True confession: I “borrowed” my wedding vows.
Jamie and I were married
ten 11, 12, 13 14 years ago today at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. We specifically planned our wedding reception for the Saturday night over Labor Day weekend so that all of our friends and family from out of town could enjoy the long weekend with us. We were living alone in California and we both knew it would be the first, and (probably) the last time everyone we cared about would be under the same roof. We were right.
File this under: How [not] to write wedding vows
What many don’t know, is we were single digit days away from our wedding day and I had nothing. I love words. I had waited my entire life to tell my husband to be exactly what he meant to me. What “US” meant to me. I was at a complete loss. Those vows haunted me day and night for months. We were and still are so Monica and Chandler. Especially when it came to writing our wedding vows. He was silently freaking out because he thought I had this nailed, and little did he know, I hadn’t even put a pen to paper. I had zero ideas about where to start. I knew exactly how I felt, and I wanted to be creative, but the last thing this Monica wanted was traditional wedding vows. The doodles in my notebook margins resembled more Banksy and less Rumi. There went my daydreams of teary eyes, and lumps in throats. Two days before take-off and I had squat. Then again, did he? Forget it, I didn’t want to know.
What do you mean you haven’t written your vows?
So the night before, I was fastly approaching DEFCON 1. I started to think of celebrity couples that have been married a long time. Let’s be honest, there are like five and ever year that number dwindles even more. Combine that with the ones I admire, and now we’re really pushing it. But then I remembered Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman were married in that exact city almost 50 years earlier. And man, were they in love.
So I casually ran the idea by Jamie. OF COURSE HE LOVED IT! He was in the same boat and ready to “borrow” someone else’s wedding vows quicker than you can say, “I do.” Part of me was miffed he was being let off the hook so easily, but SO WAS I suckahs! So. Was. I.
His halo and my wings
As my grandfather walked me down the aisle at sunset, a flamenco guitarist played my favorite song by The Beatles Here, There and Everywhere, I couldn’t help but crack a little wink and smile to my best friend who was officiated our wedding because I was about to be busted for wedding vow theft! There I was, officially a fraud.
The moment the ceremony concluded I remember breathing a huge sigh of relief as the guitarist played U2’s Everlasting Love because in my mind that was my getaway car and I could walk down the aisle with my new husband before REO Speedwagon began their soundcheck, but that’s a whole other story for another post.
Can I go to Wedding jail for this?
Even if I could, I know our beloved, Earline, would have bailed me out. Since our moms weren’t with us on this special day, we’re convinced they joined heavenly forces and sent us our very own angel, Earline Torres, in their place. Still to this day, she is a big part of our hearts and one of the most special loved ones in our lives.
So cut to the chase…What were the vows?
Years later, and I am just rereading these beautiful words now. Partly cracking up and partly tearing up. It’s amazing how after all this time, without even thinking much about them until now, they have become the commandments of our marriage. All these years later my life can be divided in two parts: Before and After Jamie.
“Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the Art of Marriage: The little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day […]
It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner” – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, 1958
This is us. I love you, Jamie.