Parenting is heavy. Not the literal kind that leaves your muscles shaking, the emotional kind that leaves you raw and vulnerable. They say it’s like walking around with your heart outside your body, and I didn’t want that to be … Continue reading
The car was closing in around me. My daughter’s screams from the backseat were ringing in my ears like a boiling tea kettle. I sat in the passenger’s seat helpless, wringing my hands, starring out the window, watching the mile markers endlessly tick by.
My husband and I had ventured out of the house with our one-month-old daughter. We set forth with all the naivete and confidence of new parents, ready to take on the world. I was going stir crazy, but I thought we should stay in. My husband, ever fearless, assured me it would be okay.
Once we got on the interstate the torrent of blood curdling screams began emitting from the backseat. We were stressed, tested and at our wits end. The much-needed journey turned out to be a car ride that felt like an eternity. I sat there holding my head and feeling the words form on my lips “I TOLD YOU SO!”. I let the words fester, eat me up, linger. I let them sink into my soul and make me feel victimized. The suddenly too-small car felt like a cage. I only knew one thing: it wasn’t my fault.
Then I looked over at my husband. He was holding the steering wheel with white knuckles. I watched as his chest rose and fell sporadically as if he was forgetting to breathe. In that moment, I knew it didn’t matter who was right. It didn’t matter who made the decision. I put my hand on his leg and said “I love you” and his grip on the wheel softened. Suddenly the air around us didn’t feel so dense, the cries didn’t seem to be inches from my ears.
Here’s the thing, once a decision is made in a marriage it doesn’t matter who made it. You’re in this together. My husband and I have to make decisions all the time. We weigh the pros and the cons, we talk about what’s best, we offer our thoughts and feelings. In the end, we can only choose one course of action. We go with whatever feels best, whether it’s his idea, my idea or some combination of the two. But when things don’t go according to plan, it can be hard to stay calm.
It’s so easy to say those four words, “I TOLD YOU SO!”. They are simple words that speak volumes. They say I don’t trust your decisions, I’m not on your team, we aren’t in this together. They steal away your spouses confidence in their decisions and make them a passive player in an active marriage. Those words can make your spouse feel alone and unsure. That’s why my husband and I decided not to say it to each other.
Keeping those words from escaping your mouth isn’t always easy. When you’re in the heat of a difficult moment, when nothing seems to be going right, when the car feels too small, it can be easy to say things you don’t mean. When I remember not to say “I TOLD YOU SO!” I remember that my husband is my biggest supporter, my best friend and my team mate. I let the little things go more easily and I empower myself and my husband to make decisions without fear.
We are stronger as a couple and as individuals because we respect each other, our marriage and ourselves. We let mistakes happen. We encourage ourselves to be bold and courageous, even if it means we fail. We help each other through the hard parts of life, being strong when the other can’t. We see our lives as an adventure where we both take responsibility for the outcomes of our decisions, whether they are good or bad. Together, we’re making memories of mishaps.
We were checking into the hotel on the day of our wedding. The receptionist was highly amused at my costume choice: a pregnant bride. Little did he know, I really got married on Halloween at 7 months pregnant. My wedding was far from the picturesque Pinterest wedding that every Millennial dreams of. It was chaotic, messy and beautiful. We broke all the rules and loved every second of it. We’re really anarchists at heart, fighting against the norms of society one mishap at a time. In fact, one of our favorite quotes says “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.- Albert Camus.”
So, here’s our small act of rebellion as it progressed, minute by minute.
OCTOBER 31, 2014
6:00 AM- My mom calls for an address for the ceremony. We provide her with 1 of 3 that have circulated. We are still asleep.
6:05 AM- We begin getting ready, together. Tom sees me in my dress before the wedding. A black cat walks past our room. (Okay, not really on the black cat, but we kinda play it fast and loose with the old wives tales.)
6:40 AM- We are in route to the location. Tom’s mom calls to let us know they have arrived at Coquina Key. Although this was the agreed upon location, we instruct her to head to the mystery addressed we provided.
7:00 AM- Tom’s mom texts to ask if the wedding is at “a trailer park with a dock like structure.” It is not.
7:10 AM- We call the pastor to alert him of the new location, granted we still aren’t quite sure where that location is.
7:15 AM- My mom calls to let us know she has arrived at the bagel shop by the Walgreens. We have no idea where we are sending people anymore. This all came about after I Googled “Beach in Bradenton” and picked the first address I saw.
7:25 AM- We are passing Holmes Beach and dub it “fart beach” due to the smells. This is shaping up to be a day we won’t soon forget.
7:30 AM- The entire wedding party (all 8 of us) arrives at the Walgreens parking lot. We discuss just having the wedding there. The pastor meets our parents. He looks concerned. We all head to the beach.
7:40 AM- We arrive at Holmes Beach where we discuss possible backdrops for the ceremony. Choices include a trash can, a sleeping hobo, a lifeguard station and a towel store complete with all-you-can-eat pancakes. For real.
