We were barely halfway when the clock struck midnight. Sweaty and sunburnt, we hunched over a laptop at a stairway in Country Inn & Suites, piecing together vows we had forgotten to write.
Twelve hours later, amid anxiety and aunts, there she was. The universe fell silent as we promised to make a life sewing ourselves into one for the good of God's world.
And 387 collapses on the pillow later, there are at least a few of them where I wonder if the day could prove we weren't just convenient roommates.
Been single most of my life, you see, and all the good and bad of being single was true of me too. My mind ran personal highlight reels like a washed up varsity quarterback, scanning for all the evidence that I was something to someone. I sized every girl up, only sometimes able to see beyond teen lust & selfishness into an infinite preciousness.
Truth is I'm still kicking the old habits.
Truth is I forget I'm married every day.
Truth is I still run highlight reels.
Truth is I still size up. I still find other women attractive, compelling, kind.
Sometimes, we make promises because we're confident we'll carry it out. Other times, we make promises, hoping that by sealing it with words we will make worlds we'll eventually live in.
Marriage is the second kind of promise, because who the hell is a horny 21-year old to make a promise still binding 30 years later? We say those shy words because we live in a miraculous universe where dragons do get slain, monsters collapse under courage, and two stupid 20-nothings might actually, over time, move into the world their promise made.
Truth is neither signing a paper nor doing a song & first dance, nor picking out flowers nor selecting the best tablecloth color can guarantee you'll wake up the next morning with your marriage covenant permanently etched on you.
That kind of memory comes with a crock-pot commitment to character, the willingness to screw up 942 times a day and hit the pillow grateful because you screwed up 947 times the day earlier.
That kind of memory comes when you understand real love narrows, and real humans are too fascinated about the possibilities of loving one human completely that checking out the babes becomes boring.
That kind of memory comes, over time, as I'm tempted & wooed by her ever-expanding beauties, endless quirks, and hidden depths.
That kind of memory comes when you confront the world your wedding day words made, and make daily choices to move in.