When Chad and I were married, I was 21 years old, two weeks out of college, and scared to death. Oh, I wasn’t afraid to marry Chad. That was one thing I was 100% certain about. We had lived for two years as desperate long-distance loves, and I felt like I would die if we went another day living in separate houses in separate states.
Distances were further back then. We had no cell phones, and he couldn’t afford to talk on the house phone because he was a starving musician. So, we wrote actual letters on paper and thousands of emails using dial up internet. It was practically the dark ages.
When I agreed to marry this man, it meant packing up everything I owned and moving seventeen hours away from everyone I knew. We had a small-town church wedding, cake and mints in the fellowship hall, and we took off to another small town 40 miles away. We checked into a little bed and breakfast, and I spent the first hour of our two night honeymoon crying because I was going to have to move away from my mama. Poor Chad had married a child, and his first hours of our marriage were spent comforting me with cookies and pasta and corny jokes and shaky reassurances.
We were so, so young.
It was such a beautiful start.
I love weddings and everything about them. We go to a lot of weddings, and they are often big, elaborate affairs. Afterward the couple is whisked away in their limo to some exotic location for a week long honeymoon. And, I laugh and think about our two nights in Granbury, Texas, which we couldn’t really afford.
We never got a “real” honeymoon, whatever that means. We left Texas 48 hours later and drove toward Nashville, Just Married still hastily scrawled on our back window. We stopped on our way and slept in a motel in Arkansas that cost $29, and I wondered if we would live through the experience. I remember how proudly we announced to a waitress at an IHOP someplace that we had only been married for three days. She looked at us knowingly, her eyes betraying her doubts that it would ever last.
5, 720 days later, I can look back and remember how it all started in our first hour of marriage, when that sweet boy, with great concern in his face, ran downstairs to try to find his sobbing wife a Sprite, because he thought it might make me feel better. And, you know what? It really did.
We spent two nights in that beautiful old house with a bunch of old people, and we made plans to never get old and boring.
Well, I’m sure we are old and boring now. But, by God’s grace we have never bought into the lie that a marriage needs white sand beaches or perfect circumstances to survive. What matters more than a trip to Paris or a fancy car or a big house to live in is just a heart that says, I will deal with your breakdowns as they come. And, I will love you anyway.
I don’t think Chad could’ve given me a better gift on our wedding day. What a beginning. What a life. No exotic destinations in sight. But, plenty of love and patience and perseverance.
And, one of these days, maybe we’ll go into an IHOP someplace and tell a waitress that we’ve been married for 6,000 days. She’ll find us old and boring, but, we won’t even care. Our whole life is a honeymoon, we’ll tell her, and she’ll smile politely and ask us if we want bacon or sausage with our pancakes. She won’t even realize that what’s sitting in front of her is a miracle that began all those years ago with a sobbing bride and her brand new husband, shakily sipping Sprite together in an old house, with no earthly idea what they had gotten themselves into.
I’m thankful for that little beginning. And for a great love.
Lovely. I too had no honeymoon, but have been married 30 years to the best husband, father and Papa ever! Weddings and honeymoons have gotten out of hand and don’t focus on the important piece…the celebration of love.
Love this. We did have a honeymoon, though it wasn’t on the beaches of Jamaica — just a week spent in a mountain house that some friends let us use. We stopped at a Steak ‘n Shake on the way from our reception to the honeymoon, and probably my favorite honeymoon memory is the night we thought there was an axe murderer in the house. My brand-new husband was so intent on protecting me he snuck around the house in his underwear with a steak knife. Turns out it was just the refrigerator making weird sounds. We’re just about 6 years into it, so still a ways to go until we are where you are, but like you, I’m thankful for the start to our marriage… it was very ‘real’ and if nothing else, full of love. 🙂
Chelsey, I love this! I can just picture the search for the ax murderer. 🙂
Thank you Melissa. Every time I read one of your blog post I get to know you and Chad a little more. I know you better today than when his office was just across the office from my office. Your family blesses me from afar. Blessings. Bob
Thank you, Bro. Bob!
Precious, precious, precious <3
Thank you, Laura!
15,025 Day since Becky and I married. We also had a very small and humble begining to our marriage. There has been some very tough times and yes some doubts about the future. But can still say after all this time still love Becky as much as I did when we first married.
Thanks Melissa so much for making me stop and remember.
Paul, I love your number! Blessings!
Beautiful, Melissa! We ran counter to what a lot of my hubby’s peers have done/are doing and got married young too. We just celebrated our fifth anniversary and I couldn’t be more grateful for our young, shaky start. 🙂 Loved reading your words today!
