Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Honest Life & Challenges

I will be honest, I have not been fully wedding-imersed this past week. The biggest things I've done are go to a bridal show this past Sunday (which was mostly just for something to do because I have all my vendors except hair and makeup) and selecting photos for the slideshow.

What's really been on my mind? Oh you know, that thing that happens when the wedding is over and you have a second ring on your finger...oh, right, marriage.

I've been nervous about posting this because I know this isn't a hot topic, at least when spoken about blatantly - the fact that we all have our ups and downs...that sometimes, it's not the fairytale, that us engaged couples, you know, the ones who are blissfully happy and smiley and sex crazy in the movies aren't actually living in that movie world.

Mr. P and I do not always live in that world. We've had excruciatingly hard times and truthfully, are still struggling even with getting married in 12 weeks. I know we are not the typical couple and that we've been through far more than the majority of other couples have at this point in their relationships. To give you a little insight without going into the nasty details (in chronological order):
  • Our relationship started out long distance
  • We found out his mother had stage 3 lung cancer
  • He quit his job, tried to start a business on his own and then could not move forward with it
  • After I graduated college, we moved to a new city without knowing anyone and moved in together
  • I began "real world" living during this time
  • We started having financial concerns
  • We got a puppy
  • He lost his job
  • We found out his father had stage 4 lung cancer
  • Within 3 days he moved to Atlanta and I quit my job
  • Within a month I joined him
  • We struggled more financially and emotionally while I waitressed and tried to figure out a different/new career path
  • I finally got a job
  • We started realizing our puppy had a food aggression problem
  • Our apartment got robbed and we lost everything valuable including family jewelry
  • We got engaged
  • His mother passed away
  • He took a second job and we finally started planning the wedding after being engaged for 5 months
  • We almost broke up
  • Our puppy bit both of us numerous times as his aggression problem became severe
  • Currently: His father has worsened and could pass soon, we're shelling out money for medication and training to give the puppy a proper chance and we still have some financial and personal struggles.

Wow, and that was without details or any of the little stuff along the way - I've never written that out before.

So why am I being so open with the intimate parts of my life?
Mr. P and I went to a Marriage Workshop 5 weeks ago. (I've been meaning to post a recap about it and will soon now after writing this.) But you know the one thing he said that I think helped him tremendously? That he realized it wasn't just us...that this very nice, quiet Jamaican guy with dreads and an accent who he probably had almost nothing in common with had similar problems with his fiance as he did with me. I wasn't offended about the problem that was mentioned, it wasn't a dealbreaker and was something I can work on. What was nice to hear was that he didn't feel completely alone, isolated, weird about having problems or issues within our relationship. It seemed like a relevation for him. Like, even though it seems obvious that we're all people and it happens, especially to people who have had to overcome so many hardships within only 2.5 years, it wasn't so apparent.

It's almost embarassing really to talk about these things, even with your family and friends sometimes. I think sometimes it's even harder to talk to those people who you care about most because you actually care what they think and value their opinions. Trust me, I know...and I haven't opened up to my own family and friends about every little thing.

Mr. P came across this article on MSN: 7 Scary Truths About Getting Engaged. Some of the truths are a little silly, as MSN articles can sometimes be, but Scary Truth #5 & #7 seemed to me like they'd really hit home with the majortiy of couples (and maybe #6 if you have not lived together yet.)

'Little Signs "We're Not Meant to Be" Start Cropping Up' - wow, somebody said it. I'd been thinking about it, call it 'pre-wedding jitters' whatever you want, but some people do think about it. Now, I don't personally believe the examples given in the article are particularly good ones, but the concept was there, out in the open. Wow. Okay...I'm not alone in this. The fact that Mr. P doesn't take the dogs out right when I ask him to and that he leaves the kitchen filthy are NOT dealbreakers. Chill out. It's funny how all the little things can ball up and make a really big thing. Now, I'm not discounting our past or current more serious issues...oops, I mean "challenges" as Mr. P likes to say ("issues" sounds bad he says lol,) but what if you did discount ALL of the little things...and I mean ALL??? Nothing could snowball. You would literally only be able to have attention on a challenge that actually was very important to you and your relationship and none of the other little items would be in your or his mind snowballing to create a seemingly worse off situation.

