It doesn’t seem like 18 years today that I’ve been married. To tell the truth there are times I still feel like we JUST got married. That we are still on our honeymoon. I merely blinked and nearly two decades have passed. It is true what they say…time flies when you are having fun. Never for a moment have I regretted the words “I do”. Never for one second have I ever even uttered the dreaded “D” word. In all our years…through any struggle and strife I never dared to say that word. And neither did he. No not ever. Hard to believe isn’t it? That cursed word gets thrown about so easily these days. As if the dissolution of a marriage is nothing more than a quick trip to the court house and poof…you’re not married any more. We both agreed, my love and I, that once we wed…there would be no mention of divorce. Oh yes…I can hear the mocking comments now. No one really ever WANTS to get a divorce. But then I have to answer with…well did any one ever want to be really married?
Marriage is hard. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. You will struggle. You will feel like a failure. You will, at one time in your marriage, wonder if you made the right decision. You will cry. You will get angry. You will lose sleep. Those things are a given in a good marriage. Let me explain why. Struggle implies that you are on hard times. And to that I can say my husband and I have had more than our fair share of that. But in those hard times you must learn to struggle together. Not apart. When you feel you are failing or can see that your spouse is feeling a failure…this is when you gather them to you and loudly proclaim that you are PROUD of them…no matter their failures. I get asked often how we have made it so long? I answer with out hesitation. Patience, prayer and persistence. If you can maintain those three P’s in a marriage you can survive just about anything God throws at you.
I still can smell the cologne that my hubby to be was wearing the day we were married. I can still hear my heart (and his) thundering in my ears. The butterflies were so strong I thought they might carry me away. Eighteen years and I can still hear the catch in his voice when he repeated his vows to me. It was one of the most breath taking moments of my life. I cried. Of course I did…ruined my carefully applied makeup and blubbered like a baby. I didn’t care one wit….I was marrying my love! My hand trembled when he slipped that ring on my finger. So did his. I remember the moment we turned to face our friends and family as Mr & Mrs Burkett and my mama was the first face I looked for. My heart was bursting with pride and I had to have that moment….those few seconds to share it with her. She answered with a proud and beaming smile of her own. The first dance with my brand new husband was like a fairy tale. Endless Love sang around us as we just stared at each other. Still trying to take in that we were actually married. The father-daughter dance as my daddy shed silent tears over losing his little girl. And that quiet moment where I let him cry but kissed his cheek to let him know…I was always going to be his little girl. I even offered to dance on his feet to remind him. And he laughed like I hoped he would. I danced a dance with my new father in law and listened as he wisely told me of the hard work that a marriage took. “You will find that there will be different kinds of love in your marriage.” He was so …serious, “Right now you are madly and insanely in love. In a few years you will settle in and find a warm love. When you are old and gray you will find a love that has lasted through the ages of time. But there will always be….love.” Those wise words ring in my ear to this day and I know he meant them. I laughed as we ran through a shower of rice to get to the truck. And then I laughed some more as it took three of us to squeeze my princess sized wedding dress into that little S10 pick up truck. And then I cried as my love told me I looked like a princess. Words every bride longs to hear on her wedding day. He continued to tell me all the things a bride seeks to hear from her love. I was beautiful. I took his breath away the first instant our eyes met. He couldn’t wait to start the rest of our lives. I remember them all. Vividly.
Yes…I am blessed. I am a happily married woman of 18 years and he still makes my heart sing. I am passionately proud that we have been happily married for eighteen years. I sing it loudly, as often as I can to as many people as I can. I look at him today and see this wonderful, caring, fiercely loyal and unabashed man and sometimes still find it hard to believe he is mine. I NEVER take that for granted. Life has shown me through the lives of others that time is precious. One blink of an eye can change everything. That thought never strays far from my mind. I treasure every single moment God gives me on this earth. I try to squeeze as much love as I can into those moments. And I never….ever….miss a chance to say…I love you.