What I Didn’t Know About Marriage

6 years ago today, we got engaged! What I knew at that time: I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life and he would be a great husband. He would protect me and make me laugh. He would provide for me and teach me new things. He would take me out on dates and on exotic trips. I didn’t fully know what to expect, but I was right about these things.

What I didn’t know at the time: 

    Marriage is truly a forever-thing, and that means that it’s not like a Hallmark channel movie where romance is layered into every scenario. When you’re dating, there’s enough separation between the two of you to amplify the romantic feelings and situations. Think about it: when you’re dating, you might be planning to go on a date on Friday night. You get through the work day and are excited about what’s to come, thinking about what you will wear. He sends a text message with an emoji saying that he’s excited, too. He picks you up and then pays for dinner at the end of the night. Fast forward to when you’re married; you both wake up together and start your individual morning routines. You probably check in at least once during the day about pets or finances. And then you are home together doing your individual ‘relaxation’ routines post-work, pick up the dirty socks, before you get dressed to go out on a date. You ride there together and pay from your shared bank account before you come home together. While things can still be romantic, it’s in a different (yet still very comforting) way. 
    I always heard that learning to compromise was a big part of marriage but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. This isn’t about who is going to do the dishes or how you will share your groceries. It’s about getting used to each others habits, families, and cultures, and knowing that they come to you with an entire life that was before you. They are shaped by their past, they saw examples of compromise, life and relationship norms, from people around them, and their view on relationships is likely very different from what you once knew.
    News flash: people change! Marriage will change you simply because life changes you. It can be for the best or in negative ways and will happen to you both so it’s important to keep each other accountable. Think about it…if you were the same person 5, 10, 50 years into marriage, does that mean that you are growing? No. As individuals change, so will the relationship, and that’s ok!
    It’s not as much that marriage is hard but that life is hard, and marriage means there are DOUBLE the joys or the challenges. While one might be on the highest high, the other could be in the deepest valley. You then share the load and support each other in the best way you know how.  

Marriage is a beautiful thing and I am thankful for my life partner. I wanted ‘the ring’ so bad and am thankful that he got down on one knee 6 years ago. There was so much hope and anticipation leading up to this day and it then allowed me to have one year and two months planning for the very best day of my life. 

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Tips for Engagement Season and My Personal Story

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Just one of the reasons that I love the holiday season are the incredible engagement photos that fill my social media feed! It’s a time of year where sentiment and romance are at an all-time high.

I was a girl that grew up dreaming of becoming a wife. I would say dream about our life together, our wedding day, and our proposal story.

I kissed a few frogs and then when I met my hubby-to-be, I knew there was something special about him. It was pretty early on that I fell in love and shortly after began to recognize that he might be ‘the one.’ We talked about marriage and I knew that it was far from what he had dreamed of but that he’d be open to it when the time was right.

About three years into our relationship I was ready to move to the next step, but he wasn’t. At almost four years together, we took a trip overseas to spend Christmas and New Years with my family. We explored my hometown, saw some incredible places, and were in many romantic settings. I knew this would be it.(What most around us had not realized is that not only had we talked about marriage, we had previously talked about an engagement taking place that year.)

It didn’t happen. And yes, I cried over that…the second the clock went past midnight and it was January 1 with no ring. We returned back to the States and it was a week later that he got down on one knee. We went out to a nice dinner. Came back to my house and played with our rescue-bulldog and then he grabbed me and started to dance (to ‘silent’ music, which is something we would do at times.) He then started to say sweet things and got down on one knee. We both cried and called our loved ones before sharing the news via social media. 

Our proposal story (truncated to fit into this blog) is not what I envisioned it would be. However, it reminded me of a few key things.

  1. Your love story will play out at a pace that allows you to both be ready. One of you may be ready to move forward earlier than the other, and that’s ok, but give it time.
  2. While it’s important for your future-spouse to know your desires, don’t be surprised if their proposal reflects more of their personality than of yours. Remember that they are likely going out of their comfort zone with the planning, the ring purchase, and all of the details, so it’s even if it ‘feels’ more low-key than you’d like just remind yourself that it’s not.
  3. Don’t compare your relationship, proposal, or wedding planning process to other couples that you know or to strangers that you see in Hallmark channel movies or on social media feeds. Your relationship is unique in its very own ways and that alone is worth celebrating!
  4. It really isn’t about the proposal or the wedding planning. Almost 5-years into marriage, I can truly say that the shiny ring is just scratching the surface. There is so much more to your future together and this step will simply allow you to move forward.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Husband Appreciation Day

Today is Husband Appreciation Day. While that should be every day, social media likes to make an annual hashtag out of pretty much everything. So in honor of this day, and the fact that hubby and I just celebrated 9 years since our dating anniversary (Friday), I thought I’d share our love story.

Ever since high school I was often in a relationship. Most were very innocent short 3-month bursts of spending time with a guy and enjoying typical teenage activities together. I enjoyed the company and liked the idea of being with one person. I had a few get a little more serious as years passed and then I had one on and off longer term relationship with someone that I thought was the one. It turns out that he wasn’t and I am thankful for all that relationship taught me.

In college my family moved from Texas to California (which is currently where I reside.) I dated a little bit but nothing serious. A boyfriend and I broke up and then I decided to be single for a while. I wanted to get my priorities straight, to be able to love God first, then love myself, before I could have the space in my heart to love someone else. I learned over time that if this were done in the wrong order, it could be detrimental for me and what was truly important to me in a soul mate. I ended up being single for two years.

