Fifty-seven days until I marry the love of my life. No small feat considering over four years ago I said I was never getting married again. Ever. I would consider "living in sin", having casual sex (sorry, mom), and/or parenting with another human being but I was never getting married again. Period.
I wonder if that is what everyone says when they divorce someone they cannot stand?
Anyways, I have written about the love of my life, aka my fiancé Chuck, in the past but a brief refresher for those of you who missed it:
Girl goes to church every week. Boy returns to church after a few years off. He goes every week. Girl and boy start getting to know each other at church events and become church buddies. After an entire summer of after church service conversations, boy and girl finally get their act together and go out just the two of them. Girl realizes that day that she never wants a life without him and apparently boy does not either. Much to the shock of half of western Massachusetts, girl moves in with boy after dating for only four months. An engagement follows one year later.
And here I am, engagement ring, venue deposits, first pre-marital meeting with the minister and all.
But here is the secret. We struggled with getting to the point of actually having a wedding day. Why? Because I wasn't sure I wanted a wedding. Don't get me wrong, I was all for marrying my fiancé. Him and I making a commitment forever? Perfect. Even the possibility of one single day without him in my life was intolerable. However I was very conflicted about a wedding and my idea was to elope, preferably with our minister in tow. He wanted a big wedding. I was all for celebrating our marriage and our love with our family and friends but I had serious concerns. To start with, the actual act of marrying him was something that I did not want marred by the pomp and circumstance of the wedding industry or by all the "stuff" that can come with a wedding. I wanted the focus to be on our vows, the exchanging of our rings, and our love rather than worrying about the flowers matching the groomsman's tux or the photographer getting the right pictures.
I did not want the stress of planning a wedding. I have done it before and now I have an autoimmune illness that can be seriously exacerbated by stress. The fact that I am a perfectionist at times does not help. I did not want to spend the following year to year and a half planning every detail of a day when I could be enjoying those days doing something else or spending time with him and my other loved ones. I was also afraid that we would plan this whole special day and then my illness would flare up and I would not enjoy the day or maybe not even be there.
But here is the problem with all of my concerns. They were all about me, not him. Not only what I wanted, but what I could handle. I wasn't considering what he could handle and what we could handle together. But we wanted two very different things, or so I thought. The reality was that what I thought I wanted was motivated by fear, not by my heart and he knows me well enough to know that. Despite my protests, he knew that celebrating with our family and friends and being married in our church, a place so dear to both of us, was more important to me than I was acknowledging. He knows my fears. He knows my heart.
After many conversations, we agreed on a compromise of a ceremony in our church and a casual BBQ wedding reception (also known as the "party") on a different day. The separate days was Chuck's idea as he thought it would make it more enjoyable and easier for me because of my health issues. He made me understand that the responsibility of planning this wedding would not be all on me. He wanted to be a part of every step of the process. He said it was something that we could enjoy doing together.
We set two different dates for the ceremony and the reception. A few months later, which was August, one of my worse fears came true. Due to a misunderstanding, there was a huge interpersonal conflict regarding the wedding (not between Chuck and I) and I was ready to call the whole thing off. I didn't want something that was supposed to be so special causing hard feelings between me, Chuck and any of our friends or family. There was too many sleepless nights because of it. I was starting to feel the stress of planning the wedding and it was still nine months away. I would never make it.
We talked and talked. We even argued a bit which is a rare event. I was letting a conflict with someone else get in the way of our wedding. I was freaking out and worrying about details that were still months away. There was a point that Chuck even asked me if I was sure that I wanted to marry him because of how resistant I was to the actual wedding. I was heartbroken. Of course I wanted to marry him. This was a big turning point for me. I realized that there was no way we were going to make it to May unless I either called off the wedding (not the marriage) or made some serious changes. We made the changes.
The changes included mostly an attitude change on my part. I decided from that point on, that I was not going to let anything distract me from having this celebration that we both deserved. It was important to him and I knew that if I could get out of my own way, I would start looking forward to it as well. We made some simple changes to the day to make the planning easier. I developed the attitude that I didn't care what happened. That may seem callous to many people but for someone who is a perfectionist like me, taking an "I don't care attitude" brings me back to a average person's level of caring. I have the focus that it is the day he will become my husband. Nothing else matters. We decided that our focus was going to be on the ceremony, our love, and the people celebrating with us. We would plan other things that we wanted for the ceremony and the party, but I wouldn't obsess about the details. I would go with the flow. Something that I have learned from Chuck. Something that eventually may add years to my life.
And I have gone with the flow since then and here we are, fifty-seven days away. I will admit, it has been a bit hectic lately finalizing details and such but I can sit here and honestly say that I am extremely excited about May 18th. We have been through a lot since my meltdown in August. I did get very physically sick and ended up hospitalized and Chuck's mom passed away, fourteen weeks before our wedding date. For me, both events have made me see the importance of sharing this marriage with those in our life. Life is short and full of bad times. We have to take advantage of celebrating all that is good in this world, especially love.
Really good things have happened in that time too. You learn a lot about person when you are planning a wedding with them. We have mastered the art of compromise. I have learned more about what makes him happy. Most importantly though, I have learned that I can put my faith in him and that he will always come through for me. My biggest fear and concern was how I was going to physically handle the planning but the fact is, I don't have to handle all the planning. I don't always need to be in control. We have strengthened our roles as partners. For me, the planning of this wedding has been a labor of love, faith, and trust.
I have also learned things about myself during this process and the experience has done a lot to change some aspects of my personality that could use some work. Such as my perfectionism and my tendency to worry about everything. I have been forced to change some of my ways in order to make room for better things. I know the big day is still fifty-seven days away but I am in a good place. My health cannot afford the luxury of worry or stress. That is not what the day is about and our love deserves better than that.
We had our first pre-marital meeting with our minister last week and while we were talking to him, I glanced over at my soon-to-be husband. I am not exaggerating when I say he was radiating with love. The way he looked at me reminded me of why I am so willing to compromise in the first place. The way he looked at me reminded me that I would go to the ends of the earth for him. And now that compromise is two days that I cannot wait to experience with him. His love for me and my love for him is what our wedding day is about and I cannot wait to share that with those in our lives who are so important to us.