Sara and I met in college when I joined her sorority - ADPi. She was older, welcoming, gorgeous and so sweet. She is so relatable and honest and would be there in a second if you needed anything. I am so excited to share her with you today. She also writes a fabulous blog over at Bill and Ted's Excellent Adentures so hop over there and give her some love! And now for her expertise (and some gorgeous pictures of her wedding day).
A Lesson from Year 1 -- Just Say “NO!”
I am thrilled to be guest posting on Gratefully Inspired today!
I have loved following the adventures of the Lopatkas, haven’t you?
When Denise invited me to share some thoughts on life after ‘I do,’ my initial plan was to
force impart my feelings on
the importance of love and respect in marriage, which I cram down
every newlywed’s throat whenever the opportunity presents itself.
But as I got to thinking about it, I decided to share something I wish I had known:
It’s okay to say NO!
After we got engaged at the ripe age of 22/23, I remember asking other married couples around our age how the first year was. Everyone seemed to have the same answer -- "it's wonderful!" I was pumped as visions of candlelight dinners with champagne flowing every night popped into my head.
What could be hard about it?
Loving each other is all we need to have a great marriage, right?
I don't know if said couples were telling me what it seems someone would want to hear, fooling themselves, or really had it wonderful (I hope the third), but I remember feeling so...alone...in thinking marriage was only tough for us. We were forced to spend a lot of time apart during the week due to traveling for work, and we kept busy on the weekends hanging out with friends. We didn't dedicate tons of quality time to each other and often chose distractions over one other.
And it took a while for us to learn, but sometimes you just have to say "no."
And I don't mean to each other...although that's necessary too sometimes. In this case, I am referring to saying “no” to the plans and distractions that take you away from each other. A friend recently shared with me something she heard in a marriage homily, that I love and think is so true.
The minister directed his attention to the friends and family in the pews and said:
“For the first year of the couple's marriage, you should not have expectations of them.”
If the couple turns down the invitation to a birthday party, be okay with it. If they say no to a family vacation, be gracious about it. And basically just let them say "no" when they need to. After the first year, things can be normal, but give them the luxury of dedicating the first year to one another.
I wish we had done more of that. We have spent years 2-4 making up for it, but there are many times I remember not putting our relationship first in year 1. There were many times when I felt like I would be letting someone down if I skipped out on their Friday night birthday dinner, so instead I sacrificed time with my husband...time that we needed...so as not to disappoint others.
And you just can't do that...ever...but especially in the beginning when you need to truly die as the individual you are and be reborn as a union.
So remember to say "no" and choose each other.
But you get a free pass the first year, so take it :)
xox - Sara