During one of Papa Bean's pastoral counseling classes, they talked about how people change in long-term relationships. The specific 'stat' was that, in five years, you're not married to the same person as your wedding day. And again five years later. Etcetera until death, you know, do y'all part.
I sang this song as my wedding vows. I kept it a surprise, did a rushed mic check before the rehearsal, got the pastor to let me do my vows second (is it normally the other way around, I'm not sure, I don't think either of us would have cared), scared PB when I started walking away to start my vows, instead of starting to, like, talk and stuff. I sang it with a dry throat, it didn't sound at all like I wanted.
Five years later, I'm a better singer, for one thing. I'd have put a damn glass of water on that piano, if I'd known then yada yada yada.
I sang it trying not to cry, and trying to see if it was making him cry; I sang it trying not to laugh, because he smiled and laughed through most of it. It's all the promise I could muster, and it's all the promise I needed to make.
There are only two promises in the lyrics, actually. That I will always try to get it right, and that I'll stand right by his side. The rest is just reflection - I'm still learning what love is. Guess I'll always be doing that. Just figuring it out. When I lived in Iowa and we were flying back and forth to see each other every eight weeks (not longer than eight weeks, ten weeks apart nearly did us in, and I'm not exaggerating, it was untenable) I heard a Rosie Thomas song on Grey's Anatomy, and I put her album on my mp3 player for a trip, and I heard this song's lyrics for the first time, really heard them. I started crying on the plane. It was embarassing.
This is the verse that does me in: I'm still learning what love is/Every time you look at me that way/I'm still trying to figure out just how/You can still look at me the same
We're almost six years out, though I feel like we've been married in spirit for ten, and most definitely, we are completely different people. But he still looks at me the same. I mean, we're parents now, I love him for the father he is to my children, and he helped me bring those children into the world. The sparkle in his eyes then, oh they made sense. But as we bring those children up in this world, as he watches me fail and fail again, as he watches me fall and struggle and stand and fall again with depression, and he still looks at me like that? As he listens to my hurt, my anger - Lord, my unending anger at anyone and everyone - and he still looks at me like that?
Even though I may not get it right/All the time/I will always try/And I will always/Stand. right. by. your. side...