Last week, I shared how my fiance Lauren helped my family and me through one of the lowest points of our lives, the death of my father last Christmas.
Through that experience, I discovered there was no one in the world better at lifting my spirits during difficult times than the woman who would soon be my wife.
That camaraderie, mixed with a certain amount of toughness and a sense of humor, showed me we have what it takes to overcome life's obstacles. And while the next hurdle may have been less daunting, it presented us with a completely different sort of challenge.
Until this year, the only experience I had with gift registries was picking out pink socks for a baby shower I attended a few years ago.
Much like each of those socks, my knowledge of such proceedings was rather small and admittedly pretty infantile. Last month, Lauren and I spent a couple of days setting up our wedding registry at a couple of department stores in the area.
She was quite excited, seeing the event as the beginning of our new life together under one roof. I was not in disagreement, far from it; I just wasn't sure we were imagining the same size roof. The day before we drove to the store, I discovered we were both a little worried.
Lauren's chief concern was that almost no engaged couple makes it through the registry experience without the whole event devolving into a near-shouting match over the price, texture and color of some unimportant kitchen accessory.
We know a groom who almost quit the registry process halfway through and refused to re-enter the store after just one too many disagreements and continual arguing. The whole process, hours spent examining fabrics and thread counts, wasn't the most popular activity among most of the grooms I know.
The way I stayed engaged and entertained is actually pretty simple.
This is most likely something on which my fiance would disagree with me, but the best part of the gift registry set up is being handed your very own barcode scanner.
I'm convinced that some marketing genius on Madison Avenue is responsible for the implementation of a handheld laser pistol in the modern wedding registry process - its inclusion allows for thousands of grooms to essentially play laser tag and roam the aisles fully contented, while their wives-to-be, freed from debate, select whichever items they wish.
Predictably, I was a little too trigger happy with the device and when Lauren would exclaim we should register for a toaster or a blender, I was already one step ahead of her, scanning the first appliance I found. While this did not lead to an argument, Lauren could only laugh and smile at me so many times until she finally threatened to take away the device.
As time passed, I realized how few of our items we had picked out. Lauren seemed to be a little stressed over which set of drinking glasses, which set of towels and which set of silverware to choose.
This time it was my turn to keep her spirits up, so I played a few practical jokes, scanning random items like a shiny, cheap towel rack and putting it on the registry. Not funny, I later found out. There were just so many choices - the fun was replaced with anxiety.
It was all rather overwhelming, too many pillows, too many frying pans, too many coffee makers. Sure, there were sets I liked more than others, but my choices often didn't line up with hers.
As I held Lauren's hand, we stared at the rows of blue, green, yellow, orange and a variety of other colored juice-dispenser jug-like-items, and we began to feel defeated.
"At the same time, let's say which color we like the most," I said, "One ... two ... three,"
"Blue!" she declared.
"Blue!" I copied quickly, just a fraction of second after her.
Lauren shot me a knowing glance and smirked. She still wasn't sure though if it was even the right brand of the barrel-like pitcher thing. She proceeded to ask me another series of questions about price, size, design and shape.
"Well, does it hold liquid without leaking?" I asked. She nodded. "Well then let's get it."