Hiya, friends. I hope your week is off to a great start!
I am mid-flight to the West Coast for work, all too happy to leave muggy, unseasonably warm and rainy Atlanta behind in exchange for a few days of some California sunshine. As I look out my airplane window (I am usually an aisle girl, but on these cross-country flights, the window is much more entertaining!), it's hard to believe what I can see. Huge mountain ranges covered with snow (hello, upstate New Mexico!), followed immediately by what appears to be flat fields and crop circles, also all snowy white. This country will never cease to amaze me in its terrain! I hope to actually visit some of these states that I am flying over right now, but that's what a good bucket list is for, am I right?
So, lots has been going on over here. Even though my head is spinning a bit with the things we have left to do, I am really excited for the weeks ahead as we zoom towards this big wedding.
Sorry in advance to those of you who are over this whole topic. Just a few weeks left, I promise ;)
The best part about all of this is that my fiance is getting even more excited right along with me, too :) We both have agreed to stick to healthy meals and workouts during the week to trim off a last few pounds, and I know our partnership in this will really help us reach our goals. It must be working, because believe it or not, I actually packed workout clothes for the hotel on this trip. Let's see if I go through with it (ha), but if there is a treadmill, I plan on hitting it for at least one, if not two, quick jog sessions.
The main thing that Brad and I have been doing together for the wedding, though, are marriage prep classes through our church. A lot of my friends are married, and went through similar routines, but I wondered if many of you readers have gotten to this stage, too? I thought I might talk a little bit about what it entails. Ladies in serious relationships, if a church wedding is in your future, you may want to listen up!
In the Catholic Church, marriage prep classes are required for every couple. Depending on your priest, you have one of a few options for the format. You can attend a weekend retreat, a day-long seminar, or, as our priest, the pastor of the parish, highly recommends, a few sessions with a volunteer sponsor couple. While all formats run through the same basic concepts, the sponsor couple sessions are focused around workbook exercises that the couple completes in advance. The books hit on big things like communication styles, financials, parenting and partnership. Once we have read the chapters and filled things out, we discuss ourselves, and then continue the conversation at the session. The sponsor couple is there to help guide the conversation and share their own experiences, too. It's been really interesting hearing our sponsor couple's take on life, love and religion. Bonus, they live in Buckhead, too, right around the corner! We have attended three of the five two-hour sessions so far.
These sessions, we have learned (and our sponsor couple has since admitted to us), are especially helpful for couples that might not have talked about these things together before. Since we have been together for over four years now, we had already talked about almost everything these books have covered. Going through all of the materials, I must admit, has been a bit tedious as a result, since we are already confident in our directions. Thankfully, we already know who will do a lot of the cleaning (OCD me!) and who will likely manage the financial books (finance-man Brad!) :)
What has surprised me, though, is that I have actually enjoyed the excuse to talk through a few last things a little bit more. It's confirming what I already knew deep down -- that we are really ready for this big journey ahead! My head may be spinning, but these sessions continuously ground me back to reality and the true reason we are doing all of this. It's a big day, sure, with a big party and a big guest list -- a day that I would not give up for the world -- but what's even bigger is my heart -- it's full of love for what's ahead, on April 13 and all of the April 13's many, many years from now. Knowing that we are in line with each other and with our own goals as individuals and as a couple is a heart-filling thing!
Sometimes I catch myself thinking back to the days when I was single, and I realize, while my relationship status has certainly changed since then, what was important to me then is still now, too. I crave a job that challenges me to always grow and learn, friends and family that are always there for me and I for them, and passions that make my life happy. Having a relationship hasn't "made" me who I am, nor has it "completed" me. It's morphed what I thought was sheer bliss into a whole new dimension, one for which I will be eternally grateful. Whether it's a new job, a new significant other, a new baby or a new home, these big life changes just take us to that next level of happiness. It's not better, or something we should feel we are missing out on otherwise, but just a new level that we get the chance to explore, enjoy and savor.
So, we are headed back for the fourth session this weekend, and a whole to-do list of other wedding things awaits us, too. While my head may continue to spin, I sure as anything am going to savor all of the moments in the meantime, though :)