Thoughts about Life and A Celebration of Love and Marriage.
I’m sitting here writing in advance of a friend’s wedding, and just reminiscing about my wedding and other weddings I’ve attended. I enjoy attending weddings. It’s the celebration of two people joining their lives together. And the newness of it all. It should be one of the happiest days of their lives. It certainly was for me.
I was just thinking back to my own wedding which was years ago now. My wife and I recently celebrated twelve years of marriage. And it doesn’t really seem like it’s been that long. Because in reality, my wife and I aren’t really that old. Thirty-five isn’t old . . . right?
But I was thinking back to some of the events and the special moments during our wedding day. And remembering the anxiety and nervousness before the wedding. The joy I had when I saw my bride walking down the aisle. I remember the reception and the celebration. And later the feeling of exhaustion and fatigue from the events of the day.
Getting married is one of those monumental events in a person’s life. And it’s at times like this when your life flashes before your eyes. You tend to reflect more on where you came from and where you’re going. And I remember some of the things that were going through my mind those twelve years ago.
So many thoughts flashed through my mind. Thoughts about responsibility. Both for myself and now for another person. I remember thinking about the weight of securing housing and jobs and all the things that we all need.
And I remember thoughts and questions about life, money, and plenty of what-ifs. What-if we don’t have enough money? What-if we can’t make this thing work? And what-if we make a mistake or many mistakes. And of course, there were plenty of other topics racing through my head too.
Present Day and Lessons We’ve Learned
But back to the present. Over the last twelve years, a lot has happened in our lives. We certainly haven’t “made it”. But, we’ve made it this far. There have been times where we didn’t have enough money. There were times when we made mistakes. And things didn’t always work out the way we planned.
And oh, the things we’ve learned. Both about ourselves, and about each other. We were so naive on the day we joined our lives together. But aren’t most young couples?
And I don’t mean to dampen the enthusiasm and excitement that weddings bring. There are many new exciting things that come when you’re first starting out. It was exciting for us too. And it still is.
And sometimes it’s good to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. After-all, life is the best teacher. And what kind of boring life we would lead if we knew all we needed to know from the very beginning?
So in looking back, I thought I would put into words some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years.
Related: Dear Younger Me . . .
We’ve learned that you can’t possibly have everything now that your parents currently have.
It took them years to accumulate what they have. And most likely the house they’re in now wasn’t their first house. The point is, they had to work for their current life and possessions. And you do too. You can’t just start out at the same level.
And if you attempt to skip the hard work part, you’ll just end up in debt and miserable. Be patient and persevere.
Instead of accumulating things all at once, just make progress in life. Just make progress. Grow and learn about money, life, and each other.
If I would have read the above sentence twelve years ago, I certainly would have scoffed at the author as some of you might be now. But listen to this. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to know everything. Because you don’t know everything. But you can learn new things and be teachable. You don’t know yet what you don’t know.
Be willing to work and learn . . . and just make progress.
We’ve learned that sometimes things just happen.
Bad things happen. Life isn’t always rainbows and skittles. And it sometimes seems that there is no real rhyme or reason. When we were just starting out in life, everything was black and white, cut and dried. There was no middle ground. There had to be a reason for everything. And maybe there is always a reason, but as we learned, you won’t always know or see the why behind every circumstance. And sometimes it seems that things just happen.
No matter what level of planning you do, you can never account for every situation and circumstance. Even if you have a bulging emergency fund, you’ll end up needing most or all of it for one thing or another. But at least you have an emergency fund to fall back on.
But when things happen, you get up and move on. You pick up the pieces and rebuild. Which brings me to the next lesson.
We’ve learned that family support is vital.
Early on in our marriage, my wife and I lived a state away from our families.
Moving away from family was a learning experience for my wife and I. While it was good to have our space and learn to rely on each other, it was difficult in many ways.
It was hard to get away for a few hours, because we didn’t have many options for taking care of the kids while we went out for a much needed respite. And some of the everyday questions that come up, we had to answer ourselves.
Questions like: What do you do if your sink won’t drain? And: How often should you re-evaluate your car insurance? How can I get my screaming baby to calm down? And: how can you fix a drafty window in the middle of winter?
Do you realize how hard it is to explain a knocking sound that your car just started to make over the phone?
These are all things you might normally ask your Mom or Dad. And we made plenty of phone calls. But there’s just something about the proximity of those whom you love and who also love you that make hard things easier.
Having lived away from family, and now living much closer, I don’t think I can understate the value of family and community.
You need a strong support structure to help you through the difficult times in life. Someone who can provide encouragement while you’re paying down debt. And someone to give advice on financial planning. Whether it’s good or bad advice, just knowing they care can be good enough.
Thanks for reading about some of the lessons we’ve learned. I’m sure there are other lessons that you’ve learned throughout your lifetime of experience as well. What advice would you give to newlyweds?
Why not leave a comment and let me know?
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