Thank You, God, for my Husband

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When I first became a wife,  I would from time to time thank my husband for marrying me and saving me from Tinder and being “out there.” The state of marriage has been the most peaceful experience in my life. It has been one year and it has wholly been a good one. Some people say the first year is hard, but that has just not been our experience. If I had to name it, the worse thing about our marriage would be the Army, but that’s kind of like complaining about being short at this point. Just have to learn to adapt.

What I Love

  1. My husband and I laugh ALL the time! We had fun together when we were dating, but there’s something about being past the point of no return that has helped me to relax. That critical spirit is no longer at work trying to assess if he is the right one for me. If he wasn’t, he is now! We have so many inside jokes. If you have met my husband, you probably can’t imagine him telling a joke, but he can set me off for a whole evening.
  2. My husband LOVES to be around me! I thought I would have to give him space and boys’ time, but he NEVER seems to get tired of me.
  3. I loved that time of being obsessed with my husband. I was obsessed with being with him and making him happy. This was the first few months of me living with him. I’m still moderately obsessed with him, but I had to shift my focus to myself since my marriage also includes an aspect of singlehood. We have been married one year and have been apart for about 1/3 of it.
  4. I had no idea we would get so close! We were close before, obviously, but this is like my spirit partner now. When I am sad, he responds. When I am excited, I want him to be excited. His success is my success. I think about what he would think. I have cried more times this year than in the 2.5 years we were together because I know I’m safe now.
  5. I love when he’s up late watching sports and he wants me near him so I get ready for bed and go to sleep in his lap.

What I Laugh At

  1. Spencer is a super taster, which I feel tranfers into smells. Every IMG_1902now in then he’ll exclaim “did you fart???” and dramatically cover his nose with his shirt, then insist that I farted, when in fact I did not.
  2. I love when my husband emulates me getting sassy with my hand and neck working.
  3. If I jokingly do or say something irritating, he’ll say “don’t touch me for at least 90 seconds!!!” in his super melodramatic tone. If you know my husband, you probably think he’s kind of monotone, which makes this more hilarious to me.
  4. We were at the gym once and I was watching him on a machine, and he insisted that I stop staring at him. Then we argued about whether or not it was okay for me to stare at MY husband.

What I consider ‘Presh’

  1. Right after our wedding, we sat in our hotel room in bathrobes, eating pulled pork and watching TV . A commercial with a couple expecting a child came on and Spencer said, “that will be an interesting time for us.” It was so precious! But now he basically acts like he never said it, and acts like he doesn’t want children.
  2. When we were snorkeling in the Bahamas, Spencer held my hand as we peered under the water. He was holding my hand because he doesn’t really think I can swim and didn’t want me to float too far away, but it was romantic to me nonetheless!

 

What I’ve Learned

  1. The first battle I chose not to fight was the toilet seat. It was never a challenge when we were dating, but AS SOON as we got married (in the hotel room after the wedding) he began his defiance toward putting the toilet seat down. I reasoned with myself. If I expect him to put it down, he could expect me to put it up. I decided it was an unfair argument and dropped it. Now when women complain about their husbands not putting the seat down, I’m over here like, *smirk emoji* move on.
  2. I realized my husband and I will probably be married for a long time/ever so I probably don’t need to complain or correct him EVERY time he doesn’t something I don’t like. He’ll catch on at some point.
  3. In spite of what I just said, I also realized I can’t let everything go. Instead of being upset but trying to avoid a fight, it will serve our marriage to actually put the issue on the table so we can grow from it and stop hurting each other.
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  4. Another big change for me was that our conflicts are no longer about being right. They are about coming up with a solution and improving the outcome in the future. If my husband does something that upsets me, yelling at him or making him grovel isn’t going to improve the situation. Yeah sometimes we get caught up in emotions and try to express ourselves then, but most of the time waiting to have a discussion about whatever the issue is when we can be calm and inoffensive will yield a better outcome or even an apology. If I don’t get the apology I was looking for, I calmly state I want an apology and let it go. Sometimes I apologize and then am surprised with a reciprocal apology (even when I was wrong). The fact is, we have to work together to resolve our problems and having to be right is not a solution.

I didn’t realize how unconditionally I would be loved as a wife, but something about gaining twenty pounds, having chronically chapped lips, and no income has really proven to me that my husband married me for some imperceptible reason, like for what’s on the inside of me or something. I looove my husband, I love being married. As a matter of fact, being married has become to me the same as being a person. It is a concrete state of being for me. Yes, there are moments where I realize what I have signed up for as a military spouse and question it, but my husband redeems the whole experience.

