Ok. So when Anna (who blogs over at Married With Kittens) sent me her one year after graduate post… and I started putting it together… I had this weird feeling that Anna and I were soul sisters separated at birth. I mean, the girl can DAN-ce, and says about her marriage, “Now, in our marriage, laughter is vitally important. I am pretty much happiest when Daniel and I are laughing together. I feel about laughter’s role in our marriage the same way that some people feel about sex.” Which I could have WRITTEN. So, I bring you Anna’s one year later wedding graduate post. And I’m going to mandate that you read it while listening to what Anna says is their marriage theme song, and is my new FAVORITE song (and made David double over with laughter in our kitchen) Laugh, Love, F*ck. And now, I bring you Anna with some of the wisest words I’ve read in a while:
I’m writing this wedding-grad post two weeks shy of Daniel and my one-year wedding anniversary. It has been a rough month for us. The combination of moving across the country, living with my parents, and starting two new jobs has caused our marriage to hit a few walls. We are starting to come out the other side of the rough patch (I hope) so it seems like a good time to reflect upon the day that made us, to remember what that day was about and how it both mirrors and shapes the marriage that we are building. When I think about our wedding day and this first year of our marriage (not to mention the years of our relationship before we started getting tax discounts), a few themes emerge. In the spirit of Meg’s “Wedding Graduate: A Year Later” I’m going to talk about the wedding and the marriage all together. I’m gonna start with the good, but don’t worry I will get to the not-so-good, so try not to let your eye’s glaze over.
We are good at being ourselves. I think our wedding probably falls into Meg’s category of A-typical Traditionalists, but Daniel and I put our own spin on things almost without realizing that we were doing things differently or that what each one of us wanted didn’t really “match.” Two examples: Daniel is a physicist who loves puns and the Back to the Future movies only slightly less than he loves me. He walked out before the wedding ceremony to “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News and in his vows he compared our love to Einstein’s theories (because it crosses space and time, duh).
I am a bookworm with an intense love for Young Adult fiction and a flair for drama: I walked down the aisle to Nina Simone and pieced together a wedding reading from a book by Madeleine L’engle.* No, these things don’t really match, but after the ceremony two of the women I respect most in the world came up to me and said that our ceremony was the best they had ever seen. One of them told me she cried at our wedding and not her own daughter’s (yes, I take that as a point of pride).
Second: Daniel doesn’t dance, but I will shimmy in the supermarket if Mary J. Blige comes on the speakers. The only thing I ever dreamed about my wedding, since I was a kid, was that the wedding party would do a choreographed dance. This is not something Daniel would ever do, but he was happy to pull a fast one on the wedding guests (and get himself out of the first dance) by turning our first dance into a sneak-attack me-plus-bridesmaids dance that involved line dancing and hip shaking.
All of this juxtaposition worked because Daniel and love each other for who we are, and usually enjoy our differences. This ability to be ourselves has helped in married life. We think differently about the world and when we aren’t fighting because of this it helps our relationship grow and keeps both us constantly reminded that there are other options besides a) my way and b) the highway. I also get a lot of comedic mileage by making fun of Daniel for liking Star Trek so much, and I’m pretty sure that that helps our marriage tremendously.
We like to laugh. A lot. I already mentioned the joke about space and time in our wedding ceremony, and overall my strongest memory of our wedding ceremony is of laughter. Before we got married I thought that I would sob my eyes out during the ceremony, but mostly I laughed. Almost all of our photos show my mouth wide open in laughter or the two of us grinning like idiots at each other. Besides the ceremony, we worked other things throughout the day that would make us laugh, like “Rick Rolling” our own wedding halfway through the dancing (“Hey Ya!” Started, only to be replaced by Rick Astley).
Now, in our marriage, laughter is vitally important. I am pretty much happiest when Daniel and I are laughing together. I feel about laughter’s role in our marriage the same way that some people feel about sex (I also feel this way about sex, don’t worry): If we aren’t laughing, something is wrong. If days go by and one of us hasn’t made the other emit a belly laugh then I know that we might need a check-in, just to see what is up.
We make mistakes. Big ones. Our wedding day was a joyous, raucous, love and beer-filled funfest, but we (mostly I) managed to overlook one very important thing. I am not going to go into what exactly I did (or, rather, didn’t do), but I didn’t notice it until weeks later when I was rather bluntly informed that I had deeply hurt the feelings of several of my family members. Family members who had traveled far to come to our wedding and/or who worked their butts off all weekend to make the wedding happen. The weeks following the revelation of this offense spiraled into a serious family fight. I cried a lot, battle lines were drawn, and decades-old family issues got pulled out into the open.
During these weeks Daniel and I got a crash course in family-forming. Without really knowing it we were figuring out how we as a unit were going to handle a family crisis. I, for one, had to figure out how to face the problem with honesty and humility, how to admit mistakes and make amends. Daniel helped me defend myself; his calm support gave me the strength I needed to avoid letting some of the wrongly-placed anger rest on my shoulders and weigh me down.
It took a long time for me to be able to think about the wedding without being saddened by the mistake we made and the people it hurt. I had a hard time reconciling my memories of a really great freaking day with the emotions that the fight brought to the surface. I felt guilty about hurting people’s feelings and this guilt made it hard for me to believe it when friends and (other) family told me what a great wedding it was, or how meaningful our ceremony was to them. Finally, a year later, I am able to cherish the memories of the day while still honoring the lessons I learned about family and respect.
I’m finding that marriage can manifest some of the very same painful contradictions. As everyone on this site is learning, it is possible to love someone dearly in the same moment that you are spitefully wishing they would GET THE EFF AWAY FROM YOU. It is equally possible to realize you that are treating your spouse terribly and to feel bad about doing so while simultaneously not really feeling bad about it at all. Marriage is between humans, after all. Humans make mistakes and as far as I can tell are jerks a good third of the time. Our wedding, and this first year of marriage, has taught me that what is important is not to never screw-up, but to give yourself and your spouse the time and space (heh heh) to learn from the screw-ups.
Side notes: I also learned that it is a good idea to always have plenty of Rogue Dead Guy Ale on hand, and that eating two pieces of wedding cake on your wedding day should really be standard practice. And I deeply regret that we didn’t have the guts to play “Laugh, Love, F*#K” by The Coup during the dance party, since that is basically our marriage theme song. But that is neither here nor there.
*”I found the basis for this reading from indiebride.com in the list of possible ceremony readings. Blogs like that, and APW, were definitely a source of comfort and support during the planning process.”