A Marriage as Incredible as Wedding Day
When the rose petals have been trampled on, the photographer’s pictures received and shared with friends and family and the gifts opened and sorted, your wedding day ends and your marriage begins. So many couples describe the rush in which they are caught up before and during their wedding: the planning, the negotiating and the placating of family members who have forgotten that it is indeed your wedding. It is only after the last guests have left, the celebrations have ended and you firmly shut the metaphorical door on the ‘event’ can you begin to focus on you. On this thing called marriage, that you have entered. Beyond the accusation that many couples have an idealistic view of their wedding, I would further argue that many of us often have an idealistic view of marriage, or rather what our relationship will be after the wedding. That somehow our fairytale wedding will translate into a magical marriage. Like many newlyweds, I found that the magical marriage takes much deliberate practice. You need to welcome and accept that your relationship, as perfect as it is to you, will ebb and flow. That our response to these changes is what makes a healthy relationship, or otherwise. How do you create a life of intention and a marriage that’s as incredible as your wedding day? The realisation that the relationship takes deliberate nurturing is a useful first step. The way one would nurture a new friendship, or the intentionality with which we courted, or the way we consciously keep in touch with family. Marriage and romantic relationships require the same effort, even more so because of the proximity of our partner. So close are they that they are usually are the first people we take for granted. Agree as a couple that the way we check-in with our friends and family is the same way we need to check-in with each other. Sometimes you might need to decide on fixed practices that help keep you on the path of intentionality. These might include ‘date nights’ or a joint activity. It might be a journaling activity. My husband and I have kept a joint journal in which we each write a line every day. We have been doing this since the day we were married. Having something ‘fixed’ to do together can be a great way of dealing with the busyness of life. If you know you have a standing weekly or monthly ‘date’, you will work other events and tasks around it, rather than having to work special time into the craziness of life. It also allows you to prioritise each other.
In addition to set practices of intentionality, you might be inspired spontaneously by something around you. Events in your area, the weather, friends and family. A warm, sunny day is something that we never take for granted because they can be very rare. A walk along the beach, an ice-cream at the esplanade, or packing up dinner and having it outside. The change in scenery and the break from routine does wonders for conversation and reconnecting. A mixture of big things such as holidays, fancy restaurants and gifts can often leave you feeling like you have done enough, but oftentimes the little things are more meaningful and can make the difference between a good marriage and a great one. A morning cuddle, a note tucked somewhere it will be found or a verbal check-in “are we okay?” This is something my husband and I use. It is just a quick question that can either be met with a quick response of “yes, of course”, or it can be used as an opening, an opportunity to talk about something that has been on your mind. Your intentional practices will reflect your personalities, your likes, and dislikes, and your values. It will be influenced by your family situation, the resources you have available and other circumstances. Regardless of what your practice looks like, agreeing that your relationship needs some deliberate attention and nurturing is an essential step along this journey, the first towards a marriage that is as incredible as your wedding day.