“The union of two partners in a relationship; a combination or mixture of two or more elements.” – Webster’s Dictionary
What does marriage mean to me? Why is it so important and worth building this business around? These are questions I have asked myself many times over the years. Even this morning, AJP and I were talking about marriage versus weddings. How the marriage and relationship is the real priority, not the pretty things. I firmly believe that and am constantly challenging myself to ensure that marriage stays front and center in everything I do for HHE and our couples. So, I am going to get honest with you today, loves.
This post is one I have been thinking about for almost a year now. It’s one that might be controversial, but I am so passionate about marriage and the strength we can find in it, for ourselves, our spouses and families, that I feel compelled to write it.
With the onslaught of social media and hollywood romance, we tend to romanticize marriage as a society. In doing so, maybe we do not take certain realities into account. Without getting on a soap box or seeming judgmental, I simply want to share with you some of the realities we’ve encountered in our marriage in the hopes that it paints a picture of the joys and challenges of married life with your best friend.
Many of these small things caught me by surprise, as well. No matter how much counsel you seek before your wedding and advice you receive from loving bystanders, your marriage will be unique and present you with situations you never imagined. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is without a flicker of a doubt, the absolute best adventure!!
Of course, the romanticized parts of marriage are such because they are rooted in reality. Sure, I adore when AJP plans grand gestures and dates, or surprises me with flowers. But what makes those so special is the thought and love that goes into them, in addition to the fact that they are spontaneous and given without expectation.
The real things that keep the romance in our relationship, in my opinion, are the little in between moments that let me know he is thinking about me. Knowing the little things about him that make him feel loved and that he enjoys. For instance, he prefers ketchup to salsa on his tacos, post-it love notes make him smile and, to my dismay, he loves my laugh when he’s tickling me. He knows my love of black coffee, to play Frank Sinatra when I’m blue and that dancing anywhere sets my heart on fire. All of those romantic and thoughtful gestures considered, I honestly fall so hard for him when he makes the bed, helps me clean and gives in to my crazy scheduling obsessions. He’s the chill counterpart to my type A personality.
Those type A, cute traits of mine? They took a lot of getting used to after we got married, and vis versa. Finding the ebb and flow to your relationship on a daily basis is not something we fully understood until we were in it. I like to blast music, zone out and become a cleaning force on weekends. Whereas AJP enjoys kicking back with the TV or PS4 to unwind. I prefer to have a plan for the day and he likes to see what happens. I’m one of those that likes the dishes done as soon as they hit the sink and he gets them done eventually. Also, have you thought about chores, each other’s habits for loading the dishwasher, sorting the laundry, making the bed, brands to get at the grocery store? Do you want people to take their shoes off when they come in the house? Truly, darlings, we had to talk about all of those things, as trivial as they are!
For all of the mundane, sweet and daily tasks that we must do as adults and share in marriage, there truly is so much JOY in sharing and building your life together! The joy and love are what I focus on with my sweet couples. One of my favorite things, and what I believe has strengthened our marriage so much, is that we have a dreams journal. It’s a little black leather journal that we write down ideas in, big and small. We cozy up and talk about what our ideal life would look like. When we are 80, what do we want to look back on life and have done, seen and built? Y’all – hands down the most fun thing ever!! We have a list of places to travel, foods to try, experiences we want to create for our kids, how we want to parent, what our forever home looks like, financial goals, what is important to us, ways we want to serve others, and so much more!!
Why is this my favorite thing? Marriage is so much more than a piece of paper and wedding band on your left hand. It is being best friends, supporting and complimenting each other. Being an encouragement and example to each other and those around you. Helping each other see their challenges and grow from them. Your spouse is the best and most honest mirror you will ever have. Take the time to invest in honest conversation and growing into life together. In dreaming about what we want to build and the legacy we want to leave to our children, grandchildren and beyond, we are also strengthening our relationship with God. We are daring to strive for a more intentional and purpose driven life.
Above all else, respect, kindness, honesty, trust and love are the pillars of marriage to me. All other adjectives roll up to those. As we all commit to our soul mate and embark on this wonderful, challenging and amazing journey of marriage, I hope that you keep your hearts and minds open. Communicate and uplift each other; CHOOSE each other always. Love is always a choice and the best yes we will ever say.
What are your favorite parts of marriage? Anything you were surprised by and have grown through over the years?
Photography | Leah Golter Photography