I've told you all about our joyous Bailey's Irish Creme-fueled Christmas Day engagement. Here, let me refresh your memory:
What I didn't tell you, and what I honestly forgot about until I was at the County Clerks Office yesterday waiting in line to get my new Tennessee tags and had to bring my marriage certificate to prove that my name had indeed changed from what was listed on the auto title and I was bored and looking at the marriage certificate (yes, that bored), is that we were married twice. We are currently on our second marriage.
Yep. I got married twice without ever getting divorced. Life is full of paradoxes and riddles and shades of gray blah blah blah. Have a nice day.
Okay, I will tell you the story.
I have told you that my husband has Crohn's disease. For this reason, it is imperative that he remain insured. If his insurance lapses, then when he regains insurance he is likely to have to wait six months or more to have (very costly) treatment for his Crohn's covered, since it is a pre-existing condition. I hate health care policy in America.
As our eighteen-month engagement dwindled down (please don't punish yourself in this way. Eighteen months was far too long), Jeff was going to leave his full-time job and go back to school. The insurance coverage at his new school was exorbitantly expensive and not very good. I was also a full-time student during this time, and my insurance coverage at Vanderbilt was actually quite nice. I had the option to add dependents on my policy, but there were restrictions on who could be considered a dependent. Children, spouses, domestic partners, anyone you could list as a "dependent" on your taxes. Jeff, my fiance, was none of these.
The wedding was set for May 23. We had booked the spot, sent the invitations, ordered the food. There was no going back on this date.
But we needed to be married sooner so that Jeff could join my insurance policy. This is truly a second-millenium American love story.
So, on April 4, we hitched a ride down to Tullahoma with Jeff's mom. In the same room where Jeff had nervously contemplated his Christmas Day proposal a year and a half earlier, his Pawpaw sat with us in the living room and discussed the responsibilities that go along with marriage. A dutiful United Methodist pastor, Pawpaw asked about how we would support one another in our faith and discipleship. And then he placed his hands over our joined hands and united us in matrimony.
We called Ed Simmons, the Executive Director of Mountain TOP, our dear friend, and a United Methodist deacon, on the way home. We had invited him to officiate at our wedding months before, and he was understandably confused about why we were calling him to say that we had just been wed. When we finally explained everything, he got it.
Six weeks later we stood before Ed as he blessed our union and married us. We hadn't told anyone about the previous marriage. The only people there who were the wiser were Jeff's granddad, his mom, Ed, and the two of us. Pawpaw could hardly rise to stand and read the Scripture at that point.
Two years later, he was gone. But we will always remember April 4 as our first wedding day, and May 23 as our second. Or at least I will remember every time I have to get my marriage certificate out for something and I see a date on there that isn't my anniversary!