Leading up to our wedding, obviously there were a multitude of things that had me shook. In the back of my head as we moved closer to marriage, I felt this increasing anxiety of “I’m going to be a WIFE.” The idea of marrying my soul mate, building a life together, and having a forever best friend had me sold. But the idea of us becoming this boring couple, that doesn’t go out, stays at home, wears glasses and reads in bed before lights out at 10pm had me stressed.
At the end of the day, marriage is everything YOU want it to be. If you and your S.O. enjoy going to Grits & Biscuits, smoking on weekends and hanging out with friends that doesn’t have to change when you exchange nuptials. I didn’t really come to this conclusion, however, until after we exchanged vows, were pronounced husband and wife and we didn’t instantly turn into the Huxtables. With that being said, here are some major takeaways that I learned through the process.
Marriage and love still exist. Despite the popular sentiment that everyone is out here avoiding monogamy, the number of couples getting married is actually on the rise. That’s right, since 2011, the United States has seen about a 1% increase in marriage each year. In 2014, the U.S. was home to about 59.63 million married couples and in 2018 there were 61.24 million. So, let’s all get rid of the notion that romance and love is dead.
Now, on the contrary, everyone isn’t getting married. I repeat EVERYONE IS NOT GETTING MARRIED or HAVING KIDS so we can all stop self-loathing now. When I was single, I definitely felt like I was the last single woman on earth because it seemed like everyone was in a relationship. Social media will make you think that everyone your age is surpassing where you are. Something I constantly have to remind myself is that social media is designed to promote. No one is going to publicize the things that go wrong in their lives, so essentially, our timelines are full of casual flexing without showing the process.
Learn to be vulnerable. I guarantee if you are able to be vulnerable with your partner, parent, friends, colleagues at work , etc. you’ll see a huge difference in your willingness to operate as your authentic self.
(For anyone struggling with opening up) If you need some help getting started, Dr. Brené Brown, New York Times Best Selling Author and guru of all things introspective, shared some insight that I paraphrased below on how to become more vulnerable.
- Vulnerability is not for the weak, so take pride in tackling this challenge in the first place.
- Quit letting the thoughts of others consume you and prohibit you from sharing.
- If tapping into your feelings is scary and overwhelming (which it definitely is) take yourself out of the moment and focus on breathe and meditation.
- No one is perfect. Be easy on yourself.
Trust. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by past relationships that have scarred you from allowing a decent relationship into your life. Now let’s all share truths about ourselves one by one on top of a table before diving into the understanding crowd ready to catch us below… I’ll go first. At times in my relationship, in hindsight, I was sabotaging it because I felt like it was too good for me. I felt like there was no way that someone genuinely cared about me and wanted the best for me because in the past, I didn’t feel I received that.
In a lot of ways, I braced myself for the day when Doug started giving me short responses and was inexplicably uninterested in me out of the blue. What I finally had to accept was that day was never going to come. What was even more difficult was I had to examine why I didn’t feel worthy of receiving that love. Long story short, after months of therapy, a lot of open conversations with Doug, pre-marital counseling and tons of blog posts about self-love (hey! here’s one right here) I’m changing and allowing myself to accept that I’m super lovable for a multitude of reasons.