FullSizeRender(12)One of the reasons we have had a good year is because we talked in depth about expectations and roles prior to the wedding. We were very serious going into our marriage because of the multiple divorces in our families. I suggest doing some sort of pre-marital counseling. We didn’t actually get to do sessions, but we did go through this thoughtful list of questions before the wedding, and I feel we were prepared for so many scenarios that come up in marriage because of it.  We also did the Prepare and Enrich program with a counselor from my small group last year that was helpful. We separately took an online assessment and then Greg met with us about the results. Unfortunately, I have heard several girls express hurt because of their disappointment about something that could easily have been hashed out before they entered the contract of marriage.

Of course the military has thrown a bunch of unpredictable, sometimes infuriating, things in the mix, but it has also magnified the good parts because they are sugared by absence. I’m looking forward to this next year and all the ways I will be made a better person through the sanctification of marriage.

What do you love about your marriage???

Here Comes the Bride Part II

IMG_6162A year ago I announced my wedding, which was 3 days away with this post. It was Part I, but I never successfully wrote Part II. The fact that I was having a wedding wasn’t what begged a part II, but it was the fact that I planned said wedding in 20 days. Why? Because the Army.

Several awesome things happened in the process of planning my wedding. First of all, we were able to find a photographer the night we decided to move the wedding up. I had seen an “Elopement Package” on Craigslist so that was the first thing I checked on, it came with a photographer, officiant, bouquet, and cake for $250. I just used the photographer. We also found that getting a marriage license and marrying the next day was possible in St. Louis City. Some places require you to wait a couple weeks.

After we decided not to elope, and I got past trying to be as cheap and practical as possible, we actually found a venue! Two weeks out we found a nice, quaint spot with a rustic feel and an affordable price. This is a miracle because most venues are booked well in advance and cost no less than one million dollars. This place was gorgeous, in town, and $200 an hour.

What is probably more important than where we were getting married was what we were wearing. I was able to pick out and order Spencer’s suit without him, and I won some drawing at a Bridal Show and received a discount, and then also a military discount totaling $90 off and a free garter!

Wedding from Andrea 037Before the wedding had a date, my homegirl Catherine sent me a link for a Bridal Gown Giveaway. I had already bought a basic dress but she figured I could sell the free one. The catch was that the dresses wouldn’t be distributed until Veteran’s Day which was only 11 days before my wedding. I didn’t have any faith there would be more than leftover, reject dresses, but I ended up finding a version of my Pinterest dreams! When I walked out of my dressing room in the long sleeve, fitted, lace embroidered dress people truly came from across the store to admire it. Strangers tried to convince me to take it, but it wasn’t until the attendant secured the veil that I finally wiped away tears and decided it was for me. It needed no alterations. That in itself was a miracle.

One my way home with the dress, I received confirmation that I could have s’mores instead of cake and at a discount!

In Other News

After I decided we wouldn’t elope, I thought we would just have our best friends and family. Then I decided I should actually invite friends. This was the unfortunate part of the having such a short amount of time. I told one of my friends she wouldn’t be included, then two days later told her they would, and our friendship has never been the same.

Also, a DIAMOND fell out of my ring the week before the wedding. The afternoon before the wedding, the ring was not returned to the store! The jewelers were able to rush it over, though. I didn’t even have Spencer’s ring and ended up rush ordering an $18 tungsten band from Amazon Thursday before (which is good because he has lost that already.)

And last, but certainly not least, Spencer was not cleared to come to the wedding until Tuesday before the wedding. Since it was his first time putting in a request for leave, we had no way of knowing the likelihood of his request being granted. Consider writing a deposit check for $1,700 for a wedding you don’t even know can happen. I couldn’t relax until I knew for sure he was coming. Then I couldn’t be happy because my wedding was in 4 days…

I appreciate the people that helped me out. Number one was Catherine Rains, who was my ‘round the clock consultant. She helped me make a lot of decisions that frankly I didn’t have the time to pore over myself. I was also able to delegate a few other tasks. Elizabeth designed the program, Allison worked on invitations I didn’t end up using, I asked Amber to host the second reception, and Lindsey worked on the Pinterest Thumbprint Guest Tree. Auntie Helen appointed herself the coordinator and helped me make judgement calls on the plans and ran the event.

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The Event

The wedding turned out beautifully! Elizabeth said it might have been the nicest wedding she had ever been to. Before anything began or anyone arrived, Anyah showed up with a bag of goodies. When I was getting dressed she produced a glass of moscato on ice with a straw, which was the turning point for my day.

The wedding lasted from 12-3 pm: ceremony, cocktails, then lunch. Afterward, Spencer and I went to a hotel and rested, and ordered room service. At 7pm, we arrived at Lucas Park Grille to be received by our friends, clients, and coworkers. We served hors d’ouevres and sheet cake. The ambiance was excellent.

