In True Times and Bad

By Anne Maxwell

Author of: Grace in Ordinary Times

Twenty five years ago this August, I was a summer bride. 

For the record, yes, it was hot. 

And, yes, a few things didn’t go quite as planned. The photographer was late. The deejay forgot to bring a certain CD for the dance with my Dad. (My kids still laugh while wrapping their minds around the fact that deejays used to physically haul crate loads of CDs instead of uploading a playlist to their phone with the touch of a finger). 

As with every wedding, most guests didn’t notice these two hitches at our nuptial celebration. The other detour off the script that day, however, was more noticeable. 

My groom flubbed his vows. 

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To be fair, it was a subtle slip. It wasn’t an obvious Princess Diana kind of gaffe, where she mixed up a couple of names of her groom. In her defense, Prince Charles did have four names, and in the big scheme of things marrying Phillip Charles Arthur George versus Charles Phillip Arthur George didn’t necessarily make a huge difference in the long run.

My betrothed’s bobble came with stating, “I promise to be good to you in true times and bad,” while I promised to be true to him in good times and bad. Doug may have misspoke that day, but his turn-of-phrase might have described the daily experience of marriage better than I realized as we took the ultimate leap of faith into the unknown that day. Certainly, we were ready to take our vows, but we honestly had no idea what it fully takes to live those vows until our marriage began. Any couple out there who has spent more than a decade together will tell you while marriage is wonderful, it requires work. And, it only works if you both put forth the effort day in, day out.

Days turned into weeks, then years, and somehow, we’ve now reached a milestone that finds me reflecting on those vows and all we’ve shared.

We’ve have had good times: the birth of our four children, baptisms, graduations, vacations, ball games, band concerts, more ball games, family dinners, anniversaries and birthdays. We’ve had bad times: illness, injury, the loss of loved ones, losing a job, financial struggles and what I’ll only refer to as an unfortunate incident involving pork loin and miscommunication during stay-at-home orders earlier this spring. 

A quarter of a century later, I wonder if it was Doug who had it right all along. 

Good or bad, there’s no truer experience than the reality of sharing your life with someone. 

True times are when the air conditioner goes out on a 100-plus degree July day and your husband finds a place for you and kids to go while he sticks it out in the sweltering house waiting on the repairman. 

True times are when you come home and tell him you’ve been laid off and he holds you while you cry, never asking, “What are you going to do next?” Instead, he only says, “We’ll figure this out together … it will be alright.” 

True times are getting up with you at 2 a.m. to create a sauna in the bathroom and take turns holding a six month old suffering with croup in the self-made steam room. And then, getting up to go to work the next day so your exhausted wife can sleep. 

True times are not shouting out a streak of expletives when you back into a closed garage door … twice. Yes, I said twice. Trust me; it doesn’t get much truer than that. 

I am thankful for all the true times he’s shared with me the past 25 years. I don’t know what’s ahead, but if the first half of 2020 is any indication, I have a feeling we’ll continue to get a daily dose of reality. 

But that’s ok. 

Because the guy waiting at the end of the aisle for me on that hot August afternoon promised to be good in the true times.

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