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Wedding Graduates Return: Meg, Herself


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Wedding Graduates Return: Meg, Herself | A Practical WeddingWe got our wedding album made this summer, finally. Heather of One Love Photo and I slaved over the album for, well, a year if I’m being honest (cobbler’s children have no shoes, and all that), and then I surprised David with it for our second anniversary in August. The album is beautiful (Couture Book, flat printed on textured paper, one picture per page, unbelievably simple, looks like an art book) and looking it over with David on a foggy boozy evening this summer was wonderful. But it’s been a busy few months, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to show it to friends and loved ones until recently.

Then this weekend, one of my theatre-conservatory-friends from college was staying with us, and we ended up staying up late going through the album. As we flipped through, I got to answer questions about the day, and our loved ones, “Oh! You don’t know we got ready together?” “Yes, that’s Caron’s son,” and be jointly overwhelmed by the beauty of the photographs (again). But what I hadn’t expected to realize, is the way our wedding created a shared experience. Our wedding was a communal foundation for our marriage, in a day and age where our lives and relationships tend to be very isolated and private. When my friend asked me, “Where is that picture you gave me of the two of us dancing together?” And I said, “Here it is! It’s one of the most beautiful shots from the wedding, I think,” I saw a look of happiness steal over him. And when he asked me if there were pictures of the communal blessing, “his favorite part,” and I showed him the pictures of him tearing up during our last dance, I realized that we had done what we’d set out to do, all those years ago when we started planning. Our wedding had created a moment of celebration, and a communal foundation for the ongoing enterprise that is marriage.

As we’ve started working on the Wedding Graduates Return posts at APW, and as I’ve looked at our album, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what I have to say about our wedding, and our marriage, two years later. Was it worth it? Yes. Did it somehow shape our marriage? Somehow, it did. And has our marriage been a different entity than our five years partnership before marriage? Perhaps most surprisingly, yes.

While I wrote a lot about what our wedding day felt like, shortly after the fact, revisiting it now it feels like this picture looks. Our wedding was this shining, raw, emotional moment, where we had the people we love most around us, and we made huge promises. It’s strange how the little details really fade away over time, and what I’m left with is the feeling of the sweat dripping down my legs at the ceremony (a shocking rarity in Bay Area summers), how my dress felt, sharing food and floating on a bubble of joy in our Yichud, the rich chocolate cake covered with dahlias, and the sheer love of all those people in the same room having a marvelous time. What I’m still, more than two years later, trying to wrap my head around is how that day subtly shaped and altered our day to day reality, and our relationship.

When I got married, and launched the Reclaiming Wife section of APW, my very first post on the subject talked about what I hoped that our marriage could be. I said:

On our honeymoon I started realizing all the really great things about it—we’re on a team now, a literal team. We support each others’ endeavors, we encourage each other, we support each other financially. Ah ha! I realized. Now we are two! This is awesome. As two we should be able to be much braver, much more adventurous, right? We’ll be able to hold each other accountable. Imagine all the stuff we’ll be able to get done! Fabulous. So I started making a list in my head of “Now-We-Are-Two exciting projects to consider in the next three-ish years.” I was excited. 

And I was right. That, right there, was how our married life would be different than the previous five years of our relationship. We’ve always been an overly-ambitious duo, since way before we were a duo. Back in high school, when we were only-slightly-friendly competitors, David and I were known as those-kids-who-wanted-to-take-over-the-world (particularly notable in an impoverished public high school). When we were platonic friends in New York, running a theatre company together, we were known as the-duo-that-made-things-happen-from-scratch-with-no-money. And when we finally got together, I remember David looking at me, visibly relaxed, and saying, “Now that we don’t have to spend energy going on those horrible dates anymore, maybe we can finally Get Some Stuff Done.” And we did.

But that was just a prologue to what happened when we actually got married. Something about the conscious act of committing to a life together, which began with the very conscious act of planning a wedding that reflecting our values, and not What We Were Told Must Be Done, served as some sort of rocket fuel. If I was going to build a life with another person, my thinking went, I wasn’t just going to sit back and take what was handed to me. I was going to go after my dreams with the voracity usually reserved to finding chocolate and steak while on my period. I was going to hunt my dreams down, and mother-f*cking slay them. I had faith that I would be extra equipped to do this, now that I had a partner to help balance the books, help me organize my to-do lists, not take my anxiety filled “nos” for an answer, and give me a hug when I just couldn’t take it anymore.

And so I wrote lists of goals, worked myself to the bone, occasionally had horrible stress-induced panic attacks, and Did It. I quit my job, I wrote a book, I traveled, I swung from a trapeze, I drank tea in Turkey (as I vowed I would at Mighty Summit last year). And David attacked his own projects: finishing law school, co-chairing a criminal trial, writing appeals, finding a job with flexible hours, traveling a ton. And I have the feeling we’ve only just gotten started.

Wedding Graduates Return: Meg, Herself | A Practical Wedding

It’s hard to spell out how that hot burning fire of Ambition Squared feels like an effect of our hazy, joy filled wedding day. But it does. Foundations of love and support, a sense of home to come back to, is what keeps the world turning (at least for me).

As for the shocking lack of positive marriage related media that I lamented in that original Reclaiming Wife post, well, I think collectively, we’ve worked to fill that void (and I’m just getting started here, too). I said:

As soon as I came home from my honeymoon, I started looking around. Married blogs! Married media! I was going to find all the media that discussed exciting married projects! Ambition squared! Whheeeeee! And then slowly, very slowly, I felt the air letting out of my balloon. Where was this marriage discussion? I didn’t want to talk about nesting and buying pillows. I mean, I already had pillows. I didn’t want to talk about cooking organic food. I don’t really cook. (There. I said it. David cooks.) I didn’t want to talk about having a baby. Or I didn’t want to talk about *me* having a baby right now, though your baby is adorable.

And this weekend, as we tipsily debated the differences in the New York City and San Francisco art scenes, and watched gender bending send-ups of Broadway Camp at a Gay Country Western Ball, I thought to myself, “Well shit. If society at large had bothered to mention that married life could be attending drag country western performances with your husband and debating art, pushing each other to do more than you dared, and having adventures together, it would have sounded decidedly more interesting / less terrifying. Why do people tell you it’s all about slow misery and pillow buying?”

So my Wedding Graduate Returns message would be: sure, marriage isn’t easy. But life isn’t easy either. And if you play your cards right, that thoughtful life together that you start creating together on your wedding day becomes an ongoing project. Our community lifting us up on our wedding day has made us stronger, more able to create things, to reach out to the world. And because of that, I count it as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I am profoundly grateful.

But it’s also just a deeply personal day, and a private joy. And that, too, is enough.

