I was obsessed.
The flowers have to be champaign pink with a hint of cherry, the bridesmaids have to be wearing flowy lilac gowns and my dress has to be the only one ever created— even if it costs me the car I could’ve bought.
The idea of a perfect wedding was a hazy picture that slowly came to focus as I started to open this new chapter of my life. Now that I was actually with the man I’m about to spend my entire life with, the 200mm wedding zoom lens instantly switched to a 10mm marriage wide lens. All I saw before was an extremely zoomed image of a wedding. Then, as I switched lenses and saw the bigger picture, there was so much more to see in my viewfinder. So much, much more.
I saw us holding the key to our new house after finally being able to save up for a down payment. I saw a home filled with children and weekend family gatherings. I saw being there for him when times got hard. I saw him picking me right up when I came tumbling down. I saw both good times and bad times. I saw life; I saw marriage.
At that moment, I realized that way too often, we confuse marriages with weddings. A marriage isn’t about flowers and matching dresses. It’s not about extravagant favors, limos or fireworks as you dance. Marriage is work— very hard work. But that feeling of peace and tranquility you get as you lay your head on the pillow each night, knowing you both are giving it all that you can, makes it all worth it. Is it the easiest thing to do? Absolutely not. But is it doable? Absolutely, yes. It’s not going to be rainbows and sunshine everyday; but it doesn’t have to be a thunderstorm either.
I’m not going to say I stopped caring about our wedding. I still wanted a beautiful celebration with my friends and family to celebrate what’s supposed to be the most magical day of my life. And did I get that? By the grace of God, yes. I had a BLAST at our wedding. Though I always imagined my wedding and my dress to be the most extravagant (as I pinned all that I’d like to see at my wedding on Pinterest like we all do…ehem…), I don’t regret not spending our entire life savings on a 5 hour party (that is what it is, right?). And besides, I’ve seen much humbler weddings. I’ve seen no weddings at all, actually.
It’s sad that some people think that the amount of money you spend on your wedding directly correlates with the amount of love you have for each other. (Or even worse, correlates with how successful your marriage will be).
When I got a compliment about our wedding, I was obviously ecstatic to hear it, but I had nothing to do with it. It was everyone’s presence that made it so memorable. It had nothing to do with my bouquet, the lighting or the half chocolate, half vanilla cake (okay, maybe the cake had something to do with it…). The details you spend weeks and months finalizing often go unnoticed. People are not there to see how much you spent; they’re there to join you in celebration.
If we spend the same amount of time perfecting and exploring the details of our relationships as we do for our weddings, imagine how low we can drag the divorce rate.
Instead of worrying about the perfect centrepiece, perfect the central piece of your marriage— love and respect.
A lot of us want to be married, but we just don’t seem to think beyond the ring. We need to open our eyes and see beyond the wedding— despite that shiny diamond getting in the way, often blinding our judgment.
Slowly, I came to a realization that a wedding is about being a princess for one night, but a marriage is about being a queen forever— and I’ d much rather the latter.
Weddings are given this holy sense of perfection. You must look the best you’ve ever looked (even if you look nothing like yourself); and it must be the most magical day of your life (even if you won a nobel prize). Like we all do, by God’s will, I hope to live a great life. I plan on having adventures and accomplishing great things. So was it the “most special and magical day of my life?” I certainly hope not.
We get it. He loves you very much. He buys you flowers every week and leaves you a love note next to your coffee every morning. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Really. It’s cute, genuine love.
But what can ruin that love is your constant marketing of it. We live in a time where social media is intertwined in every little aspect of our lives. People post “Just sneezed,” so someone can comment “Bless you.” We can’t eat a meal before snapping a picture of it (and adding a nice filter to make it look better than it actually is), and we can’t sit as a family watching a movie without someone posting “Feeling blessed; with family.”
So, as a result, you feel compelled to share every little detail of your life with the world.
When your husband does something sweet for you, and your automatic reaction is “Instagram!” there’s something wrong. It’s human nature to want to share our love. In a Philosophy of Love course I took in first year, we learned that a couple becomes one unit to the public eye. We can’t think of X without thinking of Y. And they’re proud of that. So it’s very natural to want to stand on top of a mountain, and proudly shout, “I HAVE THE BEST HUSBAND IN THE WORLD!” And there may even be a small bit inside of you that’s giggling and teasing, “nananabooboo.”
This constant need to share your spouse’s acts of kindness could originate from a little insecurity. You want to let the world know you’re happy. You want to prove it with evidence. You care to that extent. Maybe you want to make someone a little jealous. Maybe you’re subconsciously bragging about how awesome your love life is. Or maybe you’re just genuinely in love with your spouse and want to share the happiness he bestows upon you. But think about this: if you have something precious, preserve it. Cherish it. Don’t keep sharing it with the world. And by time, you’ll notice a bond even stronger between both of you, because you’ll learn to feel emotionally satisfied with just the performer— not the audience.
But beware; there could be danger. By time, you’re going to enjoy the “likes” and the “oh-that’s-so-sweet-you’re-so-lucky” comments, more than the act of love itself. You’ll look past it, and only feel true enjoyment when it’s publicized. You’ll realize that if you don’t tweet about it or Instagram it, you’re not feeling satisfied, because you used his love to create a sort of love and acceptance for yourself from others.
And you may not be the only person in danger.
When you post every tiny detail of how “awesome” your love life is, that’s the only message you send out. You’re obviously not going to post about the time he hurt you, or made you cry. Maybe he doesn’t, and that’s great. But you’re not going to post your fights/arguments either, which we know are quite inevitable. You only select what seems “perfect.” And here’s the problem with that:
If your friend A, sees all the amazingly cute stuff your husband does for you, but doesn’t see what’s behind the scenes, she’s going to assume that’s the “normal” or the “ideal.” So she’s going to raise her expectations towards her spouse, who may be showering her with love in a different, yet still completely loving, way. She’s going to naively assume that you never get into any fights. Deep down, she knows you do. But her instant thought is, “how could they ever get into an argument when he does all this ‘cute’ stuff?”
So the idea is just to preserve that genuine love. Am I proposing that we keep our love lives undercover? No. But the idea is to not make publicizing it your default setting when he does something “oh-so-sweet.”