I kid you not….standing there in my wedding dress, a wife for about 3.5 hours, people said to me “so…kids?…sooner?…later?” Uh I hope you’re joking. It took every polite bone in my body not to take off my something blue shoe and just beat them with it.
ONE THING AT A TIME.
And this happens, right? You start dating and they want to know when the ring is coming. You get engaged and they have 500 questions about the wedding and how soon you’ll start a family and where you’ll live forever and ever. And then you have babies and the pressure skyrockets. Homeschooling or working full time or vaccinations or breast feeding or what activity or sports and all of these hot topics become chasms that divide friends and family, when really…there isn’t a right or wrong answer to most of these questions.
I think my best piece of wedding advice…or life advice really…is to find your own rhythm. Yours, and no on else’s. Your story should not look like mine, and mine should look nothing like yours. Sure, we may have some things in common, but the identity of our lives, of our stories, of our rhythms…those should be one of a kind.
It’s so tempting to look around and try to “keep up with Kardashians” (Ha. Kidding. NO ONE should be keeping up with them). But there just isn’t some sort of blueprint for how to live in your twenties or what age you should be when you get married or how soon you should start a family or what career to choose or what your retirement plan looks.
We think there’s a rhythm and a pattern we should follow, but there just isn’t.
Maybe your dream is to travel overseas. Maybe you think it would be wonderful to adopt as many children as your house can hold. Maybe having a steady career is incredibly important yo you. Maybe you have a desire to make a difference, and you spend a lot of your time planning and dreaming about your future and how to make that happen. Or maybe your life isn’t shaping up the way you imagined it would back when you were in college and the possibilities were limitless…and you’re learning to be okay with that.
I’ve spent a good deal of my life worrying about what I “should” be doing. Schools, jobs, relationships…and not really a question of right and wrong, but more-so the pressure of expectations I allow myself to carry. What I think other people think I should be doing. And that’s such a silly game to play. Because the person worrying most about all of that isn’t everyone else…it’s just me.
I’ve realized the need for finding our own rhythm in our first year of marriage. I’m not sure what I expected it would be like, but I spent the first half of it looking around at other people’s lives to see if we were “doing it right.” Which is crazy, because there is no “right” way. Some people buy a house in their first year. Some welcome a new (and sometimes unexpected) baby and start a family. Some work their butts off at eliminating all the college debt and long for date nights out. Some have tons of date nights out and fun weekends away. Some start new careers, move towns, take up new hobbies and make new friends.
But regardless of what THEY do, your first year of marriage is absolutely and completely yours. And this can be said for just about every season you enter. Your first house, baby, job change….whatever the milestone, or even year of nothing that eventful, it’s yours. And it takes a conscious effort to be thankful it’s not like theirs instead of wishing it was.
And to be thankful is more than just putting down the measuring stick of comparison; it’s giving yourself the freedom to do things differently. It’s choosing to believe there isn’t a “normal” and you’re not just missing it.
Maybe what works for you doesn’t work for them. And maybe the way they’ve learned to have peace in their home would cause pure chaos in yours. Because we’re all so different. Our passions, our desires, how much we can handle and how we learn. Our spouses are different and so are our families.
And it’s supposed to be that way.
Adam and I have spent intentional time learning each other’s rhythms. We grew up pretty differently and it’s been fun (and challenging) getting to know how those differences have shaped us. Part of our harmony together is simply learning each other, our likes and dislikes, what makes us excited and what pushes us to the edge of insanity. And while we’re learning each other’s rhythms, we’re figuring out what things stay and what things go when we’re making our own rhythm together.
I don’t expect the things we’ve decided are best for our marriage, our future, and our goals to be the exact same things you’ve decided for yours.
And it’s supposed to be that way.
The more I release the need to “keep up” with those around me or make sure I’m “doing it right”, the more happiness and contentment I have. Because the only one worrying about why I’m doing it this way while they’re doing it that way is me.
Let’s celebrate each other’s differences and appreciate the things that set us apart. Let’s cut each other a break and not expect our friends to make the same decisions as we do. Let’s learn to be there for one another, supportive and encouraging of the roads we’re traveling down. And let’s be absolutely thankful when we’re walking down the same road as someone else, but hold it with an open hand because it probably won’t always be that way.
Because life will change, and so do our rhythms.
Your life plays out like a song. A free-form melody that I believe is written by a Creator, played out by you. Solely and uniquely you. No one else has your rhythm, and thank goodness for that.
Your rhythm is a wonderful, beautiful thing–play it out well.