Our wedding was magical.
Now, we are LDS and we were married (also known as being "sealed") in one of the Church's magnificent Temples. While there is a great significance in a sealing that I will probably write about later, it was still the beginning to our lives together. It was our legal and lawful wedding.
The whole day we greeted guests that came from all around the United States, took loads of pictures, held a luncheon, a ring ceremony (more details later), and the final reception. We danced, we shook hands, we ate delicious cookies, we awed at the decorations that our family came up with, etc. etc. And honestly, I don't remember a thing looking back on it. If it wasn't for our pictures, I don't think I would remember much at all.
Ever since, we have been living as "husband and wife". And it hasn't even been two years yet. However, one of my best friends from college is getting married next week! Also, one of my sisters-in-law is at the point of her relationship where they are trying to decide to get married or call it off. I remember that point... it was taxing. As I thought more about these important people in my life and their big choices coming up, it had me reminiscing on all the things I have learned about marriage.
It is not always a storybook ending.
It is not always joy and butterflies and getting lost in each others' eyes.
It is not always easy.
Here are a few things I have learned from my wonderful husband and our life together.
1. You will continue to learn things about each other. Something about us it that we did not live together until our wedding night. We did not engage in sexual intimacy until our wedding night. There's a saying I heard once that goes something like, "A man marries a woman expecting her not to change, a woman marries a man expecting him to change. What they discover is that the man doesn't change and that the woman does change." While this is humorous to me, I don't think it's true. I have learned a lot about my dear husband. For example, he comes from a big family and when he gets his cereal in the morning he leaves the box out, thinking someone else in the family will get it and take care of it. Well, it's just me now and I usually eat before him. Also, I learned that I am a slob compared to him. Basically, be prepared to learn both good and not so good things about your new spouse for the rest of your life.
2. It is not the end, it is simply the beginning. When I was dating, I was so anxious to find Mr. Right and start my new life with him. I have since discovered that really, everything I was doing up until my wedding day, we preparing me for the rest of my life. I believe it is part of our purpose in life to get married, have a family, and teach them to follow God. Everything I did before was preparing me for that: the other relationships I was in, the major I was studying, the jobs I took, the friends I had, the way I handled struggles and rejection and choices. I was preparing to be the best wife I could, and that made all the difference because my wedding day was the beginning of the rest of my life.
3. You will have to communicate and make sacrifices. The wife is not always right. Both parties need to be heard and appreciated. I quickly learned that when I hurt Josh, it took him an hour or so to communicate with me what happened and that drove me nuts. He was more passive that I thought he was. I also had to learn what I did that hurt my dear husband in order for me to communicate and not be hurtful. There were some angry nights in the first year of our marriage simply because we had to learn how each other communicated. Not just, "how did your day go?" but "how does it make you feel when I do this? Honestly?". I have also sacrificed screen time right before bed because we made the decision to go to bed together every night. Sometimes that means one of us stays up later waiting for the other to get home (within reason, of course) or if one of us doesn't work the next day, we go to bed with them anyway. It's done wonders.
4. There is no such thing as a "soulmate". Some of you may not agree with me on this one, and that's okay. I was taught this before I got married and honestly, there is truth in it. In reality, you could marry anyone and make it work if you both are willing to work at it. Not ideal, but it's possible. Now, I do believe that there are better matches for us than others, absolutely. But when I started dating a guy and it was going well, I started asking myself if I could see myself with him and if I would be willing to work with him, sacrifice for him, and serve him everyday. Granted, Josh was everything I ever wanted but it is still work, and it is the greatest work.
5. The "lovey-dovey" stuff might fade, . Your infatuation, the butterflies, the excitement, it will might disappear. Do not fear! Some people believe that when that stops, you don't feel like this is the person for you. I'm here to say that is simply not true. Ask your parents, ask another couple that has been married for several years and I bet they will tell you something similar. Honestly, there have been days where I have not been Josh's favorite person and he has not been mine. But we still love each other. We make that choice every day. Love isn't a feeling, it is an action.
6. Marriage is making a choice, every single day. Which leads me to this final point. Marriage isn't about falling in love and living happily ever after. Marriage is a relationship that requires work like any other. It requires you to work with your chosen companion. It requires you that through the good times and the bad, to put your spouse first, over work, over friends, over hobbies, even over the family you left, because this relationship is now the most important one you have now. If you can choose your spouse first every day, you will have a happy, blissful marriage and the years will get sweeter with time.
I want to tell a story. It is about my husband and how he understands how a marriage works.
Josh is an intern at a successful engineering firm. He has a lot of projects that he has to get done daily and works late hours after school every week day to get them done. He is also the most frugal person you will ever meet. He is not cheap, but when there is time to save some hard-earned cash, he will do it.
The other day, my previous employer basically fired me. There is a long story behind that, and I feel like it was unfair of them for several reasons, but for the point of this story I will leave it at that. It was noon, and Josh's work was 10 minutes away. I drove over there just sobbing and told him what had happened. He comforted me, stayed with me as long as I needed, despite having piles of projects on his desk. Once I felt okay to drive home, he walked back inside and I was expecting him around 6 that night. Not even 20 minutes after I walked into our home, he walked right in behind me. He decided to come home to be with me. He chose ME over his WORK. All day, he did things I wanted to do, or just sat there in silence when I had nothing to say. I didn't feel like cooking, so he took me out to my favorite restaurant and let me get whatever I wanted. He chose ME over his FRUGALITY. So some these things may be small, but to me that meant everything. Josh knows what a marriage is all about. And he figured it out at 24 years old.
What does your marriage mean to you? What other things have you learned from being married?