I can't believe it's been five years since Alex and I got married! Where does the time go? I've seen many of my couples go on to have a sense of settling down and maybe even having children, but somehow that still seems so distant for us. In the five years that we've been married, we've lived in 4 different homes, in 3 different states. I can't say that I ever imagined this to be the normal post-marriage lifestyle! I thought life would get slower... calmer... more relaxing.... more predictable... yet each year has brought about new surprises and big changes- always keeping me on my toes with running shoes on!
I'll be shooting a wedding out of town for a great couple on our anniversary date (Oct 18), but decided to carve out this weekend so that Alex and I could spend some much needed time together. Working from home is both a blessing and a curse - as I'm sure many people can agree. While I am technically home Tues-Thurs, I'm generally working around the clock just to keep everything moving forward since Fri-Mon are non-stop travel and shooting. The move this year has proven to be much more time consuming that previous moves for a lot of different reasons. One of which is that Massachusetts is a great state that likes to take care of its residents, which means tons of forms to fill out and hoops to jump through in order to be a responsible citizen and business owner. To all my friends in Michigan and Indiana - be thankful that things are easier than they could be! The boxes you saw in my moving post? Yeah, they're still there- and it kinda looks like some of them exploded in various places around the house, but that's a project I'm not planning to tackle until January- after I've taken care of my clients. Anyway, I digress..
One of my goals for this year was to make more time for my husband, family, and friends. Last year I pretty much neglected everyone that was important to me because I let my business consume me in a very stressful way. While I still have more work than time this year (which became unavoidable after moving in the middle of peak wedding season), I have made it a bigger priority to take time for family and friends, which has actually helped me be more productive and keep things in perspective better. I think the single biggest improvement this year is that my husband and I have made it a point to spend dinner together as often as possible, which is a big improvement from last year. Even if it's just an hour and we really don't talk about anything important during that time, it's a chance for us to do something relaxing together and to enjoy each other's company without a computer in between us. In the first few years of our marriage, he used to wish that I would go to bed on his sleeping schedule, but he's a morning person and I'm a night person - so I find it hard to sleep when my mind and body are still in the mood to be productive. It took a few years of debating this back and forth, but eventually he respected my need to work late into the night, which allowed me to spend an extra hour with him during his awake schedule. Of course I would love to be on the same sleeping schedule, but my biological clock still hasn't come around to that idea yet - then again, it's much easier when I'm not trying to cram in more work than I have time for, which is why a weekend for us to focus on each other is so important to the health of our relationship. On one hand it's kind of sad that it takes an Anniversary for it to happen, on the other hand, thank goodness for Anniversaries as a reminder that we need to spend some extended alone time together!
While this may seem like pretty personal information - I think all couples experience something like this that deals with a set of expectations they may have about how married couples are supposed to be together. Everyone is different and brings a different set of expectations to the relationship. Sometimes those expectations don't show up until you start living together, or until you have new jobs, or until you have children, but they're always there and you're always much better off if you spend a little time talking about your expectations with each other when something doesn't seem to be happening the way you thought it should, rather than banging your head against the wall wondering why or when the other person will get on the same page. Marriage isn't a contract you sign on your wedding day - it's a constant negotiation that requires a lot of hard work, compromise, and trust. After 5 years, Alex and I still don't have each other all figured out, but we do keep on trying to better understand one another and appreciate each other's point of view.
With every wedding I photograph, I also get a wonderful message and reminder of what marriage should aim to be. I think the last ceremony I photographed made a great point, by asking us to replace the words "love is" with "I am" in the very famous 1 Corinthian 13 passage, so that it would read like this....
I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, I do not boast, I am not proud. I am not rude, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered, I keep no record of wrongs. I do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. I never fail.
The kicker was this... if you read that and feel a little guilty that you aren't really good at some of those things- than you know what you need to work on- for yourself, and for your relationship. I think at some point in time I've felt that I wasn't enough of each one of those things, but I know that I'm not perfect and that it's a process of learning and growing- always striving to improve. I feel lucky to have Alex who also understands my good and bad, and who loves me anyway.
Each year Alex and I trade off planning our anniversary. This year it was my turn and I thought we'd combine two of our favorite things - Alex's love of Cheese (the groom's cake at our wedding was a wheel of Smoked Gouda- see above), and my love of all things Autumn. When it comes to those two things, what better place to go than Vermont (especially when it's such a short drive)! Sure enough, this is going to be peak timing for fall color in Vermont, and there's a Cheese Trail to help us navigate from farm to farm...
As of right now, we're just going to be spontaneous and see where the road takes us for the next few days. While there's sure to be cheese and fall color, I'm also hoping for a little hiking, apple picking, horseback riding, and it would be a dream come true if we did a hot air balloon ride (but Alex is not so fond of heights- so that one could remain a dream.) If you're following me on Twitter or on Facebook - I'm going to send updates with iphone pictures along the way. Alex and I are going to try to refrain ourselves from computer use in order to maximize our time together (VERY hard for both of us), so I will return any messages late Monday or Tuesday. Thank you so much for understanding while I try to be a better wife!! Special thanks to Andry Sander for preserving our wonderful wedding memories!!