Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Newlyweds and Starry Eyes

I was talking with a newlywed the other day [to protect the innocent, I won't mention names or how I know this person, but if they are reading, I hope they know I love them very, very much!], and it got me thinking:
Was I like this when I was a newlywed? So wrapped up in the other person that my views of reality were kind of skewed and had I known what I know now would I have been so quick to say things and make promises that are so unrealistic and not even remotely possible??
Was I like that?
Part of me hopes I was smart and savvy, realistic and knowledgeable that even though Brandon promised to be a millionaire by the time he turned 30 (he's now almost 32, cough-cough) and vowed he would never go on a business trip without me (Bwahahahahahaha!) I knew those promises would never be true.
But the other part of me --the memory part of me --knows that I was exactly like every other newlywed with stars in their eyes. I had it all mapped out, our future, and it was perfect. Of course it was perfect! How could it not be perfect?
Wanna know what it was, this future of ours?
You sure?
Here was the plan:
Brandon and I would finish school; I would get my undergraduate degree in Secondary Music Education. Brandon would graduate with his Business degree (ISYS emphasis) and then we would move to San Jose, CA so he could get his MBA at Stanford. He would get an amazing job and we would move to Southern CA, living in the same community where he grew up. We would have six boys and four girls (not in that order; all mixed up, of course) and when Brandon became a millionaire (or billionaire) at age 30, he'd retire, get his pilot's license, and we would travel the world. This is when I would start my career as a high school choir teacher and spend 20 years in that profession. We'd later serve a mission in Australia --the place where Brandon served his mission and where we would have vacationed many, many times. Later, we would serve missions in England (where we spent a few years while I wrote a few best-sellers), Africa (where we had vacationed), and India (because we love the food). After all of our children grew up, served honorable missions, married in the Temple and provided us with 60 plus grandchildren, we would die peacefully in each other's arms at the age of 85. Or so. Throughout this life, Brandon would never go on a business trip without me; I would be the best homemaker in the world. I would learn to like sewing, gardening, canning, and --gasp! Laundry. We would be the home where our children would bring their friends and we would be known only as "The cool parents." We would never fight, Brandon would bring me flowers weekly, and I would make his lunch and iron his shirts.

Dude. I have to stop. I can't stop laughing!

Yeah, so the last 10 years has thrown most of that out the window. I think the only thing we actually did was that Brandon got his degree in Business with an ISYS emphasis.
Yep. That's it.
I hate laundry, can't sew, and kill every plant that I touch. I graduated with a Marriage and Family degree. We have four children, might have another, and we live in Utah. Brandon will hopefully get his EMBA within the next few years, but we will stay put while he does it. He brings me flowers occasionally, and I hate to iron his shirts. We've never been back to Australia, or to England, but we have been to Mexico and Hawaii. We fight a lot, people (stubborn Red personalities that we have!), but it's better than it was --that's the key, I think. The fact that it's getting better, and it is! I've suffered through weight problems and depression; Brandon has suffered through his own weight problems and my depression (ha!), and there's no guarantee our cute kids are going to turn out the way we hope they will. Brandon will never get his pilot's license (I'm serious, Brandon. You are not flying small planes! I mean it! Add this to the "no motorcycles" rule), and we probably won't die in each other's arms, darn it!
So, you see? Things rarely turn out the way we think they will; that's just a fact of life. But I wouldn't have changed it for anything. If I knew then what I know now, then I wouldn't have had the experience to teach me what I know now, capische?

To all those newlyweds out there: Keep those stars in your eyes. Just don't be surprised if nothing turns out the way you want/expect it to, including the person you married. It's not a bad thing or a wrong thing, it's just this crazy little thing we call mortal life.
P.S. Marriage takes work. If it doesn't take work for you (either now or eventually), then either one of you is lying, or one of you is being repressed/abused. I'm serious.
P.P.S. I could go on about this all day long, having majored in it and all, but I'll save it for another post.

So, dear reader, are things different now from when you were a newlywed? Have things turned out exactly like you had planned? Exactly opposite?


Julie said...

I've been happily surprised at how our life has turned out. We really didn't make too many plans besides that we'd live in Cache Valley while he practiced dentistry. So far so good there. But the 6 kids we planned probably won't happen. And, of course, we didn't ever plan for health concerns. Like you said, though, I'm really happy for the way things have gone. And although Stanton is certainly not the perfect person I thought I was marrying, he's much better because he tempers my stubbornness.

Audrey said...

Our plan was for my husband to graduate with his degree in Computer Science/History and work for a few years before MBA (pref Harvard) and go into management in the tech industry (pref Microsoft in Seattle). I expected to be the typical pioneer Mormon woman with great birthing hips to deliver 6 children naturally and easily. When our youngest is in kindergarten I will go back to school to finish a degree.

