My heart wavered. The question percolating for weeks in my mind, now at the tip of my tongue. We had a surprise date night; a time to discuss without eavesdropping by one of the ten ears always in my midst.
"Bill, sometimes I feel afraid that our marriage...won't make it. How will I know?"
No silence, no awkward pause. He speaks immediately, "Well the only way that'd happen is if you left me."
The tears come, the happy and grateful and relieved tears.
My heart wavers like this often. How can I know what awaits me? Will I be alone? Will I get sick? Will he? Will he get sick...of me?
How can I know?
This question exchange happened months ago. But the wavering has happened since then. The not-knowing. The giving in to fear.
"Mommy, can I see your wedding dress?"
Her eyes look up in hope that she might travel to a time before she was even a thought. Feeling pressed for time, but trying to see the bigger picture, I relent and show her the dress in the keepsake box. The beads a little time-worn. The white satin crisp, smooth, and wrinkle-free.
Then we pull out the wedding photos.
My heart stills. Turning those pages, I am reminded of the girl I once was. The one who was okay not knowing. The girl who said, "I do" to the boy, not really knowing all those two short words would entail. The girl with the fuller face because she was barely 20 years old. Not yet having grown into the adult she would become. The adult who's body would bring forth five children. The body that has endured pain and heartache, frustration and joy.
My heart didn't waver on that day 16 years ago, so why should it waver now?
So what now? Here's advice from me, an Old Married Lady who will in another 16 years laugh that I just referred to myself as such.
Display your wedding photos. Look at your wedding album often. It will remind you of who you once were and who you have become now that you've shared your life with someone for however long. Look your spouse square in the eyes and express your fears and doubts. When they express their fears, have grace. Realize no marriage is perfect and it's okay to be afraid. Let your children time travel with you, introducing them to the two young people they've never met.
Photos by Sandra Wilder Photography