Yesterday afternoon on my walk I came upon a wedding ceremony in the rose garden gazebo of our city’s park. I happened to walk by at the moment that the bride, flanked by her mother and father, was walking down the sidewalk aisle to meet her groom. I got an immediate lump in my throat and tears sprang into my eyes.
Weddings are an event that epitomize everything that is right with humankind – love, commitment, family, friends, hope.
By coincidence, one of my favorite love songs, Escape (otherwise known as The Pina Colada Song) was playing on my iPod at that moment.
As a teenager, I loved The Pina Colada song. I don’t know that I really understood what it was about, but the tune was catchy and I’d recently tasted my grandmother’s Pina Colada. (Yum, delicious!) When I first played The Pina Colada song for my teen, she didn’t respond as favorably. “Ew, it’s about people having an affair. That’s not romantic.”
Actually, it’s not about an affair and I think it’s very romantic. The song is about a married couple who, over time, have forgotten what brought them together in the first place.
We’d been together too long
Like a worn-out recording
Of a favorite song
At the end of the story they discover that what they’re looking for is what they’ve had all along.
I knew her smile in an instant
I knew the curve of her face
It was my own lovely lady
And she said, “Oh it’s you.”
Then we laughed for a moment
And I said, “I never knew.”
They had forgotten. It’s so easy to do, especially when you become parents and the business of parenting becomes your primary conversation. “She has a dentist appointment this morning.” “Are you going to take her to swimming lessons on Saturday?” “Can you pick up diapers on the way home?” “We need more milk.”
When our first child was barely a toddler, my husband and I forgot. And it really took us by surprise because we’d been married for six years by the time she was born; we been through adventures together; we thought our unity was locked in. But we argued and yelled and tested out threats (“Well if you’re so unhappy then…”).
In an attempt to fix what was broken, we visited a marriage therapist. After listening to us both she said “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your marriage. I think you have ‘Silicon Valley syndrome’.” In other words, we were overworked and stressed out. We felt trivialized – we’d gone to her saying we were in crisis and she dismissed us with “too busy”. But maybe she saw something else in the couple sitting stiffly side-by-side on the loveseat in her office.
We didn’t continue our sessions with her – on that we were in agreement. Then over the next 18 months, both of us went through unexpected crises in our professional lives. And we realized that we had each other’s backs. That when it felt like everyone else was against us, we had unconditional support at home. That the vows we’d said were still true. That love and hope and commitment were still present.
Around this time, the movie “The Story of Us” was released. Our good friends saw it and advised us to avoid it. “Blech, that couple was so awful. I could never stand if I or anyone I knew was in a relationship like that.” We waited until it came out on video and then watched it together…and loved it. We could relate to that couple. We’d had just about every argument they had – verbatim.
We especially love the final scene, when the couple is on the verge of announcing their separation to their children and the wife has an epiphany:
There’s a history here, and histories don’t happen overnight.
In Mesopotamia or Ancient Troy there are cities built on top of other cities,
but I don’t want another city, I like this city.
I know what kind of mood you’re in when you wake up by which eyebrow is higher,
and you know I’m a little quiet in the morning and compensate accordingly,
that’s a dance you perfect over time.
And it’s hard, it’s much harder than I thought it would be,
but there’s more good than bad and you don’t just give up!
And God you’re a good friend and good friends are hard to find.
And ultimately, isn’t that what it comes down to?
What a person is made of?
So yes, weddings bring happy tears to my eyes. And yes, I think a song about a couple who remembers that what they’re looking for has been beside them all along is very romantic. Don’t you?