Photos: Personal for A Practical Wedding

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

    Question: as my partner and I circle around the Idea of Marriage (and yes, the discussion by now has it’s own capital letters), this idea of “becoming a team” is everywhere, to which his response is that we ALREADY ARE a team (and with which I agree wholeheartedly, I just wonder if it will somehow strengthen magically upon our speaking any at-this-point-hypothetical vows).

    Every relationship is a special rare orchid and all that, obviously, so nobody can tell me how MY relationship will/would change, but how, specifically, did yours? Why were you more of a team after than before? Why were you more supportive after than before? What barrier did marriage remove?

    • http://www.hibouphoto.com kandise

      I read this as circling around the “Ides of Marriage,” and I thought “oh dude, yikes.”
      /notmarried

    • ANDREA

      Oh my god, all of this times a million. Even though I know nothing will be explanatory for me or my relationship, I would love love love to hear more examples of this. Because “now we are two!” is amazing. But I already feel like We Are Two.

      • PAF

        i think partly it’s about having a community of people proclaim it as well, and celebrate it (even if you elope or have a 5 person wedding, there is still the element of communal acceptance). Also, i think that once two people enter any new phase such as this, they are more ready to start tackling new challenges. You get married, and then you think – now what should we do as this new force?

        • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

          “Now, what shall we do with this new force”

          Is such a nice and true sentiment. After we got married, I suddenly had all this time and energy that I had been investing in 1. thinking about getting engaged, then 2. being engaged then 3. planning a wedding. When the dust settled and we were MARRIED, suddenly all of that creative loving energy welled up and begged to be put to use! Not that my marriage doesn’t demand energy: it does, but somehow the relationship runs more efficiently, and requires a bit less to run really well.

          I don’t think it’s any accident that just months after marriage that Brian got a huge promotion, I got a new job, I attacked grad school with new energy, and I started a blog….

          Somehow, right now, the energy I give to my marriage comes back 3-fold. It’s like fusion!

    • http://www.thisisrachelle.wordpress.com Rachelle

      I’m not Meg, and I’m sure she’ll chime in to speak for herself, but for us it was the difference of truly holding nothing back. We make career decisions together, we plan our finances together, we plan a future together that now depends on us being together indefinitely. Some of that was there before we got married, but some of it intensified in ways I didn’t expect. I thought we were already there and I didn’t realize what wasn’t yet until afterward.

      But that’s just me! I think for some people, it doesn’t change. There were things I wasn’t willing to do until marriage so being married is different for me. I know people who really didn’t feel a change.

      I will say this, marriage rocks regardless. IT ROCKS.

    • GingerJess

      Meaghan, I can only speak for myself so your milage may vary but I am now two weeks married (!!!) and I must say it does feel different, despite all the times I declared “I’m sure it will be the same as living together, except it’s all legal and junk.” That was bunk, but I didn’t know any better. It’s hard to describe, but I will try.

      I feel more laid back about just about everything now. Occasional bad moods or offhand remarks that in our dating days would have upset me and made me fret now barely register. Because now I’m viewing things on an infinite horizon of time – this is forever, so is this singular moment of crabbiness really important? Nope, it’s not. I realize that partnerships can be permanent without marriage, but this forever feeling didn’t happen until after we were married. Maybe it’s just me. Also, because we are all officially joined and whatnot, I think we are viewed differently now than when we were just dating or engaged. Whether it’s family members, new aquaintances, whoever – we are viewed as an official inseparable unit and I think that causes subtle differences in how others percieve us and how they treat us, and that can really reinforce your feeling of “We’re a team! See? The people around us think we’re a team and they are totally rooting for us. OMG we have fans!”.

      I probably did a poor job explaining it, but I definitely feel different today than I did on Sept 30 (the day before the wedding). And it’s a warm, good, happy, relaxed kind of different.

      • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

        GINGERJESS–

        You did a GREAT job of explaining how it changes. I thought that getting engaged was the moment when our timeline suddenly got endless. But, when we went down to the courthouse (months before our wedding ceremony) and got legally hitched, things really were different. Like INSTANTLY different. The main sign was that I suddenly felt much more comfortable talking about our wedding (ironic, non?) because I was not longer afraid that my full-on wedding CRAZY would scare him away from wanting to marry me! Now perhaps I am just an insecure chick who struggles with anxiety (guilty as charged) but multiply that feeling of security times 365 days a year times 60 years, and it changes things. You let things go, you glide over bumps. It’s the difference between day trading and long term investments. Day traders are more shaken by dips and spikes in the market… long term investors ignore the day to day trembles and focus on long term growth, steady returns and overall pay off.

        I actually have submitted a post to Meg & Co. about our Secret Kenyan Courthouse Wedding and I wrote this in it:

        “Getting engaged confirmed, explicitly that he wanted me to be His Person, and I wanted him to be mine. Once we were there (and it took us a little while, and some seriously embarrassing moments to both get there), getting legally joined started to feel urgent. We live in an undisciplined place far from the protective jurisdictional nest of our home citizenship. We travel to some risky places and do some risky shit in our work. If something happened to me, I wanted him to be the person unquestionably calling the shots. If we had to be evacuated, or moved, or WHATEVER, I wanted The Powers That Be to understand: We are a UNIT. Marriage somehow makes the fact of UNIT-ness very clear to all. It removes any speculation about whether we will (or should) make decisions through the filter of Together. The word Husband is the only one that accurately reflects the import and weight of Brian’s presence in my life. Call us traditional (and we are, in our way) to us, marriage matters. ”

        Even though our community didn’t know yet, things really did change.

        • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

          Gliding over bumps, YES. And the investing analogy, veeeeery niiice! Couldn’t have said it better (so I’m not gonna try).

    • http://happysighs.com liz

      I can only speak personally, but for me, it becomes a conscious goal instead of an accident. When we were dating, we were an awesome team just by accident. We still are. We work well together and think alike and look out for each other just by the nature of caring for each other and being a good fit. Now that we’re married, we’ve established teamwork as an actual goal- in addition to it already being a natural occurrence.

      • http://www.christytylerphotography.com Christy T

        YES to what Liz said here! :) I can’t really explain how it changed for James and I – but something definitely changes. And it is amazing.

      • http://www.asfoodtolife.com Meredyth

        Liz– I agree with you about the “by accident” versus conscious goal part. It occurred to me the other day that I was part of a Long Term Relationship (i know, I’m a little dense). Previously, while we were dating and when we lived together we were part of a relationship that just by chance got lucky and became long term. I mean, not really, there were actual choices we made to make it happen, but that’s how it seemed. We got lucky, found each other, and it worked well enough to progress to marriage. And then we got married and this whole new timeline opened up, measured in things like having a family, watching that family grow, creating our own home together, getting old together. I know we might have done these things even if we just stayed together without the marriage, but now he is quite literally my family, and that makes our team different to me than it was when we were a couple of people who lived together.

