5 Things I’d do Very Differently if I Could Have a Marriage Do-Over
It seems hard to believe that I will be married 15 years on December 19, 2013. 15 years with the same person; 15 years of compromise, negotiation, annoying habits, mind numbing idiosyncracies, a man who has seen me push a person out of my lady parts ( I made him get his head DOWN THERE THE WHOLE TIME). 15 years of career changes, arguments about religion, dealing with the deaths of three of our parents and ultimately doing whatever it takes to building this life of ours together– as a team.
We all know hindsight is 20/20, and if I could rewrite the past I’d do many things differently. For starters I wouldn’t have been in such a rush to grow up- I would have basked in the glory of kid friendly pursuits more – I’d be extra silly and would have indulged in school girl crush worthy figures like New Kids on the Block. I would have savored more time playing cards and talking to my dad and I would’ve watched more movies with my mom in bed and stuffed my face with popcorn and gummy worms (as opposed to eating sensible apple slices). I would have appreciated every last second of days spent not worrying about the things adults have to contend with. But alas, that statement, youth is wasted on the young is so full of truth it seems almost criminal that kids don’t have the knowledge us adults do. If kids had that luxury, they could actually savor their childhood all the more.
So when it comes to my marriage, particularly the early years and that oh so important wedding planning, of course I have regrets and wish as a 40 year old woman I could tell my then 25 year old blushing bride-to-be which pitfalls to avoid, and of course that marriage is not a cookie cutter institution. Ultimately, happy endings and riding off into the sunset with a prince is relative to who and where you are in your life, emotionally, socially, financially and professionally– but if you are cognizant of certain key elements that could potentially derail your marriage, well you’re more likely to stick with it and dare I say it- be happy! That being said, if I had to choose 5 things I’d change if I could do it ALL OVER AGAIN, there are just a few things I wish I could do differently (and blushing brides-to-be laminate this list and keep it close to your heart– learn from my mistakes!)
#1 I’d wait and get married when I felt it was right. At 25 years old, while I knew I had met the one- I don’t know that I was ready to get married. So if I could do it all over again I’d not give into the pressure and voices telling me when to do the deed. In fact I might just have eloped and skipped out on the whole wedding thing if I truly followed my guttural instincts.
#2 I’d write my own vows. I look back on my wedding and while I loved the religious aspect of it– I wish I would have included some personal elements to the ceremony, namely I wish I would have written my own vows. There are so many things I would have liked to say to my husband as we took that monumental leap of faith, and I would’ve liked to say those words out loud in front of others who could bear witness to our love.
#3 I’d have an intimate party and only invite people who felt incredibly special to me. My husband and I felt this obligation to invite many people who we only knew peripherally, because, it was the right thing to do, never mind the fact that there are tons of pictures in our wedding album of virtual strangers. So what would I tell my younger self? To take tradition and convention and stick it where the sun don’t shine.
#4 I’d make sure to be really present and honest in every decision I made early on in my marriage, as so many of those decisions have informed the foundation of my relationship with my husband. Most importantly I would have tried to fight fair, to give up on the trivial things, remembered to savor the good stuff, laughed more and I just wouldn’t have taken it all so seriously.
#5 Last, but certainly not least, I would’ve told my younger self that marriage is a work in progress, no one’s marriage is perfection and that I should ultimately just strive for happy not perfect. Oh and I’d choose red roses for my flowers– and not play it so safe with my wedding colors!
So tell me- if you could tell your about-to-be-married-blushing-bride-to- be-self one thing- what would it be?