On Marriage

This post is solely dedicated to my sister.  She’s going through some growing pains.  She is slowly but surely becoming the odd woman out; the last of the “single” girls.  She is currently in a relationship, but it is in the early stages with its own complications, further distancing her from her core group of girlfriends.  So Tizz, this one is for you.

Marriage is the union of two people, for better or worse, in sickness and health, until death do you part.  When you do get married, make sure it is for the right reasons.  Don’t do it because anyone other than the two of you said to do it (or not do it).  This is for real, for the long haul, so make sure you choose wisely.

When you get to that point know this, marriage is whatever you want it to be.  If you want to be the stereotypical domestic goddess, subservient wife, then more power to you.  If you want a passionate, 50 Shades of Gray type marriage, that’s great too (just don’t tell Mom and Dad)!  If you want to fill your house with ten kids and become the ultimate Mom and Dad, then perfect!  Whatever you decide, make sure you are both on the same page.

There are some key concepts to keep in mind once you do get married.  Two individuals came into this union, and marriage doesn’t mean that your individuality vanishes.  You are always entitled to your own friends, your own personal time and your own opinions.  Just because you are a permanent couple doesn’t mean that you give up the couple of decades of you being you.  Your life is not over when you get married.  It’s really just beginning.

When (or if) the kids come, the foundation of your relationship will be rocked to the core.  You hear people make comments all the time about how much stronger their marriage is now that they have children.  They are lying.  Despite the aggravations, the two of you came before your new bundle of joy and remembering you came first (both literally and figuratively) will keep your marriage in check.  Take advantage of the dozens of people who volunteer to babysit and go on dates or even vacations. And don’t feel guilty about doing either of those things.

Everyone should experience having children (a topic I will cover in another post), but if you cannot have them, do not let the lack of parenthood define you or your relationship.  Buy a nice car, fill your house with a couple of sweet dogs and relish in the amount of money you will always have, vacations you can always take and the blessed time you will have with each other.

I got lucky. I met my best friend when I was 15, somehow convinced him that I was a catch, stole him away from another girl and nearly six and a half years after our first date, met him at the alter.  We’ve been together for over fourteen years, and our relationship isn’t perfect.  There are days I want to send him back to that other girl, but we make up for those days with interesting conversation, doing things we love to do and a lot of laughs.  I can only hope that you are as lucky as I have been.  I managed to nab a man who is a caring, thoughtful, hilarious husband, a fun, loving, attentive father and he also happens to do laundry, cook and vacuum.

Marriage is hard.  It may be the toughest job (save being a parent) you will experience.  But at the end of the day, it is worth it and will be one of the most wonderful, fantastic, rewarding decisions you ever make.  So ignore the haters, take your time and don’t screw it up : ).

I think this is my all time favorite picture : )

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November 5th

I realize that this is a little late as I would have liked to have posted this on the actual date, but today will have to be the day…

1998:  At the regional cross country meet in Newport News park, I have the whole thing planned out in my head.  I am going to walk up to the starting line and tell the boy that I have been fawning over for nearly a year that “yes” I will be his girlfriend (after he had asked me in a note two days earlier) then kiss him on the cheek.  Instead I shyly walk up to him and say “yes” and he kisses me on the cheek.  It is official, I am dating Brad Sorgen.

1999:  We celebrate our anniversary by going out to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town where Brad presents me with a gorgeous yellow gold dolphin ring.  We then go to see a movie and hold hands the entire time.  Although college is looming, it isn’t something that we are thinking about much, yet.

2000:  Brad is on a cross country scholarship at Radford and I am figuring things out at Virginia Tech.  We aren’t really long distance, but aren’t really in the same town.  He gets us a hotel room for the occasion and we went to a nice Italian restaurant in Radford which had such heavily garliced food that if we weren’t 18, we wouldn’t have been able to be in the same room together.  We have a very rare night together with no roommates and it is nice to hang out just the two of us.  College has had its challenges, but we’re coping for the most part.

2001:  Brad and I go out to dinner at the fine dining restaurant on campus.  It is a Monday night, so we can only do so much, but we still get dressed up and have a nice meal together.  He’s at Tech now, we even have a class together, and it is so nice to be able to walk to his dorm to see him.  We still don’t spend every waking minute together, but now if we want to have dinner together, he’s just a ten minute walk away and in my carless existence, that’s something to be thankful for.

2002:  Tuesdays are our busiest day of the week.  I have classes from 12pm until 10pm with only a 45 minute break to get dinner.  I try to get through the day as quickly as possible, being so excited with giving Brad his gifts and being able to breathe after I was done with our last class of the day which we had together.  I have been getting weird comments all day.  One girl told me that my room looked so cool.  Another person asked Brad some strange question on our way up to his dorm room after class.  Five minutes after we got up to his room, he gives me something he has written and when I look up at him, he has gotten down on one knee.  Back at my room, my door is decorated by one of my residents, the entire room is full of streamers, confetti, bridal magazines, flowers and balloons.  We are going to get married!

