Jazzymae Photography | Cleveland Wedding Photography

All too often, we get swept up in the need to have the perfect story: guy meets girl, they have a lengthy courtship, they fall in love, he buys the perfect ring, gets down on one knee, she exclaims “Yes, I’ll marry you!”, they plan and eventually have a fairytale wedding, doves cry, angels sing, about a year later the stork delivers a baby, and they live happily ever after. Sound about right?And then we wake up from that dream to our own unique reality which starkly contrasts it. 

Our engagement began shortly after an argument (that I ::cough cough:: started) about why we weren’t moving closer in that direction. Then he showed me a text to my brother with the picture of the ring that he was planning to buy. After that, I said a sheepish “oh”, feeling silly for having been so impatient. Our marriage began a week after our first son was born. We went to our local court for the nuptials, and didn’t have the rings that we couldn’t yet afford to buy.  The planning of our post-nuptial wedding was halted after finding out that our second son was on the way (surprise!), even though our first was a mere 8-months old. Being a girl that has dreamed of her fairytale wedding for, oh, all of my adolescence, teens, early twenties…you get the idea…I had to come to terms with the fact that this wasn’t the stuff of fairytales. Nope. This was real life. And most importantly, this was MY life. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a whirlwind romance and fairytale wedding. The problem occurs when we mistake the whirlwind romance and fairytale wedding as necessary precursors to a strong marriage. I’ve seen way too many couples go beyond their means to ensure that they have the material signifiers like a huge ring, magnanimous wedding, and extravagant honeymoon, just to start their marriage off in debt, full of resentment, and alarmed that they now have to pay for all this stuff in addition to navigating the stressful changes of a new life with their spouse.

Perhaps if we let go of the social pressure to have those material things, spent within our means, and focused our energy on building a lifetime with our significant others, then we would be better off. What if he never proposed because he couldn’t purchase that huge ring? Or worse yet, what if he’d spent beyond his means to purchase a ring that would put us into debt? It’s time for us to turn off Bravo! And E! and realize that this marriage thing is about building together. Marriages strengthen communities. Research has shown that children of marriages fare better in life. Let’s be about the business of building strong marriages, not just phenomenal weddings. 

It’s taken me a while to personally accept and see the beauty in our own unique story. And I’m glad to say that it’s not just another love song. This one is ours, and ours alone. My husband and I decided that we would still have that phenomenal wedding and honeymoon. But in our case, it will be a renewing of vows when we hit our fifth anniversary. Statistically speaking, marriages that make it to the five year mark are more inclined to last. Knowing that, we decided that we will have our big shindig once we can celebrate five years. Because like I said, we’re in the business of making our marriage work. 

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