"It's not always rainbows and butterflies, but compromise that moves us
Teresa was almost 10 when I was born. Though I wasn't as close to her as my oldest sister, we had a good relationship. She began dating Brian when she was 16 and I was six. Whenever he'd come to the house to pick her up, he would try to steal a kiss from me. He would use whatever means necessary, like bribing me with stuffed animals and tricking me into hiding my eyes. He became like a brother to me.
Two years later Teresa became pregnant and they were married right after she graduated high school. They bought a trailer house and moved to a small town not far from where he worked. A baby boy was born in November and so began their family. Three more boys followed. It wasn't a perfect life, but it was a good one.
Eighteen years later, Brian develops a cough. The doctor treated it like the flu, but it wouldn't go away. As it turns out, it was a tumor pressing against his esophagas. A malignant one.
Nine months later, Brian left Teresa and the four boys. She was a widow at 36.
Brian has been gone for almost six years. Teresa has been dating Mike for about two years. They got engaged in December after an on again/off again relationship. A month later she tells me she gave him the ring back, saying she didn't love him. She still loved Brian. A few weeks later she is wearing the ring again asking me to be the matron of honor in June.
I like Mike. He's very sweet and treats her like a queen. But I don't think she loves him. I don't think he's a good match for her. I don't think they should get married. She knows my thoughts on this. But it is her decision to make. So we've spent the past few weeks getting everything ready for a wedding set to happen this Saturday.
The dress is bought.
The chapel is booked.
The invitations have all been sent.
And Sunday night she called it off.
As of yesterday, it was back on.
My initial reaction was to roll my eyes. It's beginning to feel like an episode from Days of Our Lives. But the more I talk this out, the more my heart hurts for her.
She had a love that was rare and special and beautiful. Not perfect, but seems that way in light of her grief. She wants it again, but doesn't know if it can happen twice in a lifetime. And if it can, does that make it less rare? She wants to let go, but can't. And then she doesn't want to let go. Does letting go mean she doesn't love Brian anymore? Is it okay to love someone else?
And what if it's not that special, magical kind of love feeling you see in the movies? Maybe it's the kind of love that makes her feel safe, secure and not so alone.
Maybe she doesn't feel butterflies. Maybe she doesn't get weak in the knees. Maybe she's not dying to jump into bed with him. Maybe she just likes being with him. And maybe something more will grow out of it.
It might seem dull and un-romantic on the surface, but as people who are constantly looking for instant gratification and self-fulfillment, maybe we have fooled ourselves about love and marriage.
To my sister and her new husband-to-be: May they have a long and happy marriage together. One that grows from friendship, respect and the willingness to take on life together. May God bless them.