Tonya & Ryan • May 30, 2004

While we're away on honeymoon, I've scheduled a series of posts about happy marriages I know, the ones that inspire me and give me hope. You can read them all here.

On what date did you get married?
We were married May 30, 2004, in Central Park in NYC, it was Memorial Day weekend.

What do you remember most about your wedding?
Ryan: She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Tonya: There are many moments that stand out with our wedding for me. The overall feeling was of celebration. I remember the reception was a ton of fun, though I don't remember many details of the party. I remember my Mom helping me with my dress and her crying about her hair not looking the way she wanted it to. I remember my Grandma and Ryan's Grandma were at the wedding. I remember walking into central park while strangers took my photo and a little girl shouting out "Happy Wedding Day," which is something I now do to anyone I see getting married. I remember that there was an African Drum event going on not too far away and they provided an unexpected sound track to the ceremony. I remember how beautiful my bridesmaids looked. I remember our friend and photographer telling me that some people wearing Monkey masks were hiding up in the tree where our ceremony was going to be held. I thought this was joke, it wasn't. I remember walking towards Ryan and he looked so handsome and so satisfied, pleased that the plans were through and that it was finally time to get married.
When I think about my wedding it was wonderful, beautiful and we had so much fun, and at the time it was the best day of my life. However, now that we have a life together many other days have eclipsed the happiness I felt then and I know that there is more to come. Our wedding was a truly a beginning.

What is your advice for a happy and fulfilling marriage?
Ryan: Talk about EVERYTHING and be gentle with each others feelings. These two things are often opposing forces. 100 percent honesty, for real. Always be faithful, ALWAYS. Sounds obvious, but from the many unhappily married people I know, infidelity is an epidemic. Enjoy each other as often as possible. Grow and evolve together, you will not be the same person tomorrow as you are today, nor 10 years from now, nor 50 years. Neither will your partner. Change is a part of life, and it's certainly a part of marriage. Also, only get married if you really mean it. 

 *Talk to your partner. Make sure that you really want to be with that person before you get married and then talk with them. Talk all the time. Discuss everything, that way when something important comes up you know how they feel and you are in the habit of talking about it first. 
*Have a plan for money, have a plan before you have a wedding. Money can be a real problem for most couples. We don't fight about money because we made a plan for ourselves before we were married and now it's just our way to follow the plan and there are no fights at all. We worry about money sometimes, sure, but it isn't a fight. 
 *Don't lie and don't cheat. Ryan knows I'll never leave him and never cheat and I know he'd never cheat and won't ever leave us either. Now that the worst case scenario is over we can get down to what really matters. Fighting is different with someone that you know wants to spend their whole life with you. I don't hurt him and he doesn't hurt me and then we make up quicker too. 
* When you fight, remember being right isn't as important as being together. 
* Don't spend more time with your families than you can handle. We have a 72-hour rule and it's pretty accurate.

Anything you know now that you wish you had known when you got married?
Ryan: Not really. I think the process of learning more about Tonya and myself and our lives has been a great discovery. I think all the things I've learned over the years have been learned at their own time. We were naive and we had a big dream and that's exactly how it was supposed to be.

Tonya: I don't think I have anything I'd tell that girl who married Ryan 7 years ago. Maybe just Enjoy it. Enjoy the party. Enjoy the wedding. Enjoy being young and in love. Kiss often. Love your babies. Don't worry so much. Be there in real time with your whole heart and it will all be worth it. 

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