First, it was more than a year away. And then it was months and then weeks. Now it is days away, and soon it will be hours, minutes, seconds.... "It" is the moment that has been building momentum for some time, a moment no longer than the one before it or the one after it. Although time will pass in this moment, it is what happens in this moment that will define how I will live the rest of my life. "It" is the moment that I become a married man.
As that life-defining moment approaches, my family and friends continue to ask a question: "Are you nervous?"
When the question was first asked of me, I thought that it was rude. Would I be human if I wasn't nervous? In turn I had chosen to give a rude response: "Why would I be nervous?"
I have since rethought my response. My family and friends had no intention of being rude, so the answer to the question has changed: "Yes. I am nervous about the wedding."
There is anxiety about the wedding. There is a winding list of details that will continue to be refined until the moment we put on our wedding rings. There is so much to account for -- coordination, consolidation, consideration, planning, plotting, timing, seating, eating, dancing, laughing, loving -- yet I find myself becoming more at ease with the wedding day and night. With every passing hour it is more welcoming and inviting. Instead of fretting over details, I find comfort in the visions the details provide -- visions of friends and family from near and far sharing in the moment.
"Yes. I am nervous about getting married."
There is a lot to be said for the act of publicly proclaiming your love to one person. I know, as the groom, that I will put on a tuxedo and stand before my family and friends and swear my love, support, and soul to Rhiana. I've thought about the moment a thousand times. I know that Rhiana, as the bride, will wear a dress and stand before her family and friends and swear her love, support, and soul to me. I have a feeling that she has thought about the moment more than a thousand times. We have expressed to each other the significance of the difference between "having a wedding" and "getting married." That thought is something that we are very much together on and share similar feelings about. We choose to define each of them separately, although both events will occur simultaneously. It does not mean that we choose to share the wedding with our family and friends and not our marriage. It means that we choose to share both our wedding and our marriage with these people.
"Yes. I am nervous about being a husband."
While getting married and having a wedding are symbolic of becoming a husband, I am nervous about the day after the wedding and all of the days after that. There are enormous responsibilities to live up to as a husband. And on the day of my wedding, I will make a promise to live up to these tasks. There are responsibilities that require planning and follow through. There will be challenges that I will not or cannot experience until they are already upon me. I will be committing to giving my love unconditionally for a lifetime, to see us through both desperate and prosperous times. I will have responsibilities that extend backwards into the world and life that I leave behind when I die. I am promising to live with another person and love that person through all that life brings to us. I choose to stand by this woman for the remainder of my life. No decision I make going forward will direct my life with Rhiana as much as the one I am about to choose by stating "I do."
The days dwindle to hours and hours to minutes, and the moment for me to say "I do" will soon arrive.
Am I nervous about having a wedding, getting married, and becoming a husband? Yes, I am. Given the depth that those events signify, I'd be worried if I wasn't.