When Hugh proposed to me on Christmas Day, 1992, the first words out of my mouth were “Oh, shit”. I would like to think that I have developed a tad more eloquence in the intervening years, at least enough to be able to express what I was really feeling in that moment, but; yeah, not so much.
The truth is; marriage is the ultimate huge, scary, Unknown. It is a roller-coaster ride of pleasure and pain, a trip through the dark woods at night with nothing but the glow of a small lantern to light the way. It is a leap of faith into an endlessly exciting abyss.
Marriage teases us with the idea of perfect happiness, giddy delight, the promise of a perfect union with the one person in the world who could possibly offer completion of our very soul and then, more often than not; delivers harsh reality in the form of petty arguments, miscommunication, disappointment and the stark realization that no one is perfect. No relationship is perfect; marriage is 99% work and 1% play and, who wants to come to that realization?
Sixteen years ago today Hugh and I stood before our family and friends and vowed to stick it out until the end. At the time, we had no idea what that might entail, what challenges we might face, what blessings we would encounter along the way and, to be perfectly honest; we still don’t have a clue.
But, I can’t imagine anyone I would rather have had next to me as I leapt into that abyss. "Oh, shit", indeed.