Newlywed Love (#124)

Newlywed Love (#124)

As Nate and Meg come to the end of their newlywed year, this post will be the last in that series. Future months might bring further chapters of their adventures, but for now we’ll put their love story to rest. Maybe we’ll tell a faster version at some point one month of married life per blog or maybe a series titled “Twenty years later: Middle-aged Love” or “Forty years later: Senior Love.” For now, however, it’s Happy 1st Anniversary!

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November 29, 1970

Nate’s and my first wedding anniversary didn’t disappoint. The two of us began the day “snestling” in bed as we always did, this time wishing each other a Happy Anniversary. As the hours went by, we each found multiple notes here and there, full of rich sentiment.

A cardAnniversary card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The card reads: “I’ve never been happier than I am this day, our 1st anniversary as a married couple. Thank you abundantly for all the grand happiness of this year. I love you! Meg”

We headed back to the bedroom for a couple of “romantic interludes” during the day and planned a dress-up dinner at a classy restaurant that evening, a place we hadn’t visited since we were dating.

Round BarnNate had taken me to Champaign’s Round Barn in the winter of 1969, when he had been trying hard to win my heart. It must have worked, because when he asked me which restaurant I’d like to go to tonight, that one immediately came to mind.

We also made plans to have a very special dessert at home afterwards. As wedding tradition had it, Mom had saved the top layer of our wedding cake for this important day… in her deep-freeze… for an entire year. She and Dad had delivered it to us when they came for Thanksgiving.

Wedding cakeBack when we ordered our six-layer cake before the wedding, it was traditional for the inside to be all white. But both of us requested that the small top layer be made of dark chocolate. Now we couldn’t wait to feed it to each other, reminiscent of our wedding cake-feeding.

The plan was to use this private cake-ceremony as a symbol of that important day. We wanted to talk over the vows we’d made a year earlier, checking ourselves against them today. And we guessed it might be pretty romantic to feed each other – this time without an audience.

Throughout the day we chatted about all that was happening “a year ago at this time.” Nate brought up specifics I hadn’t remembered, and vice versa. Then, as we cuddled on the couch, we paged through our wedding album, checking to see if our memories were correct. It pleased me greatly that I had married such a sentimental guy.

The mail delivered quite a few anniversary cards, some actually with checks inside. So we took immediate advantage of that generosity at dinner. Nate ordered lobster, and I enjoyed filet mignon – something we probably wouldn’t do again for years.

Although I didn’t journal that night (being busy with better things), the next day I wrote about our cake-eating ceremony, using quite a few exclamation points:

Anniversary evening

The entry reads: “Nate’s prayer of thanksgiving (over our wedding cake) for marriage and me and us was so great —- Nate is so great. How very VERY lucky we are to have each other and mostly a marriage unified in Christ. So perfect is life. I’m in love with Nate and with Christ and with life, all at once. And I’m soooooo HAPPY AND LUCKY!!!!”

It had, indeed, been a wonderful day of love and loving, a springboard into what we hoped would be a 2nd year as good as the 1st.

“My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. If your heart is wise, My own heart will rejoice!” (Proverbs 23:19 & 15)

Newlywed Love (#123)

November 28, 1970

Study hardNate’s final exam week was beginning to weigh on him, even though it wouldn’t arrive till January. His books had been closed since the day before Thanksgiving, though, and now it was Saturday. “I’ll need to spend a few hours studying before we can shop for a Christmas tree.” He said. “Is that OK with you?”

He’d been completely available for two days, so of course it was. Our official anniversary wasn’t till the next day anyway, Sunday the 29th.

“If I study hard today,” he said, “tomorrow will be reserved for celebrating.”

It was difficult to leave him alone as he worked so close to me, but I still had lots of Christmas gift-making to keep me busy. I was hoping to make holiday aprons for several of our aunties, so I pulled out the sewing machine and got to work.

Tree on the VWTwo waist-tie aprons were nearly finished by the time Nate finally lifted his head from his books and said he was ready for a break. “Let’s go get our tree!” he said.

We settled on a 7-foot bargain from Kmart — $4.00. While we were there we chose matching angel ornaments, our picks in the 2nd annual choosing of ornaments that would happen each year. We also bought one box of all-red balls along with red tree lights.

Carrying the tree

Once we got the tree set up, we reached for the shoebox that had been stored on the high closet shelf for a year, remembering the two ornaments we’d chosen on our first Christmas together. When we opened the box, however, we were disappointed. Though Nate’s ornament looked brand new, mine was shattered in a million pieces.

 

 

My ornamentOnly the gold star from the middle was still intact. It was a sad lesson about choosing decorations wisely, but we hung the little star by itself — as a reminder. Thankfully the angel ornaments we’d chosen this year were non-breakable. And it crossed my mind that someday pudgy little child-fingers might be helping us hang these same ornaments. So non-breakable would always be best.

In Santa hat.When the tree was up and decorated, we spread out blankets and pillows on the floor beneath it — and stretched out to enjoy the red glow that filled the room with warmth.

I told Nate, “I’m so glad we had to live away from both of our families during our newlywed year. We missed them, but I think being by ourselves has helped us grow really close to each other.”

He agreed, and then we got “really close” once again there in the light of our Christmas tree.

“A man shall leave his father and mother and be united with his wife.” (Mark 10:7)

Newlywed Love (#122)

November 27, 1970

Journal about breakfastAfter a happy Thanks- giving Day, Nate and I started our 1st anniversary celebration-weekend with a bang – by sleeping until 12:30. Then together we made a big breakfast and set the table with silver, crystal, and our wedding china. With candles burning, we sat opposite each other in the center of the fully-extended table (which we’d needed for Thanksgiving) and talked about our marriage.

It was fun reminiscing about our wedding day. We laughed hard remembering our wild get-away from the church with John at the wheel, Nate changing out of his tux in a ladies room, and our mad dash into O’Hare airport – and out again.

Holding hands.We recounted each of the four days we had at the Drake Hotel as honeymooners and then went through the year recalling highlights. As we held hands across the breakfast table, Nate prayed a beautiful prayer of gratitude for all that had happened during this first year, and dedicated our marriage to God for the duration.

After doing the dishes, we got dressed up fancy and headed to Lincoln Square, the local mall, to look at Christmas decorations and buy each other an anniversary gift.

Cookie jarAlthough we’d received anniversary checks from both sets of parents and also Bervin and Mary, generally our finances were still tight. So we settled on a low-budget gift that would benefit both of us: a cookie jar in the shape of a big orange. I promised to fill it later with Nate’s favorite – frosted sugar cookies.

(This was our second cookie jar, but we were using the first one for candy.)

Although our actual anniversary wouldn’t come till Sunday, we splurged with dinner out (pizza) and a movie, figuring it would be appropriate to spend some of our gift-money on celebrating.

Back at home we made a fire and talked about what kind of Christmas tree we’d get the next day – shopping for it together. We talked about the previous year when Nate had surprised me with a tree (below), and I had burst into tears.

First treeAt the time I couldn’t believe he’d “cut me out” of that family tradition, and he couldn’t believe I hadn’t appreciated what he’d done for me.

As we remembered back to our first clash, we were thankful to have reached our 1st anniversary without too many more of those painful misunderstandings.

The day ended amorously — in each other’s arms, feeling warm, secure, and very happy.

“There is a time… for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:8)