        Perhaps it’s also influenced by the fact that he is supporting me while I try to make a living doing what I love. That is something I would have been uncomfortable with before the wedding.

    • http://intrepidbrytani.wordpress.com Brytani

      I think before we were married, I was with you on this. I already felt married, in a way, and I think lots of people do. Still, after the wedding there was a subtle stirring in my spirit that combined the two of us in a way that just wasn’t there before. I think it first took the form of utter terror as in, “I’M TRAPPED, I’M TRAPPED, I’M TRAPPED and I’m going to screw this up and everyone will judge me and take his side and I’ll be a lonely, 22 year-old divorcee. AND WHAT IF HE GOT TO KEEP THE DOGS?!” (This nightmare was totally uncalled for, by the way, but weight of commitment makes you imagine all kinds of things at first.) And we talked about it and he held me while I had a full-on panic attack/snotty cry. We came together in a different way because of our shared anxiety and that gave way to shared…everything. We mourned together and laughed together and we did that before too but now it was just inexplicably deeper. Maybe because it was inescapable now and because it was that way by choice.

      Another thing that changed for us is how involved we are in each other’s families. Hubs had a lot of family tragedy and drama in this first year of our marriage and since he’s not a good communicator with them, people often called me to talk about what was going on. Twice I’ve been called and asked to tell him that a relative passed away because it would be “better coming from me.” Sometimes, when the calls are just over-dramatic and manipulative, I have to politely tell his family to shove it. And he does the same for me. We fight for and protect each other against the people who raised us because we’re now our own family and because, well, sometimes you just have to.

      But these are just manifestations of a spiritual change that, for me, was too subtle to define. I wasn’t married before the wedding and now I am and it’s different than I expected. I think it has something to do with the hard-fought trust we have that we know each other best of anyone in the world. We depend on each other and share things more than we would ever allow with anyone else and it started when we were dating but our wedding was like an enormous leap of faith where what we felt was put into action.

      I don’t think anyone would tell you that you HAVE to be married to feel the same way as married people, though. I think for some it changes things and for others, maybe not so much.

      • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

        I think it first took the form of utter terror as in, “I’M TRAPPED, I’M TRAPPED, I’M TRAPPED and I’m going to screw this up and everyone will judge me and take his side and I’ll be a lonely, 22 year-old divorcee. AND WHAT IF HE GOT TO KEEP THE DOGS?!”

        Hah! I LOVE this… and SO TRUE. I had big post-wedding depression that lasted about two weeks (maybe I need to write about it!). This comment is awesome: WHAT IF HE GOT TO KEEP THE DOGS. AWESOME!

        • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

          Thank you! I think I have just gotten over this phase, now at one month of marriage. But it was totally real, and utterly stressful at a time when I felt that all the wedding stress should be gone.

      • http://www.lilpets.wordpress.com Sandy

        OMG, this is my emotional state right now. I love-love-love my new husband, M, and we worked really hard together in choosing to get married when and how we did but… oh, the freak outs. I was married before, a very controlling and emotionally abusive marriage, so it took me a long time to be okay with the “Idea of Marriage” but when I was, I was. M and I talked and decided to get engaged, then talked and decided when and how to get married.
        Then the next day, and continuing on 9 days and counting, I realized I was “married” again and was paralyzed by the fear of my previous marriage re-emerging. I know that at least some of the wrong in my first marriage belonged to me; I see similar behaviors in myself as then, though I work very hard with M to break these. It’s still scary and it’s still hard. Sometimes, I surprise myself by realizing that my husband is M, a wonderful, sweet, caring man, and not A, who was not.
        But… was it worth it? Yes. I know in my heart, and from reading my own journals when I was working out my own “Ideas of Marriage”, that I truly wanted this and it was the right thing for us.

    • Maggie

      “Every relationship is a special rare orchid and all that”

      Many people look forward to the wedding as an internal turning point of some kind; a new level or phase of the relationship. I think Meg expressed this beautifully, and I think if you both view the wedding as a path to “strengthening” your two-ness, it will.

      Other people fervently hope those “I dos” won’t change a thing. We were in the latter camp, and I’m delighted to report that essentially nothing has changed. I don’t feel like our partnership is stronger OR weaker: we already felt married/deeply committed long before the wedding, and for us, the ceremony was simply declaring that out loud to our loved ones (and society at large) in a way they most readily understood. It was an external change (the world does react to our relationship differently) but, not so much an internal one.

      i.e. Maybe things change as much as you want them to?

      • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

        This is really an interesting point, and well said. Maybe marriage is transformational for those couples who believe it will be because they allow an emotional/behavioural shift only after the event.

      • http://www.thisisrachelle.wordpress.com Rachelle

        Marriage being “what you make of it” starts here, I think.

      • http://fourfeeteightpaws.blogspot.com/ Rowan

        I agree with this comment and the comment above talking about how others view you once you are married.

        I don’t feel like marriage has changed us, things are pretty much the same as they were two months ago. Though I do feel like society has validated us and that is pretty awesome. I like that he is now rightfully my first priority and it is no longer a fight to prioritize him (but maybe those are just my own weird family dynamics and other people’s recognize their unofficial partners as such). I get to say, THIS is my husband and he is my number one. I love it.

        This is also what makes me sad about gay marriage not being legal in most states or recognized by the federal government. Everyone should get this validation if they want it.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      We had two big fights that happened within a few months of the wedding. Deeply personal, awful fights. Once I did something very hurtful, and the other time he did. The fight before the wedding? I offered to call of the wedding, try to cancel the house deal we were signing, because I realized the severity of what I had done. He refused, obviously, and we worked things out, but it was an option on the table. The fight after the wedding? Leaving never came up even at all.

      And that’s one of the differences that marriage made for me.

    • meg

      I think everyones answers are spot on, and you’re not going to have your own answer for, oh I don’t know, a year after you’re hitched? Or maybe it will only take a second. It felt different for us walking back down the aisle, but it felt really different for us a year later, and really REALLY different two years in (and as noted in the post, we were together a long time before we got married, had moved across the country and lived together).

      It’s tons of things: the idea of consciously choosing a life, making a life long commitment verbally/legally, making a commitment in front of our whole community, forming a set of religious obligations (for us) and saying some stuff in front of god (for us), the way we started planning for the rest of our lives with no holding back afterwards, merging finances completely, being viewed as a family by the outside word, finally viewing each other as the most important person even more important than our moms, knowing you can’t leave without a legal battle.

      Stuff like that.

