The Wedding Cliff

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OK while a lot has happened with dad, as far as I know, nothing has yet been resolved with his much publicized taxes. Our lives are not on hold though. The main purpose of this blog is to promote our memoir and offer support to the institute of marriage. Let’s continue with this glimpse back to Crystal and my past.

The conditioning starts early with little girls. I know; I raised three of them. All of those nice fairy tales end happily but too early. The camera zooms into the castle. Beautiful flower arrangements dominate the room. You can almost smell them. The room is full of splendidly dressed guests. Then the camera zooms in to reveal the handsome smiling groom. Finally, as anticipation peaks, here comes the lovely bride all dressed in White (a symbol of her untarnished purity). The words “happily ever after” are spoken and the camera fades to the sky or a book, etc., etc.

Yes Virginia, this is a fairy tale. It’s not that I’m against weddings: it’s the happily ever after syndrome I can’t condone. All too often, there is this big buildup toward “the happiest day of your life”. However, reality soon rears its ugly head. It’s a lie. No matter how much time, effort, planning and money you and your spouse, his or her family put into its planning and execution, a wedding is just another day. The clock will strike midnight and life will continue, with nary a glass slipper in site.

I met Crystal in college, and one of the things which attracted me to her was that marriage wasn’t in her vocabulary. Well, to be more precise, marriage was in her vocabulary. She was practically a straight A English major. Many words, words I didn’t even know, were in her vocabulary. She just wasn’t in college to get her MRS degree. Trust me, many girls were looking for that perfect, make my life complete, “first” husband. Early in our relationship, she outlined her plan to graduate and then move to an artist colony in Oregon to become a famous writer. A husband never entered her plans.

It wasn’t love at first sight. We met at a party. She didn’t trust me. Sometime later, she was the seventh person I had asked to the semiformal dance. We both had a great time at the dance. However, even then things moved slowly. After she finally realized that God had different plans, and Oregon might have to wait, we got engaged (I had to ask her twice). We started talking about our future together. While she had few preconceived notions about the wedding, she started to save and would pay for it. While we would share in the planning, she would make most of the important decisions. It seemed fair to me. I was responsible for the honeymoon. We were both happy with the arrangement.

Then that one fateful phone call occurred. She was crying. I, like 99% of all men, can’t stand it when a woman cries. She couldn’t find any place to have our wedding reception on or around April 1st (that’s right we are a couple of April fools). I told her not to worry, I would find a place. ‘Really?’ she said in disbelief. I assured her that she just needed to tell me what she wanted and how much she could spend. She stopped crying (thank God). I dedicated myself to the search. I talked to friends, visited restaurants and banquet halls, one after another. Finally I found one which seemed perfect. Crystal was thrilled.

To this day, our wedding is still the best one I have ever attended. That includes the reception. Part of the formula is, and has been ever since, we work well together. With the exception of our basic Christian values, Crystal and I aren’t the same type of person, not even close. However, we complement each other well. I am great at organizing, Crystal is extremely detail oriented. I may be writing the article this time, but I know that she will be around shortly to edit and fix my grammar, as needed.

So in short, yes we had our “happiest day”, but not really. Yes the day was great, but it’s not how I would evaluate our marriage. Before we ever got to the altar, we already had an idea that we worked well together. Over these last thirty-seven years since that day, we have had many ups and downs. But we have gone through them together. Our real strength was something we discovered while planning our wedding. We realized that, while neither of us is perfect, together we could overcome any of life’s challenges.


Crystal helping our oldest daughter Elizabeth with her dress. She looked a little like a princess…at least to me.

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