So, I've been thinking about life, marriage, the real world lately. Helping my relationship continue to grow and changing certain things for the better are things I've been trying to concentrate on. While I love practically everything wedding including all the planning (and of course it's still something that is there in the back of my mind,) I believe it needs to take a back seat if you know there are more important things for your mind to wander to and for yourself to take action to. And you know what? I've genuinely been significantly happier the past few days from doing this - the things I know I can easily do/not do to better our relationship which better prepares us for marriage which overall makes life happier for both of us, currently and for later on.

The purpose of this post: Well, let's be honest, sometimes the point of a personal blog is that you have a place to put your thoughts and your vents. And also, if I could reach anyone out there who has had similar feelings or situations in their relationships and engagements, then that's worth it. Knowing that there are other REAL people out there NOT in fairytale land, sex crazy and smiley 24/7 is SO refreshing and comforting. And I really realized that when Mr. P commented on the nice Jamaican whose fiance had a similar unlikeable trait as me and he realized he was not the ONLY one out there.

P.S. I know this post was a little all over the place, but I hope it did at least make sense overall.


Heidi said...

Great post! Thanks for being so honest! It sounds like you guys have great communication and that can go a long way!

When I start to have "unhappy wedding" thoughts, I always seem to find someone who feels the same way! So, know that you are not alone!

TwinsanityMom said...

That is definitely one way to help yourself feel better, get it out!!! That is what I have started to do with my blogging too. If there is a problem I usually clam up and don't want to talk to anyone about it but it is starting to get easier to put it out there in cyberland and get it out of my head. It makes letting go of the little things that can become big things easier. I really think though that it is great that you and your fiance are working through your rough patchs now. Lots of people go into marriages thinking everything is going to be like it was on the honeymoon only to find out its not, especially if they haven't lived together before. Figuring things out now will definitely help you solidify your marriage. The things you learn now will help you deal with all the bumps in the road later on...just wait til you add kids to the mix! If you ever need anything let me know, I'm not exactly an old pro but I'm certainly not a newlywed either. Good luck and relax!

E said...

So I found your blog last night but didn't have a chance to read this post until now. And I love it. I know that may not be the "right" words but I recently went through a huge depression and had the doubts, and questioned everything and my wedding isn't for another 6 months. But my friends mom whom I am very close with gave me a book that isn't the kind of book that you give to a girl who is newly engaged and so, so excited about everything "24/7" it is the kind of book you give to someone when their about to leave, move, quit - give up. I'm not done with the book yet BUT when I am I want to give it to another bride to be that is having a tough time and isn't afraid to say it - and of course to someone who really wants to read it. The book is called "The Conscious Bride" by Sheryl Paul and i checked amazon you can get a used one for 1 penny and pay $3.99 shipping so you can get it for $4 which is a good deal, great deal. And it is a great book that talks about everything. What you may be feeling, family situations growing up, current family and living situations, etc.

E said...

Also, a great movie that I recently watched (well, & read the book) Fireproof. I'm sure that you and your FH wuld love it. So you should for sure rent it or buy it!

K @ Blog Goggles said...

I love this post. Great to reality check ourselves every once in a while. I'm going to read the '7 scary truths' now!

Once A Bride said...

The truth of it is, there is no perfect relationship. YOu have been through so much and that's what life is about. Having a partner that you want beside as you go through life's rollar coaster is what marriage is all about. We all have our moments.... :)

Jenn said...

Your insight is incredible, and you've been through so much already! If you made it this far and are still standing, imagine what other accomplishments you're capable of together. It's a decision we all make...whether to accept that our relationships aren't perfect, and in the end it's that mentality and understanding that it's WORK and not all play that keeps couples together for the long haul. Thank you for your honesty! :)

Tenille said...

I really appreciate your honesty. After seven and a half years with my guy, our relationship is definitely not roses but what we do have is worth fighting for. So I gets yous. ;P You're in my thoughts.