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My Regrets

If I could do anything differently, I would have made the photography a higher priority. The photographer I had was sufficient, but her pictures leave me wanting. If it weren’t for me being creative and bossy, all the pictures would have been mediocre. It took 11 months for me to finish my digital album because I was so regretful about how the pictures came out. The photos last a lifetime. I should have spent more than $150 on them.

Other than that, I think having pie and ice cream would have been a better choice than the s’mores we served at the wedding in lieu of cake.

Honestly, I think I would have been happy with the same event even if I had more time. It just would have been nice for all of our family to have been able to make it.

Epilogue

I have written this story several times since my wedding. The problem is that what always came through was my hurt and disappointment rather than the success of the event. Despite its majesty, I actually consider my wedding to be a traumatic event in my life for a few reasons.

First of all, I don’t feel the large majority of my immediate friends and family were there for me the way it seems reasonable to expect. (I will be doing some generalizing here.) With only 3 weeks to be engaged in my wedding planning, who of my closest friends asked how I was doing or what they could do? A few good friends were able to do this, but most of my closest were not. More people asked me what they should wear than asked me what I needed. I admit that being a bride can make a girl crazy and sensitive, but I do not feel anyone appreciated the stress of planning a wedding and preparing to become someone’s wife in such a short amount of time. Afterward I really questioned the kind of relationships I had formed if those people were not there when I needed them most. I don’t feel anyone had any grace for me during that time, as in no one was understanding when I didn’t act how exactly how I should have. It was like no one could put my needs before their own. I felt that if they couldn’t do this for my wedding, when would they ever be able to support me in excess? The morning of my wedding basically everyone majorly involved showed up late, including the photographer. I cried. I assume everyone thought I was emotional about getting married, but in reality I was convinced no one cared about my wedding, and it was going to be terrible.

I reconcile this now by accepting that people don’t always do the right things and they won’t always realize they were wrong and they won’t always be sorry, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good and that doesn’t mean I should take it personal; they just didn’t act the way I wanted in that moment. It took me a full 10 months to have peace about all parties in this situation. I actually talked about this in counseling. Also, let’s be real: 3 weeks is a short amount of time for some people to even conceive the idea of stepping up.

Maybe the most significant detriment to my wedding experience was the fact that I was very uncomfortable with the whole state of public attention. Being engaged felt pretentious to me because what is more pregnant than the term ‘fiance’ (other than the term ‘pregnant’)? Looking at wedding options was overwhelming to me, not just because of the money, but the idea of having people travel to be at my self-important event and potentially having them wish they hadn’t spent the time. Nor did I want to be the center of attention for the whole day and feel responsible for making their time worthwhile, which I was not sure I could do.

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Almost a year later I realize the problem was my self-image. I did not think I was worthy of a large wedding. I didn’t think I was worth people’s time for something so rote and universal as wedding. My self-consciousness was not humility, but rather a lack of self-worth. I don’t mean that any person that chooses to have a small wedding thinks they are worthless, but the fact that I had a small wedding and hoped people said they couldn’t come means I didn’t think I was enough. In some ways I think I’m right that a lot of people at a wedding don’t actually want to spend 7 hours there, but it’s a rite for every woman, so why not me? Before the wedding, I didn’t know I had such a low self-image because I come off very confident, but now I realize that behavior is both an assertion and a defense mechanism so that by having high standards, I distance myself from people who may hurt me.

In the moment where I sat alone at the venue before those who were supposed to have been there early arrived, my fears were realized. To me, people were proving to me that I wasn’t worth it. Not saying that’s true, but that’s what was impressed on me at that moment. That’s why I cried.

In Conclusion

I’m glad we got the wedding out of the way because the important thing was getting married and getting on with our lives. Even if I didn’t have a complex, I’m still glad I had a small wedding. Weddings are stressful and expensive; I was able to keep both at a minimum with a wedding of only 40 people. I wanted to keep it about our nuptials and not about entertainment. But all that really mattered was that I stepped into my calling as Mrs. Weldon almost as soon as I possibly could.

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Other military spouses completely understand why I had to do this and how it could have been traumatic. My neighbor doesn’t even keep pictures of her wedding in her house or on her phone! She had to marry by a certain date and everyone wasn’t on board with that. The military puts us in awkward predicaments and unfortunately our weddings tend to be one of them. I know I am not alone but I encourage women who might be entering a situation like this to be true to themselves and just try to be happy despite whatever the circumstances might be. While the activity around my wedding was stressful, I did enjoy my wedding day, and that eternal memory is what one has to protect.

The State of Hope

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I wasn’t going to post anything this week because I’m feeling so hopeless right now, but the prospect of missing a post was making me feel worse about myself. More importantly, I bet this place I am is a typical experience of being a military spouse.

