This hashtag took the prize in twitter-land today. Careful who may be peeking over your shoulder if you pull it up because some of the wisdom that folks are sharing about what you should check off of your bucket list before shackling yourself to another person for eternity…is…well…you can guess what it’s like. Nothing like the internet to bring out the inner thoughts that you may have preferred to not know.

2 hours ago
  1. #BeforeGettingMarried
  2. #TwinPeaks
  3. #LawEnforcementAppreciationDay
  4. Doug Marrone
  5. #WhyGiveUpWhen
  6. Jared Kushner
  7. #PaulRyanMovies
  8. Scalebound
  9. Altaba
  10. Chuck Johnson

This was the top-tweet list from 2 hours ago. I have to admit that I didn’t know anything about 4,7,8,9 or 10. I should have known about 9. I wish I could go back to not knowing about 10. 8 is outside of my scope of understanding. 7 was really funny…if you want a laugh, check that one out. 4 is about sports.

I was trying to guess why the marriage one was so big today and wondered if it comes up because lots of folks get engaged over the holidays or might be about to propose for Valentine’s Day. I am not sure how it floated to the tops of the collective minds of tweeters but it got me thinking.

The first time I married, I was 21. There was nothing that I wanted to do #beforegettingmarried. That was the thing I wanted to do. I could not wait to be a whole grown up, a mom, someone’s wife. Dreams. Plans. Fantasies. Drive. Blissful ignorance.

The second time I married, I was 31. Boy do 10 years make a difference. I did still want to be someone’s wife. I already was a mom. I felt as grown up as I think that I ever will. Mostly, I knew the things that I had done before getting married this time and I hoped that  it would not doom me to failure. Disney movies don’t usually show a pregnant bride with four kids hanging onto her in their happily-ever-after movies. I never saw one bride’s magazine that had 10 guaranteed remedies for honeymoon-morning-sickness. Arranging for your ex to watch the kids while you go to the justice of the peace is not something you hire a wedding planner for. Marriage was no longer mysterious and a tapestry of fantasies built by hollywood. I had done it. Here I was heading into it again but with way-more stacked against me. Baggage. Complications. History. Scars. Fears. But what a powerful hope…that’s what I brought to the table.

Before getting married, I hoped. I trusted. I tried again. I took a risk. He did too….not the trying-again part because he had not been married before…but he hoped. He trusted. He took a risk.

The first time, I thought my rough parts could be kept quiet. My waist could be sucked in. My smells could be covered up. My persistent-chin-hair could be secretly plucked.

The second time, rough was loud and clear. 4 babies had their way with my body. Butt paste, wet wipes, poop, sour milk and smashed cheerios covered any of my own smells and the chin hair had  grown friends. Nothing was hide-able. That’s really the best way to prep for marriage. #beforegettingmarried, get real. Pull out all you are and lay it on the table.

The first Christmas that we spent as Mr and Mrs was the year that children 1-4 got the stomach flu. It was as bad as you might imagine. We lived in a two-flat in Chicago with one coin-washer in the grungy basement. He didn’t get sick. I did. He got a front row seat to the real. I remember thinking…he isn’t going to run away…..he really meant all that in-sickness stuff. He was dragged into the muck-of-what-real-marriage is and he pushed up his sleeves to dig right in. It is one of my favorite holiday memories. There was no doubt that this man loved me. We had done enough of the honest #beforegettingmarried stuff so none of this shocked him or scared him off.

Another decade and a half have passed and two more kids left their mark on my flesh. Our smells have mingled and become familiar. I shave my face now. Being the Mrs to his Mr looks nothing like anything I imagined when being a grown-up-wife was a dream.

It is sweeter. It is harder. It is more lovely. It is uglier. It is better. It is the happily-ever-after that I did not even know to wish for. It is grace-filled and bumpy all at once.

I may not know much about 50% of the hot tweets of today but I know that most of the suggestions for what you must do or must have or must squeeze in #beforegettingmarried are baloney.  Find a way to be real together. Real sorry. Real grateful. Real scared. Real patient. Real tired. Real happy. Real sad. Real. Forever. There you go.




2 thoughts on “#BeforeGettingMarried

  1. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you again and again for being real and true and honest with life and allowing the rest of us to learn and glean from your experiences.


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