About a year ago I watched a television show called I Do Over. One couple had a terrible storm hit their outdoor wedding, one couple’s groom fainted at the altar. One couple’s groom had a heart attack. So this show comes in and in a very short amount of time plans a do-over wedding to erase the bad memory of their first. Initially I thought it was a great concept. But, as I watched one thing was very clear to me. Most, if not all the brides were saying things like, “It ruined my dream day” as if they were the queen and expected to get everything they wanted. Even the bride whose husband had a heart attack sounded so selfish. Another thing i noticed was that none of the marriages actually looked like they were going all that well. The couples seemed bored and distant. No one seemed all that happy even after they got their do-over weddings.
I wondered what would I do if things didn’t go well on MY wedding day? What if something goes terribly wrong?
But for me, all the plans just fell together so easily. I had to assume the day would go that way too. So I didn’t worry about it. Seriously. I was so calm. NO bridezilla here! I was so sure I was doing the right thing with the right person that the details didn’t matter that much to me. And for some reason, even though I didn’t worry about the details at all, I got everything I could have ever hoped for.
On my wedding night, I stood holding hands in front of a roaring fire with a mantle filled with lit candles and told the love of my life “…for as long as we both shall live…” I was in a beautiful glimmering gown, next to my two adult children and 70 of my dearest friends and family on New Year’s Eve. It was the most magical day and night of my life. Nearly perfect. We danced the evening away to our favorite songs, and at the stroke of midnight counted down the New Year, sang auld lang syne and kissed with confetti falling all around us.
I allowed myself to be completely in the moment. When we were finally alone and in bed I told my Harry, my husband, “Other than the birth of my two children this was the happiest day of my entire life and having a kid is pretty painful so I’d have to say today I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.” We laughed and kissed, but we knew it was true. What took less than three months to plan was better than I even dreamed. Everything went off without a hitch. Everything.
I guess I could find something to complain about if I wanted to. But it would be a stretch. And that got me thinking. Was it really that “perfect?” I think the place could have burnt down and we would have still called it a perfect night. I have to believe that it’s all a matter of attitude and outlook.
I know what some of you are thinking. It’s easy to say this when all is going well.
What if the outlook isn’t so good? What if you face bad weather?
We planned a short little getaway to Boston before Harry had to work for a week in Long Island. Neither one of us had ever spent time there. January often has sketchy weather but we had no clue what we were in for. We left 80 degree weather and hit Boston the day before a subzero blizzard shut down the town. While in New York the temperatures were actually colder at one point than Antarctica. Cold doesn’t even come close to describing it. Frigid is more like it. My man who wears tank tops most days no matter how cold it is was in a jacket and hat. The newscasters said that anyone under 40 had never seen temperatures as low. They were throwing hot boiling water into the air making instant snow and warning people to stay indoors.
But we were on our honeymoon!
Did we listen? We took precautions, but no. We took a ten minute walk to Beantown Pub to pass time shooting pool that nearly froze my fingers off. We braved the pelting snow for a walk around Copley Square one evening and found M.J. O’Connor’s Irish Pub on our way back and had one of the best beef stew meals of my life. We walked the Freedom Trail…the whole thing. But we also did spend a lot of time hunkered down with the rest of Boston.
In this case there was definitely something to complain about. And for some people the weather alone would have been enough to “ruin” their dream honeymoon. But it sounded like the PERFECT honeymoon to me! What better thing to bring a couple together 🙂
Perhaps my theory was true? It didn’t matter what happened along the way…if your outlook is good there is no need for zapped happiness. With the right person, the details don’t matter!
But were we REALLY HAPPY? Or just happy because we had a nice warm, romantic corner hotel room with a deep tub, floor to ceiling windows on the 15th floor at the W Hotel?
As if God were testing my theory along with me He threw in a twist.
It came in the form of sniffles at first, then fever, then a bad chest cough. Lucky me, I also got an infection in my right parotid gland on my face so half of my face looks like a chipmunk and is swollen and quite tender. Harry got it first the last night in Boston. My fever hit our first night in New York. Making out isn’t quite as romantic mixed with snot and a hacking cough. Needless to say other things were also excluded at that point. So now we were stuck in subzero temperatures on our honeymoon and couldn’t be intimate!
So what could we do? We snuggled a lot, and got out when we could. We took it easy and shared Hall’s Cough Drops and Hot Toddy’s. Took leisurely walks in SoHo, had coffee at Dean and Deluca’s, and dinner in Little Italy. We were there for each other. He was awesome. Patient, loving, and kind. Our spirit was not dampened.
I’m still quite sick as I type. We are getting ready to move hotels to one closer to Central Park uptown and I couldn’t be more thankful or more happy. Because unlike those women on that show, I don’t want a do-over anything. It doesn’t matter what happens along the way. Life happens. Bad things happen. My happiness is not tied to those things. When everything goes perfectly REJOICE. When things don’t find lessons, and look for blessings.
James 1:2-3 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
And maybe this is the greatest lesson I learned in my Improvised Life that has taken place between my marriages. Trials have their purposes. They teach us things and especially teach us patience. People say not to pray for God to teach you patience but it has been a great gift to me. I don’t expect the world to revolve around me anymore. I don’t expect that everything should go my way. I’ve learned to look for the silver lining and in that lesson I have found true joy despite my circumstances. With it, I was able to make the right choices for myself. Know when to be strong and walk away. Know when it’s right and stay. I am so utterly confident in my trust and love to my Lord Jesus Christ and in my decision to marry again.
When I said, “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.” I meant it the first time. But my first attempt at marriage sadly ended in divorce. This blog has been my story since. I didn’t expect a do-over marriage but God gave me one. He gave me a do-over chance to put everything I’ve learned since to practice, a chance to be the best wife I can be to a man I love with all my heart.
He gave me gratitude, contentment, and put hope back into my life. And I hope my story brings hope to you.
I thank God for it all.