Guest Post: Some Thoughts on Marriage from @wonjuwife

While I am in Georgia with the family the wonderful Danielle was gracious enough to guest post for me.  I met Danielle during VEDA last August and she is the most full of love, passionate, real person I know.  Love love love her.  I am so happy she agreed to write a little something for me.  I really respect her views on love and marriage; I think we’re both very similar in how we approach it all.

 

Hi! My name is Danielle and I am thrilled to be guest posting for Bri, as she takes a well-deserved break. I write over at Wonju Wife, sometimes, and I read Bri’s blog, all the time!

I am bursting with joy for Bri and Mr. A as they start their life together as husband and wife! What an exciting time for both of you and I couldn’t be happier for you. Because I’m sure no one will give you any advice about anything marriage related ever, I’m going to fill the gap with a bit of my own.

Make your own marriage.

Your marriage is just as unique as you are! It’s not going to look like anyone else’s. And as a blogger, sometimes I find myself getting nervous or upset that we aren’t doing the things other married couples are doing, or reaching the milestones they’re reaching, or taking the adorable photos they’re taking. But when I stop comparing my marriage to anyone else’s, I realize that it is perfect for us. Because Kenny and I have come from different cultures and countries, we’ve had to custom design our own culture, taking bits and pieces from here and there and sewing them into our own marriage. As newlyweds, it’s easy to get caught up in what you should be doing or what you’re expected to do. Forget all that crap. Your marriage is about YOU TWO. And it gets so much better when you stop doing things because it’s “what married people do” and start doing things that naturally flow from your relationship with each other.

Wash the dishes.

My friend and writer, Dr. Carmen Acevedo Butcher, once wrote, “Love is a muscle, not an emotion. It is something you make strong through the hard work of exercise, not something you hope stays around.” And I’ve found that to be true. In the glow of a new marriage, you don’t notice that love is work. But it is. It’s a discipline. It’s washing the dishes; it’s cleaning the litter box; it’s washing your partner’s feet.

Go separate.

When Kenny and I finally figured out that it didn’t say anything about our marriage or how much we loved each other, we finally just started doing things separately when we felt like it. Sometimes I want a burger and Kenny wants Chinese food. So, instead of compromising and one of us being slightly disappointed and not getting what we want, we separate! I go eat a burger, while Kenny eats Chinese food, and we meet back up both satisfied and happy and excited to be together again. I know that sounds silly at first, but in a marriage you will constantly be making decisions based on what works for both of you. So sometimes, just do what works for you individually. You don’t have to spend an hour before every outing deciding how to make both agendas work. Just decide which parts of the day you’ll do together, and in which parts you’ll take your own path. Your own path always leads back to your partner anyway. 😉

I’ll leave you with a beautiful essay on marriage by Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet, because he says all this better than I ever could:

You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness.

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

 

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from the same cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

 

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

 

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

What I Want on My Wedding Day.

My friends asked me last night what I wanted the most out of my wedding day.

I told them that I think a lot of people get carried away planning their wedding and forget to plan for their marriage.  Mr. A and I, on the other hand, are the opposite.  With all that we’ve been processing with the whole falling-in-love-opps-we-are-having-a-baby thing we have been intensely focused on preparing ourselves for our marriage.  We have determined where we think we’re going to have conflict, we’ve talked about how we’re going to deal with conflict, we’ve tackled finances, we’ve debated household tasks, and listed what we both need to feel loved and valued.  We are trying to set ourselves up to succeed in our marriage.  Maybe because we know that we cannot possibly know the extent of what we’re getting into marrying each other, I feel like we’ve intensely focused on figuring out whatever we can. We’ve been trying to build a foundation that can withstand the storms that are sure to come.

Tomorrow I want to forget all about that stuff.

I want tomorrow to be magical.  I want to be so excited tonight that I can hardly sleep.  I want to get butterflies tomorrow morning while Erin and I get ready.  I want to feel beautiful.  I want to fall even more in love with Mr. A when I see his face light up the first time he sees me in my wedding dress.  I want to hold back tears (or not) while I look into Mr. A’s eyes and say my vows.  I want to take pictures with him after our wedding being only semi-aware that anyone else is even there because I’ll be to busy staring at his face and pinching myself for being lucky enough to get him for keeps.  I want to sit with my new husband, my bestie, and her husband and toast to love; the kind of love that does not happen often but happened to us.  I want to snuggle up to him as we fall asleep tomorrow night and hear him whisper “I love you wifey”.

I cannot wait for tomorrow.

A little wedding sneak peak…

In two days, I am getting married.  (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

When we first started making wedding plans, it became very clear that I did NOT want a big ol’ wedding, at all. I didn’t want to plan it.  I didn’t want to spend a bagillion dollars feeding people chicken… I just wanted to be married.  I wanted it to be magical, beautiful, and memorable but I did NOT want the stress of planning.  As soon as I came across the idea of getting married elopement style in San Francisco it just felt right.  It felt just as right to Mr. A, so we ran with it.

Bonus, I think San Francisco city hall is insanely beautiful.

We’re still planning on having celebrations with ALL our friends and family, but we’ll wait until the summer and sunshine to get here.
Our families are super supportive and on board.  My Grams and I have spent every Monday night shopping for the wedding ensemble.  Here is the dress I’m wearing.  I love love love it.  (Mr. A has SEEN it, just not on.)  (And it looks super adorable with my burgeoning baby bump.)
My best friend and her husband are flying in to be our witnesses.  Erin and I are going to spend the morning getting beautiful, and they’re bringing their fancy camera so after the ceremony we can run around the city taking pictures.  Friday night the four of us will go to Spruce for dinner.  Spruce may be the fanciest restaurant I’ve ever been to, with their menu items sounding like something straight from a Top Chef episode.
I am excited to have Erin and her husband coming.  Erin is like my sister, we’ve been besties for 15 years.  The way I see it, the four of us are going to spend our entire lives being friends through everything.  I couldn’t pick better people to stand with us when Mr. A and I start our marriage.
Simple.  Full of love.  I get to marry Mr. A.  Perfect.
Cannot wait.

Contemplations on love…

While at a friends house last night, a couple of us got into a conversation and I wanted to include you all in the debate. Are you ready?

In marriage, is love a feeling or a choice?
I say both. My friend Leah said choice.

Basically, Leah argued that the love feeling comes to an end and all you have left is the choice to make a marriage last.

If this is true. I will never ever ever get married.

I think it’s both. I think that the choice is real and crazy hard. There are days, weeks, months that can go on that you have to actively CHOOSE every day to love your partner. But if there is a point where the feeling of love actually permanently comes to an end…. that just sucks.

Here, let me illustrate how I conceive marriage. I present to you the Marriage Cup of Love.

First Level: The, hopeful, starting point is a really deep respect for a spouse. I find that it is much harder to stay mad at someone who I really respect and value. This is part of the picking a REALLY great spouse…. you should respect them, they should respect you. If everything else has gone wrong, I think having this foundation can get you back on track.

Second Level: The choice. This is the active part. The daily task of serving your partner and putting them before you. This is the part where the vows you take come in to play… when you aren’t IN LOVE with your partner… you promise to stay and work it out. Put the effort in to get it back.

Third Level: The feeling of being in love. I have seen my grandparents. They have been together for a really long time, and sometimes it is apparent that they’re working from the second level… but then sometimes it is INCREDIBLY apparent that they are truly IN LOVE with each other. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect this part to be there at all times, but damn it it should be there sometimes. A relationship should ebb and flow with this– and I think it would if the first two levels were sound.

Ok, now it’s your turn. What do you think? What is love’s role in marriage?