I have to tell you that I have very little memory of this day 28 years ago. 28 years ago yesterday, I remember quite clearly. 28 years ago tomorrow is well-etched on my brain. But 28 years ago today - nope, hardly a thing. I remember what I wore to dinner. I remember where I had dinner and I remember most of who was at dinner. I remember 1 thing I said and I remember what I ate. I also remember a particular nice thing one man did. That's about it.
|T.J. surveying the spread|
The event 28 years ago today was the day before my one and God-willing, only, wedding day. We had our rehearsal dinner at The Plantation Inn at Stone Mountain Park, Ga. We ate ham, butter beans, and sweet potatoes - probably something else, but I don't remember. I wore a beautiful dress of my grandmother's because it was so beautiful and I didn't think I'd find anything as beautiful to wear. Most of my close family (the Taylors/Worleys) were there as well as a large number of Redmonds. Martha Jean and Louie Giglio, Sr (parents of the now famous, Louie Giglio, Jr) more or less hosted the event and when I looked out at the crowd I said something like "Wow, all together that's a pretty good looking family." Some anonymous person had made beautiful placards for each person and when I realized I'd forgotten my friend and pianist, one miraculously appeared. Thank you Louie Giglio, Sr. That pretty much encapsulates what I remember about the day before my wedding.
|Martha Jeane Giglio, Alice Redmond, Louie Giglio, Sr, Allen Redmond|
Two days before I remember getting a horrible perm at Davison's and my wedding day was really quite wonderful. So much of it was a blur that I often dream of doing it again, just so I can enjoy it more. Isn't that funny?
|Nano, Leslie (my sis), me|
One particular scene that is etched in my brain, that I have gone back to time and time again is a discussion that I had with my then 7 year old sister. We were sitting in my mother's room, just the 2 of us, and she said, "Sissy, what if you and Andy get divorced." I looked her in the eye and said "Leslie, Andy and I don't believe in divorce. We've already decided that we won't." Wow. I was all of 21, almost 22 years of age and spoke with great wisdom. Ha! I might have been speaking very naively, for I thought that was all there was to it. Truth was, I could not imagine that anything at any time could make the 2 of us or even 1 of us want a divorce.
28 years later, I can tell you though, that one sentence spoken in such innocence might be just the thing that saved our marriage here and there. The truth is, I'm not always an easy person to be married to. I have baggage, shall we say. Deep hurts and scars and at times have let those wounds bleed profusely all over anyone who was around. I have no idea if my husband has ever truly wanted to leave me, but I can tell you this, it's a fair miracle that he's stayed and a great testimony to the kind of man he is. But even in my darkest of hours, I remember telling my precious little sister, not to mention the man of my dreams and 150 people and GOD that I would not leave this man or give him a reason to leave me.
|The first weekend we knew we were in love|
The conversation I had with my sister was absolutely true. As we prepared to marry, we had a long discussion over the big stuff. Finances, kids, family, leaving and cleaving, head of the household, views on tradition, God and yes, divorce. He had told me he could never marry anyone he could conceive divorcing. We made a commitment to each other that we would ride out whatever thing came our way and no matter what, we would not divorce. Our marriage has never faced the trial of infidelity and I honestly don't know what we would do, but I pray we would stand by our commitment. Of course, we also committed that we would not engage in infidelity or even test the waters.
|I think Daddy's more nervous than I am!|
We took that commitment to each other to heart and we publicly made that commitment to God before our friends and family. We have known rough patches. I have a nasty, ugly temper that only by the grace of God stays in check. We have weathered moves, the raising of children, challenging environments, and some poor decisions of our own. On the flip side, we have surrounded ourselves with people who value marriage and support each other in their respective marriages and encourage each other. We've continued to grow in our faith and commitment to God. We've shown patience to one another in trying situations. We've held that commitment high as a light to guide us through the more difficult passages. Now we stand on the eve of our 28th wedding anniversary and more in love than ever.
|The happy couple|
The course of our 28 years has been easier than so many others that I know. We began our relationship by becoming fast friends. A year into our friendship, we fell in love and married soon after. We have devoted our lives to continuing to grow in that friendship. We coddle it and nurture it. . . cultivate it. We make time for each other no matter the stresses in our lives. Our kids know they are not, nor ever have been the center of our home life, though we totally adore them. We've prioritized
each other. As a result, we face this anniversary as great friends who know how to have a good time whether anyone else is there or not. We pray fiercely that this example is one our kids will build on in their futures and we do not take for granted the gift of a long marriage. We very well know that temptation in many forms lurks on the edge and we've watched what we presumed were good marriages fail.
So - what tips do I have for you?
1. Find your completion in Christ.
2. Banish husband/wife bashing.
3. Work on yourself.
4. Look for things that you love in your husband/wife and tell
5. Revisit the commitment you made.
6. Cultivate forgiveness and patience.
7. Keep the couple the central part of the "family" (after God of course).
8. Build your friendship with your spouse.
9. Be the spouse you should/can be.
Today I give great thanks to Jesus Christ who is the glue that holds us all together. My true happiness and joy is found in Him and hopefully that spills over onto this wonderful man who's been willing to stick with me through the years. I feel incredibly blessed and I pray that somewhere in this nostalgic moment is some little nugget that you can take for your own to encourage you along the way.