Vows

I remember the day vividly. 

White satin high-heels, wondering what in the hell I was thinking – why again did I opt for these and not the ballet slippers?  Circulation halting panty hose (because Spanx wasn’t a thing yet)…in the middle of July…in the South.  Oh and the church’s AC broke the night before. My four month pregnant pouch held in as tightly as possible by the panty hose and a white lace-up corset.  All glossied over with a  $300 clearance-rack, unaltered wedding dress…that I am pretty sure cost less than the one my mother wore that day. While my makeup looked amazing, the hairdresser must have had Jim Beam for breakfast because my hair looked like orphan Annie stuck her finger in a light socket when I left the salon that morning. I rushed to the nearest Walgreens and bought some sparkly combs that I used to tame it down the best that I could. 

I had planned this day in less than six weeks and all I could think – that whole day – was when is this going to be over with?  Don’t get me wrong I wanted to marry this man, but I was done with the fuss. If I had my way we would have went to the courthouse and spent a month in Europe with the money we spent on this wedding instead. I begged him for that but, southern man that he is, that just wasn’t going to happen. And I didn’t even get a honeymoon at all either. 

Hustle and bustle-pictures, dresses, hugs, UGLY flowers and boutoneirs (they were a gift and I hadn’t even seen what was coming before that morning), make up, hair, crying little girls… Thank the Lord above they put me in a ‘quiet’ room for 15 minutes, blissfully alone, just before the ceremony.  It was hot in there and I found a floor vent I stood over it for as long as I could.  Too soon, the siesta was over, and it was time. 

I walked down the aisle to a huge grin sported on my groom’s face, like he’d just won the lottery and was about to claim his prize. If only I had known then what was truly in his mind at that very moment…I was miffed he had cut his facial hair into the exact style I liked the least and he hadn’t taken off his other rings for the ceremony.  Side note-I was young, pregnant, frustrated, broke, sapped, scared, immature, and in summary, kind of a wench).

My father had been taking hardy pulls from his flask out in the parking lot, liquid courage needed to give away his only daughter to a boy he didn’t particularly care for.  As my soon-to-be husband and I stood hand in hand listening to the blessing bestowed upon us and  to our unborn babe–screech!!! Wait wait wait, did he just tell my entire congregation of friends and family that I was pregnant?? No he couldn’t have. And then he said it again. And then yet again. 

Baring the news flash of my pregnancy, the ceremony was beautiful and went on without a hitch. We found our smiles and were overcome with the emotions of this union.  Happiness, fear, resentment, and hope. They were all there. More pictures followed and we jollied into the basement mess hall of the church as man and wife. The church had missed the request for music but we manged to track down a radio that had an aux connection and played someone’s iTune playlist. We danced, ate our cake, listened to the speeches from our best man and matron of honor-me slightly fearful of the best man speech.  I didn’t know what he would say, especially considering he and his fellow groomsman had literally kidnapped my husband just weeks before to talk some sense into him and refuse to believe he was marrying me. But it was a nice speech and even an honest one. 

We were shuttled outside and had a limo waiting, as bubbles flew all around us and pictures were flashed. No sooner did we jump into the limo that those torture devices called ‘panty hose’ came off!  Then we waved goodbye to our guests from the sun window of the limo  and proceeded to our hotel in Atlanta for our one-night honeymoon, a mere 20 minutes from our house. We were both famished and decided to go straight to a nicer steakhouse across the street from the hotel, too hungry and too exhausted to change out of our wedding attire.  We received a lot of attention and much to our surprise our meal was on the house.  The next morning we checked out of our hotel, went home, and proceeded about our lives as a couple who just happened to be married now. 

As you can glean, I didn’t much care for my wedding day. Later I found some pictures that had been taken before the wedding where my husband and the groomsmen all posed in full dress holding shotguns. It was poor taste I thought and well, it hurt my feelings. Did we make a mistake? Did we get married for the wrong reasons and did we love each other enough to keep our vows to one another until death do us part?

