A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. – Mignon McLaughlin
June is a month for weddings. The month is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage.
On the first day of June, the ancient Romans celebrated a festival in honor of Juno. They believed prosperity and happiness would come to all who wed on this day.
So in the Roman tradition, Mary Beth and I attended a wedding this past Saturday, June 1. Also in the Roman tradition, my wife and I celebrate our weddings in June.
Yes – weddings – plural.
The First Wedding | June 22, 1985
Young, broke and without our own home, we married anyway.
Mary Beth and I were determined to build a life together despite the odds. I was teaching high school and my wife was trying to finish her undergraduate degree when Brandon was born.
After the birth of our son, life seemed to move at the speed of light: I left teaching and become a sales rep for a publishing company; we moved from southeastern Virginia to Washington D.C. and then back within a year; Caitlin and Andrew came along; a few years later Emily joined the family; and in 2001 we moved from Virginia to Kansas.
Two years later our marriage was in doubt.
I had become too focused on my career and less attentive to the needs of my family. Mary Beth and I separated in May, 2003 and it looked like divorce was a certainty.
Then a miracle happened.
I attended a life-changing personal transformation seminar that opened my eyes to the changes I needed to make. Though I couldn’t rewrite my history, I could commit to the man I was learning to be.
My wife took a leap of faith and gave me, and our marriage, a second chance.
The Second Wedding | June 4, 2005
Mary Beth and I renewed our wedding vows on June 4, 2005. The ceremony was more than just a re-commitment to our vows; it was a fresh start for our family, our marriage and it was a fresh start for our love.
With family and friends watching, we recommitted to the promises we didn’t fully understand 20 years earlier, and we made new commitments to each other. Afterwards we gave ourselves one big party – we gave ourselves the wedding we couldn’t afford before.
But along with the food, dance and drink that was a peace Mary Beth and I shared. Love had returned and either one of us wanted it to slip away again.
June 1, 2013
Watching the young couple join hands and then join lives, I was reminded of the commitments a marriage desires:
- Marriage desires the commitment to celebrate when life delights and to give strength when it disappoints.
- Marriage desires the commitment to pay attention to the needs of the children, paying the bills and planning for the future.
- Marriage desires the commitment to be each other’s cheerleader, confidant and best friend.
- Marriage desires the commitment to be faithful, honest and accountable no matter the temptations.
- Marriage desires the commitment to offer a shoulder, a kind word and a gentle smile.
But of all of these commitments, the one simple commitment marriage desires most is love.
Marriage’s desire is that simple. It’s about being love; it’s about giving love when it is asked; and it’s about showing love every day.
June 4, 2013
Now 28 years and two marriages later, Mary Beth and I are far from living in a glass bubble. Love doesn’t offer that type of protection.
We still face the tasks of balancing a budget, fixing the garbage disposer and apologizing when one pisses off the other. These things aren’t simple, but their power is diminished when we fall back to the one thing that is simple – committing to love.
When we do, the prosperity and happiness Juno offers is never too far away.