I’m definitely one of those people that likes to get in a pool slowly. Everyone tries to coax me into doing it a different way…”just jump in! It will be sooo much easier.” But I don’t. I take my time. And with each step, a little further, a little colder, but still just easing into it.
Getting married isn’t really like that.
One day you’re single and then, by the end of that very same day, you’re married.
I mean, it’s not like during the season of engagement we weren’t preparing for a marriage because we absolutely were. We knew it was coming. I do not believe we were one of those couples completely wrapped up in the wedding that we forgot about the point of it all. We had pre-marital counseling sessions with our pastor, we spent time with other couples, we fought, we resolved, we talked about money and sex and families and everything in between. But still, no matter how much you’ve talked about it and planned for it, the real life lessons happen while you’re smack dab in the middle of them.
You can watch a “how to” video that teaches you how to drive a car (and really, you should), you can attend classes and talk about the rules of the road (mandated by most places, thank goodness), but until you’re behind the wheel of a car, you don’t actually know what it’s like to drive.
Well. Here we are….driving. Swerving here and there, catching ourselves fixated in the rear view mirror at times, wondering what in the world just happened. So, in effort to go back, sort out my memories and ease my way into it, I’ve made a countdown over what has happened in my life over the last 3 1/2 weeks….
10: The friends that stood beside us on our wedding day.
And that’s just our wedding party–who were all absolutely, without a doubt amazing. But, if I were counting the friends who supported us, celebrated us, danced and laughed with us…my countdown would have started obnoxiously higher than 10. I mean, it’s really incredible.
We had people come out of the woodwork to help pull off our wedding day. Friends stepped up, joined in, and really made our wedding day one of the most fun days of our lives. We danced, laughed, ate and drank to our hearts content. And this would not have been possible without the dozens of people that were there for us.
I’m not usually someone that likes to ask for help, so it was a humbling experience to let people run around all day (and in the days prior) taking care of details and tying up lose ends, just because they cared for us. Humbling and wonderful.
9: We Gathered for Breakfast
At 9am on my wedding day, my dearest friends gathered with coffee in hand and a plate full of breakfast goodness– and that’s is exactly how I would start every day if I could. I love breakfast, and breakfast with sweet friends is twice as satisfying. We laughed and cried, prayed and sat in silence. We welcomed the day quietly before the chaos took over. We gave thanks for everything that was happening, in my life, in Adam’s life, and in our marriage that was about to begin.
It was calming and refreshing, preparing my heart to take in everything that was about to happen. I couldn’t have asked for a better morning.
8: Our Honeymoon
8 short, beautiful days of starting our new life together. We went to Jamaica and had so much fun. Pools with swim up bars, beautiful beaches, tons of rest and…ahem….
We woke up to see the sunrise every day. Sounds crazy early, but when you go to bed around 9, it’s not so bad.
The sun wore use out (or we’re just getting old) so we crashed early every night. And when you’re laying in bed watching the sun rise over the ocean, listening to the sound of waves crashing on to the beach, getting up doesn’t sound so bad.
We brewed incredible coffee in our room, sat on our balcony overlooking the beach and the resort, and started our mornings slow… every single morning. We read, talked, reminisced about the day before (see #5) and simply enjoyed the start of each day in paradise. I’m not saying each day was perfect, but it did feel like starting on the right foot.
We ate lobster, drank fruity drinks, dressed up and lounged around. It was everything I could want on a vacation. Adam planned a romantic candlelight dinner on the beach, and we had so much fun snorkeling and trying not to get stung by jellyfish. It was sweet, restful and exactly what we needed to celebrate the season of wedding planning coming to a close and the start of new life.
7: The verse that brings me Hope
Jeremiah 17:7….”Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.”
Whose trust IS the Lord. This is like water to my soul. I’m going to be honest with you, the start of marriage was much harder for me than I anticipated. It felt like the gun went off and my feet were stuck in mud. Why am I not running forward with glee? Why can I not sprint forward with enthusiasm?
Maybe because I hate running?
Or maybe….maybe because I’ve been married for less than a month and I need to give myself a break.
It felt like I had left this season that I had mastered, to some extent. Singleness, nailed it. Knew how to live it pretty well. Felt content, confident, somewhat successful in day-to-day living. I left this only to enter a season that was completely brand new, full of challenges and trials that I had never encountered.