      • Class of 1980

        Great answer! Nothing else to add. ;)

      • MARBELLA

        I didn’t think anything would change much internally, after an 8 yr relationship, living together 5 years, and feeling very much committed for life before. But the strength it gives you is just different. I do feel a lot of it comes partially from external sources.
        Weird example, yesterday I went to order some glasses for T, and the woman wanted him to be there to sign something. She then paused and said to herself “Oh, well you’re married, you can sign for him”. Something so small and silly, but that difference which people view you with sort of emboldens you as a couple. T would have had no issues with me signing anything for him a year ago either, and we were legally domestic partners at that point, but that wouldn’t have been enough for the outside world to view the relationship as solid and somewhat immovable. It is these moments after marriage that make me more determined than ever to fight for marriage equality. Arguing with an outsider ‘but I’m their domestic partner’! just doesn’t have the same gravitas.

    • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

      Our relationship has shifted bit by bit. When we moved in together, we weren’t just people who met on the internet anymore. When we (by choice) moved into the jeep, we weren’t just any old couple anymore. When I supported him in Missoula, the unit forming reall began. When we bought our house, when we merged finances, we became tighter. The engagement shift was even more pronounced, we were starting to make the promise (for us, the marriage is the finalization of the promise we started to make a long time ago and began the formalization of in July).

      I’m so excited because we’ve both looked so forward to marriage. We’ve planned for it, discussed it, and are planning a wedding to reflect us. I absolutely believe in the shift of marriage (aided, of course, by Meg and those APW women who’ve gone before).

    • Marina

      For me, it was the public commitment part of the wedding that made a difference. You know how it feels different when you make a goal for yourself and when you tell everyone you know about it? Even if your friends and family have a vague idea you’re trying to eat healthier, it’s different if you tell them outright, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds.” (Not that I’m necessarily endorsing that as a goal, it’s just the first thing that came to mind.) Some people are supportive beyond your dreams, some people actively try to sabotage you, but everyone gets involved somehow. Your goal is no longer just a commitment to yourself, it’s a commitment to everyone around you, too.

      That’s what my wedding was like for me. My commitment to my husband was nothing new, but after the wedding it felt like we had also promised our community that they would be dealing with us together, as a family unit, for the rest of our lives. Oddly enough I think that feeling solidified when several friends got divorced in the year or so after our wedding–their divorces felt more personal to me. But I feel like my friends and family have a stake in our relationship in a way they didn’t before. All the years we were dating, I think if anyone had asked me I would have said it wasn’t anyone else’s business if Zack and I broke up. Now, I think I’m more likely to ask for help from friends and family if there’s an issue in our relationship, because they signed and witnessed our commitment.

      • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

        Thanks for all the responses! You’ve all been able to confirm each other’s points about how it’s different for every couple, which is hugely helpful. I suspect that at such times as my partner and I make things legal, not too much will change for us – we’ve made those level of commitments to each other already (dog and home ownership, supporting freelance careers, impending overseas moves). But I get frustrated by the narrative (not very present here, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stand reading APW) that there’s a secret Marriage Club and you all meet bi-weekly to talk about how much everything has changed and laugh at us not-marrieds.

        • Marina

          It’s true! I think that narrative is all tied up in the you’ll seeeeeee ridiculousness. Maybe it’s a positive you’ll seeee (marriage strengthens your commitment!) rather than a negative (marriage means the death of all romance!) but it’s still the same thing–it’s telling someone else that their life will be like yours. Which is bull, and thank god less frequent on APW than most places.

          I do think most relationships will be different, say, five years after marriage than they were the day before marriage. But that’s because most relationships change over five years. For some people there’s an insta-change at the wedding or when they move in together or when they have kids or when they sail around the world. For others there’s not. And anyone who says one is right and the other is wrong has got problems. ;)

          • meg

            Well, in this case I’m giving you a particular and not a universal. Things changed for me, I have no idea about you. But what I am saying is that it changed BECAUSE of the marriage. That’s what’s interesting. We’d been together five years when we married, and the time before is very different than the time after… and not just because of the passage of time. That’s what’s fascinating about it.

            All we can do is tell our own stories, and hope others resist the urge to read them as dictates instead of tales.

        • meg

          I like what Lauren McGlynn said about marriage being one of the last rites of passage in modern society, and about rites of passage being important, and easy to under value in our current culture. I like the idea of LETTING it mean something to you, instead of going into it saying, “Oh, this isn’t going to mean something to me, it’s just a party.”

          We had those levels of commitment to each other too… moving across country together, putting one of us through law school, living together, etc. But we went into the wedding saying, “we are going to let this change us,” and I think because of that, it did. I’d done a lot of things, but I’d never stood up in front of everyone I loved and said, “I declare this relationship to be sanctified*” So why wouldn’t I let that change me? Why wouldn’t I insist that act would push me to be a better me and a better partner and dig deeper and be more raw?

          I think there is an instinct for us to say, “marriage isn’t going to change us because we’re already good.” And OF COURSE you’re already good. You’re great, that’s why you’re getting married in the first place. But what if you invite marriage to change you, to push you harder, to make you better. Because we can all always be better. Our wedding ceremony was like a super hot fire that we walked through, and it was hard and gritty and polished us up a bit.

          Doing that didn’t make me better than non marrieds, it made me better than old Meg. It didn’t make me know something that you don’t know, it made me know something that old me didn’t know. It’s a personal transformation, not a judgement on others.

          *Meaning of sanctified in progressive Judaism is up to you.

          • Steph

            I love this. This is exactly what I have been struggling to articulate to my family and friends who are wondering why we are bothering to get married. Thank you for writing it so well.

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Before we got married, my projected answer was entirely external — what would change was how we’d be viewed and supported by the community. I told B that, if we lived on an otherwise-deserted planet, it wouldn’t matter if we called ourselves “married” or “dating”.

      In our case, that hypothesis has been disproven. We’ve been married for 10 months; like Manya, I have a submission kicking around about our Secret Hawaiian Beach Immigration Elopement (I always feel a need to explain that we were there for an academic conference). Our wedding is still 7 months away, and publicly we’re still “engaged”. Which means that all of the changes in our relationship have been emanating from us rather than at us.

      Now I’m looking out at the end of grad school. B is approaching a big career shift. We’re both going to move countries in the next year. Career-wise, our optimal locations are at opposite ends of the globe, and we’ve begun an intricate dance of figuring out how to prioritize Us (as a unit), to make sure that we wind up someplace where we can both be fulfilled. It’s hard. It’s scary. If we weren’t married, I think we’d find it harder to look out for us together and easier to pick a solution time zones apart — as we were pre-elopement. For us, marriage is about choosing each other over and over again.

    • http://thisisrachelle.wordpress.com Rachelle

      I would like to add something that wasn’t touched on much yet, which is how YOU feel different being married as opposed to how THE RELATIONSHIP feels different.

