In my last post I discussed compromise in a relationship. I reflected on how challenging it can be to accept and support your significant other’s wants and needs if they conflict with your own. In this post I want to further reflect on the importance of support in a marriage.
I love the Practical Wedding blog because many of the posts address the difficulties couples encounter in a relationship and marriage. I think one of the biggest challenges I see myself dealing with is supporting Jesse when I am unhappy or not finding much success in my personal ventures (jobs, friendships, etc.). Already, I have spent a lot of time worrying and getting upset about moving with Jesse. Going to law school, Jesse will be embarking on this new, exciting journey that he’s been anticipating for years. Meanwhile, I am going to be searching for a job (not fun) and figuring out how to adjust to my new role as the sole financial supporter in our relationship (also not fun). Then there’s the stress that comes with adjusting to a new city and making new friends. And the cherry on top is not knowing how much time I am actually going to be able to spend with Jesse. Where is my silver lining in all of this?
Support has been at the heart of a number of discussions on a Practical Wedding. The posts I’ve read on this topic have helped me look at my upcoming situation with a more positive outlook.
In “Reclaiming Wife: Making Your Own Luck,” Emily reflects on the importance of setting yourself up for success and how having a supportive spouse makes the journey into an uncertain future easier to confront.
The beginning of Emily’s story sounds a lot like my own:
“Before graduation, my post-college plans were incredibly vague. I was going to get like… a job….When getting married became the new plan, I embraced it.”
Despite having almost six years of higher education under my belt I don’t know where to begin my job search. Sure I have latched onto a job idea here and there, but none of my ideas spark my enthusiasm (most likely because I am not ready to grow up). I am more eager about marriage because it will provide me with stability in an otherwise uncertain future. This uncertainty is scary because I have always been a planner. These past few months have been difficult because I have had to accept that there are circumstances that are out of my control and cannot be planned for. Emily points out that
“…it’s okay to not have a plan. It’s easy to get discouraged if you set a goal for yourself and you’re not quite sure how to achieve it.”
Confronting adulthood is scary. But, what is even scarier is confronting adulthood when you are in a serious relationship. Approaching major life decisions together can challenge both your relationship and sanity.
Since I started dating Jesse, he made it clear that he would be going to law school after college. I remember lying on his dorm room bed in the fall of 2011, crying because I was so overwhelmed by the thought of having to leave my mom, and all the comforts of living at home, behind. I also felt like he was not considering the impact this decision would have on both me and our relationship. He did not seem to understand why I was so upset. He said, in so many words, “I don’t understand….You knew I was planning to go to law school.”
In this moment I felt helpless. I realized that, sometimes in a relationship, compromise, in its most equal form, is not possible.
While your love and respect for one another unites you, you are still two different people. Each person has their own unique life experiences and personal goals. This is what often causes friction in a relationship–when one person wants or needs something that is not conducive to the wants or needs of the other.
As blogger Liz states in her response to question posed by A Practical Wedding reader, if you are truly invested in the success of your relationship you realize that
“…you’re stuck considering someone else’s feelings every time you make a major decision. That same team that makes you capable of conquering the world, is the reason you need to call home before you set off to do it.”
In “Ask Team Practical: Sharing the Sh*t,” the aforementioned reader is concerned with how to “make it work” when a couple’s life goals do not seem to match. In this post, the reader feels that her husband is
“…generally more concerned about finding the perfect job and furthering his career. I’m generally more concerned about living in a place I like and having friends.”
After an engagement I think it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the decisions you realize you will be making when planning your wedding, especially if you are going to be planning most of your wedding on your own. Where do you begin? How soon should you commit to a venue? Who should you invite? When do you ask your closest friends to be your bridesmaids? Should your wedding have a theme? Should your reception meal be buffet style or plated? There are an indefinite number of questions that arise when you realize that actual wedding planning is not as fun as pinning ideas to your “My Future Wedding” board on Pinterest.
Since my engagement I have realized the importance of defining my own expectations of how I want my wedding to be. I reflected on this topic in my last post. This mindset has helped relieve a lot of my worries about planning a wedding. It can be difficult to find your own bridal voice when there are so many sources dictating what a wedding should look like. On page 3 of her book, “A Practical Wedding,” Meg Keene suggests that wedding magazines, among other resources, dictate the expectations of a modern bride.
“Every book or wedding magazine has lists—lists ordering that you immediately do this, lists forcefully suggesting that maybe you should start doing that, mile-long lists of activities that you to complete if you want to be a Proper Bride.”
Even though I have spent very little time reading wedding magazines or articles on wedding websites I have seen these lists and expectations Keene is referring to. In the months since my engagement my best friend, mother, and future mother-in-law have all purchased wedding magazines for me. I haven’t taken a serious look at the content because I am more interested in finding inspiration from the colors and images. However, I did mark “The list: Your wedding to-dos—And when to do them” in the December 2012 issue of Brides magazine. Included is a checklist of what to accomplish 12 months before your wedding, 10 months before, etc. For example, 8 months before your wedding you are supposed to: “Book the caterer, florist, band/DJ, ceremony music, and photographer; order your dress; block hotel rooms for out-of-town guests; and register your wedding” (p. 54).