img561He was the least considered person in the room and yet, by far, the one with the most power.

He was about to ask the two of us a few straightforward questions that would significantly alter our lives.

We were expected to give only a pre-planned, two-word response. The implications of these two words were truly inconceivable.

This is what we heard: “Do you, [insert name], promise to blah blah blah blah.”  (That’s not what he said.)

Respectively, we replied as instructed: “I do.”

What were we thinking!?  

We weren’t.

We just loved each other smack dab in the middle of all the butterflies flitting and the gardenias emitting.  We also assumed, like the other 2,487,000 U.S. couples that got married in 1984 (a record high, sorta), that the lovin’ feeling would stick around.

But I gotta tell you, I had put a lot more time planning the menu and sewing my Princess Di wedding dress than I did contemplating or considering those promises that I was about to make.

I do recall a very brief conversation we had with the preacher prior to the big day.  He asked, “You do want the traditional vows, correct?”  “Yes,” we replied, in unison, “of course.”  After all, we had heard them dozens of times, so we were very familiar with them. (blah, blah, blah)

During the thirty years since our “I do’s”, I have come to realize the implications of those two powerful words.   I had literally and legally obligated myself to love this guy, comfort this guy, honor this guy, not cheat on this guy AND even to OBEY this guy.

ON TOP OF THAT, I agreed that I’d do those things whether he was sick as a dog, poor as a church mouse, or mean as a snake!! (Ok, not in those words, but basically, that’s what they meant!)

And this verbal obligation was valid until one of us kicked the bucket.  WOW.  This stuff was MUCH weightier than I thought.  Ok, I hadn’t really thought…img562

Quite frankly, 16 months prior to that moment I had been totally unaware of this guy’s very existence.

The other day I casually asked that same man if he wanted to renew our vows for our upcoming 30th wedding anniversary.  His responding glance said, “why would I do that?  I meant it the first time I said it.” 

I dropped it.

(As an aside to the vow thing, glances are amazing.  With four quick glances, we can have a two-day knock-down, drag-out fight.  This is much less taxing. Zero regrets.)

I, though, have actually put some thought time into the whole vow thing.  If I had a do-over, I wouldn’t say the same thing.  I wouldn’t use those same words.  My vows would be different.

In retrospect, I would paraphrase what our lives have morphed into over the last 30 years.

Let me explain with two tales: (or skip the tales and jump to the end)

Tale #1

A few years back, I held a marketing position at a local restaurant.  During my first few weeks there, some of the employees were very aloof.  But after a while they warmed up to me. (Occasionally, I can be funny; fortunately, that is endearing.)

One day, after a bit of laughter, one of the gals, Regina, cocked her head back, smiled at me and said, “You alright, Miss Karen.  I’d kill a brick about ya.”

I sensed that this was a compliment, but I didn’t comprehend what she said.  I know I looked perplexed so I just uttered, “Huuuuh?”

She smiled and spoke more clearly for me: “I’d kill a brick about ya.”

I squinted my eyes as she grinned, knowing that I still didn’t’ get it.

So, I had to ask, “what does that meeeeean….?”

Regina rolled her eyes, leaned in and very slowly explained, “It means that if anybody ever messes with ya, I. Got. Your. Back.”

Tale #2

The other day while in my kitchen, I was caught up in a Katie Couric show about stuttering.  For a variety of reasons, I was very moved by the few minutes that I watched.  Tears weren’t flowing, but I was sniffling.

About that time my husband walked through the kitchen behind me.  I heard him as he stopped in his tracks and, with a bit of urgency in his voice, he asked, “are you alright?”  I turned around.  He noted with a quick glance that I was ok.  He kept walking out the back door.  The rest of his thought involuntarily came out his mouth, “I thought you were crying.”

This man that I have coexisted with for 30 years didn’t consciously realize that when he asked that very simple question, my entire BEING heard:  “I LOVE YOU, I ADORE YOU!  It matters to me what is going on inside of you!…… I GOT YOUR BACK!!!” 

I swooned.

swoon |swo͞on| verb. be emotionally affected by someone or something that one admires; become ecstatic


img565So, if I had a do over, I’d still make my Princess Di wedding dress, I’d have a ton of flowers and I’d keep that very long aisle.  I’d still invite everybody and their second cousin to the shin-dig, I’d still have Margaret paint me up, and I’d still have a gianormous reception.  I’d even have the same groom.  No regrets there.

But I would think more about the vows and try to comprehend the inconceivable implications of each word that I was about to proclaim. My look-into-his-eyes would be just as longing, but, instead, I would say,

 “Tim, I got your back.  I’d kill a brick about ya.”

(Obnoxious organ music. Exit.)



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22 thoughts on “Inconceivable!

  1. Oh my goodness! I loved walking through these memories with you! You and Tim set the bar! Can’t believe it has been 30 years! Love you guys!

  2. You are such an inspiration, Karen. Your family is most fortunate to have you as a priceless asset. 🙂

  3. What a joy to read, it’s funny how I can almost envision some of these “glances” and facial expressions in my mind. Something you said here spoke to me though, and I would like your thoughts. . .

  4. You are so witty:) I was the biggest pregnant one. Thanks for having me anyway. That’s real friendship!!
    Happy Happy Anniversary!

  5. How fun was that!!! I loved reading this, reminiscing (as much as I could:), and celebrating the fact that y’all have had each other’s backs for 30 years!!! Thanks for sharing your lives and memories! Love you both!!

  6. Congratulations for 30 years, Karen and Tim, and praise the Lord for His goodness and grace! Karen, you’re a tremendous story/tale-teller; I love the way you communicate ideas. Blessings.

  7. It is amazing to me that I just happened across your blog, shortly after the post I just made in my own ( They’re very similarly related, only I have been married for less than a year — so to read from a woman who has more experience in marriage share very almost the same thoughts is very uplifting to me! It’s also funny that we have the same art clip on our posts.
    When I saw that, I went back and gave your blog credit for the photo. Even though I found it on the wonderful FB world, floating around from friend to friend, I didn’t want to take credit for anything that could’ve been created by a fellow blogger like yourself.
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ll definitely be checking back to read more from you! 🙂

    • Ah, April! Alas, I too found the clip art on the WWW! Thanks for contacting me and blessings on your marriage. May God bless you with many many more years together!

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