Wedding Day Reflections: The Groom
Sam and I had been dating for just over a year before I became certain that I would one day propose to her. I was twenty-eight at the time; I was confident in my income as well as the future I desired. Sam and I had moved in together, and well --- we were comfortable. Things might have stayed that way for a few more years had it not been for San Francisco.
I was ready to move on with my career, to challenge myself once more. Without much effort, a dream job prospect fell in my lap. The problem? It was in San Francisco and we were living in Philadelphia at the time--2,800 miles away.
I can't begin to describe how much Samantha loves her family. Having lost her father only a few years prior, the idea of moving farther away from her Mom and sister couldn't have easy to reconcile. Having told her about the offer, I insisted that I didn't have to take it and leave her behind. Our relationship had already blossomed into something wonderful. Yet, despite everything, she was supportive and encouraging. She was committed to being with me, and I then knew I was committed to her.
There is something that isn't talked about enough. There is typically a gap in time between the moment you order the ring and the time that you propose. For the groom those weeks--and in my case months--can be some of the most difficult. For the first time in my life, I had panic attacks. Your life changes the moment the ring arrives. The fact that she doesn't know you're planning to propose makes things even more difficult. Imagine getting into an argument about something and then asking yourself -- am I ready to propose? Or that one time when she doubts whether you love her, and you just want to get down on one knee right there and then and confess your love and commitment. I think it was over these few months that I began to discover what it means to be a man.
Thankfully, I stuck to my original plan. Over Christmas, I asked Sam's mom's permission to marry her daughter, and on January 30th, I disguised a birthday gift with a trip to Napa and proposed in a hot air balloon ride. Having a healthy fear of heights, it wasn't long before the words came tumbling out of my mouth: "Will you marry me?"
Could you imagine if she had said no? (She didn't.) Of course, she didn't. I knew she loved me, and I knew I loved her. At that point I had accepted that we were then married. There was no more anxiety, no more doubt, nothing but pure joy.
The next six months flew by. There isn't much advice I can or need to give to other future grooms. It's not hard, you've already done the really hard bit, but you now have a single job. Support her in every way possible. You have to understand that she is just starting to experience the anxiety you felt before proposing to her. I'm not saying that she's having second thoughts. What I'm saying is that she is now coming to a realization of what being married might mean. Those feelings only escalate as the day approaches. Be there for her in any way that you can. It's going to be a busy and life-consuming few months. It's temporary and gets easier. Don't sweat the small stuff.
On wedding day, I started to get really nervous. My friends, of course, didn't help. It wasn't doubt about us, it was doubt about myself. It was stage fright. Will I remember my vows? Will I look good? Will I say the right things? Will I remember the dance moves? Will my friends have fun? Will she have fun? Shit... the vows... In retrospect the vows were both the best and worst decision we made. I must have practiced them a hundred times in the shower the day of, in the end, writing them down on a piece of paper I never bothered to look at. When the time comes, you just speak from the heart, honestly and sincerely.
When I finally saw her walk down the isle, I was blown away! I shook her uncle Joe's hand with my sweaty palm as I helped her to the podium. She was shinning, beautiful, and absolutely perfect! I couldn't stop staring at her. I just barely contained my composure as she said her vows back to me. We exchanged rings. Took pictures. Ate cake, danced the night away, and despite our exhaustion had some of the best sex as husband and wife.
Marriage can be thought of in many ways. A merging of two individuals. A continuous compromise. It's a bit of that, yes, but when done right, you'll find joy in an understanding and acceptance that I have never felt before. She doesn't take away from me. She adds. She helps me grow into a better person. I am so lucky to have found someone as amazing as her!