For the first installment of the marriage series, today I’d like to discuss the wedding gift J & I received that dramatically changed the way we think about gifts in general. The day after the wedding is truly exhilarating. You wake up the morning after with a full heart, sore feet, and the joy of knowing today is the first day as a married couple – the start of a adventure of a lifetime. Perhaps you’ve planned a causal brunch for your out of town guests and spend the morning and late afternoon again with family and friends (a future post in and of itself) but at some point as a couple you sit down to open cards that were graciously left the night before. Without a doubt, an overwhelming surge of gratitude pours over you both as you read through the well-wishes for the start of your marriage – there is nothing quite like knowing your friends & family love and support one of the most beautiful promises you’ve ever made.
The above is a simplified description of the morning after J & my wedding just a little over a year and a half ago – without actually eating at said planned brunch. We ending up spending the morning after chatting and bidding our family & friends farewell in the hotel lobby. McDonald’s ended up being our first stop on the way home – a memory we smile about to this day. We then spent the remainder of the day after our wedding, packing for our honeymoon and reading through the cards we had received – each one making us smile as we recounted moments with each guest the night before. There was a card in particular from a family member that has stuck with us and formulated a second promise we made that day.
The card included a monetary gift with a letter – the words and advice offered were of a gift that promised to give a 1000 fold. In the letter, there was a description of a marriage that had truly stood the test of time and one that had been rooted in adventure rather than the collection of material items. The letter challenged J & I to make memories and to search out adventure rather than to use their gift to fill our home with items. The letter spoke to the importance of moments spent laughing together as the things we would reach for in the tough times. It didn’t call for elaborate trips but rather to relish in making adventures out of life’s simple pleasures – a stay-cation in your hometown, a trip to the beach, a night of bowling followed by ice cream – all were moments that would allow for connection and engagement – something so important for couples.
J & I took this letter to heart and carry its message with us daily. This letter had revealed an essential component of what I like to call the recipe of a well nourished marriage. It spoke to importance of carving out time and investing in each other and our marriage by sharing experiences. It was a reminder of the importance of taking time to date even in marriage. Time to plan a surprise – a cooked meal, a sporting event, an afternoon in a coffee shop – all of which create moments that can be reached for in the “better or worse times”.
The letter was a reminder for J & I of the importance of creating and cultivating a marriage built on investing in each other and building a life of shared experiences. It can be hard as a young couple to remember the importance of taking time to allow for adventure – life as a new couple can pull you in a 1000 different directions. But investing in each other through purposely choosing to engage and connect is the perfect way to reiterate your “I do’s” on a daily basis.
The take away – if you are wedding guest looking for that perfect gift, consider giving the newlyweds a gift that will encourage them to take a trip, go on a date, spend the afternoon together – simply to be able to make memories. If you are a young engaged couple – take time during your engagement to break away from the wedding planning. Your engagement and the planning process is the perfect opportunity to fill your cupboard with memories. If you are a married couple – plan a day trip, make time together a priority, start small with things like movie nights, a meal prepared together, or a long weekend exploring a new city. Simply – Make life a series of adventures…
J & I are certain this gift was meant to be a life lesson and one that we wanted to pay forward by sharing today. We hope you will also find that it is a gift that keeps on giving…
Your turn – I’d love to know what wedding/engagement gift has left a lasting impression for you?
Photo | Hoffer Photography