Friday was Kurt’s and my sixth wedding anniversary. We’ve been together almost eight years, but it took him a year and a half to get around to proposing.
He kept teasing me with the proposal. I had an idea he was going to do it, since he had convinced me to move in with him just after college as a trial run to see if we could live together. We talked about it a lot, but I was hoping for a romantic proposal, and not simply an agreement that we’d get married on a particular day.
My only request was that he wait till I graduated college. My dad had been insistent that if I was grown enough to get married, I was grown enough to pay all my own college bills. Sure, I could have taken out more loans than what I already had to cover my expenses, but why rush into marriage? I figured it was better to wait anyhow.
On our 18-month anniversary of dating, Kurt took me on a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Norfolk, as that’s where we were living at the time. I figured with such a fancy date, this was definitely the night Kurt was going to propose. Why not? He had everything set up, and I was out of college.
We had a lovely time out on the water, but I came home without an engagement ring. I felt a tinge of disappointment, but I didn’t let it ruin my night.
In hindsight, Kurt had his own plans in mind. At that point, we were planning a trip to New York City, where Kurt figured he would propose to me as we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. He already had the ring — my mother-in-law had sent her engagement ring to him, which he had gotten resized so it would fit me. It’s a lovely ring, with a small diamond set between two yellow gold leaves that gracefully arc down to a ring of white gold. The fact that it was my mother-in-law’s, and that she offered it to Kurt for me to have, make it worth more than any monetary value you can put on it. She had only met me once, but she knew she would like to have me for a daughter-in-law.
I ended up ruining Kurt’s plans for the Brooklyn Bridge. We were to go in late August, but a week before our scheduled trip, I managed to land my first real job. There was no way I could take off a few days to run up to NYC on a vacation when I’d just gotten a job.
Kurt managed to come up with a new plan on short notice. Instead of the Brooklyn Bridge, he took me to a fancy seafood restaurant in Portsmouth, Virginia. I figured something was up, but I tried to ignore it so as not to be disappointed like I was during the dinner cruise. The dinner was absolutely amazing. I can’t remember specifically what we ate, but I know it was damn good. After dinner, Kurt took me walking along the Elizabeth River to look at the lights from Waterside in Norfolk. Suddenly he sat me down on a park bench and got down on one knee. I immediately started crying, and of course, I said, “yes” when he asked me to marry him.
Random strangers stopped by to congratulate us, as it was obvious what had just occurred.
That was on Labor Day, 3 September 2001. I don’t have to remind you what happened just eight days later. The events of that day led us to plan a wedding as quickly as we could. We had no idea if Kurt would be recalled in some capacity in the war against terror. All we knew at that time was we needed to get married as quickly as possible.
Four weeks later, as some of my family and most of our friends stood around us, we exchanged vows at the City Park in Portsmouth. It was a gorgeous October day, Friday the 12th. I couldn’t have asked for better weather. I don’t recall most of the ceremony itself, only that it seemed to last maybe five minutes. I suppose that’s the benefit of being married by a marriage commissioner instead of a minister — no long wedding sermons to get through.
And now we’ve made it to six years. No, our marriage isn’t perfect. But who has the perfect marriage? Couples argue, they have disagreements, they don’t see eye-to-eye all the time. The secret, what I’m slowly figuring out, is learning to let it go. To not let the small things bother me so much. To understand that I won’t like my husband all the time, but I should always love him. That it’s okay to get mad at him for something, and that it’s equally okay to forgive him for it. Sure, it’s hard for these things to penetrate my thick skull, and I hate to admit when I’m wrong. But I know I am trying to be a better wife, and I hope he can see it.
Happy anniversary, baby.