The Best Is Yet to Be


Well, the wedding season has begun. Already I’ve gotten three invitations, attended one, and listened via webcast to another. (Who knew, right?)I have to admit to having a funny relationship with weddings. Growing up, they were a significant part of my extended family--my grandfather was a minister, my aunt made wedding cakes and even perfected the art of the cheesecake wedding cake; my brother's been a wedding photographer; and not to be outdone, my grandmother ran a business selling engraved wedding invitations. To this day, she looks askance at those invitations (so-called) that are the product of desktop publishing and laser printers. (If I remember correctly, she had ours chiseled out of marble.) So weddings--and the proper execution of--have been a part of my life for a long time. Still as much as I love the satin and seasonal flowers and string quartets, I have a hard time sitting quietly through the ceremony.

It takes everything in me to not jump up and scream at the top of my lungs, “You have no idea what you’re doing!”

I’m a great advocate of marriage (see here and here) but married life holds a lot of surprises. It’s much harder than it looks, some days it’s more struggle than gift, and just like war, no amount of boot camp can properly prepare you for what happens in the field. And that’s a good thing, because if we really knew what we were getting in to, few of us would. At the same time, I also find myself quietly smiling when a bride or groom says things like “Today I marry my best friend.” And again, all I can think--this time with a gentle confidence—is, “You have no idea.”

On my wedding day, I thought I was marrying my best friend. And in one sense, I did. There was no one I liked spending time with more, there was no one I had invested so much emotion in, and there was no one who knew me as well as he did. But when I look back on that friendship--as it was the day that we gave our vows to each other--it seems paltry and immature compared to the friendship that we have now. True, nearly eleven years ago, I married my best friend.

But today we are better best friends.

And it’s the kind of friendship that can only be gained through laundry and bills and moving boxes. It’s the kind of friendship that is strengthened by arguments and flourishes in reconciliation. A friendship says I still love you when you mess up—and better yet, I still like you. And ultimately it’s the kind of friendship that only comes from committing to live life together.

Fifty years from now, I’ll probably look back on my thirty-something self and laugh at even my current naïveté. Because by the time we reach that milestone, by the time we have grown old together, maybe I will have finally learned that even the best is yet to be. So to myself and all my newly and soon-to-be married friends, I have just this word of advice: you have no idea what you’re getting into.

Hallelujah, you have no idea.