Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.
~ Robert Browning
With less than two months until we get hitched, folks are asking me, “are you just going crazy with all the wedding planning?” Well, no, not really. Everything’s pretty much done logistically. My dress is being made, we know where we’re doing it and who will be there, how it will be documented, and what we’ll be eating afterwards at dinner. Because we chose simplicity over enslavement to tradition, and sustainability over lavishness and waste, there wasn’t a mile-long list to check off, leaving our bank accounts comfortable allowing us to go about regular life, making a living and enjoying the emergence of spring.
When the articles out there try to tell us that the median wedding costs is around $18,000, I laugh and feel sorry for anyone who thinks they have to pay that much just to tell each other “I do.” The pomp and circumstance of traditional weddings baffle me, as they always seem to be more about pleasing others rather than focusing on what’s most important – the declaration of love and commitment.
The biggest chosen expense for us is for our photographer and videographer. Everything else? Minimal. The memories of our words, the way we look at each other, and the celebration with friends is what I knew would mean way more than anything else. Wedding favors? (do I really need to buy everyone gifts?) Flower girls and ring bearers? (seems like a circus to me) Matching dresses that are the equivalent of a paper plate in it’s life expectancy? (not to mention continuing the theatrical production that is the traditional wedding) Buying meals for those we don’t even hang out with on a regular basis? Really? Our intent is to begin a chapter together as husband and wife, and start a life feeling good about where we are and where we’re headed. By saving our green and doing this in a way that is consistent with our philosophy about living simply and therefore sustainably, we come out on the other side as Mister & Miz with no regrets and a focus on what’s real.
And when we speak of what’s real, we think of what comes after that first day of the rest of our lives. So I asked a few friends on social media, what would their advice be for a long and happy life together? Here’s what they had to say…
Advice For a Happy Marriage
- “One simple rule: never stop dating each other.“
- “Keeping scores is a fruitless effort.”
- “I don’t always have to be right – or say it, even if I am.”
- “Always communicate….don’t assume’ he/she knows what you are thinking!”
- “Don’t sweat the small things. Don’t take your partner for granted. Greet them with a smile each time they come home and say I love you every time they leave. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.”
- “Keeping score can be useful, in a generalized way. Bad points accumulate from those impulse buys, the dirty towels, the squeezed-in-the-middle toothpaste tube … but get offset by making a favorite snack (at midnight!), doing the taxes, the footrub, the “sure, honey, watch football if you want”… we call them Divorce Points and Keeper Points. And both of us have our running totals. It’s a more concrete way to make sure you aren’t taking for granted, nor wallowing in your pet peeve.”
- “Respect for each other should be a given, not earned.”
And then my favorite…but not from a friend, but someone quite special…
“I thought I loved you, Ossie, when we got married, but as I see now, I was only in the kindergarten of the proposition. To arrive at love is like working on a double doctorate in the subject of Life.”
~ Ruby Dee