“It’s MY wedding day, I’ll do what I want”

Are weddings for the bride and groom…or for the family?

It seems like every time I see somebody on Facebook posting about wedding planning drama, it normally included either the original poster, or another person on the tread, stating “the wedding is about the bride and groom, do what YOU want and forget everyone else’s opinions”.

Whenever I see this, I can’t help but think about how selfish that sounds.

Considering how many people say it, I have a feeling that I am in the minority…but I’ll share my thoughts on it anyway.

First off, I am very much a “people pleaser” so the idea of me asking everyone to eat raw vegan food at my wedding because that is what I like, actually causes me some anxiety. The bride and the groom are just two people, therefore my natural inclination is to cater to the majority and try to make the most people happy….even if it is “my day”. (I would of course advocate staying within your comfort zone. If you and your future spouse completely abstain from alcohol, then have a dry wedding).

Expanding on the whole idea that the bride and groom are just two people in the world of weddings, lets talk about the family.

Yes, this is “your day”. The day you become man and wife.

But it’s also the day that two families are coming together. The day that your parents have been looking forward too for long before you were planning your pretend wedding at 12 years old.

Along with being a people pleaser, I am also very family oriented. I am close with my parents and my siblings, their opinions are important to me. I had all of my siblings and my husband’s siblings in our bridal party (there were so many that we only had one person who wasn’t family) and my step-father officiated the ceremony.

For me, the day would not be as special without their attendance, and more importantly, their excitement/happiness.

What do you think? Should you do what you want on your wedding day and forget everyone else’s opinions? Or should you take into considerations the views of your family and friends?


An Untried Marriage

I wrote this post back in August, and it has been sitting in my “rough drafts” since then.

I came back to it today, because this topic has been on my mind the last week…and not for a good reason. Jeremy and I have finally hit our “rough patch”, and we are still working through it.

Although it’s not a happy time in our marriage, and I am struggling, our marriage is worth fighting for. It’s not always going to be rainbows, that isn’t a realistic expectation for a lifetime commitment involving two completely different people. But working through the hard times is what defines a marriage; working through the time when you don’t feel “in love”, because you know that your love is worth the fight.

(Original Post)

Last weekend I went to dinner with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while. One of them shared that in the last year she had divorced her husband. She had never advertised that they were having any difficulties in their marriage, so I was surprised to find out that he had cheated on her many times over their 10 year marriage and had a girlfriend on the side for many years. She had been aware of his cheating, but had made the decision to stay; first hoping that he would change, and finally, to keep her family together for the children.

I’ve had other friends who have gone through infidelity or other “rough patches” in their marriages. For those who work through them and come out on the other side, I always sense a greater depth to their relationships. Not always in a positive sense that their marriages are “stronger”, but just an added layer of complexity and experience.

In the 5 1/2 years that Jeremy and I have been married, I sometimes still feel like such “newlyweds”. I still feel like our marriage is just starting to blossom; it’s still so “untried”.

I’m not saying that I want to go through some tragic experience; nobody wants infidelity or any other “rough patch”. But I do wonder what it will take for Jeremy and I to move out of the newlywed stage.

Two deployments and 5 1/2 years of marriage hasn’t done it. Will it take having children? Will it take buying a house?

Do I even want that added complexity of a “tested” marriage? Is there anything wrong with having a happy carefree marriage? Or am I being naive in thinking that nothing will come along that will test us to that level?

Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas

On Friday I went to the Holiday Party hosted by my work. The Friday before that, Jeremy’s work had his Christmas Party.

If you just read that sentence and thought that both of those parties were the same….keep reading. I have a point.

I work at a Jewish agency.

Our Holiday party consisted of saying the HaMotzi before breaking bread and eating a kosher lunch. The centerpieces were Menorahs and we lit the fourth candle at sundown while reciting the traditional blessing.

I would like to point out here that I am not Jewish. I ate my bread before I knew what a HaMotzi was and I awkwardly stayed silent during the Chanukah blessing (which was recited from memory in Hebrew by my fellow Jewish co-workers)

But I loved feeling like an outsider. Because it highlights what minorities feel all the time living in our Christian based country.

While we don’t have an official religion, Christian holidays are clearly the front runner in American society.

Christmas is everywhere. It’s on TV and the radio. It’s at the mall and decorating the houses in the neighborhoods. Christmas is a federal holiday and most work parties are Christmas parties.

I am by no means saying that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas or that it isn’t a wonderful holiday.

But take a moment to think about how it feels to be a minority that doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I can tell you from my experience as a non-Jew in a Jewish dominate work culture…it’s not exactly comfortable.

So the next time you want to spread holiday cheer, make the effort to use the word Holiday instead of Christmas. Because it’s not the same thing to everyone. Just that one little change in word can go a long way in making someone feel more included in our world.

