Those Wedding Bell Blues

MrJJ and I were living together for less than a year when we decided it was time to get married. People asked why we didn’t wait until we graduated, had our diplomas in hand? We replied- what did one pieces of paper (the diploma) have to do with another (the marriage license)? Perhaps those well meaning people should have recommended some pre-marital counseling or even a delay of just another year. Although, at 20 years, we knew everything so any advice would have likely been ignored anyhow. After all, that had been the plan since the first months of dating, and we were nearing two years.  We chose the Friday after our dating anniversary, that fell on a Monday that year.

We had so little money, we decided to just do a Justice of the Peace wedding. We thought it was the marriage that mattered, not the wedding. So we told our families. My dad wanted to fly cross country, but I told him not to bother for a simple JoP ceremony, we’d renew our vows in a few years when we graduated and had money. MrJJ’s dad railed, accusing me of marrying him for his money. Huh? I was supporting the both of us working in a fabric store while going to school full time! MrJJ’s mom decided on the day of the wedding not to come because it was raining and she didn’t want to drive the two hours in the rain. We did have witnesses, some people who decided it was worth their time. MrJJ’s uncle and his wife braved the drive, our best friends from college (a couple we are still friends with), and our neighbor and her boyfriend.

I wore a dress the neighbor gave me, it was a simple white cotton with some seed beading on the bodice. That was something borrowed and old. From the fabric store I got discounted lace and blue ribbon and wove them together, trimming the skirt. That was something new and blue. MrJJ wore his USMC dress blues.

We drove to the JoP, we had tried to make an appointment but we were told to just come in. There was someone before us. Some guy in cuffs, sitting with his head bowed. I noted he had some white crusty stuff in his hair and wondered where it came from. The JoP came out and asked who was next. They indicated the cuffed man. Looking at him, then us, the JoP said, “You’re not going anywhere, let’s let this nice couple in.”

Once we shuffled into his small office, the JoP had MrJJ and I stand together and hold hands while we repeated the vows after him. I had eyes only for MrJJ. I have no idea what everyone else was doing, where they were standing. MrJJ.’s uncle was supposed to take pictures with my camera, but didn’t know how to use it. Only one came out, of MrJJ.’s chest. So all I have are the memories of that day. I remember my hands shaking as I put the ring on MrJJ.’s finger. When it stuck a little at the knuckle, I fretted that it was a bad omen.

Vows said, kisses exchanged, the JoP pronounced us married. He declared, “This is a marriage that is going to last. Never have I had such a nice young couple that took the time to dress up. It shows you value this marriage.” Many times over the years I have felt an irrational obligation to live up to those words.

MrJJ.’s uncle insisted on taking us all out to eat.  At a place with actual table cloths.  We went out to a nice Chinese restaurant we had never been to before.  When we returned to our apartment, MrJJ.’s uncle and wife left us with a large family Bible and money to get started.  Our friends stayed for a bit, having cake and toasting us.  They left and we had our first night together.  MrJJ had been calling me Mrs. from early on, but now it was reality.

To me, the most special moment of that day was that night, in the dark.  At one point there was an electrical current that flowed though me.  It honestly felt like God’s blessing.  Like we were finally on the right path.  When I mentioned it to MrJJ, it turns out he had felt the same surge.

And so began our married life.  We had the weekend, then returned to school on Monday and I returned to work.  Reality began.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: