Exactly 4 weeks from today I'm getting married.
The process of planning a wedding hasn't been exactly what I expected it to be. I knew there would be pressure and I was fully expecting to battle it all out with family members as to who was cut from the list. I knew that lots of people would be saying "well they invited you to their wedding 10 years ago so you should invite them" even though we'd not even spoken to them since.
But I was wrong. That part turned out to be pretty straightforward. What I wasn't prepared for was spending time thinking about the wedding and not about each other. I guess it's easy to forget that you have to work at relationships and you can't keep burying your head in the sand. If I'm honest I was starting to look at the wedding as a chore, a formality to get out of the way and everything would be fine once it was over and done with. But that's no way to approach a wedding.
After much soul searching and low points, we both realised that we'd stopped communicating, stopped spending the time together we should have, stopped doing the fun things we used to do and had slowly slipped into a rut. We were wondering if we should even carry on with the wedding at all. But once we realised what the problem was we picked ourselves up and starting doing things together rather than her watching TV, me going on the computer. We started being a couple again and we're much happier. Suddenly we both remembered why we wanted to get married in the first place!
When I was younger I always assumed that relationships between people who were meant to be together just worked. Everything clicked, things never went wrong and there were never any lows. But that's ridiculous (well certainly after the first couple of years – prior to that it's all a honeymoon period). All relationships have their ebbs and flows – when things are good they're great, but when things slip you start to notice all the flaws, all the negatives and can easily get consumed but it.
I remember watching a program about relationships a year or so ago. They had a young couple who'd just met, a couple about to get married, one that had been married a short while right up to a couple in their 70s who'd been married forever. What I found most interesting and endearing was the elderly couple. They said that the secret to their staying together so long and being happy together was that they knew that they had to work at their relationship and would have their ups and downs, but to always keep in mind what brought them together in the first place. They said that all too often these "young folk" hit hard times and gave up to easily – hence the high divorce rates these days. They may have been in their 70s but they were still young at heart with their outlook on life and sense of humour. And after all these years they were still very much in love – seeing photos of them when they met you could still see the sparkle in their eyes now. They were really lovely.
We know that once we're married we've still got to work at it, and if we stop doing that we'll end up right back in a rut again. So often couples come back from the high of a year of wedding planning, the perfect wedding day, an awesome honeymoon to the reality of their former lives. They're under the illusion that the rest of their lives will be like their wedding day, but of course that's not the case. As that elderly couple said, you've got to keep working at it!
But in the meantime, I've got a party in 4 weeks to look forward to! If you want to buy us a present from our wedding list, my good lady has put one up on Debenham's website – just search for my name! 😉