I Still Do

June 28, 2011 at 7:30 am | Posted in Relationship Woes | 5 Comments
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Last week, I poked my head into a colleague’s office — a man who I knew was on vacation when I made my engagement announcement to my company and I knew he’d be happy to hear the news. I also knew he would join the ranks of those giving me advice, and his advice would be truly genuine and meaningful because it would be more about my pending marriage rather than my wedding.  If this man could speak with every couple in the world that was considering divorce, he would singlehandedly reduce the divorce rate significantly.  I know I won’t be able to repeat word for word what he said to me but I wanted to share a few things that really stuck with me.

He told me that the person you marry today will not be the same person in 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years, and I won’t be the same woman either.  We will experience things that will change our lives and change who we are.  We will be broken down and built back up.  Our relationship will change. Our priorities will change.  We will make decisions we never imagined we would make, or have to make.  The beauty of marriage is being able to grow together, to change together, to accept the changes, and support each other through the good times and the bad.

He said that he mourns the end of his friends’ relationships.  Happily married for 20 plus years, he can’t imagine throwing all of that time away.  You can’t celebrate your children’s accomplishments together, or your grand children’s.  You give up having someone to share your life and memories with, the one you built so much with.

I’ve heard him talk about his wife and relationships many times, and it’s amazing to see how much he still loves her.  It’s incredibly admirable and something to look up to.  He told me about his wedding day, how they really made it their own.  How he sang a duet with his professional opera singing wife even though he has no singing talent at all and how he replays that moment in his mind all the time.  He told me the officiate of the ceremony was a very wordy man.  When the officiate spoke he waited patiently and nervously for the moment to say “I do,” and how he spoke too soon.  The officiate wasn’t done with his shpeal yet so he was going to have to say it again.  When the officiate was really done he said “I still do.”

I still do.  He and his wife had that saying engraved on their rings.

10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years, I want to say I still will.

I still will.

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5 Comments »

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  1. Wow. Well I have to say I’m really bothered by your colleague’s take on things. So if you divorce (or end any kind of relationship) you’re “throwing away” those years? You can’t share things with your children if you’re divorced? You give up having someone to share memories with – because what? You’ll never ever meet anyone else you’ll be happy with?

    I don’t subscribe to any of those theories. I especially dislike the attitude that if something is ended, you’ve wasted or thrown away those years. If you quit a job after 10 years or 20 years to do something else, did you throw away the time at that job? If you go to college and never get a job in your field, did you waste your education?

    My husband and I split (amicably) after 10 years. Was it sad? Yes. Do I still miss elements of our relationship? Absolutely. Do I consider the 10 years we spent together building a relationship wasted or thrown away? In no way. They are part of who I am – part of my life experiences. My time with him is a big influence on who I am today. And to say that my marriage was just throwing away those years because we divorced demeans everyone and every experience that was a part of those 10 years.

    Since then I’ve met someone else with whom to share life and make memories. So I really don’t think I’ll live out the rest of my life alone and lonely because I “threw away” my chance for companionship.

    No one gets married planning to get divorced (and believe me as a wedding vendor, I’ve seen a LOT of marriages start). All the relationships and marriages are valid experiences, whether they end in divorce or not. No relationship or experience should be demeaned as being “thrown away” just because it ended.

    • wow. I think you probably took this the wrong way as it was really a very sweet conversation. And as a wedding vendor, perhaps you could see that perspective as well? I agree that all relationships are valid experiences (which if you are a regular reader of my blog, you may have seen that common thread) but it is a rare occasion that you can share life experiences with an ex after a break up.

  2. Love love love this post.

    I couldn’t agree more. People do change (although in many ways they stay the same) and both these things can be a source of conflict – changing values/priorities, or trying to change certain qualities about the other person and failing.

    I want to be that couple, too. I wonder if we are young to get engaged, but I have to admit I am an old 22 (well 23 next month) and in our five years together we have been through more than any other couple I know.

  3. First, Congratulations on your engagement 😛

    Weddings are exciting (and stressful)! It doesn’t matter what you do or how much you spend, or how many guests attend, all that matters is that you make it you special day together. The only thing I wish I had done was hire a real photographer, we had friends of my in-laws who used to do some photography work on the side take our pictures. They captured the moment when Hubby was supposed to say “I do” and he just went blank, we laughed and they caught us on film. That was the most memorable thing of the whole day.

    It sounds like your colleague gives sage advice. Anyone promoting marriage in these hard times deserves recognition! People do change, sometimes in completely different directions. My parents divorced when I was 18, it sucked and I don’t want the same thing for my kids. I take my relationship seriously and both of us keep the other in check 🙂

    • love it. And yea. I am def willing to pay for a top photographer!


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