Chances are you’ve been to at least one wedding this summer. They remain a timeless expression of commitment.
10 years in the wedding industry means I’ve seen my fair share of marriage. And they all come with amazing and intimate moments. From panicking brides to grooms being wheeled away by paramedics, I've witnessed some very candid moments.
Afterwards, I always like to ask couples about their ups and downs along the way. Their responses are as varied as they are revealing. Heart-felt as often as they are funny, these moments in married life take everyone by surprise.
Let me share with you what I’ve learnt so far.
8. There’s a Particular Way that Weddings Flow
And it works beautifully.
People take ownership of the flowers and decorations and dresses and such but beneath it all, most weddings follow the same chain of events. From the ceremony it always flows to photos to reception to speeches to music and dancing. Sometimes people forget that weddings are just big events and it takes many production professionals working together to make them successful.
This means that not too many couples stray from the tried and true formula unless they really want to showcase.
7. There is a ‘This is Really Happening’ Moment
All weddings come with a mixed bag of emotions. Most people aren’t used to being the centre of attention so it puts a lot of couples on edge. This is completely normal, and my job is to get them to a place where they can be comfortable.
The biggest emotion is the one that hits just before the ceremony. You can feel it in the air. Family and friends settle down. The laughter and banter stops. Everyone becomes really quiet.
The bride and groom, having a good time and smiling, their eyes suddenly go wide. You can see them being overwhelmed by the realisation before them. This unshakable feeling of walking a path you freely choose above all other paths. That there’s no turning back after this.
This is the first day of the rest of our lives together. This is it. This is the big moment.
This is really happening.
6. Couples Don’t Often Plan Beyond the Wedding
A lot of planning goes into weddings, but not a lot of planning goes into marriages. Afterwards I always ask couples, ‘How did you expect marriage to be?’ and ‘What did it turn out to be?’
Their answers have been pretty consistent so far.
The reality is often a quiet daily routine that bears little resemblance to what many people imagined it to be.
5. All Marriages Resonates with Other Marriages
Have you ever looked at a couple and thought to yourself wow, they are so happy together. What’s their secret? What do they know that I don’t?
Or perhaps thought wow, what a sad relationship. Why are they even together?
The more couples I talk to, the more their stories fascinate me. Their stories, though varying in the details, all have the same underlying themes and motifs. To really understand marriage is to dig deeper and uncover what lies beneath the superficial.
4. You Don’t Know What a Marriage is Like Looking From the Outside
We judge peoples relationships too harshly. We don’t know how they fight, how they resolve issues, how they compromise. We don’t know their circumstances, their values, their hopes and dreams and fears. We don’t know why some couples are happy while some are miserable. We know very little about what goes on behind the scenes.
All we can do is acknowledge that they are together for a reason.
3. Marriage is Faith
I believe that marriage in an important institution. I believe in it so strongly I legally uphold it by law.
But to some people the notion that you’re going to be together - just you and this other person for the rest of your life - is insane.
And it is. Not marriage, but this notion. This notion that only one person is perfect for you and that they complete you forever. That’s not how marriage works.
The reality is that circumstances change and as you grow older, you grow wiser too. You will learn that marriage is not for those without conviction. Because the person who risks nothing, does nothing and has nothing.
All we know about the future is that it’ll be different.
2. There’s No Such Thing as ‘The One’
This is the perhaps the biggest of the puzzle pieces I discovered – that you’re not perfect for anyone. Compatibility has less to do with a happy marriage than you may think.
People yearn to find The One as if they’re somewhere out there and all you have to do is find them to live happily ever after. That’s not how it works.
For example, people in Australia shy away from the idea of an arranged marriage because it takes away freedom of choice in your partner. But I’ve discovered that you have far less options than you’re aware of. This too shall be discussed in another article.
My point is, you don’t have to be perfect for each other to be happy.
1. There’s No Secret to a Happy Marriage
Do you honestly think the secret to happiness can be read in a BuzzFeed or Elite Daily article? Please.
I know way too many people who want to be happy all the time, as if they’re afraid of their other emotions. They want to constantly feel like they're eating something delicious or playing with puppies or owning a new pair of shoes.
But that’s not how happiness works. So you can’t expect marriage to work like that either.
Marriage isn’t easy. Life is complicated. All you can do is be there for your partner. Look them in the eye and tell them, ‘I don’t want to do this with anyone else but you.’
That's how you know.
Jak Nguyen is a Melbourne Marriage Celebrant with over a decade of experience in the wedding industry. Connect on Facebook and hit that 'Like' button!
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