On New Year’s eve, I introduced you to high school sophomore Bethany, on the night I met my husband. Today I’m going to introduce you to 22-year-old Bethany.
I was still neither a minimalist nor a sailor. I was a full-time student at a small commuter college and a substitute teacher. Physically, I was starting to become the roundy person you know today, and my hair was long, brown, and permed. Rob and I had been dating for six years, and we both figured that we had all of the answers to the Big Questions. We were ready to go out and start our adventure.
On July 7, at a Garrison Keillor-style Lutheran church, I became the only Bethany Rosselit that the world has ever known.
Our ceremony was lavish. I enjoyed occupying my mind with the planning. We had a soloist, a violinist, a trumpet player, 6 bridesmaids, and two adorable twin boys holding the train of my dress. I was a poor college student, so I purchased everything on e-bay, which was relatively new at the time. I wanted our wedding to be a huge celebration.
We memorized our vows, which were the oldest pre-written vows I could find, since I wanted an Edwardian theme. At the end of the ceremony, Pastor made Rob kiss me again, when he gave me only a shy peck. We smashed chocolate cake over each other’s faces, and my hair was full of fake rice when we got to our hotel room.
And so began the adventure.
The next 12 years would see us through the beautiful multitude of experiences that life has to offer. We began living in a tight-knit community on the water, where we were known simply as “the newlyweds.” We later bought a house in the suburbs and started a family. We camped in the summer, until we began sailing instead.
Mixed in with the obviously beautiful experiences were those difficult times that everyone experiences. We saw financial hardships, the unexpected death of his mother, work-related stresses, a child with special needs, and other stresses that were the result of poor decisions made on both sides. Life is about making mistakes, and learning.
It is about the journey.
And two people, two imperfect beings, will have quite the journey, going through life together. Nobody is taught HOW to do this, and the community that used to support young families no longer exists. We are not always aware that every couple, every family, has the same story, with slightly different details.
On our own, therefore, we have to do a lot of problem solving. Seemingly alone against the world, we try to figure it out. Love is not something we can fall in or out of, it is something we choose to do. Love is by nature unconditional, but it doesn’t mean that one person is subservient to another, or that we remain in a situation that makes us both unhappy. Love means that we both work at it, trying to find understanding when there seems to be none in sight, and understanding that we are both imperfect. Love means that we work together to figure out this sometimes confusing thing called life, and that we help each other to grow and find our way.
We don’t choose to do this because we fear divine retribution if we don’t. We don’t choose to do this because we feel like we have to. We choose to do this because we WANT to.
Love is a choice. It is always a choice. And it is not always the easiest choice to continue making. But the challenges themselves are beautiful in the end. The learning, the growth that is OUR story, is beautiful.
In about 10 minutes, I will bring a cup of coffee up to my best friend, who will just be waking up. Don’t expect to see my online much this weekend, as we will be busy celebrating.
Here’s to the better
To the worse, with its own beauty