Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 9, 2001
Years of marriage takes love to a deeper level
By MSGR. JIM LISANTE
I love seeing them a year later. My brides and grooms, I mean. One of the greatest pleasures of priesthood is the role of being witness to the weddings of so many delightful new couples.
One thing I've noticed is the difference between the wedding day look and the first anniversary look. Frankly, they look just about as close to perfect as can be on the day they exchange vows.
Generally, they've never been in better shape. The bride forsakes desserts and high calorie foods in favour of a slim waist. The groom gets to his local gym with religious fervour, and plays that last round of golf the day before, to be sure of having a tan on the wedding day.
This is the routine, not once in a while, but almost always.
Millions are spent nationally on hair, nails, makeup and facials. Not to mention the costs of the perfectly tailored suits and gowns making our wedding couple stiff competition for the perfect figures on top of their wedding cake. All this and much more for one glorious day.
Then, maybe a year after they've settled in to the experience of being a married couple, you note an interesting change. They're the same, but different.
Each has put on a bit of weight, often crediting the addition to the argument that "see, I can, too, cook!" Both wear comfortable clothing, a far cry from their tightly bound wedding day selves. Their colour is normal, not altered by tanning salons or makeup.
In short, they're not "on" but just themselves. They've learned how to relax with each other and with others. They don't need to impress anyone. And, importantly, they've come to believe that their respective spouse can and does love them as they are. Not as perfectly prepped as the wedding day, but simply as they are.
It's a wonderful change to see. More so with each passing year. Dinner with couples married five, 10 and 15 years brings even greater proof of the transition.
These are people who are not only comfortable in their own skins, but whose love for their partner isn't any longer based on the perfection of the "outer shell."
I recall one visit a few months ago. I remember this couple from their wedding day for many reasons. Not the least of which was the absolute perfection of their physical beauty. They were, on their wedding day, absolutely stunning.
But at our recent meeting 10 years into the marriage, things had certainly changed. For him: baldness, a substantial paunch and a look of tiredness - brought on, no doubt, by 10 years of commuting.
For her, those side effects of three babies included a thicker waistline and hair that needed some attention (but probably wouldn't get it, with three kids needing far more). And, again, a tiredness that comes from sleepless and attentive motherhood and being a supportive spouse.
And yet, and yet, the look of love, the look of being "at ease" with someone else they knew they could trust completely, was amazing to see. They had arrived at a comfort zone that eluded them before marriage.
Romance, physical attractiveness and a sense of sexiness had been obvious on their wedding day. But something happened along the way.
They discovered that, peel away the shell, and what do you find? A greater beauty than all the rest, the knowledge that beneath those extra pounds and changing physical looks lies a profoundly striking vision.
It's the magnificence of realizing that this person is your beloved. And you are so richly blessed.
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