      Again, I think this varies for everyone, but I feel different as a person from who I was before I was married. Not in every way, of course, but I try harder for my husband. I think about how my actions affect him more. When I’m angry at myself or at the world, I think twice before I take out my frustration on him. I want to be a better person for him and for our marriage more than I did before we were engaged/married.

      I also see myself differently now that I am “a wife”. Truthfully, I feel grown up in a way that jobs and apartments and grad school didn’t make me feel. As someone who wanted to wait until after marriage to have children, I feel more like a potential/future mother. I think about how my choices may affect my ability to have and care for our future children. The world got bigger when I got married, and things outside of me mattered more.

      Just another thought I had on the subject. As always, mileages vary.

    • http://tryingonhawaii.wordpress.com/ em_perk

      Add me to the list of people who didn’t think anything would change and yet it did. My husband and I had dated for over three years, lived together for a year, had dogs together, each moved once for the other, I had been supporting him financially for a year through a bout of unemployment, we were basically planning our futures around each other. I felt committed and pretty much knew we would get married from month six of dating. I didn’t expect any major differences when we got married six months ago. When someone asked me how it felt to be married a few weeks after the wedding, my answer caught me by surprise. I was all ready to say “about the same.” But then I thought about it, and it occurred to me that it didn’t feel the same. There were no earth-shattering changes, just a slight shift in the balance. As others have said, it felt more like we were a team. It was us taking on the world as a unit instead of two people together. I guess it’s hard to describe the distinction, because it seems so subtle, but it was definitely there. We went from being a couple (albeit committed, devoted couple) to being a FAMILY. And it’s been amazing :-)

      • meg

        Yes. This.

    • Jessica

      I’ve only been married for a month, so maybe I’m not the best person to answer this, but I definitely feel we’re more of a team now than we were before (and we had been living together for awhile). It’s the idea that neither one of us can just leave when we get angry. It’s the realization that I can’t just complain to my friends about him if I’m annoyed, it’s not just some guy I’m dating, it’s my husband. The impermanence of dating/being engaged has gone away and now it’s forever. We were committed before we got married, but there was always that knowledge that if things ever got too bad, we could both just leave. We’re also more of a team now because wedding planning is OVER. If you’d asked me during wedding planning how it was going, I would have said fine, I don’t feel any stress, I think I’m doing something wrong. Now that I have decompressed a little bit, I realize we were under so. much. stress. It’s a miracle we survived. So now we get to just be together and enjoy each other’s company and really love each other again (which we forgot to do during most of our wedding planning process), which builds our team morale :-)

  • http://www.hibouphoto.com kandise

    1. That book is gorgeous.

    2. Posts like this make me more excited at the prospect of marriage than just about anything else.

    3. Motherf*cking slay those dreams.

    • Emily

      2. Absolutely. I am super inspired.

    • Class of 1980

      These photo books are one of the best new things. I’ve seen them for weddings and people are using them for photos of their children. I love them.

    • Tamara Van Horn

      …And I would like to say, that the “one pic per page” is exactly the jolt I need to stop making myself re-live the entire day, in order to put together a beautiful book. Good on ya, Meg, for making editorial decisions (as if there were a doubt)!

    • Allie

      1. I’m glad that someone else has commented about the book! I just got married a few weeks ago and was going to throw together a Blurb book, but am intrigued by Couture Books now. Does anyone know what sort of price range they fall into? I’m assuming its a bit eye-watering, but just curious if its worth looking into or just fabulously more than I’m willing to part with… :-P

  • Kelly

    This was a great post to start my day. My favorite part:

    If I was going to build a life with another person, my thinking went, I wasn’t just going to sit back and take what was handed to me. I was going to go after my dreams with the voracity usually reserved to finding chocolate and steak while on my period. I was going to hunt my dreams down, and mother-f*cking slay them.

    Besides being freaking hilarious, these words are also powerful. There is no doubt you and David are building a foundation for a lifetime of adventures had and dreams slayed.

  • http://doux-style.blogspot.com Hannah

    Yay yay and lots of love! The shared experience rings so true. My family refers to my wedding as “our wedding” (I am the first of my siblings to get married) and it’s something that (in the words of my baby sister) made us more of a family. Not just David and I but my family of origin too.

  • Gigi

    We were married a few weeks ago after a 16 year partnership. My wife says that she feels very different, but she’s a much more emotional person than I am. She feels more completely invested in the relationship now. That makes very little sense to me because I feel like we were already completely invested in it – after all, neither one of us has run away screaming yet and there have been plenty of opportunities over the past 16 years.

    From a less emotional point of view (more practical? more cynical? take your choice), I do feel like the last big question has been answered. Whatever that question was…

    I think that until you completely commit to something – a job, a spouse, a project – until you take that last step that completely, irrevocably involves you in it, there is always the little voice in your head that says you can still change your mind. Removing that voice does subtly change the relationship in ways that will be different for everyone.

    We haven’t had enough time to fully appreciate how our marriage will change our partnership, but I think it will. I think it made the platform of our relationship more stable somehow.

    • kyley

      I’m get an MA right now, in the midst of applying for PhD programs (my life long dream) and this:

      I think that until you completely commit to something – a job, a spouse, a project – until you take that last step that completely, irrevocably involves you in it, there is always the little voice in your head that says you can still change your mind. Removing that voice does subtly change the relationship in ways that will be different for everyone.

      Perfectly explains the anxiety and teeth-gnashing that has come over me this semester. Wow. Thank you; I really needed to hear that.

  • http://www.soyoureengayged.com/leanne Leanne

    This is a beautiful testament to how you two have spent the past two years together. I find myself feeling fearful and hopeful for our first two years together, mostly because this first month as married (and the past year as engaged) has been pretty awful due to my partner’s 10-month long battle with depression. Though there have been moments, even stretches, of joy, things have mostly been characterized by a soul-sucking void. Our adventuring has stopped. Our private joys are quiet, invisible. Our relationship is centered around her belief that she has never been and will never be happy again, around her fears, around making her do her therapy homework, her lost faith in medications, around her distorted thoughts and taken-back promises (kids? not anymore. travel? won’t enjoy it. dinner? not hungry). What happens then? How do you create a marriage, a team, a dream-slayer out of that?

    • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

      Oh, honey. Huge HUG to you.

    • Anon

      Leanne- I’m pretty sure I am not your partner, but you could have been writing this about me. I’m sorry you’re going through this. (After reading this, I need to do some hard-core apologizing to my husband. ) When you’re in a fog like this, you don’t know how it affects other people.

      I don’t have the answer to your questions- I wish I did!- but I’m trying to find them out. I will keep you and your partner in my thoughts.

