What a fancy term for two people who are crazily trying to plan a wedding. :) For two people who are struggling to find the perfect colors, bridal party gifts, and favors for the table (okay, I will admit it, only I cared about that part). For two people who want to make sure that their guests, even though we kept the list very small to stay under budget- because of course we had time to share with everyone after he came home from deployment- had the best dinner, the yummiest cake, and the most wonderful time. Oddly enough, (and intelligently enough) we were more worried about staying in our small budget so we didn't have to take out a loan for our wedding. Our wedding was small, we had pulled pork and beans and coleslaw on the menu. We had a tiny guest list, inviting only those that we knew could come, or had easy access to come. We had a cake from Wal-Mart, and not even pretty silverware or cutlery to cut it with. But, we didn't care, because we actually planned, more than the wedding, our marriage.
We started planning our marriage from the time we met, although we didn't know it. When we first spent a full day together, we talked about everything. We talked about our religious views, our desires of what we wanted to be or do in the future, whether or not we wanted children. Kind of a weird conversation for a first date, huh? It was an easy conversation, though. I talked about me. He talked about him. We talked about our wants separately, but almost all of them aligned. We didn't necessarily know that at the time, but now as I see it, that is EXACTLY what we were doing.
As we moved forward in our relationship, the conversations moved to more about us, and what we wanted together, for a future, for a long and healthy life together. Again, they aligned. This time even more so, because they aligned with one of us also thinking about the other in the conversation and in our plans. We talked about everything. What was important to us, what was not important to us. What was worth fighting for, and fighting over, and what was not. We talked about all of this. Again, it probably wasn't always in the context of "this is what we are going to do", but we talked about it. Even in passing conversations on our way to the movie theater, or Home Depot, or the grocery store. We talked about it. Openly and honestly, and in a very non-judgemental way. Both of us said what we wanted. Both of us listened to what the other wanted. Both of us had our own opinions, and although they didn't always match on things, we understood each other, and respected each other.
We did do "official" talks about our marriage. We took premarital counseling, and in that counseling there were a few (but only a few) items that we had never talked about or taken in to consideration. We discussed them, and again, listened to each other and heard what the other was saying. The best part of this was that we wrote many of our answers down. Especially those we didn't necessarily agree upon. We talked about them, and came to an agreement.
On January 2, 2010, I became his wife. This is the happiest day of my life, to that time. Every day after that just got happier and happier, because it was one more day that I am his wife. We belong to each other, and we are truly, officially, One. There were sad days after our wedding day, like the day he found out that he had to deploy Torch party, only three weeks before he had to go, or the day that he had to deploy, or times after the deployment when it was just hard and just plain sucked. There were days that were sad. But, no matter what, we always had each other. That made it always worth it to get through one more day. Weeks down until we could see each other, then months, then a countdown to when we would see each other again. Those were the happy times. Seeing how much we had been through, and how much the reward is worth it in the end. No matter how hard it was, every time I talked to him, all the days before were worth it.
When I think about our relationship, the thing that I think the most about (in general, not specific moments) is the fact that I just wanted so much for my friends and family to be able to have someone just like him. I joked all the time that I wanted to clone him and give him out to my friends as gifts, or to clone "replacement parts" to fix different parts of different people that loved my friends and/or family. Of course I wasn't giving mine up! It was funny, but now I realize how truthful that really was that I was saying that.
When it comes to love, I know that my husband and I had the purest, most loving relationship that there really ever could have been. We had mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual love, and we shared many common goals. There was never anyone trying to do better than someone else. There was never competition (unless it was very friendly and sometimes very silly competition, but I won't get in to that), there was never, ever disrespect. Instead, we always worked towards a common goal. We worked towards seeing the other succeed. We worked towards constant respect and admiration for each other. Luckily, now, with everything that has happened, I have that from him that I can live with for the rest of my life. I really only wish this for my friends and family members. I really only wish that they can pull their half of this promise that is a relationship, a marriage, and a friendship. And I really only wish that their other half can do the same for them. After all, it is only fair. If this world is so cruel and unfair, then why can't the one thing that is fair be the person that you love?
Before we got married, I was TERRIFIED of marriage. All I had ever really seen and experienced was failure. People quit too easily, people hurting one another, people who didn't care or respect the wishes of the other. People my age and younger were already divorced, some twice! I was terrified. I knew that he was going to be a good husband, but was I going to be a good wife? Would I give up too easily when it got tough? Of course, I would never WANT to, but would I? I have never been married before. I don't know how to do this, I don't know what is right and what is wrong. I talked to my friends and I actually talked to my "someday to be mother-in-law" about this the first time I met her when we were there as he was completing his terminal leave (separation from the Army when he was trying to get out last summer/fall). She told me something that I will NEVER forget. She said "We believe in Marriage". Simple as that. From that point on, I really believed in marriage too. I believed that I could do it. I knew that marriage was not going to be a walk in the park. Sometimes we were going to get mad at each other and fight. Sometimes I would annoy him, or he would annoy me. We may develop "issues" that the other might not like. But, no matter what, I could and would always believe in marriage. Marriage is for Life. We had a very short one, and I was robbed of our life together. I was crying about this one night, and his friend A-Rod told me that our marriage and time together was short, but to him, it was a Lifetime. Thank you for giving me your Lifetime, sweetheart. I love you.
When they say "Communication is Key", from this new wife, and also new widow, I say that is absolutely, mostly definitely the truth. Had Matt and I not communicated through our entire relationship, then I would have no idea what I should be doing from one moment to the next right now. I don't exactly know even with the communication, but I have better guidance from the communication that we did have. I can better see, at a minimum, how he feels about me, and I know that he loves me with everything he has, and I know that he knows that I love him with everything I have. I can use the communication that we did have to answer some, not all, of the questions that I have. I know what is right to do. I can use the communication we had, verbal and nonverbal, written and out loud, as guidance for what to do and how to do it, even when I am facing the worst pain that I could ever imagine.
Communication is not just Key, it is Love.