For as long as I can remember, there have been people in my life using 12 step programs to improve themselves and their circumstances. Some were battling addictions, and others loved those that were battling addiction. Whatever their individual case might be, these programs helped bring clarity and some kind of peace to otherwise chaotic life situations. Through those people and their experiences, I’ve become well acquainted with two things that I think have helped me (or could’ve helped me had I acknowledged them more often) get through my wedding planning, and something that I think it’s important to remember about marriage (and really all of life too). One is the phrase “One Day at a Time” and the other is the Serenity Prayer.
The Serenity Prayer for those who aren’t familiar with it. I’ve had this plaque since the day I was a little girl after a scary incident with burned garlic bread!
Now a quick disclaimer: I’m by no means trying to to trivialize addiction or the struggle that goes along with it. It’s something I’ve been well acquainted with my entire life without ever having an addiction myself. I’ve watched people, both the addicted party and their loved ones, suffer from it. I’ve seen families torn apart because of addiction. I’m by no means trying to compare the experience of living with your own addiction or that of someone you love to the wedding planning process. I do however think the tools you are given to fight addiction through a 12 step program can be useful in putting other parts of your life together and that’s my point here. I by no means mean to take anything away from the seriousness of the struggle with addictions of all kinds and I’m truly sorry if anyone takes that away from what I have to say or feels slighted at it at all.
So back to my original point: One day at a time. Do you know how hard it is to actually live your life like that, especially when you have a large life event looming over head? I do because despite the fact that it’s an idea that has been rammed into my head since I was a little kid, I still didn’t put it to use in my life leading up to my wedding. When Matt and I were actually going through the planning process, there would be days when a panic would strike me and suddenly I’d find myself texting back and forth with Matt for hours doing out the math to make sure we were on track to have the money we needed saved in time for the wedding.
And guess what? We were … before we wasted tons of time freaking out. We had done out the math originally and set our savings plan into motion. We knew what we had for resources at our disposal. We knew where we were at. We threw what extra we could towards our wedding savings when we could. We had the whole thing under control, but unfortunately what we didn’t have was trust in ourselves and our plan. We didn’t trust that we’d be okay if life threw us a curveball. It threw us plenty in the last few months of our engagement, from having our credit card account compromised
with tons of money taken out to Matt facing sudden unemployment to car issues
that needed resolving … all in the same one-week span. Instead of trusting where we were at when we were there, we were always worrying about what was coming down the pike at us. None of the worrying helped us save anymore money or put us in a better position for the wedding or life after it. It just took away from our ability to enjoy the planning process and our engagement because we were always worried about what was coming next instead of dealing with whatever task we had at hand.
On the occasions when bad things did happen that could’ve/would’ve/should’ve set us back in our plans, we were up to the task and took care of business, despite all our fear and anxiety. Nothing was as bad as we could imagine it to be. We knew what we were doing, despite our doubts about our own abilities. I think it was in these moments that we were forced to stay in the moment to deal with our challenges facing us because they were right there in front of us. There was no other option but to live in that day and deal with what was currently on our plate. We didn’t have time to think about what was coming up next and that was okay because we had things under control even if we didn’t believe in ourselves enough to know that then.
As for the serenity prayer, I think it’s important to remember that things will come along that you can have absolutely no control over. You can make a lot of decisions about your wedding, but you can’t fix or control everything. Sometimes, you need to make decisions that aren’t easy like firing a vendor
, or telling someone who thinks they’re invited to your wedding that they’re not, or having a tough conversation with a bridal party member
. It’s not always easy to tell what you can control (like what your bridesmaids wear to your wedding) and what falls outside of your control (like what your guests wear to your wedding) and sometimes just taking the time to say a prayer (even if you don’t believe in a higher power listening to that prayer) can give you a moment to breathe and find clarity that you might be missing otherwise about all these different things.
I think this way of thinking about things is even more important when it comes to marriage. I’ve been freaking out since the day I found out I was pregnant
about what it would mean for our marriage and what has that worrying gotten me? It hasn’t made me any more prepared for our life as a trio instead of a duet and when I allowed it, it took away my ability to enjoy the fun parts of pregnancy because I was so preoccupied with what might happen when instead of what was going on now. In the meantime, we’ve had other major life shifts that we’ve been hit with. Some were positive things, while others were just about as negative as they could get. These happenings couldn’t have been foreseen or expected on either account. There was nothing we could do to prevent the bad things from happening or and we also couldn’t make the good things happen sooner. All we could do is rise to the occasion and be one another’s strength when faced with challenges and triumphs.
Every day that leads up to your wedding is a single day. Put a plan together with your fiance and trust in it. Your wedding is a single day. Enjoy it and don’t worry about what comes next. Your wedding day goes by fast enough as it is and you’re really not going to remember it if you’re too focused on what could be coming at you from here. Every day of your life after your wedding is one day. One day may be full of happiness and joy and the next might be full of despair. No matter how well you’ve planned things out, bad things can and will happen. Worrying away your good times won’t save you from the bad. If anything, it’ll deplete your strength to deal with the bad when you actually find yourself faced with it. Start out each day fresh and just take things as they come instead of losing yourself in what could be. One day at a time and you’ll come out the other side, no matter what life throws at you, in your engagement, your marriage and your life.
No matter how bad the bad times might be, I know having this guy by my side will always make it easier and make the good times even sweeter.