7:45 AM- We head to the beach for our ceremony where our mother’s get in trouble for not respecting worship. Heathens.
7:46 AM- We find the ceremony is slightly more religious than we anticipated. Giggles emit from our families at random intervals.
7:48 AM- Tom realizes he has his phone and forgot to put it on silent. He begins to giggle. Meanwhile I happily (and obliviously) chomp on gum.
7:53 AM- The pastor says that a woman will be subservient to her husband. Tom shoots an “oh yeah” look at his mom who then laughs. Nick nods feverishly.
7:55 AM- Tom begins his wedding vows. He faces toward the pastor, not my. He is quickly corrected.
7:59 AM- We awkwardly exchange rings. I still have mine on and I’m wearing Tom’s on my thumb to keep it safe. We were not prepared for this.
8:10 AM- We begin taking pictures where it’s revealed that my dress is see-through. I had gotten in the night before in a tw0-day Amazon Prize shipment. Oops.
8:16 AM- We try to have breakfast at the all-you-can-eat pancake place. Things do not go well. You ordered pancakes at a window. This location was vetoed by all in attendance.
8:25 AM- We meet at the local Peach’s where we find two delightful garbage trucks parked outside.
8:27 AM- Our reception begins to spiral out of control when they try to seat us a separate tables. Our party does not relent. No worries, we were seated together.
8:30 AM- Nick sounds far too interested in my cousin, and then goes on to describe my underwear in detail. All in the family, right?
8:32 AM- Breakfast becomes mildly racist…..awkward.
8:35 AM- The conversation turns to alcohol choices. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found common ground!
9:00 AM- The wedding disbands. Questions are asked about our honeymoon plans. We still aren’t even really sure where our hotel is located. No one looks surprised.
9:30 AM- We head to St. Augustine for our honeymoon.
Reading this, you might think Tom and I are the most unorganized, sloppy individuals ever. The truth is, our hearts were just set on each other. I didn’t picture the way the sun would look rising over the water, or how my dress would blow in the wind. I pictured the way Tom’s eyes would sparkle when he said his vows to me. I pictured the way his hand would feel as we stood there, making our marriage official. I pictured the way his lips would feel as we kissed for the first time as husband and wife.
Big ceremonies are beautiful, and they are perfect for some people. Tom and I feel they are anti-climatic. It’s a big show and then it’s over, leaving you wonder what happens next. When our wedding ended and we were driving to our honeymoon it felt like the beginning of everything. Our lives were ahead of us and anything felt possible. All I felt was our love and the beginning of something amazing. As we join the ranks of married men and women we do so with the knowledge that we didn’t listen to cultural norms. We listened to our hearts, we laughed, we faced the unknown together, but mostly we just embraced the chaos.
I’m getting married in a week. Right now, we’re in love. Things are easy. I know it’s not going to always be like this. Any book you read will tell you that the “in love” experience and euphoria only lasts two years. So what happens when we start to fall out of love?
I guess it’s something you don’t really consider when you’re in the moment. I mean, everything feels great. It’s hard to imagine not having the feeling. It’s hard to believe that someday you might not feel that same excitement and spark. When that feeling fades, I think one of two things happen.
Some people resign themselves. They figure this is what relationships are. Their relationship slowly becomes a lifestyle rather than a life. It’s normal, even if it’s not good. They become accustomed to that life and believe it’s the best things can be, but the relationship has gone stale. I think these people are the more logical type.
Then others will believe that things can’t possibly be this way. I think these people are more dreamers. They see life as a grand fairy tale and when it doesn’t match that fantasy anymore they find ways to change that. More often than not, these people seek new romances. New romances are almost always exciting and energizing. When they find that same in-love experience they once had, they believe this time could not possibly end so badly.
I’ve been there. I’m a dreamer. I never prepared myself to stop feeling in love. Right now, it’s easy for me to speak my future husbands love language (read Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages). I don’t have to work at doing things for him and I relish in going out of my way to see him happy. When things go wrong it’s easy for me to look past his faults. It’s easy for me to forgive him. It’s easy for me to see past his whiskers in the sink.
What’s different about this relationship is that I know that love is ultimately a choice. I know that one day the sparks won’t be flying and that we’ll come to know a deeper kind of love. One that is consistent, stable and built upon shared experiences. But that kind of love isn’t natural. It takes a conscious effort day in and day out.
The first day I met my future husband, I knew I wanted to marry him. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind, and my love for him was reaffirmed every day. I can’t imagine my future without him, so I decided to do something differently. We both decided to do something differently. We opened ourselves up to the idea of better or worse.
I know it’s going to take work, but I also know that it’s going to be worth it. I want to live life with this man, and although that isn’t always going to match my visions of a fairy tale, my life will always be will perfectly imperfect. After all, aren’t we all just making memories out of mishaps?