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Lessons Kenny Rogers taught me

One of my favorite parts of a wedding is when couples have an anniversary dance. The first time I saw one was at my cousin’s weddings in 2005. His bride is from a small town where everyone knows each other, and most everyone showed up for their big day. So when the DJ asked all the married couples to make their way to the dance floor, there were dozens of couples joining together on the crowded parquet square, close enough to bump elbows.

The song was “Through the Years,” which I already had a soft spot for because I grew up with a Kenny Rogers-loving mama. A few beats in, the DJ asked anyone who had been married less than a day to leave the dance floor, and the blissful newlyweds sat down. Then he went on, asking couples that had been married less than a year to sit down, then couples that had been married less than three years, etc. He continued adding years, and as each couple exited the spotlight, the whole room honored the time they’d spent together through cheers, smiles and waves. It was amazing to see a whole room of people celebrating one another's commitments.  

I loved seeing my own parents up there, partly because I’d never seen them dance in public before, but mostly because they seemed so proud of their 35 years together. By the end of the song, there were still a handful of couples holding each other close; the longest-married pair swayed together until the end of the song, and the whole room cheered their 50 plus years of matrimony. 

I’m not usually a very sappy person, but that was a really beautiful moment.

This week I celebrate eight years of marriage with a man who is loving, goofy, honest, generous and almost weirdly kind to strangers. I couldn’t be happier about the life we’ve built, and am thankful to have him as my husband every single day.

Happy anniversary to the amazing guy I married, and here’s to Kenny Rogers-inspired love all around.

(Self portrait circa 2005.) 

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