The Not So Bright & Shiny Moments of Love

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about love and marriage. I think partially because we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, and my social media was flooded with sweet posts and pictures of couples celebrating their love and commitment to one another. And because I’ve been watching the Bachelor recently & have been watching relationships develop on national TV.

I love Valentine’s Day. I love anniversaries. Not just anniversaries of wedding dates, but I love celebrating the little moments too. Like the day Kyle proposed, the day we started our relationship, the day we bought our first home…I think celebrating milestones is so important.

Valentine’s Day is bright and shiny. Full of red roses, sweet cards, breakfast in bed, couple selfies, romantic dinners, new outfits, red lipstick, romance, extra hand holding, sitting on the same side of the table. And I love that. I think sometimes, we all could use a day full of bright and shiny reminders of love. Days that seem to be set aside to remind us to take some time to look at each other when so many times we are running around looking at all of the things that need to get done.

But I have also been thinking, that in real life, Kyle and I don’t always have bright and shiny days.

Some of our days are just grey. Not that we don’t love each other, but sometimes we just have normal days. Full of work, laundry, paying bills, trips to the grocery store, and dishes. Just a lot of adulting.

I think that the best way to be happy in a marriage, is to find someone who you want to spend the grey days with. Because honestly, there are going to be a lot of normal days. Days that might not be full of red roses. And I would venture to say that you are gonna experience way more normal days than bright and shiny ones. But in my opinion, what you build in the grey days will sustain a marriage. 

I think that might be one of the reasons why some of the couples who meet on the Bachelor/ette have relationships that end shortly after the show. Because the show creates these perfect dates. Like seriously amazing dates. But it doesn’t necessarily create a lot of real day-to-day scenarios. Dates where you go to coffee and your favorite band doesn’t immediately show up for a private concert. Or days where the best you can offer is a messy bun and sweatpants because you have strep throat. Or days where you play rock-paper-scissors to decide who has to unload the dishwasher.

Here’s where we get real.

It’s up to you to make the grey days good. It’s up to you to find ways to enjoy them. 

Whether it’s a short “I am so glad it’s you” text. Or playing your favorite song on your iPod and dancing to it in your messy kitchen. Spending 10 minutes before you fall asleep just laughing about a Jimmy Fallon youtube video, or having a Nerf gun war throughout your house. It’s up to you to find ways to invest in your relationship, even when all you have are a few minutes.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved that Kyle planned a surprise dinner at one of my favorite restaurants for Valentine’s Day. I love that he told me when to be ready, and I spent an enormous amount of time doing my hair and make-up and picking out an outfit. I love that the whole night felt special.

But here’s what I love just as much.

I love that last night, we put on our sweatpants and ate tacos while standing in our kitchen. That we watched some Netflix and I e-mailed back clients. That we talked about filing our taxes and upcoming vacation plans. It wasn’t bright and shiny. It wasn’t overly exciting, but it was perfect.

And I don’t think Valentine’s Day would have been as special, or as exciting, if we hadn’t spent time on January 3rd, or January 21st, or February 4th, or any other random day, investing into our relationship. If he only spent time telling me he loved me when there was a national holiday, it probably wouldn’t be received very well. But I love that we will get to celebrate Valentine’s Day together for the rest of our lives.

Because I can visibly see his love on all of the other days of the year. 

We all love when we see a couple in their 70’s celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary, don’t we? We love that their love has lasted. Because we all know that it probably wasn’t always easy. But in the midst of it all, they stayed together and they have a beautiful legacy to show for it.

And I bet if I were to sit down with those couples, they would tell me that there were a lot of normal grey moments. But in those moments of consistency, those moments where they walked through the normal day-to-day of life together, that’s where their marriage was built. That’s where love was strengthened.

So, Here’s what I know…

I think that love is worth sticking around for.

For better or for worse.

For good and for hard.

For normal days and for bright & shiny ones.

For Top Ramen & Filet Mignon.

That a Monday night at home can be just as wonderful as Valentine’s Day at the Space Needle.

That love is built in the grey days. And it is celebrated in the bright and shiny moments. 

Cheers, Love,

Kels

Relationships Aren’t Like Cactuses : Learning Intentionality

The older I get, the more I realize that being intentional is probably one of the most necessary character qualities to being an adult. Especially when it comes to having healthy relationships of any kind.

As a kid, my friends and I went to school together. For 9 months out of the year, we spent 5 days a week together. With ample time to chat and play during breaks/lunch/recess. Quality time wasn’t planned so much as it was planned for us. Many opportunities each day to be together and to build friendships. Birthday parties happened about every week, so there were always sleepovers and opportunities to make memories.

Then, with graduation, came transition. Some friends moved away, some friends stayed close.

Now, with careers, marriages, children, and a plethora of other commitments, I have realized one thing.

Relationships aren’t like cactuses. 

Cactuses don’t have to be watered. They don’t have to be taken care of. They don’t have to be looked at, or thought about. They just keep on growing. Those prickly little buggers….

Relationships are like babies.

They need attention. They need time. And energy.

So here’s the dilemma. The older I get, the less time it feels like I have. While being an adult has an element of freedom and independence, the flip side is that it also has a large element of responsibility.

So with all my freedom, I have to choose to be responsible. But I also have to choose to be intentional.

This is something that I am not always great at.

Confession : I’m not always the best initiator.

It’s something that with the fall and winter coming up, where photography is less busy, is at the top of my list of goals. To be intentional in my relationships.

But as September is already here, I am looking back over the past 8 months and really trying to evaluate where I put my time. What were the areas that I did good? What are the areas that I need to be better at? Where is my time going? I realized sometime this year that I don’t have to wait for a January 1st to set goals, or to evaluate my life. I can do it any day. Even a Tuesday, in the beginning of September.

I decided at the beginning of 2015 that I was going to set some boundaries when it came to my business. The first was only taking 15 weddings this year, so that I would have some weekends to be able to spend with my husband and my family. Secondly, I implemented some systems to make my editing & delivering of products and images more efficient and streamlined. And I also made sure that at least 1 night a week was spent doing nothing photography related. I will admit, in the midst of wedding season, that is harder and harder. But I am trying. To make sure that I can invest into my relationships.

So, this post is as much for me as it is for anyone else.

We have 3 months before the December Christmas Madness happens. 3 months where I am going to set some goals in my relationships. To spend some time investing into my marriage, my friendships, and my family to make sure that they are getting the attention they deserve. Whether that means a coffee date once a month or a phone call to check in.

Rabbit trail…Sometimes I think I forget how nice a phone call or a card can be to receive. So I hesitate to give them. It’s like I feel that if I can’t give someone 3 hours of my time, I should wait until I can…NOT THE CASE. If I have 15 minutes to call and chat with a friend, that is better than waiting 3 years to meet up. Right? I think so. You can disagree. That’s okay!

I will say this over and over. Nobody is an island. And living on an island results in making friends with volleyballs…hello, Tom Hanks. NOT my kind of friendship.

We NEED each other. To grow. To laugh with. To celebrate with. To cry with. To vent to. To dream with. To binge watch Netflix with. To make delish dinners with. To enjoy life with.

So cheers, friends. To being intentional. With whatever spare time we are given in order to make sure that we don’t start making friends with the basketballs, volleyballs, and baseballs in our garages.

Kels

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