My Forever & Always

All the relationship advice in the world could not have made a difference in my past experiences of choosing the wrong men. As the saying goes, I was trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. I would try to find happiness in the wrong relationships, changing myself or attempting to change my SO. I’d try to convince myself I felt a certain way or convince myself that the SO felt a certain way for me. Only to end in tears, heartache, and questioning what I did wrong, why I couldn’t seem to find the right fit, and why I couldn’t get the love I desired.

I spent so much time chasing after guys who wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I wanted, and then wondered what was wrong with me. The problem was simple: I was choosing the wrong men. I fell for guys who felt right due to commonalities or adventure or chemistry or familiarity or even loneliness sometimes.

That was why my beginning with G was so unexpected. I was accustomed to either temporary relationships that would slip easily away or comfortable relationships where priorities were skewed. However, meeting G was a life-changing experience that has only gotten better with time.

G gave me all the right feelings from Day One.

He has made every effort to put me as his priority and has supported me in every trial, endeavor, and achievement along the way. He loves the person I am even as our personalities differ. He’s proud of me and proud to be with me. He is my calming voice during rages and my comforting home during sorrow. He is the reason I smile throughout the day. He fights for me even while we’re the ones fighting. He loves me deeply now and talks of materializing dreams with me in the future.

And I believe every single word he says with no reason of a doubt.

He is, in the simplest of terms, my Forever & Always.

Now, don’t roll your eyes. I am not saying I found the One. (I don’t believe anyone in this world has a “One.”) But I did find someone I liked and cared for and have a high degree of compatibility with in my little corner of the universe. I found someone who increases my happiness and makes me a better person. I found someone I want to do life with forever.

That doesn’t mean our relationship is flawless though. Neither G nor I found the One to make our futures perfect.

Bottom line: every relationship is a lot of work. G and I recognize this and are willing to commit to working on ourselves and our relationship for the remainder of our lives.

We know we will always be a work in progress.

And THAT is what makes all the difference!

G and I will continuously learn from one another, grow together, attempt to give the other our best, and forgive constantly when we falter. We’ve actively chosen to embrace every raw part of one another  — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And that is how we move forward with the last 50 days of our engagement and the entirety of our marriage.

Thank you for choosing me to be your Forever & Always, G. I cannot wait to become your wife in only 50 days (HOW IS THIS A THING?!) and begin growing together as a married couple. I love you.

-A

5 Observations From a Bride-To-Be During Wedding Planning

I have a little over 100 days until I say “I do” to the best man I’ve ever met. Some days that decreasing number is exhilarating, and then there are other days when that number looms over me shouting obscenities.

Wedding planning is not a magical time full of rainbows and sprinkles, friends. Wedding planning can be a stinky hole of dung sometimes.

Talk to any of your friends who have gone through the process and if they tell you they enjoyed every aspect of planning their wedding, they are one of three things: a liar, a goddamn angel, or living in a made-up reality. And this is coming from a girl who has planned over 100 events, many being weddings, so one might think I’d have a good handle on the whole practice. (It is much different planning your own wedding than it is planning someone else’s wedding though. Just FYI.)

So before you move forward to planning your walk down the aisle, here are just a few observations and comments I’d like to make to calm the nerves of any other brides-to-be out there (you aren’t alone, girl) and also put a few things in perspective for myself:

1. You cannot please everyone.

This may be the most important thing I need to remember right now. Your wedding is exactly that: yours. That means every decision you make on location, age restriction, menu, flowers, music, accommodations, perfume scent, etc. for your wedding will most likely not match the preference of every single guest on your list. Don’t fret though, in most circumstances those guests who may not like a decision you made will let you know. (Insert smile here.) Privately or publicly. (Insert thumbs up here.) Either directly or indirectly. (Insert double thumbs up here.)

Sigh.

Unfortunately, that’s Life though. You cannot appease every demand and ideology of every member invited to your wedding. And, in most situations, your guest will acknowledge this fact and accept a heartfelt apology and explanation as to why you decided what you did. Be gracious for your guests’ support (you’re inviting them for a reason, right?), but also hold to what you can financially afford/physically handle/logically control.

