The wedding weekend was amazing. On Friday, it wasn't until after the rehearsal picnic was over that I realized how much fun I'd been having. It's always a good sign when you're so distracted by your fun that you're not even aware of it.
So often, when there's a huge life event that you've been planning and looking forward to for a really long time, there's some letdown. Some part of it doesn't live up to your expectations and you get disappointed. For example, during dinner I noticed the carrots were just regular boring old steamed carrots, most definitely NOT maple-glazed carrots we had ordered.
|Do you see a glaze on these?|
I said to Katherine, "Now the whole wedding is RUINED!" My protestations might have had more gravitas if I hadn't made that same complaint several times already. Katherine asked, "How many times has the wedding been ruined now?"
But on the whole, there were no serious letdowns. This may have more to do with not having too many specific expectations, but I can honestly say my wedding day was one of the best days of my life.
We planned and orchestrated our own ceremony-- with music, readings, and vows we'd written ourselves. In addition to our vows, Katherine wanted to write some remarks that I wouldn't hear before the ceremony, and so to reciprocate I had to write something myself. (So she gave me some homework for the wedding. She is a teacher, after all.)
We decided not to include our "remarks"(as it's listed in the program) during the ceremony, but to give them during the reception, after dinner but before dessert, as a way to start off any toasts that people might want to make.
Here is what I wrote:
Katherine and I walk at the same speed. I don’t mean this metaphorically. We literally walk side by side at the same pace. Neither of us has to slow down for the other, nor do we have to speed up to stay with the other one. We walk together.
I’ve always been a fast walker. When I’m in a crowd, or caught on the sidewalk behind someone, 90% of the time they are going too slow for me. Even kids half my age will amble along, slowing me down, and I’ll think, “Why are they going so sloooow? They’re young and spry!” At my first opportunity I will try to pass them so I can resume my regular walking speed.
So it was quite a delight for me when I discovered that Katherine is another fast walker. Not only do we both enjoy walking, but we match each other’s gait. Whether we’re hiking in the woods, exploring a neighborhood, discovering a new city on vacation, or just going for a stroll after dinner, we keep up with each other. We zip pass the slow people together and continue our brisk pace. Katherine neither slows me down nor pushes me. And vice-versa.
I’m being literal, but there is an obvious metaphor here. It’s important to find a life partner who moves at the same speed. To be “on the same page,” if I may mix a metaphor. In general, we have the same values and want the same things out of life. We both love spreadsheets, the outdoors, books, cats, and travel.
Although Katherine and I often move at the same speed, the metaphor does not extend to every part of our lives. We don’t agree on everything. I watch too much TV for her tastes, and she is way more focused on dessert than I am. I am a morning person, and she... is not. (I learned early on not to try to have conversations during breakfast.) And we disagreed a lot while we were unpacking in our new home. (My position: we have too many things. Her position: We need more space.)
One thing I’ve learned from other successful married couples is that dealing with and resolving differences is a valuable skill. The successful couple is not one that never disagrees, but that knows how to resolve conflict with good communication and compromise. After planning several vacations and a wedding together, I’m confident that Katherine and I are quick learners in this area.
I used to think that what I wanted in a wife was someone who was a Good Person. (Capital G, capital P, “Good Person.”) But what I’ve learned, and heard many other people offer this same advice, is that a good partner is not measured by their qualities alone, but by the person you become when you’re with them. Katherine makes me a better person. I’m more patient, tolerant, and calm around her. She’s a teacher, and she’s good at inspiring me to try harder. When we do get (metaphorically) out of synch, she will either slow me down or push me to walk a little faster, depending on the situation. And I do the same for her.
Several different members of my family have remarked lately about how happy and relaxed I seem around Katherine. I didn’t realize it was that obvious, but I do know I’m a lot happier now with her in my life.
I think my whole life I’ve been anxious because I had a lot of nervous energy, and now I’m relieved to have finally found someone who takes me on regular walks, and keeps up with me.
So I’d like to toast my new wife and walking partner, Lady Katherine of Evanston. Where ever the path leads in our new life together, I will be right there next to you.