully. Tears for sure. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Holy hell. This. All over the place.

    I realized the other day that a tough couple of months has bled into a tough almost-three-years. And quite honestly, I do feel like the nearly-husband and I have done so much ground work during these times. He’s been my family for so long now that the “getting married” part seems like the (very delicious) icing on the cake.

  • Claire

    breathtaking. thank you.

  • Denzi

    There are not enough “exactly” buttons in the world.

    This. Obviously we have very different lives and experiences, but this was also how I felt about my wedding: that it was the end point of “getting married” rather than the beginning. That it was a recognition by our community of a marriage that had already begun some time between a year and eight months prior.

  • I have no words that can match what I just read. Thank you.

  • Amazing. Just amazing.

  • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

    My goodness. Bookmarked.

  • Laura Mc

    This is definitely my favorite post ever on this site. As another woman learning to navigate her (unnoticeable on the outside) disability, I am familiar with many of the emotions and headspaces you describe. Thank you for putting words to it.

  • WTF. That was absolutely staggering. Jeez.

  • KateW

    Definitely just cried. So beautiful. So true! My husband has just stepped out to get us Thai, and when he comes back, I am going to give him the biggest hug ever.

  • alicia

    It truly is hard to put into words how perfectly this is written. I just love this!

  • Anya

    This made me cry.

    in the best way. Thank you.

    I’ve been getting cold feet with the marriage thing. I told this to my fiance and he just held me, knowing that I’ve lost who I am somewhere between my 3rd and 4th nervous breakdown over finishing up my scientific paper and PhD Thesis, looking for a job, planning a wedding, and handling 3 overbearing jewish mothers (I know they mean well, but come on!) Somewhere along there I forgot what it means to be happy and in love because all I remember is stress and punctuality and responsibility.

    I read this post and I realized when we got married (after I cried for about 30 minutes). And I swear it’s been at least 10 times already. So thank you. For reminding me.

  • So very true. It brought tears to my eyes. I broke my back five months before the wedding and had spinal surgery five weeks before, and I know that time was when “we got married”.

  • Kelli Turnbull

    I just wanted to say that this post has allowed me to understand my own wedding/relationship so much better. I kept feeling as if I wasn’t as excited about my wedding as I was supposed to be. I didn’t cry when I found my dress and I’m feeling more nervous than excited about the big day. I felt like something was wrong with me or my relationship. But after reading your post, I have gained a better understanding of why I am feeling this way. I have been together with my fiance for 5 1/2 years and we have moved 2500 miles away from where we met together within that time. We have bought a house, we own a dog, and we have built careers and lives together. I realize that we have married a long time ago, back when we made all of those decisions to live our lives together. It is just now where we are making it known to those around us and allowing our families to celebrate this decision with us. Thank you for this new understanding and best wishes to you and your husband!

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  • lauren

    I am rummaging through APW tonight looking for wedding readings/ceremony text and sort of think this is perfect. You sum up our thoughts about marriage/wedding so beautifully and perfectly. I think I am going to use this as the inspiration for/core of our ceremony text. Thank you so much!