November 2, 2015

Marriage: The Changes 5 Years Bring

A and I are celebrating five years of marriage this month. Looking back, I am amazed at how much our lives have changed in that relatively short time. We've been through pretty much every life-changing event at least once since we got married.

We started out the life changes with our wedding at an old inn up in the mountains of Virginia. The autumn colors are beautiful there. The ceremony was outdoors overlooking water and all the gorgeous colors. Originally, we were thinking of getting married in May. That changed once we both realized that time of year is already hot and we both aren't fans of the heat. The only thing that had been keeping us from getting married in the fall was that we thought it would be too soon. We had also yet to find a wedding location that had all the charm, history, uniqueness and beauty we wanted.

I stumbled upon the venue while searching online and found that they would do most of the work for us. All we'd need to do is tell them what we like, help make some choices, test out cakes, pick a caterer, figure out special touches, and they'd take it from there. There was even an entire bed and breakfast for us, our officiant and our parents (on another floor!) to stay at for the weekend. How could we pass that up?! I've always adored historic locations and wanted an outdoor wedding with the reception indoors, so it was perfect!

Both A and I have the same favorite colors, purple and blue, so our color scheme was deep blue and purple to match up with fall. Hearts completed our theme. A water fountain provided added backdrop for the ceremony. Roaring fireplaces warded off the chill during the reception. Tons of music was incorporated for the whole day. If there was an opportunity to work in a song, I took it. And the cake was amazing! Our day was small and intimate with about 30 guests. Neither of us wanted something huge.

The next morning, we had a delicious breakfast back at the venue with family and close friends. After, we took off to finally have some time alone to relax after all the craziness that is a wedding. We honeymooned in a log cabin with a hot tub out in the middle of nature, toured wineries, spent a few more days at an old bed and breakfast buried in the woods, toured historic places, sat together by the fire, and just enjoyed our time together.

Two years later, after a long time of trying, M2 joined us. Life change number two! Her eventual autism spectrum disorder is another life change we're still coming to grips with. After she was born, we decided that we needed to make big changes in our lives. Where we were living no longer made us happy. The major metro area was sucking the life out of us with the cost of living, crowds, stress, jobs whose commute gave us little choice of where to live because they were so far apart, crazy traffic and stressful lifestyle. With all those combined, I realized I'd have little time to spend with M2 or even A as our work schedules didn't match up. M2 would rarely have her whole family together. We'd also be spending almost all my salary on daycare and living in a townhouse we hated. For us, it wasn't worth it.

Moving across the state and moving farther north were both considered. In the end, we came to the conclusion that the way to go was moving across the state to be out in the country where life was slower, the skies were open, views were majestic, traffic was less insane, crowds weren't boxing us in, we'd be able to own a home, M2 would have a yard to play in and we'd have plenty of family time.

The move led to the next major life change -- my career. I went from an office job as a writer and editor with a health care company to working for myself. Having the flexibility to set my own schedule and work around my life, rather than having my life around work, has been amazing. It's meant I get to see my children grow up and don't feel like I'm missing out on what's important in life.

That takes us to another life change -- Baby 2 joined our family almost a year ago. Seeing him grow has been amazing. He is so different from M2. Growing up, I had a sister and no brothers so my experience with boys is limited. I'm learning fast with this guy and loving every minute of it! He is an amazing little guy.

All of these changes have been stressful for us and for our marriage. Life changes have a habit of being like that. Not all the changes were happy ones, though. Almost a year before Baby B was born, we lost A's mom on Christmas. She was diagnosed with cancer just before Thanksgiving. Neither of us expected to lose her so quickly. Baby B is named in her honor. M2 likely won't remember her, but at least we have pictures of her with A's mom that she'll be able to see when she's older. This year, A's job changed unexpectedly which has created stress and uncertainty in other ways.

What all these changes have shown me the past five years of marriage is that you never truly know where life will take you. My life isn't the same as I'd imagined it'd be five years ago when I first took my wedding vows. Life and marriage won't always be easy. It won't always be fun. Both will give you great memories and experiences, if you allow it to happen. As any couple does, especially with so many major life events happening in a few years, we've had our ups and downs. No person or marriage is perfect. We've stuck together though, worked through the downs and enjoyed the ups. Marriage isn't about a fairy tale wedding. Heck, it's not a fairy tale at all. It's the day-to-day, year-to-year, everyday life and commitment to each other that makes a marriage what it is. I'm glad that A and I started this life together up in the mountains as the crisp fall air was around us and the trees showered down red, gold and brown leaves onto the lake glistening in front of us.

Through everything, I've learned how important it is to have someone you can count on taking this ride with you. Having someone else by your side makes all those ups and down easier and more enjoyable. It makes life richer. The future brighter and more exciting. I'm looking forward to many more years together, memories to create and anniversaries to celebrate.

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  1. It is my anniversary month too!! :) Congrats on 5 years... I wish you both a lifetime of happiness! :)

  2. "...You never truly know where life will take you" <<-- THIS!!! So true. It looks like you have a beautiful life together. Congrats on 5 years! :) Thank you for sharing as part of the 2016 March Marriage Challenge!


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