Fast forward and my sister was in town for her Spring Break. We went to T-Mobile to get her a new phone. A kind and funny employee with spiky hair helped us out. He had a beautiful smile and made me laugh but I don’t pay much attention. My sister saw there might be a spark there and got me more engaged in the dialogue. We ended up going in another time to see him and actually pick up her phone. My sister encouraged me to give him my business card.

I had two cards on me, one with an email address and one with a phone number. I gave him the one with my email address. Up until that point, I had never met anyone like this out in public (that I would end up dating)—it was always through existing circles like friends of friends, school or church. But he emailed me. And we wrote back and forth before we made plans to meet up again, so I then gave him my number.

We casually went on dates for a few weeks, I knew that he was different and that there might be something there, but didn’t know if it would be a ‘forever’ thing. When we started spending more time together and wanted to be exclusive, I made him ask me to be his girlfriend! (He thought that was strange, but how else would be know when our anniversary would be?)

I am glad that I dated because it helped me learn what was important to me and see how different people have unique strengths and weaknesses. And for that season that I spent time alone, I knew that God was not only preparing my heart but was working in the life of my then-boyfriend. Five years later we were married. I am feeling incredibly blessed that we have each other as life partners and I have so enjoyed being able to live out our love story. So today as I sit here, nine years since he asked me to be ‘his’, I appreciate him more than ever.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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3 Tips for Expectations of Marriage

Yesterday we celebrated four years of marriage! It was incredibly special and I am thankful to have another year of life behind my life partner and I.

As we enter a new year of marriage I have been thinking lately about the expectations that each one of us has when going into marriage. Expectations can change over time but each one of us enters a wedding (and the years that follow) with preconceived notions in our heads.

It’s important to think about how the past as an individual will shape what you come into marriage believing. Past relationships, and the relationships around you (like that of your parents) will greatly change what you believe marriage should be.

Here are my tips for expectations:

    Talk to your spouse about what you envision and hope for your marriage to be. And don’t just have this talk in premarital counseling. Discuss this over time because your needs will change in different seasons of life. Be open and share what your best version of a marriage looks like, because that’s likely what you expect to strive towards. If you don’t share this then your spouse isn’t going to realize what your expectations are, so how can they meet them?
    Challenge what’s most important to you and in the process, learn to let some things go. Here’s an example. My parents were married 33 years and you would have never seen them without their wedding rings on. They both always had their rings on THAT finger. Before I got engaged, I dreamt of having someone love me enough to choose to put a beautiful ring on my hand. He did and I love my ring and wear it 24/7. We then planned the wedding and bought a beautiful band for my husband. I knew he didn’t wear jewelry, but I ‘expected’ that he was going to make an exception and wear his wedding ring. Two months after our wedding, he lost it. We replaced it with silicone band(s). He kept losing them. Kept taking them off because he didn’t like how it felt. Now, I have two options: fight over it, keep replacing them, make him do it…or let it go. Would I love to have him wear a ring? Of course. But is it a battle worth having? No, it’s not. In the grand scheme of things, we’re committed and he’s an incredible husband. That’s most important to me.
    As time passes from your wedding day and you continue to grow in your relationships, what’s most important to you might change. Like think about when you were dating and not living together, chores at home weren’t even on your list of expectations. Then once you’re married, you might be able to evenly split home responsibilities and that will work for a while. But what happens if one of you is working more while working towards a promotion? Or a health challenge comes up for the other? Be open to change because things will ‘look different’ than they did in the beginning of your marriage. That’s a good thing, though…it will keep life interesting!

If you’re committed to loving each other and working through ‘life together’ those are the most important expectations to be met…and exceeded!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Planning a wedding? Is it all worth it?

When I was in the midst of the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, I kept asking myself “Is it all worth it?”, and I hear other brides ask the same thing, too.
Is it worth it to spend hours contemplating between two shades of one color, when they look the same to most other people? Is it worth it to invest in a dress that you will likely only wear once? Is it worth it to pay for food and drink for 100+ people? Is it worth it to put so much time into the DIY elements that might only be recognized by a few guests? (And the list goes on…)
Here’s the deal. Second guessing (everything) will be part of the planning process. But the answer is “yes” as long as it truly meets this criteria:

    You aren’t just doing something a certain way because ‘that’s how everyone else does it’ or ‘Grandma would be more comfortable if it’s more formal…’ Instead, you’re making decisions that are true to who you are to make YOUR day special.
    You aren’t over-extending yourselves either mentally, physically, or financially just to put up a front for your guests. You don’t throw a wedding party to please people or make them think something you’re not, you throw a wedding party to celebrate a forever-union. Honestly, the wedding invitation that comes in a velvet monogrammed box just might not be worth it, unless you’re going that route because it MEANS something to you and your future spouse.
    You aren’t making spinning your wheels and spending unnecessary energy on the drama. If there’s one way that you can actually enjoy the planning process a little more, it’s to not get wrapped up in the things that will not bring value to your big day. Like really, who cares if your mom’s friend from high school is mad they didn’t get invited. And who cares if Aunt Ruth thinks it’s inappropriate to have someone give you lingerie at your bridal shower. Dust it off, because that’s NOT worth it, and you’ll need that space in your mind and heart to focus on what is. (This isn’t meant to sound harsh, but these are the details that are not worth it because they won’t matter after your big day.)

Be intentional and challenge why you are making each decision throughout the planning process. Because then once you make those decisions, you can rest assured that your big day will represent who you are and turn out exactly they way it’s supposed to. I promise you, it’s worth it.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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