This weekend, we got all of the pictures from our wedding. Our friend Becky Davis did an absolutely incredible job; we are SO happy with how they turned out and captured our big day!
I thought it would be fun to share some pictures each week for Marriage Mondays, and tie them into the topic of the post. Today, I want to chat about getting ready, and how we did our best to prepare for marriage leading up to March 5th. I want to share about what that looked like, and how it actually ended up playing out now that we're married.
For us, I would say preparation began fairly unconventionally on the night we met. I've shared about that night a few times (such as here), and if you know about it, you probably already know that we got real deep, real quick. Sitting on a bench, me in my bridesmaid dress & him in a fancy outfit he had bought at Target hours before, we chatted about what we envisioned our future marriages looking like.
For him, it was probably the liquid courage. ;) And for me, it was nothing more than my love of heart to hearts. But there on that bench, we realized that we had a lot in common for how we wanted dating & marriage to look.
Having broken the ice, we had no fear of talking about marriage for the entirety of our relationship. As a matter of fact, leaving our "first date" weekend a few weeks later, we made a game plan of how the rest of our lives would look, starting with marriage. It was a common topic of conversation for us, probably because we were long distance & discussing marriage meant discussing the mutual hope that we would be living in the same city one day.
I had a lot of friends go through pre-marital counseling, so I knew the gist of what was covered. As engagement got closer, our conversations got more specific. Instead of dreaming about what marriage would look like, we'd cover the heavy topics like finances, children, roles & responsibilities, and yes, intimacy.
No question or topic was ever off the table, and I think that's what gave us both such confidence of where we were headed. It seemed odd to know at such an early stage in the relationship that we'd one day be married, but neither of us ever wavered from that hope & expectation.
We didn't begin formal marriage preparation until months after we were engaged, but as you can imagine, those conversations really paved the way for that.
We started pre-marital counseling with our (amazing!) pastor a few months before we got married. We went through the book Preparing for Marriage, but we also kind of just went through life, too. PJ moved down to Santa Barbara 6 weeks before we got married, and even though we weren't living together, we sure shared a lot of space & time together.
I think it was about then that we realized that as much as you can talk, and imagine, and dream, and prepare, there is always going to be things that pop up that you didn't expect. We grew a lot in those 6 weeks, and got a better glimpse of exactly what we were preparing for with marriage. We never walked into a pre-marital counseling session without some event from the prior week (or day!) to discuss.
I'm so grateful for those 6 weeks! They were entirely different from our long-distance dating experience, not to mention with the added stress of moving & planning a wedding. There were quite a few growing pains along the way, but that almost made it more fun & more real. Seeing how we processed conflict in this new season made me even more confident in our relationship, and upcoming marriage. And the topics we covered in the book were very helpful, too!
One thing I learned in the book that has related to our marriage is that there is a difference between truly communicating, and talking. Being long distance for so long had me suuuper confident in our communication. But I've found that living in the same town, and now living together, has communicating taking on a whole new form. It can be super easy to either a) talk at each other, or b) just sit & relax without talking at all. Communication, or at least authentic communication, can take some real intention!
All this to say, even with an abundance of preparation, there is still a lot of fumbling and learning our way through marriage. I relate it best to parenting. You can read all the parenting books in the world, but until you have your baby with you, waking you, needing you for every little thing, it's very hard to truly understand & fully prepare. You simply prepare the best you can, and learn as you go.
As are we.
I love that man with all of my heart. Last night, I went to bed still stunned at & praising God for the fact that I get to live life with him every day. There is absolutely no one else I'd rather be fumbling & learning my way through marriage alongside. ;)