I just need to get this out. I just want to write it all down, so that I can come back and look at it whenever I need. And maybe it will encourage one of you, so I’m putting it out here. Also, please excuse my love of commas…I really love commas, like, a million.
Here we go! :
When Kyle and I got engaged there were a LOT of people who told us the SAME sentence. Over and over, we heard it. “MARRIAGE IS HARD.”
Ummmm, thank you?
But really, for two people who could not have been more excited to get married and spend the rest of our life together, hearing how hard it was going to be really took my fairy-tale idea and squashed it. I wanted to hear how GREAT it was going to be.
After being married for almost 4 months, I think I get what they were trying to say. Let me try to explain. I know I don’t have much experience, but I do feel like over the past 4 months, I have learned so much not only about myself and my husband, but also about marriage, commitment, and love.
“Yes, there are MOMENTS when marriage is hard but it also is SO GOOD. But when it’s hard, don’t worry. You aren’t doing something wrong. You didn’t choose wrong. You are fine. You aren’t alone. Every marriage has hard moments. Trust us.”
THAT’S what I think people were trying to say. They were trying to reassure us, that in the midst of disagreements, hard conversations, and through big life changes, there WILL be hard times. That we aren’t failing at life, at loving each other, and at marriage.
The first time I bombed making dinner, I cried. Not just a few tears…but the shoulders shaking, can’t catch your breath kind of crying. It wasn’t just because I maybe made the worst dinner ever recorded, there was something inside of me that I was looking at right in the mirror. Perfectionism. In my head, I had this idea of how I would be the perfect wife for Kyle. I would make him delicious meals every night, and breakfast every morning. I would make him laugh all the time and we would always agree. On everything.
But you see, when I ruined dinner, and our new cast iron pan, it hit me smack in the face. There are going to be moments where I am not perfect. Where Kyle is not perfect. Where we deal with our selfishness and insecurities and weaknesses. Days where we will have to CHOOSE to love each other. But since when did I promise only to love Kyle on his good days? In our vows, when did he say, “I will stay married to you as long as you are perfect”. Never. Because that’s not reality.
In a culture where divorce has become one of the most common ways to settle a disagreement, I want to offer some encouragement.
My dad gave a toast at our wedding which I will always remember, but this part of it, was my FAVORITE :
“Here’s to fair winds, but if you have a storm, may it be short in duration and weak in intensity. May you be quick to say you are sorry, and quick to forgive.”
My dad is the wisest man I know. I have never followed advice that he gave me and was disappointed. I trust him with my whole life and my heart. When he told us to say we are sorry and to forgive, that might seem like standard advice. But there is one thing about apologizing and forgiveness, they are both CHOICES. To say the words, “I’m sorry” takes a conscious effort to admit what we did was not right, and humility can be hard.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is something that I think is harder to learn. Our culture tells us that in order to forgive someone, we should FEEL like forgiving them. It, in fact, is the opposite. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a choice. And I have found that forgiveness feelings always follow forgiveness actions.
But let’s get real. Marriage is like life. And I don’t hear everyone walking around saying “Life is hard”. Because to sum up something so complex like life or marriage into just 1 word doesn’t give you the whole picture. Because yes, there might be hard moments, but sit on the moon, look at the big picture, and you will see all of the good moments. They outshine the hard. They make the hard do-able. Also, look at the movies we love, the stories we love, the books we love. In most of them, there is an element of hard. But what makes the story worth reading is that in the midst of the hard, the person chooses not to give up. What’s hard now does not stay hard forever. Ask anyone who has ran a marathon. When they first started training, running a mile might have seemed HARD. But now after 26 of them, 1 mile seems like the easiest thing in the world.
I love meeting people who have been married for 30+ years. Last month, we took photos of a couple who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They were two of the happiest people I have ever met. And they were ridiculously in love. Why do we LOVE stories like that? Because they give us hope and they give us a REAL picture of how good marriage can be. 9 children and 17 grandchildren later, they were still in love and they assured us that marriage would be the best choice we ever made, even if there were hard moments.
Kyle and I LOVE being married. We had someone tell us the other day that we make being married look easy. Ha, not sure about THAT. And I hope you don’t think that I wrote this to agree that marriage is hard. Because honestly, marriage is easy. What’s hard is realizing that I am selfish, and putting someone else’s needs above my own is hard. Marriage is a mirror. It allows someone to stand as close as they can to you and show you things about yourself. What’s great though, is that a mirror doesn’t just show the ugly things, it shows the beautiful things. We just have to choose to see both.
Here are some photos of our first few months of marriage! It’s been an adventure! Can’t wait for the next 50 years!
I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts!
**I know that not everyone who reads this is married, and I know that some people don’t ever want to get married. Totally fine! But I am a WEDDING photographer, and I spend a lot of time with people who are entering into marriage. 🙂 So I just wanted to write some encouragement to people in the same season!