I Am My Beloved’s, My Beloved Is Mine

Beloved_01Five years ago in the presence of family and friends, Mike and I stood facing each other and improvised on what to say before exchanging wedding rings. That day was, and still is, the best day of my life.

I went to bed late the previous night because Mike’s grandmother, with whom I was sharing a room, wouldn’t stop telling me how happy she was that we were going to be family. I spent the night at Mike’s parents’ house while he stayed at our Cambridge apartment. I wake up with a jolt the next morning, look outside the window to check the weather (it’s cloudy but not raining), and I update my Facebook status to “I’m getting married today!” I then sit on the bed and write Mike a note for his brother and Best Man Jonathan to deliver.

Excitement melts into a deep sense of peace, with the unexplainable conviction that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be—just like the day I first met Mike. With Danielle at the wheel, I drift into a sound nap and wake up in the middle of Boston traffic. A homeless man is walking in between cars asking for change. He knocks on my window. “Hey! You’re getting married?” I nod. He then knocks on the window of the car in the other lane and yells, “Hey! She’s getting married!” while pointing at me. The traffic lights jump to “green” and the Museum of Science is soon within view.

There had been much debate over whether to meet before the ceremony or not, but in the end I am happy to have alone time with Mike to reflect upon our big day, rather than seeing him along with a hundred other people. One of the things I love about Mike is that he always makes me laugh. I made him promise me to not crack a joke during the ceremony, so he does that ahead of time, warning me I am about to find myself “in a nest of Jews.”

Our wedding is a Jewish Vietnamese celebration with touches of science and a classy overall feel. We start with the signing of the ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract, after which we are considered husband and wife.

Musicians are getting ready. Guests are filing in. I go hide and contemplate the rest of the day with great anticipation. It’s been one wonderful thing after another so far.

The ceremony has begun. Alone at one end of the aisle, I stand frozen for a moment. Everyone is looking at me and I can’t move. Everything is playing in slow motion. I no longer hear the music. Finally, I lift up my right foot and place it in front of me—my first step down the aisle, my first step toward married life, and I am taking it on my own, out of free will. I am nobody’s to be given away. Everything suddenly shifts back into focus, and I see my sweetie already walking toward me. Everything is okay. I’m going to be okay.

The ceremony script can be found here. It’s only missing the part where Mike and I are making up stuff before exchanging wedding rings. Mike explains how he made the rings, the significance of the twelve layers of gold, and how the pattern will evolve over time as our relationship continues to grow. I respond that our rings came from one, unreproducible batch; they are each other’s only match the way that he and I belong together. We make a note to not lose our rings.

After the ceremony, someone comes up to me and joyously asks how I am feeling. “I’m SO hungry!” I tell her. Her confused look confirms this isn’t the expected response, but she gets me a plate of food while I find myself a quiet spot away from everybody.

This day is going fantastic. And it’s not over yet! I’m on Cloud 9.

The front of the card I gave Mike on our wedding day reads: “This is part of our love — being able to lean on each other through whatever life brings, knowing that when one of us is feeling overwhelmed, the other is strong enough to take on some of the weight.” This has helped a lot during those long, difficult conversations that drag late into the night. Today, Mike still makes me laugh, but now I can make him laugh quite hard too… and even choke sometimes! It’s been five years since our wedding, and in the fall Mike and I will have been together for a decade.

All pictures from Philbrick Photography

One thought on “I Am My Beloved’s, My Beloved Is Mine

  1. djdig

    Marina,
    I’m honored to have been a part of your wedding day.

    Happy anniversary to you and Mike!

    Dave & I are so happy to have you in our lives.

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