2. Life is not only about planning.

Yes, wedding planning demands time and attention, but not every single moment of your life. When you start a conversation with someone, do not only talk about your upcoming nuptials. Not only will you sound like you’re obsessed (because maybe you are), but your conversation partner will most likely become extremely bored. There are only so many minutes when you can mention your heartbreaking conflict of whether to choose white or ivory linens before someone smacks you and walks away.

Be sure to take time to continue with your passions, hobbies, and other responsibilities. Wedding planning is no excuse to give up a nightly jog, a clean house, or hanging out with friends. Maybe even pick up a new pastime to help relax on non-planning time — it’ll generate new conversation topics too!

G and I chose early on to be upfront and open if we needed a “Planning Break” and we’ve implemented tactics multiple times when we were feeling stressed out and overwhelmed by our commitment to planning. When we have our weekly Date Night, we opt to not speak about the planning process at all, actually. Our thoughts are that certain times should be focused solely on ourselves and our relationship. Planning will always be there tomorrow.

3. The engagement period flies by.

I’ll say it again because it’s amazing: I have a little over 100 days until I say “I do.” It seems like just yesterday I was walking the pier and witnessing G dropping to his knee. Where has the time gone?!

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or because I’m enjoying my life so much (I lean towards the latter), but my engagement days have seemed to go by much quicker than any other months of my life. This is very bittersweet to me — I cannot wait until the last day I can call G my fiancee, but I also do not feel prepared to be called a wife and take on everything that role entails. Truthfully, I do not feel as if I’ll ever be ready for that role as it will be the most responsibility I’ve ever held. Yet, another flip-side, I’m relishing the challenge. So I’m just a hot mess when it comes to realizing my wedding is rolling up soon.

I wish there were a parachute button I could push to make the days go by at least a little bit slower. Perhaps then I could read enough marriage manuals to be prepared, right?

4. There was a reason you said, “Yes!”

What no one tells brides-to-be is that the wedding planning period is truly the test to see if you’re ready for marriage and marrying the right person. Why do I say this? Well, let it suffice to say that there are going to be some disagreements between you and your future hubby. Just like I said in #1 above, you two are not the same person so some decisions you want to make may not coincide with the feelings of your fiancee.

And this is totally fine! To an extent…

During your engagement and planning process, you and your soon-to-be husband are going to have the opportunity to learn more about each other than ever imagined. The most important factors are going to be how well the two of you can converse and compromise (yes, ladies, compromise — you do not get the say in EVERYTHING wedding-related.) These two things are so. very. important. If you cannot communicate and be unselfish during the wedding planning process, how do you expect your marriage to go any better?

Which leads me to my last point…

5. Life goes on after the wedding.

Your wedding is, in most cases, 8 hours out of your entire life. That is a typical work day. Brides-to-be! Do you understand how quickly 8 hours is going to pass by and then… what? Oh right, then you’ll be married. Married to the man at the altar with you for what should be the rest of your life.

At least, that’s my belief concerning marriage.

So my goal is to enjoy the wedding, but focus on the marriage. I want to have a solid foundation with my husband-to-be. That means I’m on good terms with him AND his family at all times. That means I’m continuously building onto our relationship by making time for one another, recognizing what each of our expectations are once we’re married, and moving pieces in my life around to meet both our needs. That means, even though I still technically check “Single” on all federal paperwork, I am always thinking of myself as an extension to my relationship.

Never forget there is a goal to a wedding. Make sure you line up your pieces well enough in advance to be successful in that goal.

You are not alone in this planning process, ladies. Yes, you have your fiancee and your family and your friends, but you also have the encouragement and understanding (and condolences) of every other woman who has gone through this period. You’re not alone. And to me, that makes me feel a whole lot stronger because I know there is actually an end to the madness.

With you and for you, friends.

Sig