Tomorrow is your wedding day, beautiful girl, and I still find it hard to believe that you're not still way too young for this. This, of course, has nothing to do with you. I will believe this even if you were marrying at sixty.
What I'm trying to say is this is more a reflection on me than on you. You are ready for this. You've got your guy, and he's got you and your family loves him and his family loves you and you love each other and you're doing this thing.
Your parents have modeled love and marriage for you as long as you can remember. They're thirty years strong this year, and speaking as the person who ensured that they met each other all those years ago, I can tell you that we all knew they'd done it right from the get-go.
So on top of their crowning achievement at marriage, and standing in the rubble of my failed quarter-century of life with another person, I wonder what I could possibly tell you in the way of marriage advice. I'm hardly what you'd call an authority. For God's sake, I'm a divorce blogger. I wouldn't blame you if you asked me politely to wait outside while you said your vows, just in case.
I do think that I can give you some words of wisdom, however. I may not know how to make a marriage go more than two decades, but I do know what I wish we would have done more, in hindsight. So let me at least throw those your way, and hope some of it sticks.
First, love each other - but be prepared for it to be harder to do sometimes than others. Most of all, don't fall out of love with each other at the same time. If he's having a hard time loving, you give a little more. If he's being superhusband and you're not feeling it so much, lean on him a little more. Trust me, the extra love will rub off.
There will come a time, maybe a brief time or maybe a series of days, when you think to yourself, "I just don't don't want to be here anymore. Not with you." You need to really decide who you're miserable with, because a lot of times, miserable is a choice. Sometimes we're so miserable with ourselves that it's easy to blame it all on the person who's in our face most of the time. Just remember, they're in your face because they've got your back.
Laugh. A lot. Laugh over everything. Laugh when it gets really bad and life is dragging you over the rocks. Hold onto each other and laugh because of the sheer ridiculousness of the pile of crap you're wading through. It helps. It really, really does.
Wait 24 hours before each and every major financial decision. One big, impulsive purchase can really screw you up. Give yourself a chance to secong-guess yourself. You may be thankful for it later.
Last of all - don't bother ever trying to compare your marriage to anyone else's. It's apples to oranges, no matter who you're looking at. You and your man are completely unique and original, and your dynamic with each other and the circumstances of your lives like jobs, extended family, hobbies and physical well-being will alter and change and as you navigate it all, you'll develop your own groove. Don't try to copy anyone else and don't let anyone tell you how you two should be. Be as you are, and live and love every minute of it.
Tomorrow you walk down that aisle, and I'll be biting my lip as I watch your Mom and Dad trying to hold it together. My eyes will likely shift to your cousin, who's a teenager now, and I'm sure I'll be more than grateful that I'm not having to do this yet. Her day will come, as yours has for you. And lives will be melded, and lived, and memories will be made.
And I'll be here, wishing you love through it all.\
[Follow Ellie's Divorce Diaries Blog at WomansDay.com or join the fun on Facebook and Twitter]
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