Thank you, Courtney! There’s something to be said for getting married young and growing up together!
I don’t think you’re old and boring.
Chris, you’re the best!
I love this!
We spent a week honeymooning in Nashville. No exotic sandy beaches for us. Christmas lights, Little Jimmy Dickens at the Grand Ole Opry and playing on the playground at the zoo and children’s museum. We are still two big kids!
I love it!
Amen Melissa. What a great thing to read right before going to sleep. 🙂
I love this. Brandon and I were married very young, I dreamt of the Poconos Mountain Honeymoon get-a-away, but we weren’t old enough to rent a car and to poor as well. Our little getaway afterwards was to Granbury, as well. We went to 6 flags, Wet ‘N Wild (back when) and played putt-putt. We were terrified to drive in the metroplex traffic, it was quite the journey. Our first night we ordered pizza to the motel (and yes I mean motel) and watched Walker Texas Ranger and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, haha. I think there is something to those humble expectations and beginnings.
Ha! Love it, Crystal! Granbury: the poor people’s Poconos. 🙂
i like the whole aspect of a small church wedding,it looks simple,smart and very practical.Am not yet married but i have learnt a nice lesson when i get there
It was perfect for us, Margaret! Simple and sweet.
I really love your blog, Melissa, and this post in particular impacted me a lot. I go to a college where marriage is spoken about frequently and at this point in my life it’s kind of scary to think about, so I can easily identify with the part about you crying on the first night of your honeymoon. My parents didn’t have a proper honeymoon either. You are an excellent writer, and I really enjoy what you post. Thank you. 🙂
Thank you, Caitlin! Just so you know, once I got over my tears, the honeymoon was wonderful, and so is the marriage! 🙂 It IS scary to take the plunge, but choose well and you will enjoy it very much!
For the past three days I’ve been meaning to tell you that THIS is one of my favorite posts (in addition to the one about saving locks of Adelade’s hair). Keep up the great work!
Thanks, Laura! Love you!
You’re an amazing woman. Am very proud of you. Youve encouraged me, to keep on until the day of completion. Thanks biggest.
We didn’t have a honeymoon, either. We got married on Saturday and went to work Sunday morning (I was a nurse, he was a mechanic). He claimed that he didn’t know he was supposed to take me on one, just like he claimed that he didn’t know he was supposed to buy me an engagement or wedding ring. So, during the first year of our marriage, I bought myself a wedding ring (I had already purchased his for our wedding), and a few years ago, I purchased myself an engine to ring. This past summer, I went on a vacation alone (we have never traveled anywhere together – he keeps saying he’ll take me somewhere, but in 14 years, the trip hasn’t materialized). I’ve become very adept at household repairs and construction because I’ve learned that I can’t depend on my husband to ever get around to doing them, just like I could never depend on him to give me a wedding ring, engagement ring or a get away, just the two of us as husband and wife. Marriage has taught me to be more independent than anything my parents or teachers ever could have taught me. Love truly does “bite”. The best year of my married life was the year that my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. While that may sound bad, I consider it thus because I learned that I am capable, independent and a darned strong person.
I would LOVE for my husband to care enough about me to see my needs for once…especially the need to feel cared for, loved and like I matter.
DMH, I’m so sorry that you feel this way about your husband and marriage. I encourage you to get counseling, even if he doesn’t want to go. God can do anything, so there is hope still hope that you can have a happy marriage and a lasting love. Prayers!
I had to giggle whne reading this because I felt like you were writing about me and my husband! We were 23, he lived in California and I lived in Dallas, we stayed one night at a bed-and-breakfast in Granbury, I cried a lot because I was moving away from my entire family for the first time, and we spent the next two days driving to California where I knew not a soul. What a beautiful ride have been on since! Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me of the beauty in my own story that I too often forget.
Angela, that’s crazy that you stayed in Granbury! It wasn’t the Iron Horse Inn, was it??
Melissa, I can identify. I was seventeen (talk about clueless) when I got married. We went straight to our little duplex and back to work on Monday. I had a job at a drugstore. Ron was drafted into the army 4 months later and I moved back home with mom and dad. The honeymoon never materialized but last year for our 50th anniversary we went on a Mediterranean cruise. Life is still an adventure even when you reach the old and boring stage.
Love this, Helen!
I’d just turned 19 and he just turned 21…we married on a December Tuesday in our home town San Diego, in order for him to return to school on time in Tennessee. Our honeymoon was spent traveling back to his school. I’d never travelled to another state before then and became increasingly home sick upon entering each state, I’d thought I would die. Lord willing, we will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this coming December!
I love it, D!