My ears popped as I stood in front of the ornate bathroom mirror, putting on the delicate pearl earrings. As I moved about the impeccably decorated hotel suite in my wedding gown, then posed for photographs with my mom, my ears still had not gone back to normal. Nervousness, I remembered, is what can sometimes make one’s ears pop unexpectedly. Yet, I was not feeling nervous or anxious. I was certainly excited. I was about to marry my best friend of the past seven years. I took comfort in the notion that, after having spent almost every day of those seven years together, my heart was aflutter at the prospect of making our bond official. ‘Bring on the happy nervousness,’ I thought as I was about to walk up the aisle with my father to the muted notes of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. If only I could actually hear the music clearly!

All the sounds were muffled to me, as though I was swimming under water, carefully attuning my ears to the above-surface vows spoken to me by the man I love. My own voice sounded almost like a croak, but I had no time to pay it any attention. Seeing the peaceful joy on Mr. Wanderlust’s face, I knew he didn’t care about the sound of my voice at that moment. And then, there was the kiss to the erupting sound of applause and cheers from everyone in the small chapel who had come to celebrate our special day with us.¬†

Sometimes, imperfect conditions nudge us to pay closer attention. When one of the senses is not right, the other senses awaken with a thirst for clarity, ready to take in the full experience of what is before us. Sometime later, when the wedding party and our families ventured outside for photographs, the pressure in my ears gradually eased. All it took was a bit of patience and careful attention paid to the one thing that matters most: LOVE.

Today, Mr. Wanderlust and I are celebrating 10 wonderful years of marriage. Ten years after our wedding day (and 17 years since  becoming a couple), I am still working toward becoming a better listener, cultivating greater patience, and maintaining grace under pressure. As we are about to venture into yet another round of DIY home renovation, this weekend should provide me with many opportunities to put those lessons into practice.

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