Then. And Now.

by DanWolgemuth on April 6, 2018

It was a bright Spring day in Franklin, Michigan. April 8, 1978.

At 7PM, with the wedding attendants at the front of the church, Mary and her dad moved in front of the double doors at the back of the church. I could see her. The dress she wore was ivory, satin and beautiful. A dress that Mary’s Mom had worn in Calumet, Michigan nearly 30 years before.

In that moment, the music stopped, even as my heart pounded. In that moment, every guest and every participant disappeared from my sight. I fixed my eyes on my fiancé, my wife to be at the back of the room. I locked my gaze on Mary. And in that moment, I recited the words that I had scratched on a piece of paper months ahead of this date, words that rolled from a captured heart…

“Mary, I’ve waited a long time to look down this aisle and see you in that beautiful gown, and it’s been well worth every second. For as I gaze at you now I see a beauty that is beyond any I have ever known. A beauty that begins in your heart and moves outward. A beauty enhanced by time and cultivated in day to day living.

I love you with a love that encompasses every inch of my being. I love for the memories, for the current realities, and for the dreams you’ve allowed me to share. I am so very full today and so very proud to have you as my bride.”

Minutes later we were husband and wife. With a life in front of us.

I moved my beautiful wife into an apartment located above a beauty parlor at 1815 ½ High Street, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were paying $150 a month.

We had spoken words of commitment to each other… words that reflected our solidarity, our commitment, and our naïveté.

I promise, before God and these witnesses to be your faithful husband, both in times of plenty and in times of want, in laughter and in tears, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all the circumstances of our lives together to be loyal to you for my whole life and with all my being.

And Mary said the same.

Then life.

Jobs. Babies… three heart-stealing babies.

Fort Wayne, Indiana. Franklin, Tennessee. Goshen, Indiana. Lenexa, Kansas. Aurora, Colorado.

Then weddings where we sat in the front row. Our kids finding their soul-mates. A ground swell of gratitude for the adults that now surrounded us as family. Then babies… ten heart-stealing babies (with number 11 on the way).

Yes, then. Yes, now.

Yes to the laughter. Yes to the tears.

But, yes. Still yes. Always, yes. Even when my stubborn soul says no… yes.

Senior discounts, but fighting fiercely for love.

Forty.

Forty years.

Mary, I’ve waited a long time to look down this aisle…

The adventure of a lifetime.

Our Ruby Anniversary. A milestone, but not a destination.

How little I knew in Franklin, Michigan. How grateful I am that you said yes. Then. And now.

I am so very full today and so very proud to have you as my bride.

Then. And now.

By God’s grace, and in His mercy. Yes.

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