Chaos Of A Wedding Day Good Lesson In Marriage
The bride wore blue jeans, a fingertip veil and perfectly manicured nails. In four hours, she would walk down the aisle and into a new phase of her life. But none of that seemed to be on the mind of the harried young bride-to-be who sat two chairs away from me at the hairdresser on a recent Saturday morning.
She worried instead whether her hairstyle would last the day, and what to do when she cried and her mascara ran. She talked about expected guests who had yet to arrive, and bridesmaids who hated their dresses. With a lot of tender, loving care, she was finally reassured that she looked lovely and could handle any beauty crisis. And so she dashed into her new life. Not long after she left, the salon’s manicurist came in for the day. Told the bride had just left, a panicked look crossed her face. “Were her nails OK?” she asked.
Wedding days are an odd mix of the sentimental and the menial, of cataclysmic changes and ordinary routines. On my wedding day, I went to the hairdresser (although once a tomboy, always a tomboy: I did nothing to my nails except to check if they were clean.) I made small talk with visiting relatives. I even read the day’s newspaper, much to my parents’ chagrin. (Hey, they’re the ones who encouraged me to go to journalism school!) And I watched the clock, as each tick brought me closer to the moment I’d been planning for almost a year.
On the most meaningful day of my life, the shallow seemed so significant. Would I look OK in the pictures? Would everyone have a favor at their plate? Who would drive whom from the church to the reception hall, then back to the hotel? And then the biggest worry: What would happen if I fainted, or threw up, or both, in front of 200 people?
With all that on my mind, there was hardly room to consider that I was about to change my life. The big questions should have been: Will we communicate well? How will I learn the art of compromise? What happens if one person, even the one I love more than anyone, becomes too much to deal with some days?
But I didn’t think of those questions on my wedding day, or even on our honeymoon. Only months and years later does the reality sink in. You’ve made a commitment. It’s for life. It takes work and good luck. It brings tremendous rewards, and exacts a high toll. And every day isn’t going to be as happy as your wedding day. Some won’t even be close. There will be days of hard feelings, when nothing he says makes sense, when nothing you say sinks in.
Then there are days when you wake early, and go to breakfast and sit in the yard and talk about what’s in store for the rest of the day, the week, maybe even your life. And in the silences between sentences, you will feel total relaxation and fulfillment.
During the sorrows and joys that make up a marriage, what you’re wearing and the clean edges of your fingernails hardly merit a mention. But my wedding day is too soon to consider all that. Who can blame brides for worrying more about whether their make-up will last than their marriages? Nails, too, make a welcome distraction.
You might as well start married life with perfect nails. There’s plenty of time to learn that married life – like life in general will always have its share of snags. But with the right tools, they can always be smoothed over.