A year ago today, I married David in an apple orchard.
Was it the best day of my life? I hope not. I hope my life is long, and full, and shared with my wonderful husband and the family we’re making together. I hope there are so many more best days. September 1, 2012 was pretty damn magical, though.
My first year of marriage has been challenging. David and I dealt with the rigors of grad school, stressful yet rewarding job situations, moving to a new apartment, and a difficult pregnancy this year. Although in some ways I wish our first year as newly weds could have been more laid back, the external challenges really knit us together in ways I couldn’t have anticipated.
We were together for five years before we got married, had lived together for three years, and had weathered some Big Things in our shared time. I didn’t expect marriage to change me so much, or to change my relationship with my partner in such concrete ways. But it has.
I know how to be vulnerable without entirely surrendering my sense of self now. I know how to identify and articulate the things I want and need. I know how to make space for another person in my life, a person whose needs sometimes come before my own. I know what it’s like to pursue my goals, knowing that there is a person who supports me every step of the way. I know how to love another person fiercely, even when I am cranky, even when I am angry, even when it means doing things I really, really don’t want to do. I know how to be someone else’s champion, to push him toward his dreams, to hold him back against burn out, to put my goddamn iphone down and actually listen to him when he is talking even if he has told me this story before (this last one is still hard). I have a deeper understanding of both selfishness and generosity. I know how to make one very special man laugh until he cries.
If I’ve learned all that in the span of just one year of marriage, what things can I learn in 5 years, 10, 50? I look forward to finding out.
Marrying David made me better. A better partner, absolutely, but also a better person. And that’s not just because David is awesome (although he is) but it’s because I care a whole hell of a lot about my marriage. I put time into it. I reflect on it. I actively work to make it stronger.
At our wedding, I walked down the aisle staring at David the entire time, moving toward him with a magnetic thrum in my core. When I reached him, I hugged my father briefly, shoved my bouquet into my sister’s arms, waved at my mom, and then flung myself at my almost-husband. David, always a rule-follower, whispered to me, terrified, “Are we supposed to do this yet?”
“I don’t care!” I sobbed into his shoulder, half laughing, half crying, up on my tip-toes. His arms instantly circled around me in the tightest hug.
And then we got married.
All photos in this post were taken by our wedding photographer, Kate, of KNG Sommers Photography. I cannot recommend her enough; she is bad ass. If you’d like to see more of our wedding photos, I have a ton shared on FB, or you can search Instagram hashtag #vansantwedding (having an instagram hashtag was a last minute idea on my part, and it was one of the very best ideas I ever had).