So, yesterday Dale & I "celebrated" our seventeenth anniversary. Celebrated implies we did something unusual, and that was not the case... it was a day of chasing to swim lessons, grocery shopping, well... I suppose root beer floats with the kids is how we celebrated.
I've been thinking about the whole anniversary thing, and trying to think back to our wedding. My parents just gave us a DVD from the "big day," which we haven't watched. We probably will at some point. But as I said during those few months of wedding planning...
"I'm planning a marriage, not a wedding."
There are a few things I'd love to be able to go back and tell that bride. One is that she was on the right track to not be terribly concerned about whether or not the ring arrived in time or the flower girl's basket coordinated with the woodwork in the church. I don't truly think there was a single thing in all that wedding planning that truly mattered longer than a few weeks down the road.
The big thing I'd like that bride and that groom though? That they truly are marrying more than each other. They are marrying each other's families. And that spouse is going to relate to you based on what they saw growing up. I know I am far more like my mom than Dale ever expected (if only that carried over into keeping a clean house!) and I had definite expectations that Dale would be a lot like my dad. And Dale carried a lot of baggage from his parents' broken marriage that still impacts us today (well, this past week anyway).
I'd also encourage that bride to remember to show respect. Our culture devalues men. My husband grew up with male-bashing being the norm. I think the single most important thing that I didn't know seventeen years ago was the difference it makes for a man to have a supportive wife who believes in him, and demonstrates that fact.
What I wouldn't tell that bride is that she'd spend her 17th anniversary cruising Lowe's and Home Depot, and enjoying root beer floats with her groom and their five children... and I certainly wouldn't tell her that she'd be homeschooling them. I'm pretty sure she would have fainted dead away.
(Now... I need to figure out how to hook up the scanner again and try to post a wedding photo or two. Let everyone see that skinny couple!)