    • http://www.dearwedding.wordpress.com andee

      Oh Leanne I have no advice, only heart break. I’m grateful for you speaking up and saying things are hard in the beginning.

    • meg

      You go to couples counseling (you are doing that, right?) You don’t let that slay YOUR dreams if you can help it. And you know that you’re really not alone, and dealing with the horrible stuff is part of what marriage is… Hugs.

      • http://www.soyoureengayged.com/leanne Leanne

        First, thank you. I felt better the second I hit SUBMIT COMMENT and got that off my chest. Second, I called for a therapy appt today – we have been talking about it, but as a therapist myself I’ve been hesitant. So that ball is rolling. and Third, tonight my partner asked for my help and I helped her. No frustration, no irritation, no resentment. So it’s a start. We will be stronger for going through this together, I just need to remind myself of that now and then!

    • Jessica

      I know how you feel, I really do. I’ve had to deal with my husband’s depression for a very long time- he didn’t even begin getting help for it until we were already engaged for a year. It really sucks. I hope things get better for you.

  • Emily

    This is such an awesome post, and congratulations to you and David on all the exciting things you have done together and on your own! Thinking about marriage that way makes me super excited, but also aware of the ways I should be taking advantage of our fledgling partnership even more, and plotting out adventures. Just from being engaged I feel like the ambitious individual things I do take on have a safety net. If I fail totally, as I actually might with my big cross-country career project, I won’t fall into a giant vacuum of infinite possibility and infinite insecurity, since I’m rooted to someone. That’s deeply, foundationally comforting.

  • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

    Why, indeed, do people say marriage is just a slow road to misery? Nearly immediately after getting engaged, people started (jokingly or not) telling us not to get married. Uh, thanks for the advice? Also, if marriage sucks so bad, why are gay people clamoring for that right?

  • http://laurenmcglynnphotography.com Lauren

    Yes! The point is marriage is great, and why DONT people talk about that more. I love being married. Things do change after you get married. & I understand the “it’s only a piece of paper” argument, but I also disagree with it. I think it’s a rite of passage, one of the few that we have left in our culture. I’m glad that this blog celebrates weddings AND marriage.

    • meg

      I think rites of passage are awesome, and it’s weird how we work to minimize it, “Well, it doesn’t mean anything.” Why can’t we endow it with meaning? Marking the limited time we have on earth is a big effing deal, so I say embrace it.

      • Blaire

        This is so true! When my new husband and I were planning our wedding, we talked about what would be important to us about our wedding day- and it was all about having the people we love there to watch and support us as we took this giant step into married life. All the details were completely tossed. No assigned seats, a backyard (my parents’ backyard) wedding, easy going, a complete family affair.. and it was such a happy night for my husband and myself. The zipper of my dress even broke, mid ceremony- and it didn’t matter (we fixed it) because we were so happy to be getting MARRIED in front of everyone we love.

      • Lauren

        For me, I really struggle to allow it to change me, because it means I wasn’t good enough before.We were together for 8.5 years before we tied the knot, and for a lot of that time I wanted to be married but he didn’t.

        I felt, and still feel to an extent, that if I allow our relationship to change, then I have to admit that all that time before marriage was less than ideal, and because it was me who wanted to be married, that I wasn’t good enough. And if I acknowledge it to others, they will be justified in believing I wasn’t good enough, and our relationship wasn’t real (both of which his family openly admit they believe).

        I really want to allow it to change me, but it means facing a lot of demons I’m just not ready to face.

  • http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com LPC

    This is how it feels when one contemplates the idea a second time. Exactly.

    • meg

      Eyebrows raised :)

  • Anna

    You said it perfectly. Thank you so much for continuing to inspire and point out what this is supposed to be all about. Partnership. The world CAN be a hard place and being married IS work but doing that work can be refreshing and rewarding and it can and does make the world a softer or at least more workable place. Here’s to partnership and beautiful photos. Thanks Meg!

  • Miriam

    “Well shit. If society at large had bothered to mention that married life could be attending drag country western performances with your husband and debating art, pushing each other to do more than you dared, and having adventures together, it would have sounded decidedly more interesting / less terrifying. Why do people tell you it’s all about slow misery and pillow buying?”

    This. A million bazillion times. My future marriage is not about a march towards death and settling. It’s a new adventure. Fuck anyone who tries to tell me otherwise.

    • http://www.asfoodtolife.com Meredyth

      I wanted to “EXACTLY” this passage times 50. If I had role models showing that marriage can be WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE I would have been much less frightened by the prospect. I think I really credit Meg and all the smart APW-ers for helping finally open my eyes. These thoughts been back in the back of my mind for awhile, but were afraid to come out. Thank you for forcing our preconceived notions out of the way and letting reality shine in. Also, thanks for having such fun being married that it makes the rest of us realize we can do it too.

  • http://pinchofthis.wordpress.com Jen

    I have more to say about the actual post…but I can’t get over the gorgeous wedding album!

  • http://missfancypantsthebride.blogspot.com/ miss fancy pants (the bride)

    Hoorah for blogs that actually discuss marriage after the wedding instead of talking about marriage as it pertains to pillows and home decor. Because, really, marriage doesn’t pertain to those things. Not at its core. Which is why I love you, Meg. And APW. And this post. Well done!

  • Siobhan

    I like this lots because that is why I keep coming back to APW, the wedding is not the end point for APW and it should not be (it can’t be!) in life.

    So thank you for this post which makes me look forward to getting married and being married to a man who has already inspired me to push further and faster than I ever thought I could and to what we can do once we are married. Thank you too for creating the sort of place where these posts happen.

  • http://leahandmark.com Leah

    Love this!! Yes yes yes.

    • meg

      Hi Leah!!! Writing this made me think about your pregnancy post on Offbeat Mama, actually.

      • Jessica

        Wait, WHAT? Leah has a pregnancy post on Offbeat Mama?! How did I miss that?!? (Or maybe I read it, and didn’t realize it was hers.) Going to find it now.

  • http://boredzilla.blogspot.com Linsey

    Meg I need you as some sort of motivational angel on my shoulder!

  • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

    Meg, this is a wonderful post, and you talk about so much of what I love about marriage and being married (again, and to the right person this time).

    I particularly love this:

    “I was going to hunt my dreams down, and mother-f*cking slay them. I had faith that I would be extra equipped to do this, now that I had a partner to help balance the books, help me organize my to-do lists, not take my anxiety filled “nos” for an answer, and give me a hug when I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

    I think this attitude about marriage is the thing that drew me to this blog, and keeps me reading Every.Single.Day. So much media encourages women to rip each other apart, and how quickly women willingly jump onto that band wagon. We end up defensive about our choices, and over-sensitive about provoking jealousy or criticism. (Meg, when you start A Practical Family, you will be astounded by the ugliness of the mommy wars–I look forward to watching you skilfully navigate it because it is tough stuff).