For 14 years we lived a lie. My denial to believe we had made any mistake-that kept me needy and emotional, and his resentment and arrogance – that kept him distant and prowling. We built our lives on gravel, pebbled with shame, guilt, lies, and contempt. You wouldn’t believe it to hear that statement, but we actually loved each other too. 

Fast forward 12 years and it had reached its breaking point and everything under the ice finally broke through. 2 more years of hashing it out, for the first time being honest, and throwing the gauntlets down. I’ve talked more about the presapice in previous posts here so I won’t rehash them now. 

But I believe with every fiber my being that God reached his hand in the middle of my marriage and said “NO, you will be whole now.”  Miracles happen every day and this was a miracle, nothing short.  God, all knowing, was right.  We bacame whole.  We found the true and passionate love for one another that we never knew existed.  Maybe it didn’t then but it does now. We see it everyday since God’s enlightenment.  Our foundation is solid and unbreakable now, paved with trust, honesty, friendship, passion, and love. It may have taken 14 years to find it, and 2 more to fortify it, but here we are today living it.

So this truly is a Happy 16 year Anniversary. To my heart and soul, my rock, my best friend, the amazing father to my children, and now a man to be proud of. May I offer to you the same that you have offered to me, and may I continue to be worthy, and so you as well. 

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21 comments

  1. I’m so glad you found a happily ever after Amanda after a rocky start. I love your story. It’s one of raw truth, honesty, strength and courage. A lot of couples would have given up but you’ve been given a second chance, you’ve persevered and I’m so happy for you. Wishing you years of happiness ahead. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well done you, many would of walked away, so lovely to hear you have found each other and appreciate what you both contribute to this successful marriage, some things take time, and you have both used your time wisely. Wishing you another 16 years of happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This story eludes description. I’m struggling with words, but I will try. This is the most hopeful, compelling blog post I have read in a very long time. You have the gift of expressing your heart in ways that endear your readers and draw them into your stories.
    I hope your husband won’t mind too much about the creative writing course you signed up for. However, I don’t think you need a course to teach you creative writing. I think you have a corner on writing creatively already. I can say that with some authority. I taught English composition and creative writing for years at the middle school, high school and college level. In fact I wrote a curriculum for a creative writing course that was implemented in several Montgomery, Alabama middle school English classes. I don’t tell you that bragging about it. I’m telling you because I have some experience teaching and identifying aptitude for creative writing. You have it.)
    I wrote professionally and taught English and creative writing for three decades. I took advanced writing, journalism, literature and English courses in college. Those courses helped some, but the thing that helped me hone my writing skills more than anything else was reading. For what it’s worth, I’m going to send you a chapter of a book I wrote (which is still unpublished) called The Five Great Rules of Writing. The chapter I’m sending you is titled “Read, Read, Read.” I look forward to chatting with you again soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trust me when I tell you that your comments made me cry. They honestly did. ‘Thank you’ just seems to vanilla a response to your words and I wish I could think of a better expression than ‘you just brightened my day, thank you’. Even still, it’s true, you truly did. I’ve definitely thought of my blog as more ‘conversational’ than creative-but to feel like maybe I might have a chance at being a good storyteller after your words… Yes I would love to read your chapter, please do send my way. Speak soon, Steven. And thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy anniversary, Amanda! Your story got me hooked from the first lines, I gulped it all in minutes. Steven is right, you are a fantastic story teller. You rock at making what you live through compelling. I look forward to reading more from you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I promise these comments mean the world to me. I never thought of myself as a good writer before my blog, honestly-and this really gives me confidence that maybe I am decent (definitely have room to grow) but I maybe have a good baseline, eh? So truly, thank you for making a gal’s day! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband. I’m glad that things have gotten better after many years. My husband and I married 16 years ago on a balmy May. We’ve been through the mill but our marriage seems stronger as well. May God continue to bless you and your husband and your marriage!

    Liked by 1 person

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