I love going to weddings. In fact, it doesn't even matter if I know the people or not, but I cry at them. Like sobbing cries. Like snot running down my face, cries.
I think it's the romantic in me, because believe me, after living for fifteen years on THIS side of a marriage I KNOW what it's really like. It's stinking hard. Like REAL hard. Like running a marathon on your knees, hard.
Don't' get me wrong, It's still sweet and romantic and wonderful at times but once you've seen your wife squeeze a baby out of a place you only think of for other purposes or nursed your spouse through a flu-bug that exited at every orifice, or worked through a disagreement that brought out the ugliest in both of you, the romance is a little harder to work up. Know what I mean?
Not a lot of mystery left.
But a wedding? Well that brings it all back; the fairy tale, the naive romance, the glow of love that hasn't had any real obstacles yet, the fantasy of what your life together will be like.
I like remembering that.
But I also like being reminded of how far we've come. How much we've learned. How much we've changed. It reminds me that I've invested in this marriage. I've put blood, sweat and tears into it that have cost me my pride, independence and selfishness but brought me security and safety and a partner who knows more about me than anyone else.
And as hard as marriage is, I'd be a fool to give up easily on all that hard work.
So today when I attend the wedding of a friend who was the same age I was when I got married all those years ago, I'm sure I'll cry. And it won't be just about the romance of the moment but also about the thankfulness I feel at all the growth that my marriage has brought to my life and the rewards of having stuck it out.
I'll take that happily ever after, thank you very much.