When I was a young girl planning my wedding, older people would offer impromptu marital advice in bursts reminiscent of popcorn popping near my face -- very annoying.
I'd ask my mom, "Why do they want to dampen my joy and excitement? Doesn't anyone believe in love anymore?"
After 24 years of marriage, I know why they were compelled to caution me. Like the Apostle Paul, they understood that "those who marry will face many troubles in this life" (1Cor. 7:13). Paul acknowledged that even though singleness might hold specific trials and loneliness, getting married is just "asking for it," trouble-wise.
At 1:30 p.m. today, the daughter of dear friends is getting married. I've determined not to be one of those popcorn counselors, but instead tell Ann that if she can hang in there through those inevitable trials, marriage gets sweeter and sweeter.
Here's one example.
My husband, George, has been traveling on business this week. I've joked that when your spouse travels, there are many opportunities to live outside the couple that you've become.
You can eat out of foam bowls with plastic forks to avoid dirty dishes.
You can get in and out of your vehicle without adjusting the seat and mirror.
There's no one to mock you for watching The Bachelorette.
Shaving legs, wearing makeup and getting out of sweats become options, not requirements.
You can see a chick flick on a Tuesday night with a friend just because you want to without feeling guilty.
You can indulge in sour cream and onion potato chips without worrying about bad breath.
As much fun as I had while he was gone, I experienced a small nagging feeling until George walked in the door and made me part of the couple that is us again. One of the mysteries of my life is how every year he grows dearer and dearer to me. I did not foresee this kind of love on my wedding day or even 10 years ago.
Now we're back to finishing each other's sentences, re-telling old private jokes, competing at crosswords, bouncing creative ideas off one another, encouraging each other spiritually, protecting and defending each other even in the midst of our own fights and marveling at our wonderful kids. We're also back to dirty dishes and car trouble.
So Ann, although "you will have many troubles," you and Andrew can survive, experiencing a deeper, sweeter love than you can imagine even on this special day. May you share the kind of love referred to in 1 Corinthians 13:7 which "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres."
Linda Crow, of Muncie, is the mother of three and works in youth ministry. Visit her blog at www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com.