I have a new habit. When I’m bored, or thinking, or my fingers just need something to do, I turn a ring that sits at the base of my index finger around and around. The habit is new because the ring is new. It was given to me on the fifteenth of December in a stunning park near my house by a woman who I love while a hundred of our nearest and dearest watched.
In other words, I got married.
It was the cap on not only an amazingly big year, but an amazingly enriching and life-altering dating relationship. The day itself was beyond my imagining. I’ve never been one to believe that your wedding day is the happiest day of your life, that always seemed a little bleak to me. What about all the other days? All the ones where you fell a little more in love? All the ones that made the wedding day happen? And what about all the ones that come after? The ones where you grow old with that person beside you?
But saying all that, our wedding day was up there as one of the most joyous I have lived. There have been other days that have been as good, but few that were filled with so much love. And the thing that surprised me was that it wasn’t just mine and Holly’s love, it was all of it. It was my love of the people in the room, and their overwhelming love washing back. It was the community that had grown and surrounded us our whole relationship all in one room, all celebrating. It was my parents in the front row tearing up as we spoke our vows. It was my sister’s exuberant face, the effort and time she put into making us a beautiful mountain of a cake. It was my brothers, both those of blood and those bonded through friendship, as they stood beside me. It was the bridesmaids on the other side, women I had come to know and love, and who are my sisters whether they know it or not. It was the earnest congratulations from my aunties and uncles, the gleam in their eyes as they wished us so many good things. My three year old nephew on the dance floor, fists clenched, belting out every word of Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill, while a crowd of adults gathered around him, cheering him on. It was the feel of Holly’s hands in mine as the celebrant said the words that would make us husband and wife. It was the awkward feeling of eyes as we swayed our way through our first dance. The cheer that went up as we were introduced as husband and wife. My Dad’s speech, thoughtful and honest. My new sister, Kerry, bringing tears to the eyes of many in the room. The uncontrollable laughs as my brother Jonathan delivered his words with the deadpan skill of a seasoned stand up comedian. The dancing, the singing, the songs from our youth that were so bad they’ve now become good. The group circle as we collectively sang the classics, all self-consciousness lost with the aid of love, comfort, and alcohol. The laughter as my wife and I skipped arm in arm with our bridal party through a public park. The overly squeezy hugs from my new sister-in-law as she said through joyfully gritted teeth ‘I love you so much’. My uni mates all huddled together, a mass of friendship as we shouted out the words to Rod Stewart’s Rhythm of my Heart. The dance moves; silly, fun, and over-the-top. It was Holly walking towards me, flowers in hand, smile on her face. The lump in my throat as I think about it even now. The photos, the kisses, the warm words. The moments I took with my new wife to stop and look around the room and just take all of it in.
It was our wedding day.
To add to this wedding post I thought I’d share my vows with you all. Not only because I’m happy to declare them in front of a global digital audience, but because I’m proud of them, and proud of the woman I was lucky enough to say them to.
My love, you are such a warm wonderful beacon in my life. You fill my days, my thoughts, and my arms in the best way possible. The most Holly way possible. A way that makes me grateful. A way that makes me centred. A way that adds something special to any given day.
I love the years we have spent together and the life we have built. I love you. Your inquisitiveness, your quiet strength, your easy company, your cheeks. I love what’s inside your head, and without it. You are my favourite person, and a life with you is the best life I can imagine.
So, I promise to climb mountains with you. Be they metaphorical mountains made up of life’s challenges or your personal goals, or real ones made of dirt and stone. Either way I promise to walk and climb along side you, encourage and support you, joke and mock insult you all the way up and down the other side.
I promise to have fun with you. Be it on a big badass adventure, or a quiet night at home. I promise to watch cartoons, go to parties, sing in cars, read books, have long chats, send you cute animal pictures, aggressively grab your butt, and kiss your face. I promise to do these things on the easy days, and, especially, on the hard ones.
I promise to be your partner. To do extra chores when I know you’re low on time. Help you look for something that you’ve lost. Give you a shoulder massage just because. To listen when you need to talk, have patience when you’re flustered, to use what small influence I have to make your life a little bit easier and a little bit better, and thank you when you do the same for me.
I promise to love you. To respect, appreciate, and value all the things that make you you. To squeeze you overly tight when I’m full to bursting with that love or to whisper it gently in a more restrained and less rib damaging way. To look for all the ways I love you and remind myself just how lucky a man I am.
And I promise to keep updating these promises. To add subsections and amendments and entirely new promises as our lives grow and change. To keep you and them always in my mind and my decisions and my actions.
I promise to choose you, every single day.