They say hindsight is 20/20. In this case, I'd have to agree. Aaron and I had it all planned out. We figured, why wait? He proposed on my 31st birthday, October 5th and we started planning for a surprise wedding BBQ to be held the following month. We were going to invite our families and friends to an engagement party. Mid way through the celebration we were going to surprise everyone and get married right then and there, a month after the engagement. I was ready, so was he. So why didn't we go with the original plan? Well... I'd say we (mainly me) were concerned with how we would be perceived. I honestly didn't want to become inundated with opinions, judgments and questions. Why didn't y'all get married in the church? How come you didn't pick me as a bridesmaid? Why? How come? Yada yada yada... I thought I would have regrets of not having a church wedding; how I thought I envisioned my wedding to be. Truthfully, I don't know how I envisioned my wedding. Most girls have their wedding planned down to the color socks the ring bearer will wear. The most I had ever planned for my future wedding was the music. I knew what songs I wanted played for each portion of my entire wedding day. That was about it. So after I got the ring on my finger I had no idea what to do next. Needless to say, after going back and forth with the whole eloping, surprise, destination wedding decision we decided to do things traditionally. We should've eloped!
Two years later I realized our focus was more on what would make everyone else happy rather than what was best for us. We didn't have tons of money but we wanted something that represented who we were as a couple and have fun doing so. I think we accomplished that but looking back, there were definitely alternatives to accomplishing our goal. What I have come to realize... Our lack of focus on us during the wedding planning has left an extreme impact on our marriage. We hear it all the time, focus on the marriage and not the wedding. And we went in with the notion that we will do all that we could to ensure the transition from singledom to married life was smooth within our control. For the first couple of months we honed in on marriage preparation. Gradually we lost focus. Colors, flowers, tuxedos and dresses took over and before we knew it, it was June 21st.
The Importance of Preparation
It's not that we intentionally decided to focus on planning our wedding and nothing else. We did not purposefully neglect marriage preparation either. It just happened. Granted, one cannot prepare for all the things that may or may not come with marriage. However, a couple can prepare for how to approach and endure the not so blissful things of marriage. When a couple takes the time to prepare for their marriage they have the opportunity to:
- Discuss extremely important topics such as conflict resolution, finances and even forgiveness
- Discover your self, including personality, family baggage, strengths and weaknesses
- Seek wisdom from married couples
- Take time needed to openly communicate with your partner about any unresolved issues before going into the marriage
Failure to take sufficient time to tackle these things will result in tons of ambiguity, pointless disagreements and unnecessary tension. As much as we thought we knew each other, you never really know a person until you take time to actively learn of them. That's the benefit of preparing for your marriage. You will learn what makes them tick, what baggage they are dealing with, what kind of childhood experiences are still impacting them. This is what they meant, focus on the marriage more than the wedding.
Now, I am not concluding that marriage preparation will prevent obstacles and trials in a marriage because those come anyway. What I know for sure is preparing for your marriage will give you the tools you need manage the bumps in the road. While eloping would have been less distracting it would not have been the resolve in the long run.
Today, my husband and I celebrate two years of marriage. Although some may think two year is nothing, it means everything to us. We were able to withstand for two years. We are now learning from our mistakes and taking steps to continually improve our marriage. What they say is true, marriage is work but the payout is much greater and well worth it.