It is safe to say that I am not the woman that my in-laws envisioned as their son's wife. There were regional differences, religious differences, and political differences. Despite these differences there was one very fundamental commonality we did share. We all loved their son.
I do believe that they knew this fact to be true by the end of their lives; they seemed less certain at the outset of ours.
There was much tension during the planning of our nuptials. To make the day easier on all of us we decided to have a small wedding for immediate family only. We would hold it in the "all faiths" chapel on the campus where we met.
The morning of the wedding there were a few last minute details to see to. My groom and I had agreed to tackle the tasks together, but he could not be reached that morning. Miffed, I finished the jobs on my own and prepared myself for the ceremony.
It wasn't until much later that I learned he was tackling something much more difficult than any of the tasks I had in mind. He was standing up to the parents he loved as they attempted to persuade him not to go through with the wedding.
While waiting with my sisters for our cue to enter the chapel word came that the men of the bridal party were ready whenever we were.
As I stepped into the aisle at the back of the chapel, I linked arms with my dad and took a deep breath. I looked up and saw the man I loved waiting for me. He looked small and uncertain until he looked into my eyes.
A smile crossed his face and lines crinkled in the corners of his eyes. I stepped forward moving towards him, moving towards our future. The closer I came to both, the tighter my chest felt.
I was overwhelmed with emotion. When it came time for my vows I could not speak. My tears flowed unchecked. Silently, he reached into the pocket on the inside of his tux and removed a white handkerchief. Gently, while looking into my eyes and smiling he wiped my tears away.
Struggling, I could only speak loudly enough to make my vows known to the kindly priest. That was enough. He proclaimed us husband and wife.
What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Thirty-three years, one month and nine days later no man has.
In that time there have been many tears, some of joy, some of sorrow. Without fail, my wonderful husband has been right by my side to dry my eyes.
For my valentine: When love is certain it can overcome obstacles. In overcoming obstacles, love becomes more certain.