by Jenna Shriver, of Jenna Shriver Photography
With Valentine’s Day just behind us, it seems like the perfect opportunity to talk about love and relationships! On holidays and special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and most notably, on our wedding day, that we celebrate love and those we love.
But what about the hundreds of normal days before, in between and after? Isn’t it in those regular days that true love is shown, experienced and most needed?
What I want for us all is to prepare for and invest in those regular days that make up our lives. For us to go beyond just that one “special” day in the highlight reel of our lives.
As a wedding and portrait photographer, a wife, and a mother, I am extremely passionate about encouraging others to continually commit to building their relationships before and after the wedding day. Your venue, food, floral arrangements, decorations and even your photographer are an important part of your wedding day that help to celebrate your love; but they all pale in comparison to the love of your spouse in the difficult times in life.
If you want your love to be strong, it takes a deeper commitment beyond just choosing the perfect linens and getting the most creative bridal portraits! My advice to couples who are preparing for their wedding day, or even those who have been married for a decade, is to invest in your relationship with each other.
Please know that will look different for each couple.
For my husband and I, before we were married, it meant that we made absolutely sure that we shared the same foundation on things that matter to us. We share the same faith, dreams for the future, plans for parenting our children and managing finances, among other very important foundational decisions.
Through three years of marriage, we have not always seen eye to eye, but we still share the same foundation. While we were engaged and planning our wedding we took the time to attend marriage preparation classes together through the Marriage and Relationship Education Center in Westminster, Md., as well as some with our pastor.
They prompted us to talk about unfamiliar things that we had not faced since we weren’t yet married. They also helped teach us how we give and receive love so that we could better understand how we were trying to communicate our love to each other.
We learned how important it is to take time to do what fills us up individually so that we can be more fulfilled for each other. It means that we continue to come back to reevaluate that we are growing together and making decisions in unity.
I also strive to know and love my husband better today than I did yesterday. I want to look back on our wedding day as one of the days of our lives that I loved him least because, for me, that will be the reward of a loving marriage.
One of our goals this year is to make more time for date nights as well as time to just rest. That can be very difficult to do while raising young children and with both of us working jobs with odd hours. But I believe that our son deserves parents that are not just happily married, but also fulfilled in their relationship. We should be best friends who are loving life together, even on the difficult and regular days.
I encourage you to seek out counseling or classes as you prepare for your wedding day. Attend a retreat or conference or go on a vacation to help you reconnect or deepen your relationship with your spouse if you’re already married. It is so worth the investment of time and resources into your relationship!
It helps both you and the person that you love to ensure the days before, in between, and after your “highlight reel” days are just as joyful and fulfilling.