Before Bob and I were married one of his brothers predicted we would be the objects of “pity and disgust.” One of my brothers felt it wise to reserve his support until we had passed “the test of time.” How many years, we wondered – five, ten…. twenty?
Joe had good reason to hold back. As a Catholic priest he had seen more than his share of failed marriages and the odds were against us. We had both been married before, me for only five years and my relationship history was less than stellar. Bob had three young daughters, we had no savings and I was embroiled in a nasty law suit.
But we love birds decided to trust hope over experience and plunge ahead. The obstacles before us were as plentiful as trees in a forest and we often bumped into them painfully. We fantasized about the day when we would emerge from the woods into a sunny meadow. A place where we could gallop into our new life unobstructed.
On July 31, 1994, a day picked specifically because it fell halfway between our birthdays, we became one. Bob’s boss read Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium, a reading that brother Joe had brought to our attention. A romantic reading about people feeling whole when they find their other half, having formerly been split apart by the gods for being too powerful.
We dressed the girls in custom made wedding dresses and earnestly recited our vows on the front porch of a rented farm house with thirty-some pairs of eyes upon us. Among them were my mother, two brothers and a sister-in-law and perhaps some goats, pigs and chickens from next door.
We had carefully crafted a manifesto of promise, pledging love, respect and faithfulness and to share our joy, abundance and burdens until the end of time. And here we are twenty years later, still sharing, caring, enjoying and helping each other with our burdens.
About three years ago Bob asked Joe if we had stood the test of time yet and Joe laughed, “Of course you have, I was only talking about a couple of years.”