After You Say I Do

Posted 09-28-2011 at 10:23 AM by Krista

Do you remember your wedding day? What am I saying, of course you do! If you’re like me, then you probably thought of your wedding day from time to time since you were a little girl. Did you want to look like Cinderella, wearing a beautiful, white dress? Did your dream come true?

My wedding day was, like the proposal, nondescript. In his defense, J was nineteen years old when he popped the question. I remember it like a strange dream. One minute, we were talking, and the next, he drops to the floor and starts doing sit-ups.

“I think we should get married,” he panted in-between sets.

“Are you asking?”

“Yes,” he grunted, still pushing it out.

I was speechless. I didn’t ever imagine that my prince charming would propose while burning calories, if you know what I mean. Where was the champagne, the waterfall? What happened to dropping down on one knee?

Once, I teased him in front of our friends about his proposal. I didn’t know that it bothered him until later that night.

“I didn’t propose like that!” he protested.

I stared at him in the mirror as I washed my face. “Like what?”

“You know, you said I just…said it. I didn’t do it like that. It was romantic.”

I couldn’t stop myself. I burst out laughing. “Romantic? Well, sure, if your idea of romantic is ‘let’s get married’.”

Marriage is just like this: each partner seeing things in their own way. In his mind, J had “done it up right” the night he asked me to be his wife. He has actually forgotten the way he’d asked me to marry him, and in his mind, we went out to a fancy restaurant…for all I know, he thinks there were violins in the background, too.

The point is that men and women often have problems seeing eye to eye on marriage. There is an old saying, “a woman marries a man thinking she can change him; a man marries a woman thinking she won’t.” Wow, has this been true for my own marriage! I put up with so much thinking, After the wedding, it’ll be different.

The sad truth is that a lot of men and women get married without having reasonable expectations. Our divorce rate speaks to that. Most women I know get engaged and think only of their wedding day—they surround themselves with floral arrangements and wedding cake samples without thinking beyond their honeymoon.

It takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage together. We are all naturally selfish, and it takes adjustment to put two different people in a house together. Yes, there are fights, there are missed signals and let’s not even get started on how he leaves his socks on the floor! But marriage has its joys.

My sweet husband, after nearly seven years of marriage, still brings home little gifts to let me know he loves me. He plays with our children after working hard all day. He wakes up early on his off day and lets me sleep in, while he cleans the house from top to bottom. I am a lucky, lucky woman.

And yet, for a good part of our marriage all I could think about was the boring proposal (I mean, how can a girl spin that to her friends?) and our courthouse wedding. It wasn’t at all what I dreamed. I wore a clearance prom dress, not a wedding dress with pearls and lace. Only my sister and her boyfriend were there, not all my friends and family. To boot, the justice of the peace even got my name wrong the entire time! It ate at me in ways I cannot explain, because it wasn’t what I had been waiting for.

But one day I woke up, looked at the man beside me, and realized that he was. He was the man I wanted to marry, and he was the important part. His proposal came from the heart, and the wedding? Hey, he made it up to me at our vow renewal five years later.

Treasure your husband for what he is, not what you hoped for. I am sure if you take a good look at him, you’ll realize he exceeds your expectations.

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