This Monday, Roberto and I celebrated 100 Day! 100 weddings so far, three months of “honeymooning” (i.e. unintentionally tanning while working 12 hour days in our outdoor office), and our quarter year anniversary.
How did we celebrate? Here’s a dramatic re-enactment for you:
It’s a shame we haven’t filmed any of our “angry weddings” because they’d make a great mash up and, more importantly, because these bumpy moments from our first year of marriage are a valid part of the story, too. A real part of the story.
Of course, no one wants to be pissed off at their partner on the same day they make a lifetime pact with them. On a day we have already culturally booby trapped with 101 superstitions. So, when it happens — and it happens — we sweep the story under the rug, post the posed pics on Facebook, and re-tell it as the best day of our lives.
But in real life weddings (and real life, in general) feelings happen. People get pissed. (Or sad. Or confused. Or mad lib it with your emotion of choice.) And no matter what your budget, you can’t buy emotional insurance for your wedding day. You can’t register for bliss at Target.
Think love will foot the bill? Think again.
Love is a feelings magnet. All of the feelings. Love won’t protect us or lead us away from uncomfortable emotions — even on “the best day of our lives” — love is a compass, not a GPS.
That said, I invested a great deal of my emotional savings in the idea that marriage meant driving off into the sunset, far away from all the bumpiest, scariest feelings. I’ve written a lot about all the internal stock I had wrapped up in our One Day Wedding being the culmination of every fantasy I ever had about love and family. But, as The Day To End All Days neared, I began to see I had ripped myself off.
And, if I’m being honest with myself, maybe I ripped myself off with the idea of The One Year Wedding, too. Because, as badass and “real” as I thought it was to cancel “the best day of our lives” and do something totally different, there was still a programmed part of me that believed if we switched it up, we could trick our feelings into getting lost for a while — maybe just give us a running start towards bliss without any uncomfortable interruptions.
“Think about it!” I told Roberto. “If we treat every single day as our wedding day, we probably won’t fight hardly at all — we’ll just remember it’s our wedding day! How can you be sad or mad on your wedding day?”
I’ll tell you how, Rachael From 107 Days Ago, but it’s probably better you learn on your own.
Roberto, too, had his stock in emotional insurance. He went with it. And we drove off into the sunset together with our new plan, innocently believing the bumps were behind us. We had tricked the system.
After the sunset, it gets dark. In fact, it was very dark the night we got married for the first time. It was dark. And there were feelings. All of the feelings. Bumpy feelings. Here’s a dramatic re-enactment for you:
Then, there in the dark with all the feelings in tow, Roberto proposed. And I remember standing there in the rain, looking around me, feeling all of the feelings, watching as my useless emotional insurance trickled down the drain. Thinking, “Holy shit this is romantic.” Romantic because it was dark and bumpy — romantic because we both grabbed ahold of the compass in that moment and said, “Let’s do this. I want to navigate this shit storm with you.”
On Monday, 100 Day, while relaying our “angry wedding” to my besty, I jokingly told her: “They call it the 100 Day Itch…”
“No, they don’t.”
But they could. Because, as I’ve been told by wise and weathered married folks in my life, the road is bumpy from start to finish. That slow dissolve into the sunset is deceiving because right over the horizon the road dips.
That’s not just marriage — it’s the landscape of life.
And, as one of those wise and weathered married folks told me on Monday, “Love can’t steer you around the bumps — but you can rely on it to guide you through them. Grip your compass as a couple and keep moving forward.”
That’s what I’m investing my resources in these days. Learning how to navigate the bumpy moments. Knowing there’s more to come. Gripping the compass and moving forward. One best day of our lives at a time.