The trembling coursed through her body like it never had before in her 21 years. Her bridesmaids — her best friend and two sisters — had walked down the aisle. The groomsmen, the best man and the groom had emerged from the small waiting room at the opposite end of the church.
The bride was alone for what seemed like an hour while waiting for the organist to play the notes that would be her cue to open the door to her new life.
She trembled like she had never trembled before. Then she felt her father’s steady and rock-solid arm. It was a lifeline that steadied her shivers. They soon proceeded down the aisle, that long aisle down the center of the sanctuary that was like a light at the end of a tunnel.
By the time my father and mother gave away the first of their four children in marriage, I saw my future husband and felt something like joy and eagerness. Twenty minutes later, we were married and we walked the aisle as husband and wife. We were pleased and happy.
That day happened 40 years ago on June 10, 1972.
I write all the engagement, wedding and anniversary announcements that come to The Journal. After doing a few hundred of them, the words often used play around in my imagination. The announcements usually say that the couples will exchange wedding vows or celebrate wedding vows.
Is ‘wedding’ different from ‘marriage’?
I think there is a distinction. Wedding vows are the words that bind a couple together at the beginning of their lives together. ‘Marriage’ describes a couple who have persevered through the good times and the bad times. Wedding vows are the chain that leads to the anchor. Marriage is the anchor that keeps the couple from drifting apart. There are times when the anchor holds easily in shallow water and there are times when the anchor has to dig deep into the ocean floor to keep the promises spoken to each other on their wedding day.
How do you summarize 40 years of marriage in a few hundred words?
My husband and I became the parents of two wonderful children. We’ve lived through the empty nest. We hoped to be grandparents and we are. We have four grandchildren whom we adore. We have survived the good times and the bad and it is the bad times that have brought us closer together.
Our anchor holds.