This one goes out to all of my friends who are in a relationship, engaged, or married.
Don’t stop dating.
As all of you probably know, Ryan and I are engaged and we are getting married in October. You probably also know that planning a wedding is stressful…but oh man, it is so stressful. I didn’t know it would be this hard. There are so many things that go into planning a wedding! From figuring out exactly what you want for decorations, to narrowing down a guest-list to those that truly matter, to closely following your budget or trying to do as much as you can to stay under budget so that your wedding doesn’t end up costing an arm and a leg, to finding a dress that makes you feel beautiful, to getting all of your vendors booked early so you don’t have to worry about not being able to find one last minute, and on and on and on.
I am a do-er. I like to make to-do lists and be productive and get as much done as possible. I kind of have to be that way with being as busy as I am and being on a very tight schedule. But with planning a wedding, you can’t just figure it all out in one day. And this frustrates me.. but I’ve been learning to be patient and take one thing on at a time. I’ve also been a stressed out mess. I feel like I am constantly stressed and frustrated and annoyed and all I want to do is get this wedding done and over with so Ryan and I can start our life together. And (honest moment) I’ve been taking some of my frustrations out on him. And I feel awful about it. I’ve apologized time and time again for my attitude or if I accidentally snap at him for simply asking a question… but I don’t feel any better about it. Even though, most times, I can’t help it. It just happens.
This is where the “don’t stop dating” part comes into play. I’ve been so busy with school, work, trying to graduate and find a job/place to live after graduation, fraternity stuff, household chores….both of us have been dealing with car problems.. and we’ve been trying to plan this wedding. But this weekend, Ryan and I finally had some time to ourselves. It felt like we hadn’t had time like this in forever. Which is probably because I’ve been coming home every-other weekend for pre-marital counseling and we’ve been trying to spend some time with our parents and we’ve also been super busy with trying to get some wedding things figured out. (Currently, trying to find a wedding dress for the special day).
While we did do some wedding/future planning things this weekend, we also just spent time together and did things we enjoyed doing, together. We decided to make this weekend a “date weekend”. We went our for breakfast (our favorite thing to do), took a couple of naps, went for a ride in his new truck, met with my professor about our upcoming Ireland trip, went to a Dubuque Fighting Saints (hockey) game, enjoyed dinner at a Japanese steakhouse, went to the Creative Adventure Lab to channel our inner children and play with some legos and a life-size Lite Brite, we got dressed up and went out for a late Valentine’s Day fancy dinner, went out with some of my friends on Saturday night, and on Sunday we went and registered at a couple of stores! I count the registering as part of our date weekend because it was fun, and it was exciting to think about how much closer we are getting to being married and living together.
However, I did notice that when we were doing wedding related things (like finishing addressing our Save The Dates so that those can get sent out and registering for gifts), I tended to get really frustrated towards the end of it…just wanting to get it done and over with. Isn’t planning a wedding supposed to be fun???
I am so so so very thankful for Ryan and his patience with me. I will be the first to admit that my attitude can get nasty when I am stressed/annoyed/upset about something and the fact that he is so patient with me and still loves me just the same as before I snapped at him for something that most-likely wasn’t even his fault absolutely blows my mind. Part of me feels like I don’t deserve such a loving and caring man. But I know in my heart that this is the man that God had intended for me all along.
Spending time together this weekend and “going on dates” and forgetting about all of the other things going on in life for a little while to just enjoy time with each other really helped. It reminded me of why I am marrying this man. It reminded me of all of the little things I love about him. It reminded me why we are putting up with and going through all of this stress of planning a wedding.. It reminded me of what it was like before all of this wedding planning stress was put on our shoulders. It reminded me of just how much Ryan does love me. It reminded me that it’s all going to be okay and it’ll all be worth it in the end because we will be married and spending forever together.
So, my advice to you is don’t stop dating. It is so easy to get caught up in the stress and the busyness of everyday life. But take the time to focus on your significant other. This includes putting your phone away. Stop checking emails and texts and trying to be productive while you’re out with him/her. Focus on them and having a good time and I promise you will not be disappointed. Sometimes we need these little reminders of just how lucky we are to have somebody that we love so much and that loves us in return. I’m not saying you have to go out and spend a bunch of money either. It could be something as simple as watching your favorite movie together, going for a walk, or going out for dinner..even cooking dinner together at home! It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you can do it together and enjoy each other’s presence!
Don’t stop dating. It’s worth it.