Today is my 17th wedding anniversary. My seven year old, like so many little girls, is quite fascinated with all things wedding . . . especially all that sparkles and shines. And yesterday, when my husband told her that today is our anniversary she insisted on pulling out my wedding dress to play in and looking at pictures from our wedding day. As I was digging out the photo albums, I realized that the only photo we have on display from our wedding is this one, a candid shot from our reception, taken from a distance . . .
It’s not that our wedding and wedding day weren’t wonderful. They were. Many people told me before our wedding day that I wouldn’t remember a second of it because I’d be stressed and distracted so I made a point of being present in the moment, of enjoying the day and taking the time to soak it all in. And I have the best memories from our wedding and reception. No, it wasn’t the lack of a wonderful wedding day that has caused me to relegate our wedding photos to an album stuck in the back of a cabinet, but actually because of it.
You see, that day, July 12, 2003 wasn’t the culmination, the peak, or the height of our relationship. Our wedding was fun. Our wedding was special. Our wedding was beautiful, and I think weddings are incredibly important, not for the dress, the flowers, the people in attendance, or the party, but because they are the beginning of a covenant relationship between a husband, a wife, and God. And at the end of the day, it isn’t about a wedding, but about a marriage . . . it’s about the commitment and the covenant . . . becoming a better person than you were the day before, learning to love selflessly, forgiving when it seems impossible, putting someone else’s needs before you own . . .
So often I see young couples, especially brides, living for the wedding day . . . and again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being excited about and dreaming about that day . . . there is nothing wrong with a beautiful gown and an amazing celebration, but your wedding day is just the start of the ultimate race. Not everyday is perfect. Not everyday is easy. A lot of days will be downright hard. Sometimes it will seem like you’re running straight uphill, in 100 degree temps, and 95% humidity, and sometimes, you’ll feel the sweet relief of a cool breeze and settle into such a good forward pace that you forget that hills lay behind you. But with each step forward you’re building something. Something even more amazing, and wonderful, and beautiful than your actual wedding day.
And that is why, we have one photo of our wedding day marking the beginning of what was to come, but our walls are covered, not in photos from that day, but with photos of our family in various stages over the years. Photos from the early days of marriage that morphed into years with babies and toddlers and eventually, a soon to be teenager. Photos of places visited and adventures from both near and far. Photos that memorialize the beautiful and the hard . . . that tell the story, thus far, of an incredible life built, by the grace of a very generous Heavenly Father, between two people.
Lest anyone think that we have it all together, we don’t. We aren’t perfect by a long stretch. We sometimes fight. We’ve been known to have an argument from time to time. We wake up grumpy and need a cup of coffee before we can be totally civil (okay “we” might be me in this case . . .). But we have this quote hanging in our living room,
I choose you. And I’ll choose you over and over and over. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I’ll keep choosing you.Unknown
And that’s the gist of it. We choose each day to choose one another. On the best days, the most monotonous days, and the hardest days, we choose to show up and let God do the work that needs to be done. And that is what that wedding day is really all about.
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