Monday, June 03, 2013

24 Years Ago

Sometimes it feels like 100 years ago, and sometimes it feels like just yesterday that I married my soul mate and love of my life.

Our 25+ years together has been bumpy, rocky and sometimes seemingly impassable, but here we are one year shy of our silver anniversary.  I can only attribute that to the both of us growing into stronger and more forgiving people, and having faith.

Twenty-five years ago my mother told me we would never last. She blamed John for almost killing me after I was very near death from a tubal pregnancy. She sat my then fiance' down and told him I was damaged goods and he deserved better because I had been sexually abused- right in front of me like I wasn't even there, meanwhile John sat calmly and let her finish, then told her plainly that I had told him EVERYTHING about my childhood. Her sabotage didn't work, thank God, because I had been completely honest with him in our first week of dating.

She made me change my wedding date 4 different times because she had plans, unwilling to change her plans for my wedding. She took control of my wedding planning and told John he could only invite 15 people out of 250 invites because she was going to pay for the reception as a gift. She eventually threw me a wedding shower but then kept all the gifts that I had stored at their house while I was in the Navy, all because John argued that 15 people were not enough from his side. She cancelled the wedding reception, kept my shower gifts AND told me she had prayed and God told her she (and the rest of my family)  wasn't allowed to go to the wedding... then lied to my brothers that because I was mad I had uninvited all of them.

My mother's pastor grudgingly held our wedding ceremony in a dirty church with small pieces of lint and paper scraps in the aisle, after my mother - I am sure- told him how I had been disrespectful to her. He didn't look at me a single time during the wedding ceremony, which was certainly rushed and maybe lasted 10-15 minutes. He glanced at John a few times but only looked over my head.

None of my immediate family came to our wedding, but my mother's sister and her family came, including my aunt's in-laws who let us call them "granny" and "gramps" as kids. My art teacher from high school came, I was and still am so very touched she would do that for me. We had navy friends there, and John had quite a few family members that flew and drove from Iowa and Virginia. I had my great grandmother and some high school friends who showed up for me as well.

We had about maybe 40 people show up to our wedding, but some of the guests did not go to the reception. All in all, we spent 1000.00 for our wedding, my off the rack wedding dress costing just under half of that. The rest was spent on flowers, a 2 tier wedding cake and flowers we ordered from a grocery store, and John and his brother's tuxedo rentals. Luckily a family friend and mom of one of my high school classmates had heard about how my mother had treated us and she graciously approached John and I about having our reception at her house near her pool, and she and another family friend bought and cooked the food for us for a measly 100.00. What a blessing that was!

When it came time for the wedding to begin, I almost had a nervous breakdown because John decided that arriving 5 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start was completely appropriate! I figured after all the craziness he has experienced from my family during our 11 month engagement, he had probably gotten cold feet.

I still missed having my family there, but was very thankful for the family that did show up; my aunt and her family, and my art teacher- who secretly I had always wished had been my cool and quirky mom. I was very blessed to have had a father-in-law who had been sweet enough to ask me if he could walk me down the aisle, even though we hadn't met yet.

The first 25 years of our relationship- just like our wedding day- has been bitter sweet, but mostly sweet. I willingly give my husband most of the credit, though. He knows how genuinely messed up I am and loves me despite all of it. He knows me like no other, he knows all of my dark secrets. Every. Single. One. And I am almost positive that I know all of his. We are both damaged from our childhoods. Sometimes we can be rough around the edges but we manage to love each other through it, because we see value in all that we have conquered in the past.

What makes our relationship continue to grow despite rough patches? I think it's because our valleys have been so low at times that it makes the high points that much higher. It's the bitter in the bittersweet that makes it all that much richer and sweeter.

My younger brother told me a few years ago that considering I was the black sheep of the family, he had always thought that I would be the one married 3 times with all sorts of kids. We both had a good laugh out of that since he and my older brother have both been married 3 times each, and here I am chugging along in my imperfect but lengthy marriage.

From meager and troubled beginnings we came... A 19 year old bride and a 21 year old groom.We were talking last night in bed, just an hour into our official 24th anniversary. Looking back, we would have still kept our wedding small if it meant we would do it our way, on our terms.

OR used that 1000.00 to get married in Vegas. *wink*

To my husband, The Male Income Support Unit:

I love you, John. Thank you for loving me when I was unlovable, forgiving me when I was unforgivable, and for understanding my crazy from it's deepest roots. Thank you for giving me 3 adorable kids and 25 years.


The first 25 years have been a doozy... I can't wait to see where we go from here! All I can say is it better not involve me getting pregnant again.


Love,

Me

5 comments:

meleah rebeccah said...

Oh, Mary! Happy 24th Anniversary. I love your letter to John.

And can I just say that I really hate your mother? Good lawd.

"He knows how genuinely messed up I am and loves me despite all of it." - Um, Mare, you're NOT really ALL that messed up. In fact, you're fucking amazing. The end!

XOXOXO

Mary said...

Thanks Mel!!! <3 Yeah, everyone hates my mother LOL

Thank you for saying I am not messed up. Trust me, I am. I just hide it well, most of the time hahahahah, except around you, Cee, Sarah and Mo ;)

meleah rebeccah said...

XOXOXOXOX

Timothy Hecht said...

Been married for 22 years,,,to the same person.

Cameron VSJ said...

Hi Mary! I was reading up on your journey just now and had a quick question. I was hoping that you could email me back when you have a moment. I really appreciate it, thanks!

- Cameron