by Liz Flaherty
I was an almost-June bride, since we got married on May 29 in order to take advantage of the Memorial Day weekend. We worked the Friday before we married and Duane would go back to work the Tuesday after. My dress was a light blue mini that cost $14.99, my shoes came off the clearance rack and were a half-size too small, and I was so excited.
At twenty and twenty-two, I was a single mother long before it was fashionable and he'd just returned from Vietnam to the job he'd had before he was drafted and that they didn't want to give back to him. If we hadn't received money as wedding gifts, we wouldn't have been able to afford to spend even our wedding night in a motel.
When I look back on that, I'm surprised that we did. We had rented a furnished apartment to start our marriage in--I don't know why we didn't just go there. We could have used the $10.50 we spent at the Curlee Motel on groceries.
I don't remember much about being a bride. Even then, it was all about the marriage. We were products of unhappy ones and were determined to make ours better, to make the joy last, to keep talking even when talking hurt. Forty-nine years in, we have done that. Mostly.
Except for when we haven't. And those times have probably done as much to strengthen the relationship as the good days. It is the bad days that make me love reading (and writing) stories about marriages that are resurrected from the fields of pain where they sometimes find themselves. It's why I love reading about "seasoned" protagonists, because we have a really good handle on what it takes to achieve a "mostly" Happily Ever After.
I join Helen in sending best wishes to all the beautiful June brides--or brides of any other month, too. I hope each of you gets her own Mostly Happily Ever After. Make the joy last. Keep talking.