As a pastor, I have officiated many weddings and seen lots of emotions between brides and grooms, and some of my emotions mirror theirs.
There was a bride who couldn’t stop crying during her pre-marital counseling sessions. In that case, I think it was because she was so overwhelmed by the reality of being deeply loved and wanted.
There was also a groom who, after the wedding ceremony, stepped onto a patio with his male relatives and broke down sobbing in the arms of one of his trusted uncles. Again, the experience of being married (loved and chosen) was healing a deep pain in him.
There is a little bit of that pain in me.
The love I share with Andrea heals me and I experience a lot of joy because of that love. But I won’t say that she completes me–that’s how I thought when I was younger. I now know that I am complete without her. I had gotten to a point in my life when I knew I could live a happy and fulfilled life without a spouse. Ironically, that was just about when I met her. (God, you are a trickster!)
In my vows I said, “I will ask for what I want, but I won’t expect you to make me happy. I will expect happiness to come to me and to us through sharing our lives together, through experiencing our great communion and our beautiful autonomy.”
Not expecting her to “make me happy” is the same as saying I don’t expect her to complete me. I am who I am, and she is who she is. Our coming together gives us experiences that we wouldn’t have without each other. That is not completion, but it is enrichment.
My life is enriched by this particular love that we share.