The day they have been dreaming of finally arrives as they walk down the aisle without a care in the world. With family and friends gathered around they are united for life as they state their vows and say “I do”.
Over six years ago my husband and I stood at the altar, although no birds were chirping as we married in a December blizzard. We had rehearsed the words and went through multiple days of marriage preparation, understanding the sacrament and covenant we were about to enter into.
Filled with dreams and so much hope, we recited the vows not knowing at all the course our lives would take in the years to come. With anticipation we looked forward to starting a family together, both having no idea the struggle and heartache that would soon present itself.
Now six years later I never imagined we would still be trying to build a family, have suffered numerous miscarriages, multiple surgeries and doctor appointments trying to find answers. I never expected we would feel the call and joy so strongly in our hearts to adopt as we do today. It wasn’t how we thought the story would write, our plan was much different.
We thought we had it all figured out. We would wait six months or so after our wedding until we felt settled in, buy our first house, nine months later we would have a baby and I would be a stay-at-home mom.
Sometimes I think about whether anything would have been different on that day if we had known what we know now. In the past I have allowed doubt to creep in and wondered if my husband would marry me again, now knowing that I will probably never be able to bear him children. Of course I know the answer and his undying love for me. Still I wish I could go back to 23 year old me and say be ready, hang on, trust and allow God to fulfill your dreams.
I know there are couples who have gone through so much more, have experienced greater struggles, anguish and distress and my heart truly goes out to them. There are so many who throughout their years of marriage have endured such heavy crosses. Some unbearable at times, still love flourishes.
I think in a way it’s a grace that we are blinded by love in our innocence, not knowing the road that lies ahead. It’s a blessing that God doesn’t give us a screenshot of the future, but only asks us to take one step at a time.
The “I do” is only the beginning, the first moments of life together. It’s being sent forth and building the marriage from that day forward. Uniting as one in love and faith builds a foundation for when the road becomes rocky.
Through marriage preparation we learn the words to say and the meaning behind them, but it’s after the “I do” that we live them. They seem to be only words until we have experienced them in the everyday encounters. It’s in the daily “I do” that the marriage covenant is lived out. In the daily yes to someone else and no to our selfishness and sin the sacrament thrives.
In reality our married life together thus far is only a small portion, God willing of life yet to come. Decades more of joy, love and laughter and moments of tears, sorrow and struggle. Relying on the grace of the sacrament to carry us through, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor all the days of our life.
Saying “I do” not knowing what the future holds, but trusting and knowing who holds the future.