In just a few days my husband and I will celebrate one year of marriage. Our journey to marriage was a long one. Our story started as friendship almost twenty years ago, and after long term relationships, a marriage, a divorce and a few break ups we found our way to one another. While it’s not complicated now, the beginnings of us were complicated. We had to navigate long term friendships and former partners but we made it through and the things we were so worried about in the beginning seem so small now.
Marriage is such a game changer. Both of us look back at this past year and both wonder if we should have waited so long. We could be celebrating our 5th anniversary by now. But what we need to remember is that when we celebrate our marriage we are also celebrating our story, and our journey and we are really celebrating twenty years of friendship – the foundation of our lives together. While our wedding anniversary will always hold deep significance, I choose to also recognize that the years before it are as equally important and not to be left in the dust of “before marriage”.
This past year has been more trying than most for both of us individually. The challenges we encountered were made easier to navigate with our respective guidance and support. Some of our challenges could have challenged us as a couple, but only made us stronger and unified. There is work involved to stay strong, together. It has meant sharing the thoughts we’d keep to ourselves, it has meant having hard conversations about things that would make us uncomfortable, but knowing that the other person is listening, not judging and working towards the same goals.
Now I’m not claiming to be an expert on marriage, I’m merely sharing a little bit of how things were for us in this “inaugural year”. While it had it’s trying moments as a year, I never felt it was trying on our marriage. My only advice is to respect each other, never speak down to one another, be each other’s cheerleader and above all be honest about how you are feeling, even if it might sound silly in your head.
To pivot some, I want to reflect on the wedding as a whole. I don’t regret a penny spent on the celebration we had. But I wish there had been more time with our friends and family. I’ve tried in this past year to make time for those people I really want to spend more time with. Some of those have worked out while others are just busy and I can only hope we will find time in the coming year. There is only one part of my day that is a sore spot. One I’ve really struggled to let go of. I’ve analyzed my feelings on it, and it isn’t because I had too high expectations. My pictures were a heartbreaking disappointment, piled on to the disappointment that it was by a friend who has done amazing work for others. I can’t go back and recreate that day, and it is what it is, but it still fills me with disappointment and upset. I’ve looked in the closet at my dress a dozen times since debating if I want to try to re-do photos with the dress, but it’s not the same. It’s not that day. I can never get everyone from the wedding party together to a re-shoot. The two photos I have of all of us together aren’t great, and things have changed and we will never all be together like that again, which pointedly makes it even more sad.
I want to curl my hair, put on that dress and sit on my husbands lap in a field, on a bench, and be us. But it’s never going to be “on our wedding day”. So I’ve let go of that idea, and maybe in 9 years I’ll put that dress on again -when I’m sure it will look very dated and take some new pictures. Until then, I have the memories, the pictures that I do have remind me who was there with us, even if they aren’t perfect. The day was perfect otherwise right down to the now poignant one on one conversation I had with my Nan about my marriage and future. So as Chris might remind me – Look forward. Always forward. Never back.