On engagement and where I've been.

3.16.2016


It has been exactly a month since my last post. And if I'm being honest, I have felt a weight on my shoulders of failing to keep up. So I am back to rawly express why, get over the hump and move forward. If there is one thing father has instilled in me all my life it's the truth that: "it is what it is and life moves forward". Amen to that. I'll run with it.

I've been dying to post about our living room makeover with a bunch of beautiful bright photos I took weeks ago (by the way, that post is still coming), but for a big reason I have not been able to bring myself to do it. Not yet. Excuses fly around in my head like, "I'm so busy", "I don't have time", "the reality is un-shareable", etc. But as I let this linger and my mind spin and spin, I realize now it's because it wasn't the truth or the genuine right thing to say next in my space here if I'm staying true to who I am. This whole blog is based on embracing the honest AND the beautiful, for whatever it's worth. My hope is that it is worth a lot and is just one more resounding voice out there saying "we aren't all perfect, all the time - and that OKAY" — something that is seldom advertised. Why, after a full steam ahead start to this blog, did I go MIA here for a month? I keep asking myself that. At first it was feelings of failure, of not being "good enough", of wondering if I did the right thing. Reality is, life is full. As I've shared vaguely in past posts, I'm in an intense phase of growth in life right now and have been for a while. What has been holding me back is a deep need to share our story here. Because it's the honest reality and such a huge part of what informs my life and our life together. You seldom hear or see more than the highlights of peoples lives. I am here to shed light on more than just polished perfection. In this moment I'm putting aside everything it is that I am telling myself to prevent me from sitting down to write and going for it.

I have to remind myself, I am only (newly) twenty five years old. At the wee age of twenty two I graduated college, started a career as a designer, signed a lease on a condo, moved in with Derek, experienced the labor of love it took to assimilate our lives together for the first time under one roof, gave it my all to start a side freelance business (RIP Salt River), and learned the hard way that it was not my calling in life. At twenty three we moved out of our condo, into my gracious (soon to be) in-laws basement, signed a mortgage and bought a house. We renovated our house new ourselves, moved into the house, adopted a dog, adjusted to Derek's job change and once again, endured the process it took to come to grips with the reality of being young homeowners and what that meant for the commitment of our relationship. At twenty four, we experienced the highlight of our relationship thus far and got engaged. This was the beginning of fourteen months of planning the biggest day of our lives, our wedding day. Let me catch my breath. Whew.

We're young. I'm young. We are navigating this life we've created together carefully with our eyes and hearts wide open as we are learning and growing every step of the way as individuals and most importantly, together. We don't have all the answers. We learn a lot of things the hard way. But we learn. We lean deeply into family and those who have been here before for guidance. We never for a second stop growing to be better than we were the day before, even if that means facing the hard stuff. After the new-ness of being engaged wore off, reality was glaring us in the face. An engagement is not all pretty posed photos in fields, pinning to your Wedding Day Pinterest board, and choosing floral arrangements for your reception center pieces. Sure those are some of the most exciting aspects of it, but it's not reality. All of those things are fleeting. A wedding day is one day. A marriage is a lifetime. To spend an entire span of engagement only planning for one day, is naive. When the "Congratulations!" comments on our Instagram photos of the big moment of Derek proposing to me were in the past, it was time to focus on what was ahead of us. A marriage.

We have such lofty goals and aspirations for our life and (someday) family together. We recognize that right here and now is the foundation for it all. The spring board, if you will. We knew, that if we wanted to have the healthiest and most prospering marriage we had to take a huge step. We had to address every last thing we had on our minds, ask the tough questions, share our whole hearts. This is simply how our story unfolded. We took a huge bite at life together and at times it was hard to chew. But we chewed and chewed and chewed until together we could take a big gulp and finally breathe the fresh air on the other side. Metaphors are how I process...apologies if that only made sense to me.

I had to let go of the expectation of what engagement was going to be like based on what I'd seen on tv, in movies and on social media. I had to let it be what it was going to be. What it needed to be. Though sometimes difficult, I would not trade our experience for the world. It's been a blessing in disguise, if you will. We both approach our engagement as our own unique experience, as everyone should. The comparison of what you "think" your engagement should look like will only distract you from the what is truly your own. And your own is beautiful, it's yours. For us, this happened to be the time in our life and our relationship for us to experience a huge growth spurt. It was not easy or perfect. But it has become the single most rewarding experience we've ever had together. It has given us clarity on who we are as individuals and how that fits into our relationship as a couple. It has drawn us closer. It has helped us establish who we are, once and for all, as a couple. We stand strong as a team. We respect one another the way a (soon) husband and wife are meant to respect one another. With all of that said, we do not claim to have it all figured out. We will forever have a lifetime of things to learn, who doesn't? However, we now have a deep level of understanding, acceptance, respect, commitment and most importantly love, as a base to start our life together as a married couple. A base we have been building since day one of our relationship. We saw value in going through this growth prior to saying "I do" so that we could start on our best and strongest foot possible. After already going through so many big life changes together before with little attention paid to preparing our relationship for such things, we learned (yep, the hard way!) that we did not want to be playing catch up after the fact. Not with something as huge, beautiful and momentous as marriage. This being the single most life changing journey we've embarked on together thus far, we took this hard learned lesson seriously. Now on the other side, we can confidently say that for us, we're better for it.

We've found ourselves drawing closer to one another and protecting our relationship like gold. Approaching new and familiar situations with a refreshed approach. Surrounding ourselves with quality over quantity. Spending time with family and friends in situations where we can give them our all. Building one another up so we can achieve what we want together and individually. Saying yes to what serves us best and no to what does not. Slowing down. Taking time to listen to one another by responding instead of reacting. Making habits when it comes to our health of holding one another accountable to exercising and eating healthy. And most important to us in this moment: cherishing the phase of life we are in. Specifically this wildly unique and short several months that is our engagement.

THIS is why I've been distant here. This has all been my reality. And in a space where I am preaching the importance of putting the un-perfect on a pedestal, it did not feel right to only continue posting pretty photos of our living room when something with much more depth and relevance has been on the forefront. This has not been the easiest or most natural thing to share as I'm quite private when it comes to things as personal as this. But, my hope is that our story sheds an honest yet heart warming light on the matter. As for my lack of time, that is indeed a true factor and not just an excuse. However, it's been a choice. At the end of the day and on weekends when I'm done working out, maintaining our home, tending to wedding planning needs or social obligations – my focus is on quality time with Derek. We're in such a sweet and pivotal spot in our relationship it's a high priority to focus on one another right now. This trickles down to the blog in that if it means posting slightly less frequently than I'd like, I would much rather take the time I do have to create quality posts instead of a large quantity of substance-less content.

Having now gone through this, I so believe that marriage does not start the day you say your vows to one another but rather the day that you say "Yes!" to the most incredible question you'll ever be asked: "Will you marry me?". Engagement is a time of excitement, preparation, celebration, decisions, pretty dresses and flowers, emotional growth, emotions in general, balance, reality checks, delicious food tastings and most importantly love. Sweet love, tough love, courageous love, tender love. All the love. I encourage every engaged couple to enjoy fulfilling your wildest wedding planning dreams but do so without forgetting to put the prime focus on preparing for the most important part of it all: your marriage.

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