Three weddings in four weeks will be capped next weekend when Torrie and I meet up with some friends in New York to watch my college pal Drew finally get married. It is the time of year I suppose, but I have had my fill of frothy punch and Ritz cracker based finger foods. I'm not even one of those "I hate weddings" guys. I get it. I've officiated a few. I grasp the levity of waking up single and going to bed that night completely committed to another person. But I am starting to doubt that the picture of a bride in a wedding gown defines marriage.
Don't get me wrong, I still remember exactly what Torrie looked like as she came down the aisle almost seven summer ago. We lost 90% of the wedding pictures in one of our moves. Keepsakes aside, the image is still pretty clear. The funny thing is, can a moment like that one that happened on our late summer evening truly define a marriage? A life spent together? Surely there is more symbolism to a marriage than a wedding gown.
Flash forward to this early summer Wednesday morning as I eat powered scrambled eggs in a hospital cafeteria. Torrie went into out-patient surgery about 30 minutes ago. It's a simple routine. Minor ligament damage. She'll be fine this afternoon. Yet you can't look at your bride in a hospital gown without thinking back to the promises you made to her while she was wearing a different gown... one that closed in the back. I also can't help but think ahead to the day when I'll sit in a waiting room during a surgery that isn't so routine. I'm sure that morning will consist of more hand-wringing than blogging over hash browns. Yet, is that day all that more important than the August evening I married her? It could turn out to be, I think, the reason I married her in the first place.
We've had a fairly smooth marriage thus far. I consider myself lucky to have married such a low-maintenance woman. I pay her this high compliment often, to which she usually questions whether or not it is in fact a compliment. "You get low-maintenance cars," she says, "not wives." Even still, there have been rough patches along the way. Even a reliable automobile needs the timing belt replaced I guess.
Yet I have found that it is in these moments where I truly find out just why I married my wife. All of that "in sickness and health" talk really comes into view. I married her to sit beside her after hip surgery now and, if I am lucky, after surgery 40 years from now. I signed up for the disappointments just as much as I did the successes. The rejection letters. The long nights trying to figure out the budget. The conversations filled with uncertainty on the back porch. The "what are we going to do with our lives" questions. I'll gladly take them all. I have a mascara stained undershirt that was painted by tears. I kept in the rotation and it is quickly becoming my favorite. That white t-shirt communicates commitment better than any wedding gown ever could.
Don't get me wrong, she looked beautiful in a wedding gown.
She looks even more beautiful in a hospital gown.