I remember photographing my first wedding 5 years ago. Gees, my nerves. I think I photographed EVERY little thing at that wedding, afraid I’d miss something or well, just not really sure of myself.
What I’ve enjoyed so much about this crazy world of wedding photography is getting to meet people I would not otherwise. I’ve been a witness to a major chapter in their lives and many I’ve kept in touch with years after.
After the wedding day is over, the honeymoon comes and goes, after the pictures have been edited and delivered, what happens next? Marriage is a lot more than just a wedding day, it’s a lot of work. I asked some of my couples throughout the years, the real questions about marriage…what do you do after the wedding is over?
“In our marriage, Jared and I live by the Bible verse in Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
“I grew up with Disney movies. I loved the peril and struggle the prince and princess went through to be together, and always sighed with relief when they rode off into the sunset to live happily ever after. But I was always left dissatisfied at the end, wondering, ‘What happens next?’
Before I walked down the aisle, my Maid of Honor asked how I was feeling. I had these old feelings resurfaced, and I told her that while I was thrilled and excited for the beautiful wedding, but I was most looking forward to what came next, the ‘after’ part of our happily ever after. What Disney doesn’t show is that finding each other is the easy part – it is the ‘after’ part that the work begins, and this is where our own story began. Relationships are hard work – you have to make a conscious decision to work at it every day. Some days are harder than others, and you celebrate the good days and appreciate the bad. Marriage is about putting someone else before you at all times, and making them a priority. Truly showing an interest in what they are passionate about. Listening to what they say. Above all, being kind. Kind in your words, thoughts, and actions, not only to your spouse, but to yourself as well. You are both human, you are going to mess up and make mistakes, no matter how hard to try to be the perfect wife. You are going to burn the pot roast, shrink his shirts, and pick petty fights before your coffee. The great news is that you have the rest of your lives to pick up and start again. There are a million tomorrows to continue building your happily ever after. Just remember that love is not a feeling, it’s an action. It is how you treat your spouse. It’s the little things that are often the most important. While slaying dragons may be the grand gesture, it’s the kind words of encouragement, taking time to truly listen, relinquishing of the remote, taking interest in what the other is passionate about, communicating, being quick to forgive and forget, and sharing the last cupcake (yes, it’s THAT important) – the daily, seemingly insignificant things that build the happy ending.”
“In our marriage we have found that being open and honest about everything is key. It is also important to find things you like to do together and spend time with each other doing those things. And if you ever have the opportunity to marry your best friend, do it!”
“I would say that there are a LOT of things that have to be there to keep a marriage strong, but what helps us specifically is that we trust each other completely and know that we can rely on each other at all times. I feel like we trust each other more than most couples, and maybe that stems from being together from such a young age, but that trust keeps us close. We also act like goofballs around one another. If you can’t be yourself around your spouse, what’s the point of being married?? :)”
“For Dave and me, we work hard to find time together – alone- at least once a week. Whether it be stopping at a park to chat or sitting at one of our favorite places, Amrhein’s Wine Cellars, to have a glass of wine and enjoy the quiet and each other. We find that time together. We also always discuss every decision together beforehand to make sure we are on the same page. We don’t have a lot of time given since we have four kids we are raising, but we also realize that they will be gone eventually. At that time, we will be left with each other, day in day out, and we work hard to make sure we still know and love each other when our empty nest comes around!”
Cory’s advice: “Keep her happy and well fed.” lol!
Grace’s advice: “I think learning each others love language is really a great thing to do. When we were in marriage counseling we took a little quiz and figured out what his and mine were. He likes getting gifts and I like words of affirmation. So I try and get him little gifts every now and then to show him I love him and that I was thinking of him during my day. Usually it’s just something I find at the grocery store, like a sweet treat or special snack or beer, but he enjoys getting them! He uses words to build me up. My favorite is when he tells me I’m doing a good job at being a mom. It makes me feel so good to hear him say that.
I also think that a really important key to a strong marriage is to be less selfish. It’s easy to be selfish and think of only yourself, but when you put your partners needs before yours it can be very rewarding. I had to really work on that when we first got married, but it seemed to come really naturally for Cory. He is always very willing to do things for me if I ask him to even if he’s had a long day or is relaxing or watching TV. I found that it was important for me to match that behavior and try and put his needs before my own. The other day both of us had long days, he got home from work and was about to make dinner and then needed to go teach from 7:30- 10:30. I had had a long day with Isaiah who had just laid down for a nap so I was enjoying sitting down with my book. When I realized Cory was probably more tired than I was and how he had a much longer night ahead of him then I did, I offered to cook dinner so that he could sit down and relax. I’m not tooting my own horn here, I miss opportunities all the time. If I ask Cory to rub my back or give me a foot rub he almost always will, even if he’s super tired and does not want to.”