Tomorrow is the Big Day. Nicole and Joe will say “I Do” and enter into the lifelong journey that is wedded bliss.
I love these two. Love, love, love them. I met Nicole a few years ago when she earned a promotion at work, and I filled her previous position. We became friends quickly, and it wasn’t long before we couldn’t go for more than a couple of days without chatting.
We met Joe at work, too. Obviously, since Nicole worked there before I did, she met him first, and from what I heard, they had a mutual admiration for one another, but Joe had a strict rule that he would not ask out anyone he met at work. Finally, over a year later, he saw Nicole out walking her dog after work, so he stopped to talk to her. Turns out, Joe lived nearby and had a dog of a similar breed. And the rest is history! He proposed on New Year’s Day of 2010, and tomorrow they will pledge the rest of their lives to one another.
Tonight was rehearsal, and I, sap I am, got a lil’ misty standing there watching the two of them. Having traveled this road with them, it’s touching to see them both so happy.
As they journey into their new life together, I feel compelled to share a bit of knowledge garnered from my years and years of relationship experience. (Note my sarcasm. Though Ryan and I are almost three years into wedded bliss, and nearly 8 into our relationship, we’re still “newlyweds” and still learning. But we’ve come a long way, make no mistake.)
Probably the most important lesson we’ve learned is communication. We knew when we started dating that communication was going to be an issue; we have two completely different styles of sharing our thoughts and feelings. Ryan is pretty much an open book; he’ll tell you what he’s thinking or feeling and then he moves on. He tells me, on no uncertain terms, when he’s upset, and once it’s off his chest, it’s forgotten. On the other hand, good luck opening my book. Because that’s where I leave my feelings. Journals and other written forms of outlet. But never, ever verbally. In the past year or so, I have grown exponentially in this area though. I’ve become a little more open about what’s going on inside, and I’ve learned that our relationship is better because of it. Not only that, but I feel better because of it. It’s a win/win. It’s also been a long journey getting here. But so worth it.
That’s my second piece of advice: though sharing a house, a bedroom and a bathroom, and basically every other detail of your life with another human being- and one of the opposite sex, at that!- can be daunting, frustrating, and at times, downright impossible… it’s so worth it. Oh, my goodness, is it worth it. Once you’ve established your rhythm as a married couple- the everyday routines, the mundane stuff that is life- once that happens, and you take a moment to reflect on where your life would be without the other person, you realize that the two of you are so intertwined into one another’s lives that the idea of separation for any period of time feels like a physical blow.
Don’t get me wrong here; number three is to have a life separate from one another. Find things that interest each of you separately, and take your own time to enjoy your respective interests- those pieces of you that make you you. Don’t force an interest in one another’s hobbies. It’s forced, it’s fake, and it will make both of you resentful. Ryan loves racing his RC cars. I can take it once in awhile, but the idea of sitting with him every single week while he wrenches on a car that costs more than my closetful of shoes is in itself enough to bore me to tears. I’m glad he does it. I’m proud of him for being good at it. And I love that he has an outlet for stress. But it’s so not me. Forcing me to like it makes me cranky. Leading to #4…
If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. That’s an adage we all know. What most of us fail to acknowledge is that it goes both ways. Yes, when I’m unhappy, he knows it. He pays. But when he’s unhappy, I know it too. And even when I know I didn’t do anything to lead to the unhappiness…whether it’s due to work, other stress, or occasionally something I’ve done, I make an honest effort to make it up to him in some little way. Usually it’s through food…cooking a meal he likes, baking one of his favorite desserts (or going to the store and buying cookies, since apparently purchased ones taste better than most of my homemade ones), or DVR-ing a show I know he likes. Sometimes, just backing off completely and giving him space is enough. And sometimes that’s what I need too. Fortunately, after awhile, we’ve both come to recognize the signs that the other needs a little extra love.
This thought reminds me of a sermon from a wedding we attended last year. The message was basically that marriage is never a 50/50 venture. It sounds neat and tidy to present it that way, but nothing could really be farther from reality. To expect different is just asking for trouble. Marriage is most rewarding when you know you can give that other person more of yourself than you ever thought yourself capable of, and expect nothing in return. Because it’s what you do. It’s love.
So I have to end with Corinthians. Ryan came home on Valentine’s Day to find the verse scrawled across our bathroom mirror:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
Love never fails.
Love and best wishes for a long and happy life, Nic and Joe! Can’t wait to celebrate with you!