Saturday, August 13, 2016

Marriage and Metaphor and Other Lessons

Twenty-eight years ago, I'd have been waking up and getting ready for my 11 a.m. marriage to my college boyfriend, Carl.  We had lots of folks from out of town, an average 8 hour drive away, and we wanted to get married early in the day so that they wouldn't have to spend an extra night in a motel.
This morning I headed over to Dandee Donuts--last night, my spouse (college boyfriend Carl) said, "I want a jelly donut." 

I said, "Well it will be our anniversary tomorrow."

And because it's our anniversary, I got one of every kind of jelly donut they had.  I want to see it as a metaphor--marriage as bringing festiveness to daily life?--but the unhealthiness of donuts is a drawback.  And they're quick to grow stale.  Hmm.

Maybe a better metaphor is the planter of mint (peppermint and chocolate mint) that has come back from the dead.  For months, I had one lone straggle of a vine, and I assumed it was gone.  But this morning, the planter box is full of both kinds.

Of course, that's not a great metaphor for marriage either.  It would be a better metaphor if I had nurtured that vine and given it some nourishment.

The other morning, I noticed a tomato plant in our front planter box.  It probably grew from a seed from one of the tomatoes from a previous plant--also not a great metaphor for marriage.

It is interesting how every marriage that survives a certain period of time is both the same marriage and something totally different, yet born from the early years.  So maybe that next generation tomato plant is a good metaphor after all.

Here you see a picture of us on this day in 1988, and the two of us at our 25th anniversary dinner.  What holds a couple together for 28 years?

Once I'd have said that common interests were important.  Once I'd have said a couple needs to have similar beliefs, whether they be religious in nature or a shared commitment to a social movement.  Once I'd have said that couples should have a similar outlook when it came to finances.  I'd have said that because it would have been true for me.  I've since met many couples who don't have those things, and they're perfectly happy too.

I'd go to something more essential if I was giving premarital counseling today.  I'd talk about the need for compassion and forgiveness.  If you're thinking about marrying someone who holds a grudge, I'd advise you to think long and hard before going through with that.

I look back on my wedding day and shake my head.  I was convinced I was so grown up; I had just turned 23.  But really, what do any of us know when we enter into such a union?  We think we know all that we need to know, but we will learn so much more.

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