Two weeks ago, my fiance and I were unpacking a new set of plates that were recently gifted to us off our wedding registry. At the same moment, we were receiving the news that seemed to finally shake America into awareness around the severity of this coronavirus pandemic. A European travel ban, NBA cancellation, news that one of our close friends tested positive, and Tom Hanks!?
It was surreal to be unpacking these plates–a moment we had been looking forward to after years of scraping by with four dishes from Craigslist–with excitement but also a sense of doom. We had scoured Internet reviews and gone to every homewares store in NYC to find the perfect plate, both stylish and functional, for the future dinner parties we’d be hosting in married life. And yet in this moment that should have looked toward the future with such unbridled enthusiasm, we were now looking to the future with fear and uncertainty.
While we washed the plates, we unpacked a lot of questions about our future, far more serious than most of the questions we’ve faced in our seven year relationship.
As the employee of a European airline on the eve of a travel ban, I feared for the health of my company and my job. We discussed what felt like a near certain reality that I could be unemployed any day.
We discussed the health of our parents, the state of our country, the state of the economy.
And we discussed our June wedding, a moment we (okay, I) have been meticulously planning for the last year. Just a few days before, a giant box of crisp perfect invitations had arrived to our door. At the time, all I could think was how excited I was to send them. In a matter of days, the question became: do we send them at all? My mom asked, “Have you put stamps on them? I’d wait if I were you…”
If you’d told me my wedding was at risk a month ago, I’d be shattered. But after a few seconds of fear and frustration at not knowing what will happen, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to bounce back and adapt. Maybe we’ll have a New Years wedding instead? Maybe we’ll have a few smaller ceremonies to mitigate unnecessary travel for people? Maybe it will all be fine, but either way, I was surprisingly cool about it.
In that moment of unpacking our plates, we endured our first real trial of (almost) married life. And that’s what it’s all about right? In sickness (whether societal, economical, physical or all of the above) and in health, we’ve committed to being a unit that gets through it together. The tightest unit that falls back on each other when the fibers of society as a whole seem to be unraveling. A team that adapts when faced with crisis and disappointment.
Our vows are taken from the song Promises in the musical Hadestown. They say “Can’t promise you fair sky above, can’t promise you kind road below, but I’ll walk beside you love any way the wind blows.” And though we haven’t said them yet, and though we never thought we’d be tested so early, so far it seems we’re good on our promise.
Feature Image via Jessica Golightly