    I adore my husband. My marriage is deeply important to me–and I pour my heart and soul into it. It is not spackle, filling up holes in my life–it is crown moulding–adding dimension and strength and joy to an already complete self. I feel the same way about motherhood: I can be fully, deeply and joyfully committed to being a mother without that element taking over my entire being and identity.

    I sometimes feel as if I should downplay the wonderful-ness of my marriage (especially when talking with single friends who would desperately like to find their person, but who are forced to pretend that they don’t care). I’m so glad you have created a space and conversation to celebrate strong women in strong relationships.

    Also, “not take my anxiety filled “nos” for an answer” is so great. In our vows, we each promised to tell the other person if they were wrong, and help them to find a better way. This got a huge laugh, but it wasn’t meant to be comedy. I have an entire post brewing on this subject, but sometimes the most loving thing for us is to be told no, to be brought up short or to be asked if we need a “time out.”

    Love this, and so happy for you, your beautiful book, and your beautiful marriage.

    • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

      Yes, Manya, you could not have put it better but I wanted to exactly this whole part of the post.
      Thanks Meg, for opening this space and discussion, this is definitely why we all still keep coming back.

    • meg

      “My marriage is deeply important to me–and I pour my heart and soul into it. It is not spackle, filling up holes in my life–it is crown moulding–adding dimension and strength and joy to an already complete self. I feel the same way about motherhood: I can be fully, deeply and joyfully committed to being a mother without that element taking over my entire being and identity.”

      Love this. And I have plans to avoid the family wars a little more than previously planned. I’ve decided that they are such total bullshit that I don’t want to engage with them. BAD BAD BAD. Breathing…

      And I can’t WAIT to read said post (send it to me?)

      • Maggie

        “And I have plans to avoid the family wars a little more than previously planned.”

        Curiosity piqued. ;) I’ve been looking forward to a family-type APW off-shoot blog, but have also been wondering how we’d all escape the family wars nonsense….

    • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

      “I sometimes feel as if I should downplay the wonderful-ness of my marriage (especially when talking with single friends who would desperately like to find their person, but who are forced to pretend that they don’t care).”

      Can I just say… don’t? Obviously no one wants to be a Smug Married (though I have a really hard time imagining any APW ladies falling into this role), but I’m starting to realize that when married people talk about how wonderful marriage is, it benefits EVERYONE. It helps other married people recognize the lie of “you wind up hating the person you’re married to half the time” (an actual, honest-to-goodness point from a book I recently read about longevity in marriage, YIKES!); it helps your own relationship when you and your spouse publicly praise each other; and it helps single people know that marriage is something infinitely better and more worthwhile than what our culture tells them it is.

      • meg

        Yes. This is very true. And if you don’t bring up your damn throw pillows, maybe you won’t sound so smug ;)

      • emily rose

        I think I’m guilty of the down-playing, too. When a friend recently asked us, “How’s married life?” I felt a little stuck. Truthfully, it’s great – hard, fun, deep, awesome. But somehow having had zero models of anyone articulating the beauty of it made me feel at a loss for words. I might write out a good answer to that question so that next time I am able to say more than “Going well!”

      • Maggie

        I absolutely agree with you. I also have trouble walking this line; I’m really afraid of sounding smug either to single friends or to less-than-happily married friends. That’s one reason I love the APW community: I feel like it’s okay to talk about marriage/long-term relationships being a blast. :)

        I wish there were more examples of this reflected in our culture, too–I was overjoyed when I finally watched Away We Go (though, of course, in that film, one of the lead characters doesn’t want to get married because her parents aren’t around…), because for once, it felt like I was watching the joy of a long-term, committed relationship being portrayed onscreen in a way that resonated.

        • Beb

          Adore that movie.

      • Kathryn

        Speaking as one of the single friends who desperately wants to find my person, and who is utterly sick of having to pretend I don’t care, I agree with Sharon. Don’t downplay. Celebrate it. Yes, sometimes it’s hard for me to see how happy my married and coupled friends are without it turning into “why can’t I have that?” But mostly, seeing how happy they are gives me hope. It makes me feel like finding someone you’re deeply compatible with and having the timing be right and then working together to build a true partnership is more than just possible, it’s probable. And that really helps.

        I got dumped recently, and two days afterwards, I went to a friend’s bachelorette party. I can’t pretend I was the life of the party, or that it didn’t take a lot of mentally and emotionally gearing up to make it through the evening. But I was still so pleased to see my friend so happy, and so tickled to think about her marrying this guy who is so obviously right for her, and so encouraged to think about the fact that everyone there who is happily married or about-to-be-married had probably gotten dumped or had sad break-ups before, and it wasn’t the end of the road for them. It’s not the end of the road for me either. And I absolutely want to hear your stories so I can look forward to what’s waiting for me a little further along my way.

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    Needed this today. Hearing things I know are true. Our 2nd was yesterday and amidst the chaos of life I didn’t produce a great gift for my honey. Though I love him deeply and am excited about the life we’re building together. Which now I’m feeling badly about. But that’s not the point, is it? :)

    • meg

      It’s so not.

  • http://www.agirlherblog.com/ agirl

    Ambition Squared FTW.

    • http://www.agirlherblog.com/ agirl

      Also, we finally ordered our wedding photos to put in our album this weekend. It’s only been, oh, nearly three years!

      Which made the looking back through the photos of the day all the more delicious.

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    And it is magic that what is left from the wedding is this: “how my dress felt, sharing food and floating on a bubble of joy in our Yichud, the rich chocolate cake covered with dahlias, and the sheer love of all those people in the same room having a marvelous time.”.
    For some reason the taste of the cake really stayed with me (talk about having a sweet tooth). And Dahlias have now this special meaning for me as well… they were included in our flowers and they are so pretty (I just asked our florist to choose random flowers for a “wild” look being quite illiterate in botany) . But most of all as you describe the “bubble of joy” and having all your family and friends in the same room, celebrating love, is just huge. You don’t just get over that (happily), you just don’t forget it (or at least I hope).
    Congratulations…. and like Manya described, and you wrote so well, it is this path of discovery, this partnership, this, we are going to make it together no matter what feeling that makes marriage amazing. Thank you Meg. Like, a million times thank you.

  • http://www.christytylerphotography.com Christy T

    SOoooo maybe this winter during slow season – I will *finally* make our own darn wedding album too! This has seriously inspired me to quit putting it off (2.5 years later)… ha ha

    Also – LOVE this post and absolutely agree. We Are Two! Or as James and I like to proclaim: “Team Tyler!” :)

  • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

    I was so excited to see “Wedding Graduates Return” as the post for today…and “Meg, herself” only made it a million times better. This was such a comforting, wonderful thing to read. Beautiful sentiments, beautiful writing. (And such a beautiful wedding book!) Thank you for the inspiration and food for thought Meg.