Here’s what is going on: I haven’t lost any weight, still no job, yet another side hustle opportunity has evaporated, and Bae is gone. I can deal with anything when my husband is here because he makes me happy and he gives me purpose, but what is my purpose right now? I don’t need to clean or cook. I decided to take my fitness more seriously, but honestly have felt smoked ever since the competition I did 3 weeks ago. I’ve changed my diet to aid in recovery, but still find that I’m showing up to the gym at about 80%. I applied to Sephora in JCPenney the other day, because why not? I got a call the next day, but they are looking to hire seasonally; we won’t be here for the holiday. I can bet most places are likely waiting until January to start interviews, too. After applying to over 30 jobs this year, I just simply do not have any faith. It’s like 30 no’s. 30 instances of not being good enough or doing it right.

What is really happening here is this experience is wearing on my self-image. Since college I have been a very ambitious person with high expectations for myself. Honestly I was also sad last year because I wanted so badly to move forward in my career, but didn’t know what I wanted to do. I still don’t, but what makes the frustration more detrimental is that my choices are limited. I question, did I really trade reaching my potential for marrying this military man? I was the one who was ambitious and he wasn’t, yet I’m the one sitting at home for days on end with nothing really to do and few friends or family anywhere to be found. I have to believe I didn’t make a mistake. The feeling still is what it is. It’s big to think that I might not have a career. It’s probably kind of ignorant to think that too, after only 8 months of this. But the truth is, I’m only 27. I have no frame of reference for what could happen next or how things like this usually resolve.

I’m scared that I won’t self-actualize. I think I have a lot of potential. I want to work. I want to be productive. It scares me to think that I might just end up having to take whatever job I can find. I was very cognizant about the limitations the military can put on a spouses career, but after I got over the initial disappointment and accepted being a wife, I didn’t actually think it would happen to me. I’m special, I have a college degree, ambition, work ethic- not me! But here I am. And then I haven’t met many women who are defying this phenomenon. The spouses I know of that are gainfully employed are like doctors, nurses, teachers, some sort of therapists, or in the army. The trade I have is personal training. I can do other health-related things, which I like, but most jobs are looking for nurses to do those things. I didn’t go to school to be a trainer, but that’s the only real trade I came out with. No, I don’t want to be a nurse. Ask Lindsey why I would hate it.

And that leads to another level of troubles. I have moments of feeling badly about choosing that degree or the fact I didn’t go to grad school already. But to be honest, I’m not interested in anything enough to get a masters. I have an interest in being a counselor, but is feeling lukewarm about something enough to dish out $40,000 on another degree? Will my desire to be employed elevation my desire to do that job? I don’t know. These questions stress me out.

I look at the people who graduated high school with me who were kind of the upper class and look at the careers they chose. I saw a guy today is a NEUROSURGEON RESIDENT. Others are dentists, optometrists, musicians in California, lawyers, et cetera. I never had the notion to pursue one of those jobs, and I wonder if it’s because no one in our community was anything like that. My brother is the first person in my family that is really something. He just graduated Pharmacy School. I went to college on a Track and Field Scholarship, and I went out for Track in 8th grade because he had. So I wonder if he were enough older than me for me to see where he had ended up while I was still in school, would it have put me in a different state of mind? So now I think well maybe I should pursue something like that now, but I’m running out of time and have no real desire for anything specific. If I even had a dream, would I really be able to move somewhere and go to school? Or should I just go ahead and have a child?…

I spent a few days thinking about cleaning this. Represents my state in life. (I cleaned it)
I spent a few days thinking about cleaning this. Represents my state in life. (I cleaned it.)

Since my husband is gone, I really don’t feel I have a purpose. A couple months ago I decided I would have my purpose be to befriend the lonely, but they ruined that for me for the moment. I’m not resilient enough to deal with people that don’t appreciate me. I have signed up to volunteer with the Red Cross and am waiting for my second orientation two weeks from now. I know some will say I need to find my purpose and worth in Christ. I understand that. I’m a Christian and I grew up in church. I’ve been in a weird place since my ministry experience in college. I believe in The Cross, but still reconciling my belief in Christian Culture. That’s another post.

The other day I made a list of things to do so that I can just focus on the list and not life itself, and so that accomplishing something from it can make me feel better. At least feeling sorry for myself is keeping me from missing my husband or worrying about him, which are things I cannot change. What I don’t need is pity or suggestions of places to apply. I think I need to get through this and figure some things out. I think everything that is distressing me can be attributed to lack of life experience. This has to be learning experience. I’m sharing it because I want people to know what someone you love might be going through. This is part of the sacrifice.