“Family and friends, welcome to the Ashford Estate.”
And so I began my sister’s wedding, a wedding in which I was performing the ceremony alongside the groom’s sister. My “career” as a wedding officiant had officially begun.
Little did my sister know, but version 1 of the ceremony was way different than version 10. But common to all versions was the focus on the meaning of marriage. What is marriage? What does it mean to me? What should I tell my sister and her future husband that it means to them? Do I even know anything about marriage being only 9 years in? I was forced to ask myself these questions, and to be honest, version 1 probably missed the mark.
Marriage is hard work. Marriage is about not losing your individuality in a environment of shared, well, everything. Marriage is trying to raise your children to the best of your ability while also attempting to keep up with laundry, dishes, meals, snack time, yard, dog, potty training, story time, taking out the trash, bedtime stalling tactics, bills, family and friend events and engagements , extra bills from those events and engagements, kids’ games and practices, my fantasy football team, eating healthy, staying in shape, the backlog on the DVR, and oh yeah, making time for yourself and your spouse.
Got that sis?
Obviously I didn’t go into that much detail, but that was basically the tone. It took some bad news to flip my perspective.
Sure I also included parts in version 1 about having the comfort of someone in bed next to you each and every night, getting to spend the rest of your life with your best friend, the fulfillment of that silent, proud look you share with each other after your kids say “please” or “thank you” without being told, and the awesome feeling that comes along with finding that special person who loves you with all their heart and has decided that you are the one they want to spend the rest of their life with. It was all in there in version 1, but the problem was that it wasn’t being put in the proper perspective.
The bad news took care of that.
That’s when I realized many of those challenges I spoke of, the “hard work” part of marriage, were nothing more than on par with getting mad at the person driving slow in front of you. This stuff doesn’t matter in the big picture. Snack time isn’t challenging, it’s a blessing we are even presented with the opportunity to serve picky eaters snacks every 35 minutes. Taking out the trash? Just do it. Dishes, get them done or leave them in the sink, who really cares? The yard? Throw on the headphones and crank the tunes and enjoy it. The dog? Well, picking up after these animals is still the worst thing ever and nothing will change that.
It’s all about balance.
Version 10 of the ceremony ended up being a lot of sunshine (it was a wedding after all), and then went on to define marriage as the ultimate balance. Respect each other as individuals… as you build a life together as a couple and a family. Celebrate the good times… but also tackle the challenges. Marriage is about communication and love… as well as compromise and patience.
What I personally realized during this experience is that the balance doesn’t stop at marriage. It continues into life.
Remember to make time for yourself… but also for each other. Never be too busy to play with your kids… yet encourage them to play by themselves. Take pride in your work as a professional… but don’t bring it home with you or let it ruin your day. It’s okay to keep an eye on what you want… but never forget about what you already have. Dance and celebrate at weddings… and be present and supportive at funerals.
Marriage is a balance much like life is a balance.
It also doesn’t matter if you have good or bad balance, just be thankful you are still balancing.