Stranded at the Wedding Station – 36 years on
Many years ago my father came to me to express his concern that my (then) 19 year old daughter was planning to marry. This is what he said to me:
“She’s too young, she’ll miss out on all the adventures she could have, her life will be wasted.”
My dad, like so many others, saw marriage as an ending, something to be endured and, being his daughter, I also had my negative perceptions of what marriage was.
White dresses, fidelity, marriage, bridesmaids and ‘eternity together’ left me cold. I don’t recall ever daydreaming about marriage when I was young.
In my dreams I was heading for excitement, meaning, purpose, travel, changing the world – When I grew up I was going somewhere and I was going on the fastest train I could find.
My exciting journey ground to a teenage pregnancy halt very shortly after it got started.
Barely understanding what I was doing I stepped off the wonderful exciting train of ‘Big Dreams’ and watched it move off without me. I saw the life of excitement, meaning and purpose I had had planned disappear into the distance, leaving me stranded at the Wedding Station.
This Wedding Station scared me, it seemed like some sort of prison in which I would live forever surrounded by the mundane, the boring, the predictable. This man, this bond, this life, was forever and forever sounded like doors were closing.
Clang, clang, clang.
36 happy years have passed and this is what I know now:
Another Train, same destination.
The Wedding Station was simply where I got to take the hand of my very best friend and board another train called ‘Marriage’ which, to my great surprise, happened to be going all the same places as the ‘Big Dream’ train.
I got to pursue meaning and purpose as well as fulfil my desire to contribute to a better world. The only difference was I was lucky enough to do it with someone who helps, supports, and shelters me. My efforts have been multiplied exponentially by his ideas, assistance, and belief.
A Travelling Companion
My lovely man is naturally a homebody yet we travel all the time. He is willing to jump on any plane, walk on any path, and go to any destination I suggest just to be with me. He even happily lugs the bags if needed, I doubt I could have found a better travelling companion.
No Ball and Chain
What seemed like a trap, a chain, and the clang of a cell door has turned out to be my ‘get out of jail free’ card for being bound to him has unshackled much of the bondage in my heart.
Divine not Mundane
Yes there can be quiet, there can be routine, there is duty; yes there is fidelity; yes there are compromises. Happily I found that far from being the mundane burdens I expected these daily, sometimes tiny, expressions of love bring out the divine in both of us. Divine around the house is nice!
Rather than prevent me following my dreams he has made my dreams possible, in fact it is often him shoving me out onto the stage of life when I would rather hide and avoid whatever is coming next. His mild exterior hides the heart of a lion and he never lets me quit the difficult climb in favour of the easy way. My bravery would have run out ages ago and I would never have had this exciting life without him.
When I look back now on what my dad said to me about my daughter (the child who precipitated my own marriage), I have to laugh, he could not have been more wrong. My answer to him proved prophetic:
“No dad, she won’t miss out on anything, she will just get to have her great adventures with her best friend.”
She travels the world constantly doing the most amazing things with her favourite person and their children. I know that, like me, she has enjoyed rather than endured the journey they share.
The Wedding Station is not an ending to enjoying life, it can be the beginning of the biggest and best adventure.
To find out more of my marriage journey please check out this 9 min TEDx talk I did last April or to find out more about Gratitude (the wonder drug) travel around my website.