Twenty years ago today Gary and I tied the knot in a chapel in Austin, Texas. It was a smallish wedding with lots of family and our closest friends. The ceremony took place in the afternoon with a relaxed reception at an estate out in the Hill Country. I was just 22 years old, which now sounds a bit young but at the time I felt grown and very sure of myself. We'd been dating for three years and I was ready to make it forever.
Twenty years later I can honestly say that I had no clue. Does anyone really? I thought it was perfect, I thought we were MFEO ("Made For Each Other" - remember that from "Sleepless in Seattle?" Well it's a very cute movie and you really should watch it often. I do.) I thought we'd end up as two little hunched 90-year-olds, resting side-by-side on a park bench and holding hands as we carefully hobble down the sidewalk.
But now I know that life is largely a journey of mystery. We make decisions, big and small, using the limited knowledge and experience we have – the rest is just a ride on the river. We paddle the raft, avoiding rocks when possible, we hang on when the water's rough and pray during the bad rapids, we rest and laugh and soak up the sun when the river's calm, sometimes we catch a few fish or feel the wind in our hair, sometimes the riverbed runs dry and we have to pick up the barge and carry it over the dusty rocks. We do our best, but we are never really in control. We're just along for the ride and our journey depends on so many unknowns. The weather, the obstacles, the other boats, accidents and setbacks.
All I know about marriage is this: It's great. It's frustrating. It's hard. It's easy. It's fun. It's crazy. It's an adventure. It's the worst. It's the best. And that, my friends, is love.
I sure hope that Gary and I can keep the boat intact. I hope we still have more good times than bad. I hope we make it through these years of teenage daughters without too many late-night-parenting-squabbles. And I hope we're still both on board when we reach the ocean – or wherever the heck this river takes us.