• apayne1002

#marriagegoals: But not how you think

I stood nervously at the back of the church waiting for the doors to open as Canon in D serenaded every step I took down the aisle toward him. The day was finally here and there he stood, ready to receive me. Ready to pledge our eternal love and commitment.

That was seven years ago.

It rained on our wedding day, and the photo above is one of my favorites. It represents so much in a simple shot. His covering and protection of me; my trust in him that he's got me. It was such a beautiful day, and I still get butterflies thinking about it.

I don't claim to know everything about marriage. Seven years later and there are still things that knock me on my ass. I do know this: marriage is hard. It's full of exhausting victories and humbling defeats. So when I say #marriagegoals, I'm only slightly mocking the over- and misused 'goals' hashtag. You know the one -- the one that promotes the superficial admiration of others. I get it. People want to give props, but isn't there a less one-dimensional way to do so?

Anyway, so what do I mean when I say #marriagegoals? When I think back to my wedding day, I thought I was at the pinnacle of love. You couldn't tell me that I would ever love this man more than I did on that day. But ask me today and I'll tell you I do. Oddly enough, that's the goal -- to always feel like I can't love him more than I do. The truth is that we (humans) have this amazing infinite capacity to love, so I will always be able to love him more. Love him deeper. But the feeling of being "full" of love tells me we're in a good place. We're getting stronger. We're still falling in love.

There's a school of thought that believes the seventh year of marriage is the sink or swim year. Marriages are made or destroyed in this one year. As we round out our seventh year of marriage I've thought about how much credence I find in this idea. I've decided not much. Here's why ... marriages, sadly, can fail at any time. I've seen marriages fail in the first year and the 20th year. But what I have taken from the Seven Year Itch theory is that you can't put marriage on cruise control. As life constantly evolves, so must your marriage. The way you think about and handle your marriage. The way you interact with each other.

Here are a few things I'm committed to trying to do better:

Roll in, not out. I'm so guilty of rolling toward my phone in the morning. Instead, roll toward him. I can't tell you how many Saturday mornings my husband and I both roll toward our cell phones and lay next to each other in silence on our phones, wasting what could be quality time. On the mornings I roll in, so does he. And we start our day together laughing and talking.

Date. Sounds simple enough, right? We're parents so it's not always easy to get away, but when we do we make it a point to do more than dinner. We went to a barcade (have you heard of these?) a few weeks ago and I had to school him in The Simpsons game lol. Dinner is cool, but it's nice to switch it up.

Reminisce. Remember why and how you fell in love -- even the tough times. Like most young couples, we went through IT early in our relationship. 'IT' being everything you could possibly imagine. It was rough. But thinking back on some of those days/weeks/months when we weren't seeing eye-to-eye makes me appreciate our progress, our current state of peace, even more.

Spend more time preparing for your marriage than your wedding. So this is a moot point if you're already married, but to my ladies preparing for marriage or still waiting for Mr. Right, this is for you. A wedding lasts one day; a marriage lasts forever, and so many couples spend months and months preparing for their wedding and a few hours preparing for their marriage. Put in the time early. You'll be glad you did.

Marriage is hard, but love is beautiful. Give it your all. Be honest, be patient, and fight fair. Hope it helps <3

What would you add to the list of things to do better or differently? Let's talk about it in the comments section below.

#marriage #relationships #love

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