1 Year Anniversary

At an Army event, a rare glimpse of Ed all dressed up.

At an Army event, a rare glimpse of Ed all dressed up.

It seems only fitting that since this blog was started in preparation for our wedding, that I would post something celebrating that particular day in history.  It was hard for me to write this post, I feel there were many directions I could go as I reflected on my first full year as a married woman.  So, I’m giving myself permission, (hopefully I have yours too!) to re-visit first-year-of-marriage themes in the future, and will talk more specifically about our anniversary in this post.  So here we go….

Working on your marriage starts by working on you. If there is one thing I have learned in this first year of marriage, it is that being partnered with someone brings out your very best or your very worst qualities on any given day. I have also learned that the more I focus on what I need from my spouse, the less happy I am. Instead I am learning to find my contentment and my happiness in my relationship with God and myself. Then anything I get from my spouse is a bonus!

Especially on our anniversary I had to really wrestle with the

I love you!

I love you!

expectation of getting something from my spouse. We as a society have made a gift giving occasion out of just about anything. Now if you like to give gifts, or you like to get gifts there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Gift giving is a tried-and-true way of showing affection. However it is not the only way to show affection and the lack of gift giving or dinner reservations should not reflect on the health and wellness of a relationship. This was very hard for me to accept at first because I spend too much time on Facebook, seeing all the status updates from my friends who would receive roses, a card and dinner at the nearest steakhouse for any and all special occasions. Through much conversation I have learned how my spouse feels he is able to show love to me, and in his mind it looks very different than the typical Kay Jewelry commercial.

So I had to decide if I was going to be okay with that, or make myself miserable by comparing our relationship and my spouse’s love-overtures to every other 20-something married couple in our non-denominational Christian-ease hipster society. So in honor of my spouse, who does love me devotedly, here are some ways he shows me his love all the time not just on special occasions, (he does these of his own volition btw!):

  •  Paying the bills
  •  Doing the dishes
  •  Putting my health first
  •  Working me out at the gym
  •  Serenading me
  •  Dancing with me
  •  Laughing when I spend too much money
  •  Complementing me profusely when I roll out of bed in the mornings
  •  Keeping himself informed, in-shape, and spiritually growing

How did we actually spend our anniversary?  Well, my maid of honor was in town, so my bride-groom took us to the gun-range to teach us how to shoot.  (He loved teaching us, and apparently I’m a pretty good shot.)  Then, the MOH took us to lunch before heading to the airport.  Good food, lots of laughs, and reflections on life made for a lovely time.  Finally alone, my hubby and I spent some time kanoodling, cleaning, and wrapped up the day with a trip to the movies.  Dracula Untold is not really romantic, but prompted interesting discussion about love, sacrifice, good, and evil.  All in all, a pretty good day for Team RZ – I felt connected to my husband, gained fresh insight and understanding, and learned something new with him.  Isn’t that what marriage is all about?

Happy hubby, happy life!

Happy wedding day!

Getting back to my previous point about working on the self, some days it is a struggle to find my peace and happiness and contentment apart from the person that I have to do life with, however I also know that I can be demanding, selfish, prideful, needy, achievement-oriented, and by turns over emotional, or not in touch with my emotions at all.  That’s why I feel that prayer and meditation, (journaling for me), is even MORE essential when it comes to marriage vs all the other things we spend time stressing about.  After all, your marriage is the commitment that affects you each and every day, and will be with you until the day you die.  It can be, and should be, the most life-altering decision you make.  What is more worthy of your time and consideration?  After all, by calling on the Big Guy’s help, and working through your baggage SO THAT your marriage becomes healthier…you are really doing yourself a favor.

We are big fans of affirmations. We really appreciate when the other takes notice of something that we’ve done or something great about us in general. We try and make it a practice to affirm each other each night before we say prayers and go to bed. Some nights it is easier to come up with something than others but the practice of doing so forces us to look for the best in each other even if it’s been a hard day.

The #1 thing that I’ve learned about marriage is that every day is a choice. You may fall in love but deciding to stay there is made up of little choices each and every day. I can either choose to withdraw when I’m upset and pout, or I can lean into our relationship. I can try to understand the other point of view, I can opt to compromise. Obviously I don’t do it right 90 percent of the time, but with a lot of grace, forgiveness, and God’s help we’ve made it this far, and are looking forward to the rest of Forever.

Taking the Leap

It's scary to jump off that step and not have firm ground underneath..will he catch me?

It’s scary to jump off that step and not have firm ground underneath..will he catch me?

