I’m on a roadtrip with my friends Barb and Paul. We’re winding around the mid-west with their new RV as our focus. We’re proving to be persistent hunters. It’s proving to be a bit elusive! There have been problems to solve, but we’re going to the source.
This has been a wonderful journey for a newly wed and a wedding priestess. Here they are with all these very real obstacles: you can’t ride in a motor home in your wheel chair if you can’t lock in; it’s hot; handicapped accessible rooms that aren’t; they’re both tired from a lot of traveling, barb’s pain-level hovers constantly near intolerable, and obtw, this camping thing is something they’re excited about, but will have lots of challenges. All of their skills are being tested. And you know what? They’re thriving.
They get nervous, they find a solution. So far, I haven’t seen those solutions include flare-ups between them. They have different skill sets, different levels of curiousity about different things. And they’re coping. They’re holding on to the dream of how exciting it is and making it all work. And when we get back into the car to go to the next place they’re laughing and affectionate.
Now I know them, I know they’re human. I’m sure there are gripes and snipes that they’re not sharing with me (another learning point!) But this project has been by starts and turns exciting, disappointing, worrying, overwhelming. And they’re having an adventure. And they’re doing it all with me there.
It’s a privilege. and it’s funner than lots of things I’ve done recently!
Tip: there’s no reason to take your stress out on one another. Solving problems can make you happy and better connected. And going off on adventures is a great way to build and polish your skill set — and have a great time! This is marriage building! Try it, you’ll like it!
I think too many wedding photos focus on the joy (and joy’s not a bad thing!) but somehow miss the other astonishing feelings that run through the brides and grooms on their wedding days.
But what about the disbelief? the desire, the awe, the trepidation, the commitment? All those things you feel on your wedding day, you want represented in your album. If you did that, those photos would remind you every time you looked at them, not only how incredibly happy you were to be married, but what you felt for one another as you made your wedding vows. Those reminders can keep you actively involved in your wedding vows and your marriage.
Tip: Go read my article on what to whisper to one another during your photos and make your photos a true reflection of your wedding day.
I’m not sure how it happens. But I hear from too many couples that it does. One moment you’re thrilled, holding hands and marrying the love of your life. The next moment you’re both embroiled in wedding planning and there’s no time to be lost cooing sweet nothings in one another’s ear.
Nonsense! You need to make time during the big rush to the big day to carve outout time for yourselves. You need to take walks, go to dinners, grab a drink, take a bike ride, go for a picnic and NOT talk about the wedding. You might not even want to talk about your marriage, which The Wedding Priestess is always bugging you to do. You might just want to have a good time.
Tip: Marriage is not a project, it’s an adventure. There’s plenty of hard work, to be sure, but there’s lots of wonderful things to experience. Make sure you make time to build fun and wonderful memories. Wedding Planning should not be that stretch in your life where you did nothing but make decisions about colors and tulle vs chiffon. It should be about building your love!
The New York Times is running a series entitled State of the Unions. It’s taking a look at their society wedding couples and seeing how their marriage went. The first video is of Susan Layton and Bill Palmer, who married 15 years ago. It’s positively wonderful to hear them talk of their successful marriage.
Tip: Go take a listen here!
The image you chose as a metaphor
8. should support the wedding vows you are making.
You don’t need to have it in the vows, but the picture the image offers helps everyone to understand why you are offering those specific promises.
Your vows should be written from your strengths, values and talents. They should shore up those areas of your relationship that are not perhaps inately your best talents. Your metaphor should help everyone envision the work you are undertaking. It should be a talisman throughout the years to remind you of the work you are doing… and the joy you have in making these commitments.
Tip: The stronger the identification you can make with a metaphor, and the more frequently the image appears in your life, the more support it will offer your marriage. It will also remind your community to support you whenever they see the image show up and they make the connection to your promises to one another.
The image of a metaphor is strengthened if
7. it is somewhat common.
You want to reinforce the notion that love is ubiquitous and that your relationship thrives in the every day. Marriage, after all is an every day activity. The metaphor you choose to illustrate your love in your wedding ceremony should be frequently encountered.
If something is too exotic in your life, then your chances of encountering it are slimmer. You loose the reinforcement that common activities offer. So using an image that involves the life-cycle of a camel if you live in Rhode Island, even if it can be made gloriously beautiful, is not going to provide the daily reinforcement that the tides of the sea or the changing of the seasons might.
Tip: Choose a metaphor to describe your relationship that has value and frequency in your life. Then it can be something more than poetic beauty, it can be a marital aid.
Metaphors work best
6. When there is an activity that accompanies it.
Food you eat, things you plant, water you spill out. These allow the image to settle in more deeply.
The more common the images, the more they will be reinforced in our daily lives. The more they’re reinforced in our daily lives, the greater the meaninng they will have in our marriages.
Tip: choose a metaphor to describe your love that can be reinforced with a small activity. Use it in your wedding ceremony. For 3 weeks afterwards, do the action and think of the way you love one another. There you are, with your love for one another sealed into the sharing of bread, for the rest of your life.
What else is going to make a metaphor able to support you as time goes on?
5. The image should be comfortable.
You want an image that will settle into your hearts and psyches and provide an a continual glow to renew your connection with your wedding day.
Metaphors that work are simple, attractive and don’t unsettle you. They should invite you. If your love is like a warm blanket, then every time you and your beloved get into bed and pull a particular blanket up over you, perhaps a coverlet you received as part of your wedding gifts, you’re reinforcing the image you generated at your wedding. All of the blessings of the marriage bed are in that simple action of pulling up the covers.
Tip: Find an image to use that will serve you into the life of your marriage. Choose a metaphor that will become more rather than less comfortable. Something that will wear in, rather than out, as it gets more use.
Metaphors work, as I’ve pointed out. But what you want is for them to work well. You’re looking for them to help out your marriage. So, choose a metaphor that will help you.
4. The image should be “contagious” and appealing. It should be something that people can understand quickly.
Hallmark does so well because it uses metaphors that appeal to us. Your job is to find something that appeals specifically to you, but is completely graspable by your community.
Part of the lovely nature of metaphor is that it takes something complex and simplifies it for us. OH, your love is like a game of tennis between two friendly and seasoned competitors. Good volleys, interesting shots, as much interest in an enjoyable game as in winning the point. (No, really, there are people like that!)
Tip: Find a metaphor that is attractive. Something you would want in your life on a daily basis. Something simple you can work with on a daily basis and then let it help you grow a great marriage.
You want metaphors that last through time because you want your marriage to last through time. Therefore:
3. The image should be enduring.
Even flowers have cycles. So build an image that includes the cycles, the fragility and the strength that lie behind the blossom.
So if you’re going to talk about a rose, don’t just talk about the blossom. Remember what Linda Ronstadt’s song said: “Love is a rose, you’d better not pick it, it only grows when it’s on the vine. Handful of thorns and you know you’ve missed it, lose your love when you say the word mine.”
Tip: If you’re going to use something like a rose, use the bush, rather than the cut flower. Celebrate the way the flower blossoms and then turns inside during winter. You can find stuff to work with here that will make your wedding ceremony sparkle and your marriage sizzle.