Flashback Friday – 18th Anny Thoughts

Flashback Friday is the brainchild of Tia over at Christopher and Tia.
Go on a flashback with me.

I found a gal @ Glamour Shots to do my hair & makeup. We got married in the home of friends.

Oh, my my.

Eighteen years ago this coming Sunday, this young woman was a radiant bride.  She posed for her wedding pictures with so many hopes, visions, dreams and plans.  She didn’t know Life was about to push shove kick her into a rough, tough future.

How could LoneStarLifer say "no" to this????

The fun began soon after the honeymoon.  We had a really happy week in Colonial Williamsburg, VA and came home to begin our new life together.  Big J was a book buyer for Book Stop, a book store company headquartered in Austin.  Barnes and Noble had recently purchased Book Stop and was closing the Austin office.  A week before the wedding, B&N flew Big J to NYC to talk about us moving there so he could continue his book buying with Barnes and Noble.  I quit my job in Houston, moved my belongings to Austin, had the wedding in Houston, honeymooned in VA, and returned to Austin to begin the move to NYC.

We came in from our honeymoon on Sunday night.  Big J went into the Book Stop office Monday morning.

And….. you know what’s coming.

They laid him off.  Yep. I had resigned from my Houston job so I wasn’t working, and now my new husband also had no job.  They did keep him around a few more weeks as they closed down the office.  I scrambled off to sign up with a temp agency until I found a permanent job with the UIL and we muddled through the first year of marriage as Big J looked for work.  I always felt that if we could make it through that first year, we could make it through anything.

I like this picture - we are walking to the car to drive to the reception. Our first time in the car as a married couple.

As I dressed and had my hair and makeup readied for the wedding, I didn’t have any concept of what “anything” might be……  I won’t go into the in’s and out’s of our everyday life.  We have had many many good times, and many many hard moments.  Times when I thought, “It can’t get any better than this,” and periods when I thought, “I cannot stay here one. more. second.”  Our years have been full of laughter, tears, love, layoffs, hurt, fun, communication, stress, sadness, family, miscarriage, financial woes, forgiveness, moving, close friends,  frustration, deaths, celebrations, surprises, special looks, anger, whispers, parties, strategies, pictures, softness, excitement, working as one, Little J, companionship, travel, hugs, xoxoxo’s, God.  He is the main component of that list, the glue, the connection, the staple, the paperclip that holds us together.  When I exchanged vows, I was making a covenant not only with Big J but also with God.  When I think I cannot go. one. more. minute. being married, I hold on to the covenant I made with God. I hold onto to Him until I can come back.  One of my favorite Bible verses is

Ecclesiates 4:12

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

When Big J, God and I are braided together, I have one hand in Big J’s and one in God’s.  When Big J and I come unraveled and pull away from each other, I still am hanging on to God’s hand. God is faithful. I am never alone.  And time after time, for 18 years, we have worked it out.  And I’m proud of that.

When you look at your marriage and compare it to others, don’t.  Marriage is such a complicated, complex, evolving, growing, personal mystery entity and each couple has to figure out what works for themThey define their marriage, not yours.  The Bible has several scriptures concerning marriage, if you are looking for some words of wisdom.

And please, I ask the same.  Don’t rate/judge my marriage by yours.  No one has any idea what goes on behind closed doors, right? No one can have a real sense of how hard we’ve worked to not just white-knuckle our way through life together, but make it a place we both want to be. From the outside, you may look at a couple and ask, “why is she/he still with him/her,” or ”he/she could do so much better.”  Everyone’s idea of commitment is personal.  When you are looking at someone’s marriage, you are only seeing a small portion of the whole.

Please don’t read into these statements that I’m saying a marriage should continue if abuse or unsafe conditions exist. That’s a separate issue.  I’m talking about two people figuring out how to live together.  For some it’s relatively easy, for some, more effort is involved.

The wedding topper on our cake was the same one my parents used on their cake 40 years earlier.

There is so much more I could write about this lovely bride.  And maybe I will another time.  But for today, I am sending xoxox’s and thanks to Big J for 18 years of being my husband through thick and thin.  I was excited to start my life with you 18 years ago, and I am still excited (and realistic) to see what life unfolds before us.  I look forward to more years of exploring life with you, of finding more ways to love you, to honoring God with our marriage, and being open to what God is teaching me through our time together.

Catch the young men over to the right! They are now grown, handsome men,one married with a baby.

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All writing and photos are property of LoneStar Lifer. 2010.

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5 Responses

  1. Hi!
    I’m a fellow flash-backer myself from Christopher and Tia! Thank you for a beautiful post! What wonderful memories:) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Perfect pictures!! I love them.

    Marriage is hard. Very hard.

    Congratulations on your many hard years together, and your beautiful love.

  3. what a lovely post!!… and such memorable pictures!

  4. Beautiful. Love you.

  5. Paula,

    Thanks for sharing your heart and such lovely pics!
    Deepest blessings to you both in the years to come!

    Love you,

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