If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me how wedding planning was going, I would have enough cash to pay for the entire event plus a few extra excursions on our honeymoon. I’m kidding, of course, but the sheer amount of times I’ve been asked this question over the past 15 months has far exceeded the amount of times people have asked how marriage planning is going. Which, surprisingly, has been zero times. During the course of Mr. C’s and my engagement, not one person has asked us how we are preparing ourselves for marriage.
Given the current lull in our actual wedding plans, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on not only our wedding day that is taking place four short months from now, but also the marriage that will follow it. Of course Mr. C and I have had several discussions about our expectations for our marriage (some that happened long before we were ever engaged), but there is certainly an aspect of “This is really happening!” when your wedding plans come to a halt and the countdown app on your phone says that there’s only 130 days until you’re Mr. and Mrs. for life. It sinks in more fully that there is a marriage that follows the most planned-out day of your life, and as incredibly obvious as that seems, the planning of the marriage is so often second rate to the planning of the wedding.
For me, I am much more excited about being Mr. C’s wife than I am about being his bride. Yes, I am having a blast planning this wedding. It is so incredibly fun at times, and stress including at others, with small moments of “LET’S JUST ELOPE” sprinkled into the mix. When budgets and guest lists and timelines just about put me over the edge, the fact that I am going to be Mr. C’s wife at the end of the day makes all the stress worth it. It is an important day of our lives, but it is just one day. A day that was not worth going into debt for, a day whose planning I wouldn’t let overtake my life, and certainly not a day that I would let overshadow our marriage. Our wedding day is certainly is a big day, but it is not the biggest day. Truth be told, the day I am most looking forward to is the day after the wedding—a day I am sure will be full of so much joy and peace. The morning after the wedding when I wake up as Mr. C’s wife. I cannot wait for the planning to be over and for our lives together as a married couple to start.
A bit cheesy, but oh so true / Photo via Fierce Marriage
Planning for our marriage was something we placed as a priority from the very beginning. Above all the wedding-day logistics, our relationship as a couple and our marriage mattered more. But how does one plan for a marriage? While there is absolutely no book or class or counseling session that can fully prepare us for life as a married couple, we want to make sure we value our marriage before anything else—including the “big day.” Before we had one vendor booked, we looked into premarital classes we could take together in the months leading up to the big day. This past fall we enrolled in a three-month-long premarital course held by our church, and while it didn’t revolutionize our thinking about marriage, it did made us take a hard look at some not-so-glamorous parts of being married. How to make a budget, who will do what chores, when will we have children, etc. Super fun topics, I know.
I thought I had known Mr. C inside and out before this class (being with someone for five years allows you to assume that), but I found myself surprised by his answers and responses to each topic during every class. We got to go on fun dates, talk about some serious topics, and truly start to prepare ourselves for this next season of our lives. Since then, we’ve also had awesome married couples speak to us and give us honest, real, sometimes-brutal advice and words of encouragement. We’ve had our own private discussion about what the rest of our lives together will hold. It’s exciting and terrifying, all at the same time. Committing the rest of your life to one person is scary. Pretending we have it all together would be a lie. It’s the working through and hashing out of what currently is and what’s to come that has been the most rewarding part of all of this.
Probably the best marriage advice I’ve heard, a la Phil Dunphey / Image via 9Gag
With four months to go until the wedding, I can look toward Mr. C’s and my future and be confident of the love and commitment we have for each other and will continue to have toward each other long after the cake is eaten, and the flowers die, and I can’t fit into my wedding dress anymore. Marriage is scary, and until you’re in one, you can never truly know what to expect. Truth be told, as “prepared” as we feel for our marriage, I know that the reality of it will probably hit us like a sack of potatoes after the excitement of the wedding has worn off. Being as young as we are, a lot of people are kind of just expecting our marriage to fail. I don’t blame them—the divorce rates are only continuing to rise. Instead of focusing on proving those people wrong, we’re focusing on ourselves and the life we’re building together. Committing to love each other more each day (especially on days it’s hard to “like” each other) and promising to not let the craziness of life get in between the vows we’ll say in just a few short months.
Above all, I cannot wait to be Mr. C’s wife. We cannot wait to be married. After all we’ve been through together over the past five years, we’re joyfully looking ahead and looking forward to our lives as husband and wife. Planning a wedding is fun, but planning a marriage has meant so much more.