PSA: The Important Parts Come *After* the Wedding

Getting married to Cory is the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life. No one has ever made me happier, and the bond as husband and wife is something I find difficult to describe.

I knew I wanted to marry Cory not long after we started dating. It was a certainty like the rising and setting of the sun. I just knew it was going it happen.

When we got engaged, all anyone would talk to me about was the wedding. The colors, the dress, the location, the guest list, the music. While I was certainly giddy about these things, I don’t consider myself to have been an average bride-to-be.

I was always struck by the fact that no one ever mentioned the days the follow the wedding. You know, the whole marriage part.

For me, the whole marriage part what I was most excited about. Sure, the wedding was something to look forward to, but for me, the focus was always on the days, months and years after the wedding.

My sights were set on being husband and wife – not about throwing the best wedding ever (which, IMO, it was ;) )

After the party ended, the sparklers fizzed out, and the guests went home, it was just us. It was the beginning that I had been longing for.

What I’m getting at, is that from my experience, it seems that many couples don’t focus on the amount of work, dedication, compromise, and communication that are critical aspects of a strong marriage.

Yes, work. It doesn’t feel like work every day (at least I hope not!) but working on your marriage should become the main priority in your life. Not you. Not your friends. Not your job. Not your parents. Your marriage is something you have to work at, fight for, and protect at all times.

It’s beautiful work, really. It’s fulfilling and happy and gracious and kind – which is why it doesn’t feel like work all the time.

My hope is that brides and grooms-to-be don’t spend their entire engagement stressing and arguing over the details of an 8 hour party. If you do that, you’re going to struggle to land gracefully after the wedding.

You know, when that whole marriage thing kicks in.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I love this post! I agree–when all is said and done, after the wedding, you’re the ones that have to live with each other–not your wedding guests. It’s so important to work at your relationship and preparing for mariage rather than focusing on having the perfect wedding. Before we got married, everyone said the first year is the hardest and I blew them off because we got along so well and we were so excited to be married. Then we got home from our blissful honeymoon and reality set in as thoughts raced through my mind. Who is paying which bill? How does one file taxes jointly? What am I supposed to buy at the grocery store for a man to eat? There’s a MAN living in my HOUSE. Why do men eat so much so quickly? Is it okay to wash our laundry together? Dumb little things like that are the thoughts that I had never considered. Now, almost a year and a half later, we’ve settled into “our” routine. Things were a little difficult at first as we meshed schedules, routines, and methods of doing things, but now it feels like we’re on the same page and it’s fun to “do life” with your best friend every day. Marriage is a lot of work, but it is also so rewarding. You get to live with your best friend, experience all of life’s up’s and down’s, and always have a constant companion throughout it all.

    • says

      I love this Laura! I have asked myself all of those questions at least once! We didn’t live together before marriage (and I haven’t had a roommate since college), so it’s been a big adjustment to mesh everything together! The best part is learning together, though, and usually we can laugh through our awkward, “who’s supposed to be responsible for this?” moments :).

  2. says

    I’m not married or even engaged (yet!) but this post is perfect! I could care a less about the perfect ‘wedding’… I want to marry my best friend to spend my life with him. Heck-we might get a justice of peace when the time comes.
    So many of my friends are getting married this coming year and stressing about every last detail. They’re not even able to enjoy their engagement ! That will not be me :)

  3. Ashley Cooper says

    How right you are, my friend! Marriage can be a beautiful thing. It’s my parents 30th wedding anniversary today and I just look at them with awe – they still really love each other after all this time. They have fun, they know each other inside and out, and they are so in love. I agree that sometimes, brides-to-be can get way too caught up in the stress and can get bogged down in the details of planning of an event that will last 5 hours and will be done and over with. Yes, you want the day to be special, but should you blow a gasket because your sashes are a tiny shade darker than the bridesmaid dresses? No! It’s NOT important. It doesn’t matter in 1 day, 1 week, or a year after the day of the wedding. What will matter is the marriage, NOT the wedding! I get so sad when I see a bride-to-be frantic and panic-stricken and obsessing about a wedding for months and months and months before. I sometimes wonder, “what will they focus their energy on after the wedding?? Will the be depressed because this all-important day has come and gone and they have nothing else to plan?” Love your PSA and I totally agree!

    • Colleen says

      I saw your status this morning! 30 YEARS! We’re so lucky to have parents who have been married for so long (mine are 28 years) because it’s so rare these days. Thanks for your PSA support! ;)

  4. says

    This is so great! I am ready for my wedding, and think it will be great, but I cannot wait to live my life with my fiance! I dream about it everyday. We do not live together now, and I just can’t wait to experience it all with him. I know it will be hard some days, and we might battle over the toilet seat being up or down, but that’s what being married is! I can’t wait for after the wedding, and being able to come home to him, and seeing him first thing in the morning while we make breakfast (or, I make breakfast and he runs out the door because he hates the morning!). This post just made me a lot more excited for after the wedding!

    • Colleen says

      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! SO exciting! You’ll have a blast, but I know you’ll have a great time AFTER the wedding, too! There’s a huge adjustment period, but it’s not bad. It’s just like what you described! Best wishes!

  5. says

    Well said! I sometimes feel that if I ever mention this to people, they look at me like I’m crazy. And I’m not even married–haha. But I feel like I’ve watched my own parents work at their marriage and watched them reap a reward from the “beautiful work” and it seems to be quite worth it. Great post!

  6. says

    This was such a beautiful post – exactly the type of thing I needed to hear! Everyone keeps telling me that I’m crazy because I don’t want a big, fancy wedding. I get more excited about the life we’ll live together, but I think sometimes people forget it’s a marriage first. The wedding is just one day.