There is something specific about resting in the arms of the person who has vowed to spend the rest of their life with you.  It is so comforting, it leaves the mind free of fears, and open to dream.  What is it about marriage that makes us so united, how is it different than really super committed dating?  I think it’s the leap.

When you get married, you don’t get to watch the movie of your life together play out in front of you and then decide, “yes, I’d like to have that. ”  We can never know what life holds in store for us alone, and even less so once joined with a partner who brings their own qualities, ideas and dreams into the equation.  Yet for those who are willing, the actual act of saying those vows is taking a leap of faith together, into a new life that is unknown…. The unknown is always scary, but like skydiving, going to war, or getting through college, there are adventurers in life that bond 2 people just because they got though it together.

I think the leap of marriage is in itself a bonding experience that helps you to face the scary unknowns.  When life gets tough, or throws you a curve, the hope is that you will be strong enough to look back to your wedding day and say, “we took that leap together, we are floating through thin air with each other, together we can find firm ground again.”

What about kids?  To have, adopt, what if we can't...

What about kids? To have, adopt, what if we can’t…

There will be other leaps throughout life that continue to bond you if you let them…but they can also tear you apart.  It is our choices in these situations, our ability to put the others needs first while still expressing our own, to be slow to anger and quick to forgive, that determines whether you will be glued tighter on the other side. Leaping into having kids together – another act of faith.  Taking a jump to move to a new place that your spouse feels better about than you do.  Re-arranging your career to make room for your partner, your family.  What about that leap into a crazy vacation that seems totally impractical but is probably exactly what you both need?

Yes, experiences are what unite people, and marriage is the first of many leaps of faith that can build a life un-imagined.  Here’s to love, and here’s to leaping.

From Germany with Love

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Was honored to stand up in their wedding last summer!

I am married to my prince charming Daniel Patterson and I work as a counselor in a group practice in Barrington, IL. I am a German native and moved to the United States four years ago.

Morgen was a small group leader at Willow Creek Community Church and was highly involved in the young adult ministry. Due to her height and outgoing personality it did not take long for me to notice and meet her. Our mutual passion for community, deep conversations and our love for God and His church connected us and built our friendship. In June 2012 she was a bridesmaid in my wedding.

At that point Edward was only a dream. A few months later I got news of a “soldier in Germany” who had captivated her heart. Daniel and I have both enjoyed getting to know Edward as an individual and Team RZ which is developing into a beautiful unity of kingdom values, righteous living and community building. I am excited to see the difference they are going to make in the world. I am also excited to see their babies; they are going to be so adorable!

Walking Side by Side

Planner, Entrepreneur, Dear Friend!

Planner, Entrepreneur, Dear Friend!

My first wedding job ever was at the bright age of 4, when I had the privilege of being the flower girl at my aunt’s wedding; and I have loved working them ever since.  Over the years I have participated as a maid of honor, bridesmaid, musician, florist, and coordinator extraordinaire.   While it all started as more of a hobby, today I am blessed to be building my dream business: Beaumann Wedding & Events~ and I LOVE my job!

I have known Morgen for 4 years now through Willow Creek Community church, and what a journey it has been! We have shared many adventurous memories, lots of laughter, some tears, but above all have supported each other through the many mountain high and valley low moments.

That has included the different status of men in our livesso when I first heard of this crazy wedding weekend and the new man in her life I was definitely a guarded friend and paid extra attention to Ed and all that Morgen would share about their relationship. While it was only one version of the story, I can say without a doubt that the journey these two have been on could not have been more divine.  I am so happy for the two of you and the start of your live together, as a team!

Soon to be Sisters!

The one and only, Rachele Szall

The one and only, Rachele Szall

Most know me as Rachele Szall and throughout high school it was “lil Ed” but I am really the one and only little sister. I am currently a First Class Cadet at the Air Force Academy and next year I will hopefully be following in my brother’s footsteps of taking care of people.

I first met Morgen at a Christmas Party she was hosting at her church. I had just landed in Chicago before my brother whisked me off in excitement to meet a very special someone. I witnessed what a kind, loving person Morgen is and how independent she is; which is a trait I love about her.

Since then, I’d keep up with her busy life and her relationship with my brother through the traditional method of social media stalking and I was always happy to hear about the new experiences they had shared. Something I find fascinating is how your love for someone can make changes in your life for the better without you even noticing it. Having known Edward for quite some time now, it amazes me how happy one person, the lovely Morgen, has made him. I am extremely excited to see where the future takes them!