Overworked or Working Hard?

Lately I’ve been frustrated with the lack of work/home balance I seem to be seeing everywhere in this American culture.

The idea that you have to work extra hours in order to show that you value your career and want to move up is, to me, incorrect and ridiculous.

I work a 40 hour a week job. I am an hourly employee so I have to make sure I do all my work in those 40 hours. For my supervisors and colleagues who are salaried, there is an expectation that they will work as much as they need to in order to get the job done. They often answer emails on the weekend, do notes at home and attend work events in the evening on top of a full day of work.

To me, that should not be rewarded as having a “good work ethic”. Consequently, those who only work the 40 hours they are paid for should not be penalized and demoted because they aren’t “dedicated to their job”.

Maybe our society should look instead at positions that require so much work and adjust them accordingly. Hire more people to do that job. Adjust the job description.

But that would require that American’s place a value on something other than work.

My husband and I debated this topic last night. He does not completely agree with me…

He feels that working extra shows commitment to the mission/goal. Rather than leaving in the middle of a task because they are done with their shift, people who stay extra care about the final product and are invested in the company/outcome. Those are the people who get promoted.

I, on the other hand, think that people who can complete their work in the time given show time management and responsibility. Those are the people I want to promote. Additionally, if the people that I am supervising have to stay extra to finish their tasks (and they have proven to have good time management and work ethic) then I need to look at myself as a supervisor and adjust the work I am assigning…not blame them for not being “dedicated” enough overwork themselves.

I think that our society has put such a value on work that it has come to a point where other parts of life are less valued and respected.

The idea that I don’t want to stay late to finish my notes does not mean that I don’t love and value my job, I just value my family as well.

As nicely summarized by an article on Thought Catalog: overworking is not success; it is not the same thing as working hard or paying your dues.

Agree? Disagree?

You are the “life” in my “life story”….?

I’ve had this post as a draft for the last few months, not feeling that it was polished enough to post. It’s a sensitive topic that requires precise wording, and I’m not sure if I’ve captured it right (so don’t be too harsh with your feedback!). But in the last few weeks, life seems to be pointing me back to this topic….so I’m giving it another try.

When I first got married, my husband was my life; as is probably true for most newlyweds.

Recently, I’ve been noticing that it seems to not be a newlywed thing, but a woman thing.

A friend of mine was offered a great work opportunity. Upon finding out that it would cut into her scheduled date nights with her boyfriend, she asked him how he felt about her taking the position and missing out on that time together.

I don’t judge her for asking, I did the exact same thing when Jeremy and I first got married (see my pervious post about passing on study abroad opportunities in college)

Now I look back on those times, and on my friends current situation, with frustration. Frustration that women are so relationship focused that our careers come second to men.

Being considerate of others feelings is a wonderful thing. Working on your relationship is a great priority to have.  But at what point does it become a detriment to our own success?

This topic came up with my friend, and then again a few days later when I was meeting some new wives on base.

I was discussing with some other wives the question of if they stay with their spouses until the final good-bye of deployment; when they get on the bus and drive away.

I shared that at my husband’s first deployment I stayed until he left, but at this second, I dropped him off and then went home…because I had to work very early in the morning and he wasn’t going to depart until 2 or 3 in the morning.

A spouse commented that “I should have called into work”

This comment stuck with me, because it so clearly echoed the conversation I had with my friend just days before.

I’m not saying that I don’t treasure those last moments with my husband before he leaves for deployment. There is nothing wrong with trying to rearrange my schedule to be there for him. He would do the same for me; and he has, when he asked for permission to come home from a training mission for the day so he could be at my graduation.

But the idea that I should call into work, that it’s selfish to not sacrifice my career for time with him, chafes me. The idea that I shouldn’t work evenings, because I don’t want to miss out on time with him before he deploys. The idea that my friend should base her decision on taking a new work opportunity on her boyfriends schedule.

The idea that my time and my goals as a woman are less important than my partners.

There was a time in my life when spending time with my husband was the most important thing to me; above my friends, my own hobbies and interest and my job.

Maybe my friend is still at that place. Maybe some women never leave that place (and that works for them). Maybe our culture and expectations of women, work and relationships will never evolve.

But for me, that’s a place that I’ve left behind. My husband and my marriage is still one of the most important things to me, but it’s balance with the other parts of my life that I value; it’s no longer the sole focus of my life.

I heard a quote in a movie trailer recently (I can’t remember the movie now) from the female lead to her male partner: “you are the life in my ‘life story'”

At first, I thought that was romantic (which goes to show how much our culture has impacted my views of women and relationships). But then I realized how messed up that quote really is.

I am the life in my life story: my marriage, my career, my family, my friends