Dear Bride

You were nervous as you walked down the aisle, normal for a young bride. But you knew, there was more to it.

You had resisted from the first mention of marriage. This was a college romance. You were meant to find each other. But he took the next logical step.Bride and Groom

He went home that Christmas break and picked out a ring.

You couldn’t accept it. It made it all too real. You didn’t want to be married. Ever.

It must have broken his heart.

You were sure you didn’t want to lose him. You talked, you cried, you negotiated. You gave in. You were engaged.

You would be married the year after graduation. There was plenty of time.

Until there wasn’t. His job offer was thousands of miles from home. The decision came. You would marry before his December start date.

It was happening. There was no backing down now.

The ceremony, the reception, the hundreds of well wishers…you don’t remember any of it. You floated over it all in a sort of daze. It was November 17.

You spent Thanksgiving with families, packed your VW bus, and headed to Utah.  It was supposed to be your honeymoon. It was very stressful.

And you were still terrified that you had made a mistake.

You didn’t understand then. That realization came later.

It was never about you and him. It was about marriage.

You had heard the message your entire life, and you internalized it.

Marriage will destroy your life. It takes away your dreams, robs you of your true self, kills your self esteem, wrecks your plans. And most especially, it makes you crazy. You will be depressed, you will take ill. He won’t understand. He will escape. He will find solace in others. He will cheat. You will be left alone with the burden of children you really didn’t want in the first place. You will be trapped.

That was the message, reinforced for decades. Your family legacy.

But there was another side. His reality. His view of married life. He saw a very different kind of partnership in his parents. He wanted that life for both of you.

The first few years will be a challenge, and a blessing. You will be physically isolated from the families you knew. You will make or break it on your own.

It won’t always be easy. There will be times that you both want to escape. But you will not.

There will be many more relocations, many new places to start over. New jobs, new stresses, family tragedies. There will also be new friends, new hopes, new dreams.

New joys. Children.

And you will celebrate your relationship.

Some 45 years and counting.

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71 Responses to Dear Bride

  1. Congrats Van! ❤
    Diana xo

  2. Nurse Kelly says:

    That’s an awful message you heard… guess you proved it wrong! What a beautiful tribute to marriage. Like anything else, it’s always easiest to quit and walk away, but when you put effort in, even through all the trials and tribulations, you grow so close as human beings, I think, and have such a deep understanding and acceptance of each other, that you can never imagine what it would be like to be apart. At least that is my experience. And you made it through white-water canoeing… so you can survive anything! LOL!

    • It was a hard message to unlearn, Kelly. I never dreamt of the fairytale, never looked longingly at Bridal magazines. I wrote this in the hope of expressing that relationships that are real don’t always start out in a positive way. He never gave up on me. And I’m forever grateful for that. Thanks for your thoughts. 💕 the white water canoe trip…lol. ☺

  3. This is a wonderful and hopeful post! I am so happy and delighted that you didn’t follow that legacy and found your own happiness! 🙂

  4. Congratulations Van. What a heart-warming story 🙂

  5. AmyRose🌹 says:

    I have tears in my eyes as I read this post, Van, congratulations on the monumental achievement you and your husband have gained. I have not been to too inspired regarding marriage regarding what I saw as a child growing up. Yes Here I am married and my anniversary is coming up in December making it all of 32 years. I am very happy for you both how you still managed to maintain a marriage in this crazy upside down inside out world who throws away marriage at the first sign of trouble. ❤

    • Such a sweet response, Amy, and 32 years is special…congrats on that. 💛 You’re so right about the throwaway attitude toward relationships. If you ask any couple of advancing years, and they were being honest, they might admit that there were many times they thought of walking away. But, did not. It’s a testament to the effort that is so worthwhile. Thank you, Amy. Hugs to you. xox

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        Oh believe me there have been moments in these past years and even in the present where I have wanted to walk away. Relationships, especially long standing relationships, are far from easy. They are work! And when you think you’ve got something always seems to happen to upset the apple cart again. It is a give and take scenario, and an exploration of boundaries, and where the individual begins and the relationship starts. It is a day by day process and it continues to be there probably until our very last day together. Anyone who says marriage is easy is lying.