  7. Runner Girl Eats says

    Love this! We recently hot engaged and all everyone can talk about is the wedding but we are most excited for the years after the wedding. I’m still psyched for the wedding but its the marriage that gives me butterflies :)

  8. says

    You took the words right out of my mouth! Marriage is a lot of work. And it’s not always fun and games. But when you’re working hard side by side with someone you love and cherish, it makes everything worth it! Oh and a good sense of humor does wonders too. :)

  9. says

    Such a great post and this is so very true! I think that is the problem now that too many people think marriage is sunshine and rainbows all the time and are not willing to put the work into it. Like everything else it does require work but it is so worth it!

  10. says

    I’m VERY not married, but I loved this post! In my family, we have a saying that “the more expensive the wedding, the shorter the marriage,” which I think really speaks to a point you’re making here – getting the ring, planning the event, partying with your friends – that’s all really wonderful, but the focus should always be on the fact that you are making a lifelong commitment to another person. That’s the part of marriage that makes me excited to dive in one day!

  11. says

    I love this! I have so many friends who are obsessed with being a “bride” and what their dress will look like, and the colours and all of these details. But none of them ever consider what it means to be someone’s “wife”. I want to point every engaged woman to this post, because it’s something so many of us are forgetting to look at.

  12. says

    I love this post. I’m not married but have been with my bf a number of years and all successful relationships definitely take work but the effort it takes pays off. But you are right it is not something that is really talked about just the amount of work is required.

  13. says

    Well said, love. Joe and I aren’t engaged yet, but as of Friday, we’ll be living together and spending more time together in the first two-three months than we’ve had the chance to spend together in the entirety of our two year relationship (he’s in the army and stationed 9 hours from me…until Friday). I’m excited, but I know it’s going to be an adjustment/take some work to help us grow the strong relationship we already have. Thank you for the honesty in this!

    • Colleen says

      WOW! That is such amazing news! (And thank you both for his service!) Sure, it’ll be an adjustment, but it’ll be great! Come onnnnn, Friday! :)

  14. Jaclyn says

    Hi, I guess I’ve been more than a silent reader as I’ve never commented before, but I really love reading your blog. I just recently got married, February 9th to be exact and I could not agree more about being excited about what comes after the wedding. Sure I wanted a nice and fun wedding, but I didn’t let myself get caught up in the details. People at work were constantly commenting on how “un-stressed” I seemed for planning a wedding in 5 months (we didn’t have the need for a long engagement). So when our city had been in a drought for months and it decided to rain on our outdoor wedding… I could have easily freaked out. Instead, I chose to focus on the fact that we had an indoor plan B and I was going to be MARRIED regardless… which is kind of the most important part of a wedding :). Now, for the first time in 27 years I’m not living at home with my parents and I’m spending my life with the most special man. I know there will be lots of adjustments and learning on both ends but I couldn’t be happier and look forward to making this marriage what I know it’s meant to be. :) Thanks for posting!

    • Colleen says

      Hi, Jaclyn! Congratulations on your new marriage! I love to hear how un-stressed you were about your wedding, that’s so awesome. Yeah, rain could have EASILY sent anyone into a tizzy – glad to hear you were focused on the more important thing :) Thanks so much for commenting! Your comment gave me goosebumps :)

  15. Jackie says

    Great post! Kind of random question: Awhile back you mentioned that you & Cory were going to be featured on an episode of House Hunters – any word on when this is airing (if it hasn’t already)? I’m a big HH fan and went to school in Richmond, so I love seeing the city on the show :-)

    • Colleen says

      Hey, Jackie! Haven’t gotten the word on when it will air, but probably in April. I’ll let everyone know when I find out :)

  16. says

    Agh…I LOVE this post! Some brides get SO stressed out during the wedding planning process. I was so excited to get married and enjoy our life together, that I felt like I stayed fairly calm throughout the entire process! And yes, sometimes marriage does take work. Especially when buying a house and having to compromise and talk about scary financial stuff ;). But it’s also a really, really good thing, and I agree that it should come before any other relationship in life!

  17. says

    Thank you for this!!! I just celebrated my six month and I totally agree with you. During the wedding planning process I just wanted to be married. We spent a lot of effort get our living situation, finances and communication tactics in order before our wedding. Now that we’re married, it’s been nice to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I honestly think most people these days don’t think about that stuff-they just want to have the big party. It drives me nuts!

  18. says

    I couldn’t agree more with this post! Well I guess at least from my perspective, not having been married yet. I was never really a girl that dreamed of her big wedding day (I dreamed of being a corporate executive, wish I was kidding) so really don’t see the big deal/hype in people throwing these extravagant weddings & getting so worked up over them. Maybe it’s because my parents didn’t have one when they got married at 22 and they have what I would consider an ideal relationship and one that I strive to have once I decide to commit and settle down. I guess to me the wedding is not indicative of how the marriage will be (esp from seeing their situation) so I have just never been that worked up over it. For my big day I just hope for all my friends & family to be healthy & able to be there to celebrate, wherever it may be, and for a long lasting relationship after that. I guess only time will tell! ;)

  19. says

    Holy crap, YES!!! My brother got married last month and the last year and a half was wedding, wedding, wedding. My husband and I went on our first date in April and we were married in August that year, it will be 12 years this August and we’re still very happy and very much in love. We didn’t have a huge, extravagant wedding and I wouldn’t change a dang thing! Too many people focus on the wedding, the focus should be on the marriage. Freaking awesome post, thank you!!!

  20. says

    This is exactly what I needed today. I am so weary from people being critical of my wedding decisions. It’s just so frustrating that they’re so concerned about one silly day. I am just looking forward to 2.5 months from now when we are married and the event is behind us and the life that we are promising can be our focus.

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