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It’s easy to become a deer in the headlights when prepping for a wedding; lost in the romance and honeymoon of it all, or rather, the ‘to-do-list’ frenzy that it so quickly becomes! It is however just as important to get yourself out of that ‘pinterestgram’ rabbit hole and take in what you are actually agreeing to, because while I love being married, there’s nothing quite romantic about it once the dust settles – the love story takes a very real and important turn that I think we all need to be ready for, before you say I DO.
So here are FIVE of the most important things I think you ought to consider, before you say I DO:
Think of marriage as a lifelong, always need to check in baggage card (you will never fly light again)! This isn’t a bad thing at all, on the contrary I have come to see this as a really valuable thing in my life – but you’ve said I DO to someone else’s baggage, it’s now yours too,TADA! Anything they’ve carried with them (On their shoulder, in the hearts or deep within the crevices) that’s all yours now too. It’s easy to be scared of this or resist it, “it’s not mine, it’s yours!” But quite truly, like everything else, “it’s ours now”. The good news, most of the time extra baggage is heavy for a reason and it generally takes two to carry it on, so to speak. Simply speaking, you probably will need the reality check; you are not insular and neither are they – learning how to tackle your own problems with your life partner will only force you to take on life lessons and emotions you probably wouldn’t have been able to access as easily without them. Thank them for their extra bag of shit they’ve dropped on your doorstep and begin to problem solve together as a team. It’ll take you a couple of goes (or more) before you find your groove, but if the love and commitment is there, you’ll become the best kind of team – an unbreakable one – a little secret club with your own special language and hacks that no one else is privy to. It has its perks, but still be ready for that extra baggage claim!
Probably the biggest relationship killer – and I’m as guilty as anyone else! No matter what it is; their mess, their problems, their mistakes, their failures.. it’s so easy to try and distinguish all of those from yourself. If you want to stand any chance at extending that honeymoon period, you’ll have to embrace all of it as yours too. They will make a mess, you’ll know it wasn’t yours and time and time again you’ll be faced with the dilemma… to clean up after them or not? I don’t have an answer to this life-long question. I do however know something as simple as dirty socks left on the lounge can become the final straw ending what was once a … kind of love story. Why? Because you have been secretly (or not so secretly) collating this information as though there were a jury waiting on the sidelines. There isn’t. No one is there to give the winner a prize. The more you distinguish these kinds of things, the more divisive you will create the household. I’m not saying clean up after them (or I’d be a hypocrite) I’m simply highlighting one of the important gems I’ve learnt along the way. The more you concern yourself with things like that, the easier it becomes to lose sight of them as your lover and partner in crime and they quickly become your foe- the one you are waiting to bring down once you have enough evidence to support your argument that they are the ones in the wrong and you are in the right… Unfortunately, from this point on, this no longer matters (sorry!)
Yep, you’ve agreed to hear, see and smell things no one else is privy to! Now if that doesn’t take your love to a whole new realm, “I can love you even though you disgust me”… I don’t know what will!
Familiar, safe and comfortable. None of the adjectives associated with any of the epic love stories we found ourselves pining over once upon a time. BUT, crucial difference… this one is real! You want comfort, you want safety and you want familiar if you expect longevity. You can’t really have it all at once and that’s okay. A healthy relationship will fluctuate because with longevity comes life. Expect to change, morph and grow. While sometimes you may feel as though you are outgrowing one another, again, if the commitment is there and the love is there from the start then, hang tight because you’ll grow back together again. Expect the shape of your love to change, it’s only natural. Many love stories end because it had changed so much from when it all started, but I say that’s the important thing. Go into it knowing you say "I Do" to the person you love today but also to the person they will become later on – when life gets in there and ruffles the two of you up (a few years of sleep deprivation, one or two major life changing incidents, loss, gain, fear, joy) so much that can happen in a few years let alone a decade or two. Expect to perhaps not recognise your younger selves later on. Again, this is a sad reality but not necessarily a bad one – just another fact of love, life and everything that comes in between. It’s not an easy ride to stay together, especially when you start to get itchy… but you’ll find the right ointment to take care of that itch eventually and before you know it, you’ll have reached another realm of love you couldn’t have accessed without going through the itchy bits.
Starting to sound like a whole lotta work? Good, because nothing is more hard work than keeping a marriage going, which brings us to our number five:
This is it. Your love life is now your full time job…. Plus you probably have a full time job, then you may have a family, throw that in to stir things up… You’ll find your love life generally gets lost in your list of jobs. Totally understandable, just keep reordering it and putting it up the top. It’s the kind of thing that needs constant tending to, and usually one of the things we grow to want to tend less and less. Familiarity does that to us, makes us shift and divert our attention to the new, shinier more exciting thing. It’s all normal, it’s all natural and you’re not alone.
IN THE END,
Weddings are incredibly magical – they are little love stories that mark an entire life of one special couple- everything they are and want to be is embodied in one beautiful and memorable celebration. Getting lost in the details is so easy – the dress, the décor, the venue, the colour theme, the music and it goes on and on and on… Don’t forget to lose yourself in the detail of your actual marriage – what you can expect in becoming somebody’s life long partner – the one they’ll need to be there through it all and then some,