I was wondering what I could write about this week, what lessons I could share with you and how I could stay in a place where I am vulnerable and true to myself. I am madly in love with my husband and after spending a wonderful weekend away with him and then receiving such strength and support from him yesterday, I kind of knew in my heart ….it had to be about love.
As I sat down to sieve through the drafts of ideas and content that I am forever jotting down for future use, I accidently came across this blog entry I was asked to write for an international site , after our wedding in 2011. The theme was around marriage reflecting specific cultures and the definition of marriage in South Africa but as I wrote a realized that my message was not South African specific , it was a universal one, one for anyone who believes in love.
I share this post with you today , enjoy xxxxx
While writing my speech for our wedding reception, I was overwhelmed with pride and amazement, reflecting on our incredible story of true love and romance. I wiped a tear away and silently put a question out to the universe “How and where could I share what I had just written, with the rest of the world? “ Little did I know that the universe would actually manifest this request into reality for me. Yet here I am, editing the speech I said 3 months ago, for the world to enjoy and hopefully resonate with? It’s the stuff my dreams are made of.
A thought or two may cross your mind at this point in time, a) why was I writing a speech as the bride at this wedding? And b) why on earth would I want to share such an intimate document with complete strangers, the world over?
Well to put it bluntly, Im not your conventional bride. Not one, who sits quietly at the main table, raising her glass when appropriate and nodding approvingly at worthy comments, while the rest of the wedding party performs their ceremonial duties. I like having my “2 cents worth”, as we say in South Africa and I also thoroughly enjoy going against the grain of tradition, should the opportunity arise. Call it the hypothetical “wooden spoon” in me, which likes to stir things up every once in a while.
Secondly, to have the platform where I could publically express my deepest heartfelt love and gratitude for my incredible husband was just the most spectacular honour and a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. To then be given an opportunity to share our story with the rest of the world was created, by an abundant need to spread a message to other romantics, a message of both hope and trust in the true meaning of love and marriage.
Now to give you a bit of the history behind this momentous occasion, I thought I would let you know a bit about how we first met!
Barry, a systems analyst, aged 29 and I, a life coach and trainer, aged 34, met on the 13th June 2009, in a small pub. Both of us had been taken there by caring people, who were baby-sitting us, after our respective divorces, trying to cheer us up.
Barry (then still a stranger to me) had to literally rescue me, after being subjected to my desperate grasp and plea for help, as I got dragged onto the dance floor by some dodgy creature of a man, who was trying to be an eligible suitor of some kind. Barry was my knight in shining armour, literally sweeping me off my feet on the dance floor and he still is my knight, to this very day.
We moved in with each other about 3 months after we met and most of our family and friends were very surprised and silently sceptic, as it was relatively soon after both our divorces. But nothing could stop us, this was what we wanted and we both knew it was right from the very start.
In September 2010, on a spring weekend away, near the Kruger Park in Mpumalanga, Barry proposed to me and made me the happiest lady alive. The day was the true definition of love for us. No false pretences, no fancy make up, no posh champagne, no “blow your socks off I definitely can’t say no to that huge rock” kind of ring. Just Barry, Me, my hideous “just woken up” hairdo, the wild wart hogs and 2 bottles of castle light Beer – pure bliss!
Barry and I are extremely compatible both as life partners and as responsible parents. We both dearly love our family of three children, Sydney, my daughter of 8, Tye, my son of 4 and Barry’s son Jared, also aged 4. One of main goals is to nurture, teach and provide for our children in all ways, for the rest of our lives.
We also honestly and openly admit that we thoroughly love our “date” weekends too, when our children go to stay at our respective “ex’s” homes for the weekend. We are really grateful that we have time just for each other, for ourselves and to reconnect after a hard, totally “Kid focused” week of homework, fighting at the dinner table over what veggies to be eaten and endless early mornings and routine bath times. Again this may sound awfully unconventional but we are the envy of many of our “honest” non-divorced friends with children, who never get a single weekend alone together.
We communicate well, we share a love for nature and photography and we enhance and support each other at all times. We have very different interests and hobbies, Barry is an Ice hockey player and Im a spiritual bunny and workaholic, but I will always go and support him in the freezing cold ice rink and he will always make a plan to look after the kids if I want to go to a late yoga class or join a networking group. We just “work” well together!
As well as committing our lives to each other “until death do us part”, it is important for Barry and I to have various short term goals, a 5 plan and a 10 year plan and in these plans are all our dreams and visions for our family, for our home and for our life together. They are something we both deeply treasure and look forward to achieving. We expect good times and bad, we expect struggle and success, but more than anything else we expect honesty at all times and the gift of actively listening to one another.
The plans get us through the hard times, they allow us to share our values, aspirations and ideas and passionately show our commitment to our relationship, to ourselves and our family in a very clear way. We want the very best for all of us and together as a married couple we will do whatever we need to do to make all the dreams of our children, as individuals and as a couple, a reality.
We believe it is why fate threw us together on that cold winters night, in a dodgy pub, in Edenvale. It is why, after 19, very happy months into our relationship, we decided to dedicate our lives to each other. It’s our shared passion and our purpose in this life time.
Is this story something new? Something different? Something unique? The romantic in me truly hopes not. Is it a marriage reflecting specific cultures and definitions of marriage in South Africa? I would not say so.
I suppose what I believe it is, is a simple story. A true story, of two sad divorcees, who had lost all hope and who no longer believed in the sanctuary of marriage, whose worlds got turned around when they fell madly in love and who together, took a huge leap of faith when the world advised them not to.
It’s a story that anyone, who wants to marry “for all the right reasons” , can believe in, it’s a story that scorned lovers and the lonely can keep close to the heart and reaffirm their belief that love can happen to them .
Its a story about picking yourself up after a failure, learning valuable lessons about yourself and what you are prepared to accept and expect in the future, moving forward, fearlessly.
True love does exist, authentic and meaningful marriage is a reality, everything happens for a reason and all we can do, is have faith that its exactly how its supposed to be , right now, in this moment!
Barry and Michelle Tandy got married on the 22nd January 2011 in Knysna, on the beach at Buffalo Bay, one of the most beautiful places in South Africa.