I’m posting this on the 68th Anniversary of my wedding – and no, I can’t believe it either! But I’m posting with a purpose. There are so many wonderful wedding photographs put up on social media, the brides looking so beautiful, in gorgeous dresses with masses of flowers and an attentive bride-groom beaming love at them. All just as it should be and it warms the heart to see them.
But not all weddings are so beautiful, so blessed, or so surrounded by good wishes. So this blog is for the brides who keep quiet and don’t put pictures of their weddings on display because they are rather ashamed of them. I know how it feels because I was just such a one. And here are Roy and I standing in the garden of the house where I grew up and hour or so after we got married and every picture tells a story.
This story is not quite what you might think. Let me interpret the body language of my new husband. I’ve seen that stance and expression many times over the course of the years and I know what he was thinking, I used to call it his ‘sod yer face’ and on this particular morning he was saying ‘sod yer, I’ve married her and there’s nothing you can do about it!’ I was just wishing that the day could be over and that I was anywhere but there.
We often told one another in the years that followed that at least we had our worst day right at the beginning and the only way to go from there was up. So I’ve put another picture to show you the two of us very happily together with our new son a few years later. There was after all something to be said for starting badly.
But maybe I should tell you the story.
For a start and central to all this is the fact that my mother had decided when I was still in the cradle that I was born evil, that I would never amount to anything and that nobody would love me, because I was too horrible. Looking back on it, it all sounds a little unlikely now, but that is what she felt. So when I returned home after registering my intention to marry Roy at the local registry office, she greeted the news with horror saying ‘No you’re not!’ and refused categorically to let my father sign the consent form which the registry office had given me. I was 19 and therefore needed my parents consent.
Luckily I’d thought this one out on my way home, so I knew what to say to her. It was quite simple. ‘If you won’t sign the form, I won’t eat anything until you do.’ She was suffused with fury and said ‘No you wont. Don’t be so silly. You couldn’t do it.’ But I was quite sure that I could and I did, sticking close to her all the time for the next six days, so that she could see that although I drank water, I wasn’t eating anything. By the end of the sixth day, I was visibly losing weight – I also had fearful pains in my stomach but I didn’t let on about that – and that night, she and my father had a long, growling conversation after I’d gone to bed. The next morning, the form was signed and lay beside my plate.
The wedding day was just under a week later, I was still finding it painful to eat and she had found a way to get in a last moment of hatred while we were signing the register.
‘It wont last,’ she said to our handful of guests in a loud voice. ‘I give it six months.’
This time, I didn’t say anything but I made up my mind that it would last a lifetime. And it did. Things could only get better.