Daze of My Life: I Was Married, Once

Daze of My Life
I Was Married, Once

How could I have been so young? And by young I don't mean, nor am I willing to admit now, that I'm old. And the reason for this reflection is, that I attended a wedding reception recently where the groom, older at 26 than I was when I got married at 24, all those many years ago, seemed so young, so inexperienced in the ways of the world, so uncertain in his career, so unsettled in his life; marrying a woman 14 years his senior, (from another country and culture, no less) divorced already once and with a five-year old boy, cute as he was, in tow.
But there they both were, bride and groom, sitting at the head of the table, family and friends in attendance, beaming with exuberance and self-satisfaction and exhibiting all the hope and optimism one might expect on such an auspicious occasion. Happy they both were, joined in marriage, preparing to journey together in "double harness," and let no man - or woman - tear them asunder. And there, by the grace of God, have I spent the last nearly 30 years of my life.
Nevertheless, witnessing the betrothal of these two individuals, so in love and looking forward to their future together got me looking backward: was I that young, that hopeful, that unprepared ? (No, I was younger, equally as hopeful but even less prepared.). Still, we endured, we grew, we survived, so who am I to look askance on the commitment these two individuals made the other day. They have each other and the support of their family and friends, shouldn't that be enough?
These newlyweds simply did, a generation later mind you, what my wife, and millions of other brides and grooms have done for hundreds of years: married in less than ideal circumstances, al things considered. But so what? That's not what, in my experience anyway, marriage is all - or has been - about. What mattered most to me back in 1978 and presumably still matters most in 2008, especially for first-timers I would imagine, is feelings not facts. And the fact of the matter is, I don't recall considering much other than my feelings, when I decided to ask Dina to be my "wedded wife" ( the proposal of which was written on a paper place mat in a sub shop, C.J.'s, if I recall correctly, formerly located in the Cabin John Shopping Center in Potomac, long since out of business but I'm sure that's symbolically insignificant).
Marriage seemed like a good idea at the time and certainly seemed like the logical next step in our relationship. I didn't really ask any body's permission, except my mother-in-law (though I believe that was more a formality than it a requirement). I don't recall seeking advice from too many family members or friends, either. Nor did I consult any manual or make any kind of checklist as to what we had verses what we didn't have, or what we needed or wanted or expected out of life, quite frankly. We just did it, with apologies to Nike. And I have no regrets. ("Regrets, that's a human expression," Data from Star Trek Next Generation, in response to Ambassador Spock, a Vulcan. "Fascinating!" replied Spock, as they contemplated their lives while being held prisoner on the planet Romulus.)
So who am I to question the decisions and judgment of another couple who chose to follow their hearts and not pay any mind to anybody else's opinion. So their circumstances aren't ideal, so their finances and future aren't picture-perfect, and there's a little boy from a previous marriage to consider, so what? They're in love, and love conquers all, right?

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.