Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: The WE in Wedding

"If two stand shoulder to shoulder against the gods,
Happy together, the gods themselves are helpless
Against them while they stand so."
~Maxwell Anderson

If you're planning or have planned a wedding, then you've probably heard the common refrain that many couples foolishly spend more time preparing for the wedding, and not enough time preparing for the marriage.  It's basically a warning to engaged couples to not forget about the rest of their lives.  Yes, after the wedding, there is...real life

Well, for today's "wedding planning," Ben and I completed our required premarital counseling workshop.  Getting married in a church usually comes with a bunch of rules about decorations, the use of real flowers and rice, and there's also the rule that each couple has to complete anywhere from a few hours to a full month of premarital counseling with a religious officiant or marriage counselor.  

For some people, I know the word "counseling" can seem scary, it makes it sound like there is something wrong with the way your handling things in your relationship.  And to that I say, nobody is doing everything right in their relationship.  And if you think you're doing everything right, then that means you're probably biting your tongue a lot and I don't want to be around when things explode.  One thing I've learned from my 7 years with Ben:  everyone is annoying, everyone is crazy, and everyone is selfish.  If for one second you think you're above all of that, then you're probably the most annoying, selfish and craziest person in the relationship.  

I think for many couples, they don't experience this side of their significant other before wedding.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, Ben and I have seen this side of each other because not only have we been dating for a while, but we live together.  Through the workshop, counseling, or maybe even meeting with a mentor a few times a month couples can learn how to cope with their partner's annoying, crazy, and selfish habits when the fancy clothes are put away and the wedding gifts are opened, but also to learn how to work on your own flaws.  And really those are the small things. 

But I think planning for a wedding does teach you some things about marriage.  For me, it's the first time that I've had to really make decisions with Ben. We made a big decision together when we decided to move in together, but other than that, I've always felt like the other decisions we made together didn't have much weight.  I think Ben said it best when he said he feels like getting married validates us, makes our decisions together and our lives together much more serious. Not anything we can just back out of when we feel like it. And honestly, I do think a switch flips over when you get engaged that lets you know "Ok, this is serious. I can't just back out anytime I want now."  

And secondly, planning a wedding together really enforces what it means to have your partner's back, and for them to have yours as well.  So guess what.  Not everyone is as enthused about our wedding plans or the decisions we're making.  Crazy, right?!  Well, there's more. Listen in...not even everybody LIKES all the things we're doing for our wedding.  Soooo weird, right?!  Since we started planning our wedding we've gotten every reaction in the book to some of the decisions we've made.  Everything from "Oh, awesome!" to "Really? Yellow? Hmmmmm."  And we can always count on my mom and dad for a Lil Jon worthy "WHAT?!" as a reaction to just about everything we plan.  Lessons learned?  Except for this blog space right here, we've decided to stop discussing our wedding plans as much.  But more importantly we've learned to stand by each other when we're criticized or praised.  I can tell you, some of the moments where I've felt the most loved and cherished have come from when Ben is sticking up for me.  A few days ago we got into a conversation with my parents about why we're doing a "first look," i.e. seeing each other before the wedding ceremony.  Que the "Lil Jon WHATS?!" from both my parents.  

I felt awkward and under pressure to cave to their beliefs.  What if I made the wrong decision to do this? Then Ben reminded me that that it wasn't just my choice, but our choice.  I glanced at Ben, and he put a stop to all my panicking. "We just really like the idea of meeting up beforehand. It fits into what we're trying to do," he said.  And with that right there, my confidence was restored. Ben asked me a few days ago, what I was looking forward to about being married. And I'm looking forward to a lot of things, but I like knowing that Ben will always support me. We won't agree on everything. Won't. But I like the idea of making more serious decisions from here on out, some easy and some difficult, and having someone standing behind me saying, "It's OK. We're in this together."