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Love – it is such a small word but complex. As my nephew embarks on marriage, I ponder our own wedding 25 years ago and how my marriage and love for my husband has changed.

I promise to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love him and honor him all the days of my life.

On Dec. 30, my husband and I repeated our vows in front of three dozen friends and family at the same church where we first wed. The vows held new meaning as we had history, three kids, a puppy and a chronic illness now in our lives.

We’ve created a lot of history in our 25-year marriage and 31 years together. There has been joy and sorrow; anger and frustration; hope and despair; surprise, laughter and tears; illness and health; birth and death; success and failure.

We have seen career and job changes, three master’s degrees, two apartments, three homes, many cars and vacations, three children, four broken arms, three torn ACLs and surgeries, and additional surgeries for a hernia, shoulder, gallbladder, malrotation of the gut, arm and pacemaker.

We have attended one high school graduation, two elementary school graduations, three baptisms and first Communions, and two confirmations. We have buried a mother and a father. We have dealt with a chronic illness which resulted in a total change in family structure and a disability retirement for me at age 47. We never knew anything about the autonomic nervous system until mine decided to stop working properly three-plus years ago; now we often know more about dysautonomia than medical people we encounter.

We have been to many concerts including the Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Joel, Elton John, Sting, John Mellencamp, Sarah McLachlan, Amy Grant, Peter Gabriel, Genesis and Styx.

We have traveled to Florida too many times to count and Vermont, Toronto, South Carolina, Cape Cod, Saratoga, and now Ohio for medical reasons.

When we said our vows we had dreams. Some have been met, others modified.

We all have bicycles now and hope to bike as a family. I can’t ride too far anymore but can go a short distance and rest; and that is OK. At least we can bike some. Families stick together despite the obstacles placed in front of them. Sometimes we have to adjust our plans but we are learning how to navigate this road and still seize the joy that our love produces. It is not always easy and there are disappointments and sadness, but we handle it. Perhaps this is not what we envisioned on Dec. 30, 1988, but we have had to modify our ideals.

But that is marriage right? Learning to give and take; adjusting our expectations; changing our dreams a bit as circumstances call. Being flexible after all is the key to life.

God changed our course. He has perfect plans for us and we must trust Him.

As a 23 and 24-year-olds, we had no clue what we were getting into. At 48 and 49 we may have a better idea as we are more weathered. We know our plans can change in an instant. The best we can do is hold on to one another, embrace our love, trust and do the best we can in our marriage, family and life.

And the fact we still have our love is fabulous.