  • http://Www.armyamy.wordpress.com Amy*

    I love how you described life before you got married as the prologue! That’s it exactly!*

  • Rachel

    Well said: “If society at large had bothered to mention that married life could be attending drag country western performances with your husband and debating art, pushing each other to do more than you dared, and having adventures together, it would have sounded decidedly more interesting / less terrifying. Why do people tell you it’s all about slow misery and pillow buying?”

  • http://www.alosangeleslove.com Becca

    I have nothing wise to add, so I will just say YES. Thank you. This is it, exactly.

  • Moz

    Meg this is one of your best posts. Nice one.

  • Class of 1980

    MEG WROTE: “And this weekend, as we tipsily debated the differences in the New York City and San Francisco art scenes, and watched gender bending send-ups of Broadway Camp at a Gay Country Western Ball, I thought to myself, “Well shit. If society at large had bothered to mention that married life could be attending drag country western performances with your husband and debating art, pushing each other to do more than you dared, and having adventures together, it would have sounded decidedly more interesting / less terrifying.”

    It IS weird isn’t it? People have been having those adventures together forever, yet there is hardly any dialogue about it.

    WHO you marry is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. The passage of time will underline the truth of this. Perhaps society is so hyper-aware of how easy it is to get the decision wrong, that they forget to talk about the adventure waiting for you if you get the decision right.

    • meg

      Mmmmmmm. Good stuff.

      Because you’re right. None of this is new, it’s just not discussed as part of the cultural narrative, unless it’s being discussed as the EXCEPTION not the rule.

      • Class of 1980

        For some reason, society loves to talk about the people who married the wrong person or got married at the wrong time … and the aftermath.

        Well, I got a divorce, but not even in the pits of hell did I think that MY experience of marriage defined marriage in any way. Did it make me gun-shy? Hell yes! But not because I don’t believe in marriage. It made me shy away from doing it again until I knew it was right in a way I didn’t with the first one.

        Some people make the mistake of thinking their bad experience defines marriage itself, which is ridiculous. Their experience is nothing more than their experience in one particular marriage to one particular person.

        I think I learned more about getting marriage right from my divorce than I ever knew about it prior. Really. Plus, looking at my mistakes actually highlighted exactly what was working with the good marriages among my family and friends.

        Marriage can only be a reflection of the people in it.

  • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com/ Koru Kate

    Meg, beautiful post, as always. I took a lot away from it (I swear!) but mostly you made me feel better about the fact we haven’t finished our wedding album almost one year later :-)

    • Katie Mae

      Ditto. Excellent post and the fact that even Meg made her wedding album late is comforting! Just did mine a year late too.

      • meg

        Eh. I wasn’t that interested in making it when it was still fresh. More fun to make it when I was re-visiting it.

  • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

    I love and continue to frequent APW because of Reclaiming Wife. Because this website says, “Do weddings your own way. Do married life your own way.” instead of gushing about centerpieces or latest hair styles. It delves into the nitty gritty of life and seeks to remind us all marriage is more than one night of partying after months of planning. It’s more than pretty dresses and exotic foods and photo booths. It’s creating a life, a family, a foundation for “ever after”.

    It kicks ass. APW helps breathe life back into marriage and it’s importance in our lives. Love.

  • Hoppy Bunny

    There are some really beautiful lines in this post and I am seriously considering sticking them in my wedding vows. Yay APW!

  • Mollie

    This is my favorite post in a long long time. Props! and wooooo!

  • Ms. Neptune

    I just wanted to add my thanks to you, Meg, for this post, and to all the other commenters for their wise inputs and additions. (I don’t think I’ve ever ‘Exactly!’ed so many comments in a single post before.)

    I come from three generations of divorce, so between that and the negative/pillow-buying portrayals of marriage that we often see in mainstream media, I welcome all the positive role models of what marriage can and should be that I can get. Not only am I less terrified to get married now, I am down right excited.

    • meg

      You were just the 65,000th comment on APW!!! Exactly!!! Ok. That’s it, as you were. Yay!

  • Gillian

    thank you for encouraging me to help contribute to the positive marriage dialogue in my own life/circle of people. Marriage also changed our relationship in ways I wasn’t expecting, and it’s good to be reminded of the good that it brings with it, rather than the unexpected hard times (after thinking naively that the hard times were over and that it’s all downhill from here). Reclaiming Wife is my favourite blog spot on the internet :)

  • http://upupcreative.com upupcreative

    my favorite lines: “I was going to go after my dreams with the voracity usually reserved to finding chocolate and steak while on my period. I was going to hunt my dreams down, and mother-f*cking slay them.”

    it occurs to me now that brian and i haven’t really sat down and created now-we-are-two goals. i mean, we talk about stuff and we achieve stuff (two kids! my business!) but i think what i’d really like is some actual goals we plan out first and then work on achieving.

    hmm. must do.

    and it sounds like you recommend some booze for this?

  • http://www.hindsightbride.com Christie O. {Hindsight Bride}

    Well said Meg, as always. One thing that struck me is your description of how your photographs can bring you back to that place of joy, intimacy and community. I’ve recently been asked why anyone would want their wedding to be “publish-worthy.” While I’m still sorting that question out for myself, a piece of the puzzle fell into place for why pictures are so important for me. They remind me (especially when times are tough) of why I married D. in the first place. All of the reasons why we are good for each other. Our wedding represented hope and possibilities for our relationship. It represented the very best of who we are and where we came from. Whenever I look at our wedding pictures I am reminded of all that hope, love, and faith and I am comforted. Marriage is hard sometimes to be sure. But that team thing changes the fights and the level of commitment we have toward one another. You know, that team thing you were talking about. When I look at those pictures I see us all dressed up and dancing; when I remember our parents walking each of us down the aisle; when I think back to the first moments of married life when we joined hands and lead our family and friends back down the aisle, I am reminded of the infinite capacity that we have to love each other, and that we do indeed love each other, totally.

    Thanks for articulating so well what I was at the edge of my own thoughts.

  • MM

    Thank you for this post. I have only been married two months (woo hoo!), but we experienced that overwhelming sense of joy and community on our wedding day that you described. Already I love going through the photos because it brings back that feeling. I joke with my husband that when I look through the photos I’m taking a “hit” of that beautiful powerful feeling. We are also just in the beginning stages of figuring out our dreams and goals and seeing how we can support each other in them. Seeing all that you and your husband have accomplished as a team is inspiring!

    Thank you!

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