July 19, 1986 finds me exactly one month into my eighteenth year of life, I am standing on a green carpeted stage in my $150, off-the-rack, chin to toe, polyester and tulle wedding dress. Carefully pinned to my head is a swooping, wide-brimmed polyester and tulle Southern belle style hat. Next to me stands a fresh-faced boy of nineteen dressed in light gray tails. Sweat beads up on both of our foreheads and trickles down the sides of our faces, tunneling under high collars and continuing its downward descent. The nasty beads of moisture don't come from nervousness, but rather from the stifling humidity inside the small country church.
We certainly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into on that ninety degree day thirty years ago. We were anxious to get the ceremony and the reception over with so we could get to our hotel in Grand Rapids for the start of our weekend honeymoon trip. Our first destination when we got to the hotel wasn't what you would think, it was the pool, so we could finally rinse the sweat from our bodies.
When a friend a recently asked what our secret was when I told her we were going to be celebrating our 30th Anniversary, I told her in all honesty - It's a lot of hard work. The mushy hand holding of the honeymoon year quickly wears off, and that is when you have to dig deep to constantly find things you can share in together.
Raising a child together doesn't make things magical, that is when the really hard work begins. You each want the best for your child, but often that "best" is not arrived at in the same manner. My advice to any married couple with young kids - no matter what, find a way to have a date night once a month, and don't talk about the kids while you are on the date. Your marriage will be blessed because of that stolen time together. That is one thing I wish we had done better.
Last week we celebrated our 30th Anniversary. Instead of going to our comfort place of beautiful, rural northern Michigan, we chose to step out of our comfort zone and spend five days in the very alive city of Toronto. We spent our first real vacation twenty-seven years ago there. The only things we remember about that trip were that our car broke down on the way there, we went to Niagara Falls first, when in Toronto we stayed somewhere downtown near the Maple Leaf Garden, we had no credit card, and according to Glen, we walked three hours each way to Casa Loma.
This trip was a bit better. We didn't go to Niagara Falls first, our car did make a strange noise but didn't break down, we stayed downtown just off of Yonge Street in a beautiful hotel, we do have credit cards, and the walk to Casa Loma only took 1 hour and 5 minutes according to Google Maps.
It was good to go to a new place, working together to figure out what we wanted to do, and how to get there without killing each other in the process. Glen was an extremely good sport as I dragged him down side streets to photograph doors on old buildings, and into Catholic churches to photograph stained glass windows and church pews, and even stalking colorfully dressed ladies sitting on park benches. In return, I tried a mussel, drank a whiskey he selected for me, tried new beers, and returned to diner style restaurants every morning for breakfast.
I think I taught him a bit of what the world looks like through my eyes, and he taught me a bit of what the world looks like through his eyes. After thirty years it is still a good marriage.