      • Love your candor, Amy. Thanks. I wrote this while on a break from WP, the day before our anniversary. It just poured out, somehow. My favorite writings usually do. It surely isn’t easy, but so worth the balancing of that apple cart. ☺ 💜

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        Van, I am trying to train my Google speech so please do not mind the typos. ❤

      • No worries, Amy. It all made perfect sense to me. ☺

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        Good morning, Van. I hope my “candor” wasn’t a bit much yesterday. I was feeling a bit under the weather so my usual “lightheartedness” there was a wee shortage of. May you have a wonderful Sunday!!! Much Love, Amy ❤

      • I always appreciate honesty, and it can’t always be lighthearted. Stay you, Amy. You’re the best version of Amy I know. 💕

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        Aw, Van. Thank you. ❤ ❤ ❤

  6. Congratulations Van. I love your honesty and, wow, that was a sad message you learned growing up.

    • It had a far greater impact on the 4 daughters. My 2 brothers heard a very different message from our father. They both went into marriage fairly easily. Interesting ??? Thanks, John 💛

  7. LaVagabonde says:

    Congrats on your anniversary, Van! In today’s superficial world, this is a monumental achievement.

  8. An awesomely beautiful post. Happy Anniversary! :O)

  9. Happy Anniversary, Van!!! I have chills reading your words. I love when “we” get to prove “them” wrong! Well done. True love always triumphs. ❤

  10. Love this so much. Marriage is not for the fainthearted, that’s for sure. We’re at 42 years. I still can’t quite believe it. I thought I’d be old by then! I don’t feel that old. But 40+ years does seem like a lifetime and then some! Happy Anniversary. It’s a good thing no one tells brides how it will be. Nobody’d go through with it!

  11. I’m so glad you two bucked the family trend.

  12. George says:

    Happy Anniversay, Van. This is a real testament to anyone who doubts their relationship because it isn’t textbook or written as a fairytale. What matters most is the love that people have for each other and you both seem to have the corner market in that. Here’s to many more decades of your own very special love.

  13. Maria says:

    Congratulations ❤️

  14. lbeth1950 says:

    You make me feel good about life. God bless you both!

  15. Timelesslady says:

    Oh that last line…how I smiled!

  16. What a great story/post! Loved this, Van, and congrats to both of you!

  17. Oh, I love this, Van! You did it! My daughter is marrying in a week and I KNOW she’s feeling exactly what you wrote. No one is invited to the wedding, she’s getting it done, like a visit to the gynecologist. I hope when she looks back, 45 years from now, she can still relate to your words. ❤

  18. Amanda Lyle says:

    Wow! What a powerful piece of writing. Had me pickled in goosebumps in parts. Perhaps, because I can relate to so much of it.

    I’m glad you guys made it, despite the odds – love, after all, conquers all.

    Great post!

    • There is so much more to the reality of life and love than we were handed in the “fairytale”. Just wanted to share this with you…hoping you’d understand. ❤️

      • Amanda Lyle says:

        Oh, I do! I really do. I just lost insight, for awhile, when the darkness of the situation took over. Sometimes it’s a good idea to go back to the basics… Forget all the ‘BS’ and find what it was that made us fall in love in the first place 🙂 *coughs* alcohol and poor judgment

        …that last part was a joke. 😜

        Thanks again for your pearls of wisdom!

      • Not sure how “pearly” the words were, lol, I was just moved by your post, and remembered that I, like so many, have had those thoughts over the years. It’s all so personal. I always hesitate to offer anything like advice, just wanted you to know that you are not alone, and there is always hope. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. If you are still angry/fighting, it means the emotions are real, and still have a chance for resolution. All the best to you, Amanda. ❤️

      • Amanda Lyle says:

        That’s true! I do hope we can work things out – there is still passion, anger, resentment and all the rest of it. And, as you said, these feelings wouldn’t exist if we didn’t care about each other.

        Your pearls are very pearly…and I shall keep them in a special place for when I need them. Thanks again 🙂

  19. Colline says:

    So many years together. Definitely meant to be together!

  20. Oh this is such a beautiful, beautiful testimony of your marriage. I am totally loving this. Many more blessed years together Van 🙂

  21. How lovely that you’ve had such a long time together! Hope to get there someday ❤

  22. Noirfifre says:

    The key seemed determination, willingness compromise, good example and good old loving. Cheers for eventually less nervousness and making it flow. (I am coming over from Jackie’s Love Party, it seems the party is just get started, more persons are showing uph

  23. Deb says:

    I love this. Makes me know there is still hope for me after all. 🙂

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