All of a sudden the weight of responsibility I’ve placed on myself to be this perfect homemaker, perfect cook, perfect wife felt overwhelming.
Also, it turns out I don’t handle change that well (raise your hand if you’re not surprised).
I’m still sifting through my emotions, wondering why I expected perfection right out the gate. But I can confidently say that I married the right man. In his ocean of patience, we are learning to swim together. And I’m leaning, totally leaning, on that verse and trusting that the Lord is up to something really good.
6: The number of days we were home before tragedy struck
6 days after we were home from Jamaica (so technically, 14 days of marriage, but you get the point…not a lot) we got the call that Adam’s grandpa passed away.
We rearranged our schedules and headed to Columbus for a funeral. The day before Thanksgiving we were sitting in a Catholic mass honoring the life his grandpa lived.
He had been ill. It wasn’t a total surprise. But that doesn’t make it any easier. He played a very significant part in the shaping of who Adam is, and that is a tough thing to say goodbye to.
Death and life. Holidays of joy and gatherings of grief. His mother passed away around Christmas, my sister around Easter, and now his grandfather around Thanksgiving. We are learning how to celebrate seasons that feel bittersweet. And I’m thankful we’re doing it together.
5. The number of highlights we wrote down each day
The day before our wedding, day of, and every single day of the honeymoon, we each wrote down our “top 5” things from that day.
We ended up calling it a “top 5-ish” list because it drove Adam crazy that each of my 5 favorite things from the day were merely headings that contained further lists of additional things. So we wrote down our favorite foods, and restaurants and people we met. We wrote down adventures and experiences. We wrote down sights and smells and emotions and beauty.
We captured what we could from each day so that way when we try to go back, we can remember the best of our time together.
4: The amount of books we took with us
2 to share, and 1 that was each of our personal preferences (try not to make fun of Adam when I tell you what his was).
The Beauty of Broken (mine)
Sounds like an odd book to take along on a honeymoon, but it was actually really sweet. In summation, a woman of influence tells her story, including all of the messy and broken pieces, but the wholeness she has found in coming to the end of herself and the beginning of God.
Intended for Pleasure & The Meaning of Marriage (ours)
These books will probably take us years to read. They are packed with deep goodness that we will have to take in slowly and over time, so we only began reading them on our Honeymoon.
We did have a quote from The Meaning of Marriage read during our wedding ceremony…
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him-or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretenses, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” -Tim Keller
Catching Fire (Adam’s…told you)
Although, we did see the movie when we got back and it was pretty good. So maybe I shouldn’t make fun of him for reading books whose target audience is age 15… starting now : )
3. How many hours it took us to open all of our wedding gifts
I’m not kidding, it was like 4 years worth of Christmas presents shoved onto our porch awaiting our return. When we got home, we just stood there, staring. We had been receiving SO many gifts through the mail, left on our front and back porch on countless occasions. We thought surely the presents had all arrived already.
No, there were more. So many more.
I had tears in my eyes as we sorted through an outpouring of blessings and generosity, all to help us start our new life together. I don’t even know how to begin to send thank you cards. I feel like I have more gratitude in my heart than I can express with words. Beyond blessed.
2. The number of weddings we attended on our Honeymoon
You heard me. Attended ON our honeymoon (Adam thinks I have a problem with how quickly I make friends).
We met two wonderful couples. Both with very different stories, but with one thing in common: they came to Jamaica to get hitched!
We had so much fun getting to know each of them, talking about their love stories, and standing on the beach when they got married. One at sunset, one at sunrise. They were both beautiful, quiet and sweet. We signed a marriage license as witnesses for one, toasted champagne with both, and ate cake as we chatted about their stories.
What a sweet and unexpected blessing it was to share in each of their days, and to cheer them on as they started new life together.
1. The man I have promised my life to
The house we live in. The life we now share. The bed we sleep in. The man I am deeply, madly and truly in love with. Just….one.
I am so thankful for the past month of changes and blessings and challenges as we have begun our new lives together. There have been days where our cups are brimming over with thankfulness, and days where we wonder what could possibly come next. Days of joy and days of tears. It has been a packed 3 1/2 weeks, and we are still sorting through it all.
In the days to come, my prayer is for continued joy as we change and grow together, continued grace for the process, and a deeper, more sacrificial love for one another.
Cheers to the journey.