Yesterday I attended my friends’ wedding. It’s interesting and challenging attending weddings as a divorced, single woman. I’ve attended three since my divorce (there have been others I’ve honored from afar), and while I’ve always been incredibly happy for the couple in question weddings also bring up a lot of other emotions as well.
I was excited as my friends approached the alter. The bride looked gorgeous in her blush rose wedding dress, and the groom looked awesome in his suspenders and bow tie. The weather was gorgeous for it, and the scenery included flowering bougainvillea sailboats in the bay. The sky was all blue, but it wasn’t too hot. Finally the bride and groom were facing each other, and that’s when the tears started.
The ceremony and the vows were perfect for them, yet their ceremony brought up emotions I felt when I was a 21-year-old girl standing in front of a different alter. I remember I was incredibly nervous walking down the aisle with my dad. I didn’t want to look at anyone, because I was afraid I’d cry and mess up my make-up. I remember my dad giving me away. “Who gives this woman to this man in marriage?” the preacher asked. “Her mother, and me, and Mastercard,” my dad said. Everybody laughed, and after that I couldn’t stop giggling. I guess my body decided to laugh instead of cry. My future husband was also nervous. He flubbed his lines, and when he’d finished them he whispered to me, “I’m fucking this all up.” We got married in a Methodist church, and apparently the preacher’s eyes got as big as saucers in response to the colorful vocabulary.
Then there are emotions from more recent events. As the bride’s dad walked her down the aisle, I couldn’t help but think of my own dad. I’m grateful Dad got to walk me down the aisle once, but it’s incredibly sad to know that he won’t be there when (if?) I marry again. It’s sad to know he’ll never know the love of my life, and my partner (currently imaginary) will never know him.
I can’t help but think of the couples I know who have been together for decades, but whose marriages are on the rocks or have already ended.
There’s a bitter, and perhaps slightly jealous, part of me that jokingly wants to send newlyweds the wish that “I hope your marriage lasts longer than mine did!”
I’ve realized what I really want to say is:
“I hope you won’t make the same mistakes I made in my marriage.
I hope you won’t avoid the challenges that come up in your marriage, and instead face them head on.
I hope you won’t take each other’s presence and love for granted.
I hope you will always express your love for each other.
I hope you will always talk through your problems, big and small.”
For all of my friends who have gotten married in recent years, I have to remember that they are not me. They aren’t the same fragile, volatile, 21-year-old girl I was who got married even though I knew nothing about myself and lacked useful relationship communication skills. They are strong, beautiful women and men who have taken time to learn who they are, which will allow them to be better partners. They took time to make sure they were truly compatible with their partners too! I’m not a fortune teller, but I think they have a better shot than most…
All I can do is hope now that I’ve grown as much as I have I’ll attract a partner that’s equally well suited to me as my friends are to their partners. I’ll fight that bitter, jealous voice in my head, and instead send out love and positivity.
All you need is love… I hope that I’ll find mine again.