On April 26th, Bob and I were blessed with the opportunity to take part in the wedding of some dear friends of ours. Chris, the groom, deployed with my husband to Iraq a few years ago and has become a surrogate son, of sorts, to Bob. Chris looks up to Bob and respects him so much that he asked Bob to get licensed so that he could officiate at his wedding.
I, on the other hand, was asked to make the wedding cake and cupcakes. I don’t know who got the “sweeter” role in the wedding but it was a beautiful ceremony and a day neither one of us will ever forget.
There is something magical about a military wedding. All weddings are beautiful, but military weddings just seem to be over-the-top romantic. I chalk it all up to the uniform. There isn’t anything sexier than a man in his military dress uniform. Watching my husband spend weeks preparing his uniform, taking great care to precisely place each award, proudly displaying each ribbon… well, it only made me that much more excited for their big day to come. I love seeing my man in his uniform and I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle on his arm.
There’s also a warm and comforting sense of family at a military wedding. Watching Bob and Chris and the men that they served with gather around reminded me of how precious the bonds of service are. These men have been to hell and back with each other and now they gladly stand beside one another on the most important days of their lives. As I watched Jamie dance with her new groom, I thought about how she was not only joining the Partin family but she’s joining the military family, as well. She joins the silent rank of military spouses that serve without a uniform or a pay-grade. She joins a unique group of Americans that started with Martha Washington and has continued proudly with women such as Julia Dent Grant (Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant), Pamela Murphy (Mrs. Audie Murphy), and Marie Tillman (Mrs. Pat Tillman).
When a soldier says, “I do”, we celebrate their love, prepare to help them through the difficult times that we know will lie ahead, and we pray God’s richest blessings over their marriage.
When a soldier says, “I do”, we look into each other’s eyes and remember the day that we said those same words.
When a soldier says, “I do”, we clap our hands, wipe the tears from our eyes, and raise a toast in their honor.
When a soldier says, “I do”, we silently whisper in our hearts, “I still do”.