“Are you ready?” my sister asked me while I gave myself a second glance in the mirror. The reflection I saw startled me for a brief moment; my hair was wavy and smelled of hair spray, my dress was heavy and too warm for a humid summer day. “I am so ready,” I assured myself and my sister, and then I met up with my dad who was waiting for us downstairs.
When I was a little girl, I always envisioned I would be married. I never played bride or had all those wedding details planned meticulously. Truthfully, when I was engaged and we started planning all those details, I would have been more than happy to elope, to just go and sign the papers. I was never one for being the center of attention and the idea of “all eyes on me” was intimidating — but it was important to him.
I can recall moments while planning my wedding where perfecting the little details felt overwhelming. Trying to get all the pieces moving — the venue, license, guest list, menu — in a cohesive timeline that would all come together on one hot July afternoon. I was assured the stress was normal — that all brides work at juggling all the pieces to make their perfect wedding come together. Planning a wedding was hard work and it’s universally understood, apparently.
So, why wasn’t anyone talking about marriage? It’s not quite as fancy to talk about as the big wedding day, but in a marriage you’re still working hard to make all the pieces come together, but without, hopefully, a big end date in mind. You’ve still got all those stresses, but they’re not about cake this time; they’re about kids and money, jobs and chores, work stress and intimacy, and who keeps leaving the toilet seat up.
I have learned one big lesson: Marriage is not easy and it’s not always going to be perfect.
It’s not going to play out like we see in the romantic movies where they fade out saying “happily ever after.” Because they never show us the real picture – that love and marriage, like other facets of life, has real difficulties. There will be times where you don’t think you could have a better relationship and there will be times you long to feel close again. There may be times you question if staying together is the best decision and times you don’t know what you would do without your partner. There may also be all kinds of times in between those two extremes.
In just a few short weeks, I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage to my husband I locked eyes with and said “I do” on that hot, humid day in July. We have been through a lot together – from infertility to multiple miscarriages, lost jobs and dream jobs, kids and cats — and I am thankful I can say I love him even more than I did a decade ago. I know when I assured myself I was ready, answering the question my sister asked me as I was staring into the mirror, I was only ready because of who I was driving up to meet. I would do it all again, 10 years later, without hesitation. Because he understands as much as I do that perfection will not always be a word we can use in our marriage, but love and respect are.
Photo credit: ginnerobot | Flickr
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Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and four kids. No, those aren’t her kids’ real names – they’re online pseudonyms. Read more from Devan on Babble as she dishes about babies, pets, and love + keep up with byDevan on Facebook and Twitter!