backyard Ohio wedding | gina leigh photo

Oftentimes we get so busy planning the wedding, picking out the perfect details, trying on dresses, and selecting vendors, that we forget what the wedding is all about.  What’s it all for?  At the end of the day it is all about the marriage.  Today I mostly wanted to take a minute to remember that, and to open up the post to those of you who are married, have been for a while or are still in your first year, to share what you think makes a marriage.  Think of it as a virtual guestbook where you can leave your advice for those soon-to-be-marrieds – what’s your best advice?  What is the one tip you would share?

LA DIY wedding | Jennifer Roper Photography

In my four married years (and many more than that dating years) with my husband, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned a lot about men.  I’ve learned a lot about partnership and compromise and marriage.  I learned that it doesn’t matter if the toothpaste tube belongs in the medicine cabinet but is always left on the sink.  It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t bring you flowers all the time.  It doesn’t matter if you’re always right.  And you can’t always be right.  Even if you are… (this one I’m still working on.)

NYC wedding | Moshayedi PhotographyMarriage isn’t easy.  It takes work.  And that isn’t a bad thing.  Just like anything else (exercise, creativity, relationships), if you don’t work on it, it gets lazy.  It gets stale.  It gets taken for granted.  I really liked this post from a divorced guy who owns up to the 16 ways he says he blew his marriage.  And many are really obvious things, but things we all do, have done, could easily do…

modern wedding couple | paige winn photography

I remember before I got married and had a baby I thought “I’ll never become that wife who neglects her spouse because she has a baby.”  Then I had a baby.  And do you know what I did? I became that wife.  It’s so hard not too – it is all hormones and maternal instincts and you caring so much for this tiny person who can’t do anything on their own that you rarely get a shower or a meal yourself.  How are you supposed to pay attention to yet another person?  But you know what?  That’s marriage.  You have to work it out and find a way to keep your relationship prioritized.  It might take a while (and that’s ok too).  But you have to do it.  That’s what I mean about it being work.  Because there will be times it feels like work.  Whether it is cooking your partner dinner or doing their laundry, talking things out when you disagree, having sex when you really don’t feel like it, taking the kids and giving them a day off, going to counseling to work on an issue: whatever it takes is what you need to do to keep your marriage happy and healthy.  And then you’ll have one of those days where you just laugh and laugh and look over at your partner and remember how hot they are and get butterflies all over again.  Marriage is awesome that way.

NJ Boardwalk wedding

So if I had to say what I think makes a marriage, I’d have to say that the love keeps you in it but it is the little things (the hand holding, spooning, date nights, mutual respect, making each other feel special, knowing when they need a hug and knowing when they need space) that keep the love fires burning.

What do you think makes a marriage?

{photo credits} gina leigh photography, full wedding herejennifer roper photography, full wedding here / ariane moshayedi photography, full wedding here / paige winn photography, full wedding here / Megan Kyle and Christopher Frump Photography, full wedding here