2003:  I have Wednesdays off, so I spend most of my morning working on a scrapbook and getting all of the pieces and pages bound.  We celebrate by going to a Japanese restaurant and the bartender comps our drinks because we tell him it is our anniversary.  I wear my engagement ring with pride and can’t believe that we’ve already been engaged for a year.  Graduation is ahead of us, neither of us have any job prospects or have a clue where we are going to live.  We are enjoying our last couple of months of college and lack of responsibility.

2004:  Brad is gone Monday thru Thursday every week for his job.  We are living together and have adapted to his crazy work schedule.  I am working for my dad’s advertising agency and spending evenings and nights to myself, so we really look forward to the weekends.  We go out to dinner to celebrate our last anniversary before we get married in April.  We choose The Melting Pot and when the waiter brings our tray of dessert, there is a wrapped present on it.  It is a beautiful diamond pendant.

2005:  We are in Blacksburg for the game against Miami.  It is one of the biggest games of the year and we are trying to recreate the same exact game experience we had two years earlier when we crushed them.  We meet my sister there and crash in one of our friends’ rooms.  We spend the weekend visiting our favorite Blacksburg haunts and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.  We lost badly, but we still have a fantastic time.  We are newlyweds with a new house and limited time together, but we’re doing ok.  I enjoy my free time and Brad enjoys his job.

2006:  I sleep in, wake up and read the paper and enjoy a cup of coffee, then we run errands to the bank, Costco and Best Buy because Brad has saved up enough gift cards to purchase an Xbox 360 and he spends the entire day playing on it and figuring it out.  He makes us enchiladas for dinner and we have a relaxing Sunday.

2007:  Brad leaves early in the morning to head to Philly, which is where he has been working for months and will probably continue to work for years due to so many contracts in the area.  I’m working at a new place.  Our agency closed over the summer and now I’m on the selling side of what I used to do.  I spend the day attending our sales meeting, going out to lunch with one of my new coworker friends, coming home, fixing dinner and finishing reading a book.  We’ve been discussing getting a dog to keep me company while Brad is on the road and to see if I can keep something with a heartbeat alive.  We’ve settled on a Westie, and we are slowly starting our search for one.

2008:  I sleep in, opting not to work out because I was up late the night before.  As usual I’m running late and Brad is out of the door a whole ten minutes before me (typical).  He’s working down the street from our house and is only gone two months out of the year, rather than every week.  We have a dog named Foster who we completely dote over.  After work we have leftovers for dinner, take Foster for a walk and enjoy a glass of wine.

2009:  Brad is out of town and will probably be out of town this time of year for as long as he works at his current company because there is a huge trade show going on at the end of October through the beginning of November.  I don’t mind it though, I spend the night picking up mac and cheese and wine from Target for dinner and watch a movie I’ve been wanting to watch and thoroughly enjoy watching with Foster curled up next to me.  We’re starting to talk about trying to have a baby.  The baby bug has bitten me hard, and although I want it to be a stress free process, it’s just about all I can think about all day, every day.  Maybe one day I’ll be more excited and not so worried.

2010:  Brad’s parents pick me up from my parents’ house and bring me to the hospital in time for me to feed our week old baby.  He was early, so he’s still in the hospital, so I spend every waking moment up there with him.  It is the first time they will be able to hold him and they are both ecstatic.  I’m extremely frustrated because Chase keeps having bradycardia episodes, which is when he forgets to breathe when he’s eating.  I feel like I’m suffocating my own baby.  This is not a good day, but the nurses keep threatening me that he’s going to be discharged soon.  I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when I can hold him whenever I want to with no tubes, no wires and no monitors.

2011:  We’re spending the weekend in North Carolina with my grandparents.  Nana is not doing well.  She was diagnosed with leukemia this time last year and she’s been having less good days.  I don’t want to think about this being the last time that we see her, but that day is coming sooner rather than later.  Today Chase decides to start walking.  Not going one or two steps, going more like 10 or 12.  It is quite a sight to see, and he is proud of himself.  I am so happy that Nana gets to see him walk for the first time.  When I talk to Brad later that day I wish him a Happy Anniversary.

Brad, thank you for 13 glorious years.  Thank you for always being the one thing I can depend on.  For being my rock.  For loving me despite all of my flaws.  For being my shoulder to cry on.  For always keeping me smiling and laughing.  For being a fantastic father and blessing me with an equally fantastic child.  For these things and so much more.  I look forward to the next lucky 13 and beyond.