In preparation for our wedding, I asked happy couples I knew about their weddings and marriages. You can see the whole series here.
On what date did you get married?
We had two weddings. A lovely legal ceremony in our friends' home with my parents and some close friends, 8 people in total: March 31, 2009. Then a festive ceremony in a church with lots of music and poetry, followed by a fabulous reception: August 22, 2009.
What do you remember most from your wedding?
Brad: I enjoyed so much about our respective weddings. I think the best part though was the opportunity to share the events with Brett.
Brett: Looking out into the congregation and seeing 100+ people from every period of my life and my husband's life, and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the love they were showing through their presence at the wedding. This was a true blessing to our marriage.
(On a lighter note, I also remember being slightly confused about which hand was Brad's left hand during the Exchange of Rings... perhaps an admonition if ever there was one for moderation in the pre-wedding cocktail department...)
What's your advice for building a happy and successful marriage?
Brad: Listening. Willingness to see a situation from another's perspective. Saying you're sorry, even when you don't want to. Flexibility. Working together, playing together. Putting another person before yourself sometimes. Searching for those things that make both of you happy.
1) Realizing that not every moment will be happy and fulfilling. Sometimes we are in foul moods and it's nobody's fault. I think it's important to create the space in a marriage for the other person to be who he is, both in the good moods and the bad.
2) Being willing to at least try things that the other person loves, even amidst skepticism. Best case scenario is that you now unexpectedly have something that you both love. At the very least, you now have a new topic of animated discussion at dinner.
3) I echo Brad's sentiments about saying sorry: sometimes we do and say things that are unintentionally hurtful, and that (for me at least) is very hard to admit. It's humbling, but ultimately healing for a marriage.
4) We don't live forever, so savor the time you spend together, both the truly joyous moments and the mundane ones. Look for love in all that you do together.
Brad: Yesterday, Brett and I were riding in the car and a word dawned upon me that I had not mentioned to you before.....COMPROMISE! Learn it, perfect it, live it.
Anything you know now that you wish you had known when you got married?
Brad: How much closer I would feel to my husband, and how grateful I am to be allowed to marry him.
(Photography by Courtney Lindberg)