December 30, 2005 was a snowy day in Salt Lake City, Utah. So snowy that it was pretty miserable weather for a wedding. But, it was my wedding day and it was going to take place no matter how yucky the weather was.
Despite the unfortunate weather, it was an incredible day for Jess and I. Not everything went according to plan, but it didn’t ruin my day because when it all came down to it I was still marrying the man I loved.
Those who know me well, know that I am an incredibly emotional person, and I can pretty much cry at the drop of a hat. When Jess and I were in our wedding ceremony, I found myself so overwhelmingly happy that I could not cry, but my sweet Jess (who rarely cries), was a sobbing mess. The love I felt for him seeing his raw emotion further solidified for me our bond was true.
So here we were, two kids getting hitched after a year and a half of meeting. A lot of people thought we were crazy, but the love we felt for one another was undeniable and we thought “Why wait?”. Thirteen years later, and he is still my very best friend and our love is stronger than ever.
Not All Sunshine and Rainbows
Don’t get me wrong: marriage is HARD. I was not naive thinking that it would just be a happily ever after for us once we said “I do”. I went into our marriage knowing that it would be work, and that we would need to figure out a good balance and way of life so that we wouldn’t go nuts.
Take our honeymoon for example: I got sick on the plane to St. Maarten and was sick the first day and a half of our trip. And by sick I mean diarrhea and vomiting at the same time and pretty much sleeping on our hotel bathroom floor. Jess and I waited until we were married to make love so, pretty much the mystery and romance I had been imagining was horribly sabotaged. I was a hot mess!
Thankfully, Jess handled it like a champ and took excellent care of me, and when I was feeling better our honeymoon was amazing the rest of the time! So was this some huge disaster? Of course not: this was real life! You never know what’s going to happen, but as long as you are solid with your partner and really hold true to your vows you’ve made, then when these unexpected bumps in the road happen you deal with it and move on.
Communication Is Key
I have had several friends comment to me that they admire Jess and I and feel like we have things “figured out” with marriage. I really take that as a compliment but I have to let you in on a little secret: we don’t have ANYTHING figured out!
When we were first married, I rarely told Jess what I was feeling when something pissed me off. I’m not sure if I was just afraid to speak up, or felt like I needed to pick my battles. But whatever the reason, it was not good for us. I would hold on to things and stew and then eventually break down and we would have a huge fight. It wasn’t until a few years into our marriage that I finally figured out that the issue was ME not speaking up. Now, when I am upset I tell him and we talk it out and then figure out a solution. No, this still may not be an easy process, but the key is that I am communicating how I feel instead of holding back.
While we are on the subject of anger, that old quote “Don’t go to bed angry”, is not something I live by. Go to bed angry! Sometimes, hashing out your issues when you are angry makes things worse! When you speak in anger it only ends up with you saying things you don’t mean and will regret later. I suggest instead, to wait until you cool off a little, take a step back and assess the situation, and then go into the conversation. No, it doesn’t have to be the next morning, but WAIT until the anger subsided because a lot of the times it blinds us and makes us say hurtful things. I promise you, your issues will be easier to solve once anger is removed.
You really cannot have a good relationship with someone if there is no communication. Jess and I have now gotten to a point where we are so comfortable with one another that we can talk about anything- even the painful stuff. But we love each other enough to talk about it and then work through it. We only got to this point because of the mistakes we have made and what we learned from them.
Like I said, marriage is hard, but it’s also pretty amazing. You really have to suffer through the bad moments to truly appreciate the good ones. Jess and I have had our fair share of bad moments, and things we wish we could take back, but at the same time it has made us who we are today and solidified our love.
One of the things I am most grateful for that we got married young, is that we essentially got to grow up together. I was 20, and he was 24 on our wedding day, and even though I felt pretty grown up, let’s be honest I was a baby!
Jess and I have been able to go on this journey into adulthood together, and have had some crazy adventures along the way. He has helped me become the woman I am today, and I know the same is true for him about me. Then, when we became parents, an entirely new spectrum of adulthood was thrown at us and we had to rely on one another and teach each other in ways we hadn’t before. We now have three beautiful kids who enrich and bring so much joy to our lives, but who are constantly testing us with new issues as they get older. It hasn’t all been easy, and won’t be in the future I am sure, but having him by my side helps ease the anxiety for me just knowing he’s there with me.
So here are some of my “words of wisdom” with marriage that I have learned:
- Say sorry- even if it takes a day or two. Do it.
- Call just to say “I love you”. Texting is good too, but letting them hear it is better
- Say thank you and let them know you appreciate them
- If you like or don’t like something SPEAK UP
- Try new things, change it up, spice it up!
- Don’t become complacent- put in the work! Let them know they are worth it and that you are too
- Help each other.
- Don’t go one day without telling them how much you love them. Even if it’s just a short phone call like listed above. It makes a difference
I am not a specialist, (obviously), but these are my two cents from my experience these past 13 years. All I know is, that despite all we have been through, I still feel that same love, (only stronger), as I did the day we got married. I feel extremely fortunate that I would not hesitate to say “I do” to him today if we were to get married. He is still my best friend and the one I want to be with forever thirteen years later and 70 years from now too.
I love you baby! Happy lucky number 13!
Photo by Ashley Dehart Photography
The Raw Brunette