Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Comes Next


I just got back from a week-long Chicago trip to attend a family wedding.  Our niece Francesca got married to wonderful Mr. Josh and the entire week was just beyond joyful!  The wedding itself was beautiful, as it was held at an old Chicago Catholic church which was just simply breathtaking.  The reception was held later that evening and everyone had a great time.

There is one question that, I think, echoes after wedding ceremonies (or any rite of passage, for that matter)….Now what?

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Now what?  After a period of falling in love, dating, being friends, getting to know each other more intimately, preparing for the wedding, all the stress and craziness and fun and celebration, what now?  It’s natural for couples to get all wrapped up in the wedding preparations, but after all the dancing and music stop (literally, that is), honeymoon week over and it’s time to go back to ‘reality’, then what?  There are three ways to go when confronted by this question.  You can (a) change directions; (b) keep on the same path; or (c) a combination of the above depending on what you want to keep and change.

Confronting the ‘now what’ could be a scary thing.  It suggests a certain degree of being at a loss somehow.  If anything, it suggests the need to pause and take stock of the situation, and these, I believe, are important in a marriage.  To pause and truly see where the two of you have been, are, and where you want to be are important questions that you constantly need to deal with.  It’s not a single step to be done with but an ongoing process both of you need to engage in.  And this is also why confronting your ‘now what’ could be a potentially exciting and empowering thing.  It’s up to you now.  This rite of passage affords you even greater independence.  Being (more) on your own can cause anxiety, yes.  But the increased sense of responsibility could just be as exhilarating and positively challenging.

How has your relationship been so far?  Is this how you want to keep it or are there things you desire to change?  What rules do you feel you need to be clear about?  What are your non-negotiables?  Are there things you have not been honest about up to this point with regard to your preferences, habits or character?  How will you handle your finances?  How will you divide your time between your families of orientation?  Are you planning on children, how many and how soon?  Are there family traditions you want to start now, even as a couple?  What are your rules with regard to in-laws? 


The list goes on and every list will be unique to each couple but my point is this.  It doesn’t hurt to start as early as possible.  The most valuable lesson that was shared to me by a very good friend of mine when I was about to marry is this:  Start as you mean to go on.  And as cliché as this sounds, no one will dispute that if you truly love and mutually respect each other, your ‘Now what?’ will never conjure dark skies.  If you are certain about love and your commitment, then you will find it quite seamless to transition from your ‘Now what’ to ‘Now comes forever’.    



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Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

20 comments:

  1. Another beautiful blog entry!

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  2. Thanks for this post Joy! I am the sort of person who doesn't think much. Unfortunately, i find my "now what" as I go along...

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  3. Wow! I hadn't thought about this, Joy! But I can see what you mean! After all the festivities that often take months of preparation, it always feels like there should be a "Now what?" moment. Maybe this is partly why I'm hesitant about big weddings, which seem so hard to avoid in Filipino families. =P

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  4. I should've thought of that when I got married! :)  As with anything, we do have to keep asking ourselves, "No what?"  We can't aimlessly go through life... Thanks for this post :)

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  5. Glad you had a great time.  My 'adjustment' period came the year we were engaged.  That was rough but we made it through it.  Few couples can say marriage is easy.  If newly weds just keep remembering to work at it then they will be more successful.  (i hope)

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  6. So glad you had such a wonderful time Joy (and LOVED your dress!).  I remember this feeling of "oh my God!  What do I have to do today!!!" the morning after my wedding.  I was rushing and running around so much for so many weeks that it didn't sink in that I could relax now.  I think that's true of all really big events that take a lot of planning.  Your mind needs to catch up with the rest of you  ha.   It's an exciting time, even if it is an adjustment period.  

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  7. I really like the "now comes forever". Your advice was great! The adventures of marriage are many! I guess some settle into an everyday routine but after the kids that is blown out the water. LOL One of my greatest advice for newly married couples are remain flexible so life cant break you. Congrats to the newly weds.

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  8. I had an easy wedding...borrowed my mom's dress, went to Reno, got married, spent the night and back to our apartment the next day.  The "now what" hit me when I woke up the first morning in the apartment.  I'd always shared a room with my sister.  All of a sudden home was a walk-up apartment, and I was sleeping with a stranger.  It took a few days to get used to that!  But it's been a good 41 years. :D  Because we have always been committed to each other, even when we were angry with each other.  Thanks for such a good post!

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  9. Shortly after I got married, I decided one day to go to the mall with my sister. It ended up being an all-day event. When I got home that evening, my husband was somewhat frantic. In these days before the cell phone, I had not told him where I was going and he had no clue. That was my first realization that I was now accountable to my HUSBAND. It seems obvious but it was a whole new dynamic for me at the time.

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  10. Sam B: Oh yes, the Filipino wedding!...good luck making it small and intimate! But like you, I would've preferred mine to have been kept small but...oh well, that's done now, haha!

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  11. The Pepperific Life: I totally agree with you...that we can't go through life aimlessly and need to take pauses. Thanks for your thoughts! :-)

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  12. Cath, you reminded me of the first time I realized I was engaged. I woke up, saw the ceiling and thought in semi-panic: "wow...I have a boyfriend and am engaged! How strange is this?" There's just something unforgettable about that moment when it hits you that you now have to reconstruct your life somehow...hmmm......Thanks for making me remember!

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  13. BooksbyThomasina: GREAT advice!! Flexibility is essential! :-))

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  14. Sweepy/Adriene: That's funny! I hope your hubby wasn't too freaked out at the time, lol! Thanks for stopping by :-)))

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  15. LOVE the above post, but didn't see the comments. HILARIOUS and quite true.

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  16. Great post. I have been married for over 28 years but I never really gave any thought to your "Now what?" question. Things have worked out OK, but it would have been interesting to sit down with my wife during our first year as a married couple and try to flesh out where we were going, our plans, and so on.

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  17. Thanks TV (maybe cos I switched to another comments system again?...not sure).

    Mike B: Thanks too! 28 years....well, obviously even without dealing with the 'now what', you're doing well! :-)

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  18. I think the now what depends on the circumstances. I have been to two weddings in the past couple of months.
    Here in Ireland, many couples are marrying after several years of living together, they tend to be mid thirties, in some cases they already have a child or two. After the hoopla of the wedding life returns to the normal everyday routine. The main difference is the public affirmation of their commitment to each other.

    The second wedding I went to was in Turkey. The couple are young, have grown up in a very supervised atmosphere and the "what now?" is very different for them. Everything has changed.

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  19. Happy Belated b-day. Just wanted you to know I still cannot leave comments on your newer posts. (how's that for a b-day present)?
    Hope you had a great day!!!

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  20. Thanks for the props on the Sunshine award! How sweet!!! I've been so bad about return the award favors lately...we moved and we are almost all unpacked.
    Thanks again and Happy T-giving!

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