I'm in the business of creating wonderful, magical, awe-inspiring wedding events. I am tasked with making everything just so, perfect, flawless, seamless. But, behind all of the beauty that is a nuptial celebration, the core factor remains. You are getting married - saying "I do" to a person, hopefully to be with them for the rest of your lives.
In my travels today - I spotted an elderly couple in the grocery store, they had to be in their 80's (I think). They were in the produce section, picking out apples - and I watched them as they debated red vs. green. There was a certain "flow" to their conversation - I got the feeling that the wife was a feisty something when she was younger and while she may have been up in years, you could still see the "fire" in her eyes. They decided on their fruit, placed it in the basket and started to move down the aisle. And as they did so, I noticed them helping each other manuever the grocery cart and the husband placed his hand over hers as she held on to the handle. There was something about that simple gesture that spoke volumes to me. For when he did that, she looked at him and smiled. That smile said so much...it kinda went through the years. Back to the first time he saw her - and smiled. Rewinding time to the day she laid eyes upon him - and smiled.....
I watched them walk slowly down the aisle and the romantic in me just had to know...so I followed them. They were at the section where eggs and butter are located - I walked up to them and said "Excuse me" - they both turned in unison to look where the voice came from. I smiled and said "I don't mean to be forward or anything like that, but I noticed the two of you in the produce aisle and was wondering - how long have you been married? You seem to be so in tune with each other". The husband looked at me and got the biggest grin on his face - and replied, "we've been married 62 years". That just blew me away!! "Sixty two years?" I said , "Goodness - I couldn't even get through 13!!". He leaned in a bit closer and said, "Honey - marriage is hard work, it can be a chore at times....believe me." I noticed that his wife hadn't said much - actually she hadn't uttered a word. She was looking at me quite intently - and then said, "He's right - it's hard, hard work and not everyone is cut out for it. But we managed to get through the good and the bad, just like the reverend said - for better or for worse".
They were such a handsome couple - and obviously still very much in love. When she talked, he tilted his head towards her, and vice versa. There was something about the way he looked at her that simply transcended the years they've spent together - I could tell that he didn't see the woman with the snow white hair (it was absolutely gorgeous - I hope mine will look like that!!) or the wrinkled fingers..he saw the woman he fell in love with, 60 some-odd years ago. And she didn't hear the slightly shaky voice..she heard that booming baritone that made her heart beat a little faster when he came a-callin'.
I said "I didn't mean to interrupt your shopping, but I was curious. It's really nice to see a couple who've been together for so long...to see love that has lasted a while." I told them what I did for a living..and they both were unanimous in saying that I should tell "those young people" that marriage requires a big effort on both parts - that it takes time and that you have to trust each other, always. And that you have to be able to love - without reservation or hesitation.
I wished them a good day and made my way down the aisle. As I was turning the corner, I looked back and saw them again - deciding what to buy. Watching them brought it all home for me - while all of the "hoopla" that goes into the planning of a wedding is fine, it's not the end all to end all. Being able to live and love together for over a 1/2 century.........is such an awesome
accomplishment. But knowing that you have to hunker down and really, truly "work " at being married...is much more important. So....to all of you who are walking down that path towards matrimonial bliss (and those of you who've already made the journey) - it's about substance, about diligence and it's going to be hard. But so is anything worth having.......................