Community Writing Project: I Do

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Editor's Note: This article, featuring highlights from the Community Writing Project, is part of our one-month series exploring the joys and struggles of marriage, broaching the topic from multiple angles for the sake of helping, healing, and considering.

Submissions to the Community Writing Project included letters and tributes as you opened your hearts and unleashed memories.

Reading story after story—almost 60 entries—we marveled that marriage can be longsuffering, challenging, and fragile, or joyful, celebratory, and strong. Or all of the above.

From "Cooking with Zoe":

Dear Husband, Standing with our backs facing each other, I wanted to tell you how much I missed this, cooking together. Me with stinging eyes, crying over onions, you with diligent hands, stirring the chicken. The scent of ginger and garlic, and the sound of music playing while we silently work. The brush of your arm against my arm as we swirl around each other in this culinary dance. Occasionally we turn and glance at each other, we steal a kiss. We share a taste of what we are creating together.

"I Do: There she is..." begins:

"I came home from work today and my 8-year-old daughter said, 'Mom's drunk again.' So matter of fact. Nothing to it. You’re eight years old and a bi-polar alcoholic mother is what you got." (Read the rest...)

From "Of Green Mohair and Breakdowns":

He’s had this green mohair cardigan for years.

Charlene gave it to him. The same Charlene who scrawled across two pages in his high school yearbook.

I tease him and call her “If-Our-Love-Is-True-Charlene.”

And he laughs and crosses his arms and scratches them like he does when he gets embarrassed.

But he still wears it in spite of the holes that have unraveled. (Read the rest by Sandra Heska King)

Contributing Editor Jennifer Dukes Lee hosted the link at Getting Down With Jesus. Please slip over to visit the collection of marriage stories.

We'll leave you with "The Telegram," by Megan Willome.

The Telegram

If my dad had not complained about an anonymous telegram, he and my mom might never have gotten married.

My parents met in 1965 on an exchange program to Chile with the University of Texas. He was known as “the cowboy” (although he really was a farm boy—this will be important later in the story), and she was the cosmopolitan girl, fluent in Spanish, with good political connections. She was seeing someone else, but six weeks at the bottom of the world changed everything. She and my dad fell in love on the beach at Quinteros and stayed that way.

When they returned to Texas, Mom helped Dad campaign for student body president at UT, and he was elected. That meant he was rather busy—too busy to remember Valentine’s Day.

At least, that’s what Mom thought. Why else would a man forget Valentine’s Day? So she sent him an angry—anonymous—telegram.

A week went by. Dad didn’t mention the telegram.

They met for lunch at an out-of-the-way restaurant favored by members of the Texas Legislature. Dad talked about student body president stuff. Mom kept waiting for him to apologize for missing Valentine’s Day. Or, at least, to mention that telegram. Finally, he did.

“I got this strange telegram,” Dad finally said. “It wasn’t signed.”

I can imagine Mom pursing her lips together. “What did it say?”

“It said, ‘You’re a jerk!’” I can’t imagine who would send such a thing.”

“I sent it,” Mom said.

I can imagine Dad looking confused. “Why?”

She proceeded to tell him off, with four-letter words that I never once heard her say. But they included such sentiments as, “You forgot Valentine’s Day? We are practically engaged, you — !”

Dad took his lumps, but here’s the thing: he truly didn’t know that forgetting your girlfriend on Valentine’s Day was a crime. In fact, he hardly knew that Valentine’s Day existed. It wasn’t celebrated on the cotton farm in Hamlin where he grew up. Even birthdays weren’t always celebrated on the farm. There was too much work and too many durn boys running around. (Dad was one of four sons.)

Needless to say, Dad never forgot another Valentine’s Day. He said that other holidays could be adjusted a day or two. If Mom’s birthday fell on a Wednesday, she could wait until Friday night to celebrate. Not so with Valentine’s Day. It was celebrated on February 14, no matter what else might be going on.

“After that, I spent a fortune in yellow roses, dark chocolate, red wine,” Dad told me.

“Worth every penny?” I asked.

“Worth every penny,” he said.

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The "I Do" Collection

Image by Pascal Lagarde. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Community Writing Project hosted by Jennifer Dukes Lee at Getting Down with Jesus. Today's post by Content Editor Ann Kroeker, author of Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families.