"For better for worse. For richer for poorer. In sickness and in health. To love, cherish, and hold as long as we both shall live."
I made an everlasting commitment with those words and felt the truth of them as each one floated off my lips…
The truth of it is… to a twenty-something couple, very much in love, "for better for worse" at its very deepest means I'll accept your bad moods if you'll accept mine.
"For richer for poorer", for lack of a more eloquent phrase means "for poorer for poorer"… we knew nothing different… and if we can deal with poorer, we can definitely deal with richer!
… And "In sickness and in health" … well we're both pretty darn healthy, so this one shouldn't be too tough to take.
I may be exaggerating our naivity a little bit, but its not that far of a stretch… we were young and simple. Lacking much complexity in a life together, how can you fully understand the depth of those words?
We went to a wedding a couple weeks ago. It's a very interesting experience observing another couple recite their vows as you look onward with your husband sitting in parallel. I always feel a peaceful smile come over me as I peek over to observe him and try to guess what he is thinking.
I can't help but think about the day we said those vows.
And every time I've heard them since that day, the meaning has become a little more weathered, more tattered, more defined, more beautiful… like the purposeful lines artfully spreading across a maturing, aging face. There is a wisdom that has been created and is continuing to grow that simply does not exist on day one.
and it's really been beautiful…
Not necessarily beauty as in a peaceful spring morning, sprinkled with birds fluttering around, singing beneath the sun filtered trees (though it certainly has been that at times)..
But more like the beauty of water forming into waves, crashing toward the shoreline… full of depth and complexity as it is rushing forward. Each particle holding the others tightly, creating new colors, new life, new form, picking up little treasures along the journey …
and we occassionally reach that shoreline where we can pause and marvel at the creations around us, at the storm we've just weathered.
Smile at the sun keeping us warm. Appreciate the balance of life that keeps us whole… then little by little we are slowly pulled back out into the ocean and into the chaos again ~
It is certainly possible that in 10, 15, 20 years from now I'll shake my head at this knowing that the breadth of my experience as of my mid-thirties is laughable ~ but I can say with confidence that I now understand why those vows are recited. I understand what they mean. They were not originally written by twenty-something newlyweds.
Without doubt, they were written by a man (or woman) of experience… someone who survived the pains and pleasures, the achievements and disappointments, the broken hearts and divine creations of marriage.
Someone who understands that the definition of a happy marriage when you're twenty is far different than the definition of a happy marriage later in life.
It is actually those painful, challenging experiences that ultimately become the palette of color in the gorgeous work of art that becomes us.
Only those who are open enough to let go of their twenty-something ideas and see the beauty in brokedness, survivial, and recreation are ever able to fully appreciate the allure of the dance.
For us, I see that it has been a process of being broken down enough, so that we are able to recreate ourselves as a single being.
Our journey thus far has been one that is Better because we savor every ounce of our delicious memories. Worse only when we choose to shut the door on the unexpected…
Rich in experience, Poor in simplicity… Sickness… well, we've had our share…
and Healthy in our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls as we continue to wistfully brush new strokes creating the authentic story of us.
… more beautiful than what that twenty-something girl could have ever dreamed of.
How lucky am I to be the wife of this man? Richie recently made me a movie which captured our dreamy family trip to Breckenridge, CO at Christmas time in 2008… this is a small clip that he included in it that literally took my breath away.