GILLIAN DOYLE: Happily Ever After

June 7, 2006 by in category Going to The Chapel tagged as , with 4 and 0
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Strange as it may seem, I don’t remember going to the chapel for my wedding! As with most brides, that day came and went in a happy haze of wonder and excitement. Photos help jog the memory, thankfully. Or not. That hair!? I spent three hours at a salon to end up with a style that looked no different than ten minutes in hot rollers. And what’s with that lace headpiece for the veil? It looked like three fat flower petals draped over my forehead! What was I thinking?!! I don’t remember!

And oh, was I young! Not yet twenty-one. Some girlfriends had dreamed of college and careers. Others had dreamed of big beautiful weddings and fabulous bridal gowns. Me, I hadn’t dreamed of getting married, as in the wedding itself. My dream skipped over the ceremony to the Happily Ever After.

Truth be told, I would’ve been just as happy to forego the tradition in favor of living with Mr. Right in a mountain commune with flowers in my hair, no shoes on my feet, and a baby perched on my hip. However, my future husband did not view this alternative lifestyle with my same starry-eyed romanticism. Therefore, I found myself caught up in the preparations of a modest wedding, especially by today’s standards.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have “our song” sung in church because of one inappropriate word — “Loving you is so damn easy.” (Gasp!) Until I looked back through our wedding album, I had forgotten about having our guests read aloud from a program several times throughout the ceremony. Instead of just witnessing it, they got to be a part of it, including saying their own vows of support and prayers for our new life together. (Many thought we needed all the prayers we could get.)

I don’t remember throwing the bridal bouquet, either. But we have 8-mm movies of the toss…straight up and straight down, practically on top of my head. My maid of honor, eager to save me from disaster, is seen in a floor-length gown launching herself into the air like a football player intercepting a pass.

Oh, I do have one memory that lingered long after the wedding. It was (still is?) common to write all over the bridal couple’s car with shoe polish. Prison bars were painted on the windows of my husband’s new Mustang Mach I. A number of slightly-off-color, male-humor-type remarks were written on the metallic blue paint. Maybe the shoe polish was industrial strength. Maybe the scorching summer sun was the culprit. But no amount of waxing could remove the shadowy outline of those bars and barbs scrawled on our car.

One week after our wedding, we were visiting with another newly-married couple who’d had their first fight of their marriage. The new wife complained, “If I cook, he should take out the garbage, and vice versa. Marriage is a fifty-fifty deal—right? We each give fifty percent.”

My husband quietly shook his head. “It’s not fifty-fifty. You both have to give one hundred percent.” He looked at me and smiled. My heart swelled. I nodded in agreement.

I may not remember going to the chapel on the day of my wedding. I may not even remember the exact words in the vows spoken at the altar. But I will always remember that moment one week later. In the simplest look, the simplest nod, we both knew that we would give one hundred percent of ourselves to this marriage, to each other. This summer we are celebrating thirty-two years of marriage.

Gillian Doyle
Author of Paranormal Suspense and winner of the 25 Days of Romance Contest

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4 Comments

  • Anonymous
    on June 20, 2006

    That pic is so cute! And I loved that bit about you wanting the mountain commune with flowers in your hair. But my favorite was the line from your husband about giving one hundred percent. That says so much about the two of you. Again, a real-life romance. It was beautiful.

    🙂 d

  • Anonymous
    on June 20, 2006

    What a wonderful testimony to your love for each other! I’ve thought for a long time that in a marriage relationship, you’ll never regret saying kind words (but have plenty to time to regret saying unkind ones). His kind word will live on!

    Joan

  • Anonymous
    on June 14, 2006

    Gillian,

    What a brilliant man! Loved the story and the picture.

    Sandy

  • Anonymous
    on June 9, 2006

    Some days I think its a hundred and ten percent but its whatever it takes to work.

    Great read.

    Tina

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