On Tuesday my partner and I celebrate three years of marriage.
I want to say it’s been all rainbows and unicorn farts, but it hasn’t. Well, there have been farts, but not those of the unicorn variety. It’s been…loving and supportive and stable and hilarious and the kind of tenderness that brings one to tears. But it’s also been the biggest challenge in our relationship since moving out of state and having a kid and basically having our whole world flipped upside down. And now we’re about to flip it once again with baby number two. Woo-boy. I’m sure glad I have him by my side for all this.
But enough about our marriage. The anniversary gets us thinking about our wedding and all the bittersweet feelings that go with it. I blogged about it (read it here) to help me cope at the time and then the post got Freshly Pressed, which I initially had mixed feelings about. On one hand, getting recognized for my writing is always nice, but I was worried that the feedback I got would just make me feel worse.
Overall, the good outweighed the bad and I felt so validated knowing that many, many other people felt similar letdowns as a result of their weddings. My comment section became a big virtual group therapy session. We shared horror stories and shared what helped make us feel better. I thanked people for reading and supporting and commenting. People thanked me for writing because it made them feel less invalidated, less sad, less alone. I am glad that I wrote what I wrote.
What interests me now, and what prompted me to write about this again, is that that blog post has been by far my most popular post. To this day – almost three full years later – it still gets about 3-10 hits a day, on average. Every day. And occasionally, people still comment with their own stories.
It makes me feel so sad when I read what people have Googled to get themselves to my wedding blog post. Things like, “my wedding was a disaster,” and “I can’t get over how my wedding went,” or “I’m depressed about my wedding.” This sucks! Part of me feels validated because, again, I am definitely not alone in how I feel about my wedding. However, part of me feels like a sucker. I fell for the whole wedding-industrial complex. I got wrapped up around expectations that were handed to me (and that I readily accepted) by society, spent a hell of a lot of money, put tons of eggs into the basket of one blissful day, only to have it crash down all around me. What does this say about our society that this post-wedding blues phenomenon is so common?!
Would I do things differently? A few, but not many. I admit, even now, I still just wanted the fun, expensive party that I could enjoy with all my friends and family.
In the months following my wedding, I responded to the many comments readers posted. Some were unsolicited advice (one of my least favorite kinds of feedback), others were words of sympathy and encouragement, and many were similar horror stories. Because I was going through my own grieving process, I found it difficult to respond to others who were suffering as I was. Reading those comments brought up my own yucky feelings that I was still wading through (or trying to forget – depending on the day) and it was uncomfortable. It stung. Each new story was a reminder that I’d always look back on that day with some amount of sadness, grief, regret. Even today, a random comment that gets posted brings it all back, just a little bit.
While responding to these comments, I found myself wanting to slip into a therapist role as I typed. Of course, that role feels natural to me, and it also protected me because it created distance between myself and my feelings. Now that I am much more at peace with how my wedding went and how I feel about it, reading and answering the comments is easier. Easier, but not pain-free.
My brother made us a wonderful video from the raw footage a relative took at our wedding, and only recently did my husband and I muster up enough courage to actually watch it, almost three years after the day. Of course it brought back some of the yucky feelings. The grief. But. It also reminded me that I actually managed to have fun that day. And the ceremony was wonderfully moving. And I looked beautiful. And we were so in love. I couldn’t deny it – the proof was right there on camera! Whew.
In all the discussion with readers about how to heal and move on from these experiences, we often talked about having a do-over. A “corrective experience” as therapists put it. I pictured the two of us on a beach in Hawaii with an officiant and a photographer. No one else. I have flowers in my hair. The wind is whipping my white cotton sundress around. The sun is setting. We’re laughing and holding hands. And no one can take away our joy.
Maybe someday. I say maybe, because I don’t want to get too hung up on expectations.