I constantly hear people refer to their wedding day as the best day of their life. I used to think something was wrong with me for not sharing this sentiment. My wedding day was beautiful, and having someone to share life’s adventures with is fulfilling in a lot of ways. But I’ve never thought of marriage as the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Here’s how I realized that’s actually a good thing. It’s a lot of pressure to put on someone. I learned the hard way that the person I married is only human, with imperfections and flaws just like me. Rather than living in the moment and accepting every high and low, I was striving for perfection. The seemingly mundane and even frustrating aspects of life are part of every relationship, and trying to push them aside didn’t draw us closer. It only kept us further apart.
As someone who loves to write, it’s easy for me to get caught up in trying to translate romantic narratives into real life situations. Crafting a movie moment out of my wedding day and then writing myself into this great love story of our marriage not only was unrealistic, it was unhealthy. It disconnected me from the realities of our relationship, which distanced us from each other.
My wedding day was a special moment in my life. But it’s one of many. When people give me side-eye for not immediately replying with “my wedding day” when asked to describe the best day of my life, I’m only reminded that I’ve had many good days and many challenging days. I could never differentiate between them because each is unique in its own way. Our wedding was important to both of us, but it’s not the greatest thing either of us will do. We’ll do many great things. We have plans to travel. We each want to focus on our careers. We have goals individually and together. As we continue to learn about each other, we want to encourage one another to grow and change. The process of finding yourself is a lifelong one, and although it can happen with another person encouraging you, it won’t happen because of another person marrying you. This has been one of the most important lessons beyond my wedding day. I’m still my own person. So is my husband.
Before our wedding, a lot of things led me to believe I was being selfish if I ever thought about myself within marriage. But you don’t have to lose yourself to another person when you get married, and the person you’re marrying shouldn’t expect that of you either. After my wedding day, I was still free to learn about myself, make mistakes and become a better version of who I was the day before. My husband and I don’t spend every moment together. We have separate friends. I didn’t change my name. That wasn’t the only thing that didn’t change, either. Honestly, not too much is different. We lived together before we got married, and I was surprised to learn how much stayed the same. This was an unexpected relief. With social media at our fingertips, pop culture displayed in magazines and royal marriages all over the news, the way weddings are romanticized can easily lead you to believe they are a huge, transforming moment in your life. In reality, you just have a companion to walk through it with. Nothing more, and nothing less. Things won’t go to plan anyway. A lot of little details on our wedding day didn’t work out. With so many relatives in one place, it became so much about throwing a party for everyone else.
I realized through trial and many errors that it’s no use trying to make it all perfect, especially because the imperfections can serve as grounding moments that remind you what marriage really is. It’s a chaotic and difficult process, that although not for everyone, is special if it’s something you want. The wedding is just one day. Going into it with realistic expectations was important, and equally as important was holding on to my independence and knowing who I was. The best part of our wedding has come now that it’s over, and I still get to be me. I just have someone I love beside me cheering me on, and that feels great. Our wedding day wasn’t a scene from a movie, and our marriage is not a chapter out of a fairytale. But then again, fairytales aren’t real.
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