Seven years ago I was planning my wedding.
As a teacher I have the summers off and spent the summer before my fall wedding making sure every piece of our intimate ceremony was planned perfectly. I was completely on top of the invitations, the decorations, and I even spent months searching for the exact shoes I envisioned walking down the aisle in. I was so relieved when I found the perfect pair: beautiful ivory heels with crystal embellishments. The shoes were the final checkmark on my to do list, and once they were secured, I felt totally ready for my wedding.
However, as the day drew closer, the weather forecast started to shift. We had planned an outside wedding with a barn reception in October. I had expected beautifully changing leaves and cool, comfortable weather. I was devastated as I realized that not only would we likely have rain, but the temperature was predicted to be unseasonably hot. This day that I had obsessed over was not going to be exactly as I thought.
When I woke up the morning of my wedding, rain was imminent, and the temperature was creeping into the mid-80’s. I was notified that morning that our ceremony would be moved inside, to the barn that did not have air conditioning. I cried. This was not what I had pictured over the last year of planning. The beautiful outdoor ceremony that we had practiced the night before would not be happening, and the air was thickly humid. But, in my heart I knew that I was marrying the love of my life, and in the end, the rest would shift into place. I allowed my expectations to fall away, and decided to embrace every minute. As I got dressed, I decided I didn’t want to wear heels, and instead threw on a pair of sandals I had purchased for the reception. We were married at Conner Prairie, and while taking photos we stumbled into a barn that housed lambs. The employees graciously allowed me to hold one, and I didn’t think twice about my dress, but laughed and enjoyed the moment with my bridesmaids. It was my day, and it was going to be amazing.
My wedding didn’t exactly reflect the picture I had in my mind, but the small details didn’t matter. To be honest, we were so busy that night with family and friends that our wedding was a whirlwind. We didn’t even eat dinner, and actually went through a fast food drive-thru in the early morning hours after our reception ended. As we were leaving we were rear ended, and I got to stand outside in my veil as information was exchanged.
I was reminded recently of the “seven-year itch” in marriage, and have been reflecting on the concept as we approach our anniversary. Seven years is a solid chunk of time for many changes to occur for a couple, such as moving, job or career changes, having children, and a shift financially. The “spark” may be dimmed, and you’ve gotten to a place where a marriage may seem like more work than fun. I can see how a marriage may not reflect the pretty picture you have in your head. On your wedding day, you dream of waking up next to your best friend for the rest of your life, not thinking of the reality that your best friend snores loudly and takes all the covers.
As my seven-year wedding anniversary draws closer, my reality is that marriage is different than I expected. With a demanding job and two little boys, my husband and I rarely get a chance to have a simple conversation. Errands, bills, and responsibility weigh heavy on us, and that blissful feeling we had walking down the aisle that day is sometimes hard to recall. But I tend to think of our marriage as I do my wedding day: full of wonderful expectations that have given way to reality. In that reality though, regardless of what happens, we walk forward, embracing the good that outweighs the heaviness of the uncontrollable. And when I fall asleep at night, it is next to my best friend. He does snore and he steals my covers but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.