My husband did graduate with the double major, got a job in Texas (never saw that coming), was rejected from Harvard (even with a perfect score on the GMAT), attended U of Michigan for his MBA (which turned out to be much better), decided to go into consulting (yikes!), and we now live in Dallas where he works for McKinsey and travels Mon-Thurs every week. It's never what I envisioned for my husband's work life, but he likes it and I've adjusted to it. Though we now (as of 6 weeks ago) have three boys, I have complicated pregnancies that require c-sections, and all three had to spend up to 5 weeks in NICU. BUT! I am so grateful to be able to have children. I just wish that I didn't hope so badly that our (in a couple of years) 4th child will be a girl and that we will be done.

We have no idea where my husband will work or where we will be in a few years. It's an adventure for sure.

Um, yeah, and that pedestal in my eyes that my husband was on when we first married has been obliterated and we now stand side by side on the planet earth.

bestlifelessons said...
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Rachel and Nathan Fisher said...

Oh, Cheryl, I am just laughing and thinking "us too!" But, we're in it for the journey, right? Who knows where we will be in another 10 years- but I wouldn't trade these first ten (almost!!) for anything.

Rochelleht said...

That's pretty funny. I just remember thinking that certain salaries would give a MUCH higher standard of living than they actually do...

Madsens said...

dang - i am so glad i was 28 when i got married and had taken all those family/marriage classes for my degree as well - I guess those stars in my eyes had been dimmed by knowledge and experience :) ha ha!!

The person at the fair was none other than....hmmm - can I really share the name here?? you better check your email :) haha!

Anonymous said...

I can't even remember what the plan was. But we're doing all right. ;)

brenbot. said...

Post-divorce, I can't really handle being around cutesie couples. I feel like I might barf on them. I just think, "Yeah, just wait and you'll see..." Bitter, I know.

TaLaisa said...

I love it. I had the reverse 'vision' of a married future. I imagined being poor college students while he or I or both finished school had a baby while living in student housing on loans, fresh air and love. And all the miraculous concoctions I could come up with from beans and rice.

My reality was that we were both finished with school, him with a Masters and me with my culinary degree. He had a good paying job and we lived as far from freezing Rexburg as you can get without leaving Utah. I couldn't get a job in my 'field', so went to work in a high end jewelry store and we went on weekend jaunts to Vegas for Cheesecake Factory.

Then we found out we were expecting, my grandmother needed daytime live-in help and we were the best ones for the job. We moved and being jobless and poor hit, it was hard to go back to something we'd never had to experience. Dual income no kids, to one part time job (I was able to get at 4 months pregnant) was stressful.

Since then we've had 2 more kids, my weight/depression and low self-esteem to conquer, lots of job changes and the creativity challenge with beans and rice, which is not as romantic and 'fun' as I envisioned as newlyweds.

It's different, much different and yet sort of the same.

Someday we may go back and live in Fiji, probably sooner than I'd like but it was always in the plan.

I never thought I was married to the perfect person, but I didn't realize how much I would grow and change and how much I needed his support and encouragement to make it through the things we'd deal with. My husband and I have a symbiotic relationship that seems to balance things perfectly.

I don't think I was one of those starry-eyed newlyweds, I'll have to check with the friend I spent the most time with leading up to the wedding. She'll tell me the truth.

Cardalls said...

No MY plan hasn't come to pass...but someone who is all knowing has mapped out another plan that has refined us and helped us grow. I never thought I'd raise my family in Vegas, never thought i'd had chronic health issues, never thought i'd be worried about my DH keeping his job, never thought i'd be 37 contemplating another baby in spite of said health issues--it's not my idea...it's a higher power's idea! UGH---pregnancy!

Leslie said...

Yeah...things are different then I thought they would be. But I still love my hubby like crazy and he's still in love with me and so...it's all good!

Cardalls said...

I just had to add, that my life and who I am becoming are much more than I could have imagined. My life is better--and yet harder than I imagined, but I'm grateful everyday for it.

Cardalls said...

me--again, my degree is Marriage and Family as well...same name and degree..frightening! :)

Weatherspoon Family of 6 said...

Still remember some one commenting on how "In love" we were! After 10 years and many hard times. I know this is where I want to be and that Heavenly Father has guided me here. I know he is still trying to get me to figure some things out. Hopefully when I do I will get to move from this town! No where close to where I thought I would be but happily I know it is where I am supposed to be!

Michele said...

"Um, yeah, and that pedestal in my eyes that my husband was on when we first married has been obliterated and we now stand side by side on the planet earth."

Well said Audrey.
I think we all start out at that point when we are dating/newlyweds and then we actually live with the other person on a day to day basis and realize that they are
- gasp! - human and flawed just like we are. Then they come down off that pedestal. Which is how it should be. Together walking through life (and reality)together, side by side.

Reuben South said...

I will soon be a newlywed myself, but we have known each other for so long already we can weed through our dreams and reality. We both work now and she's currently thinking of a career change. I've gone back to school while I work earning my MBA Degree and as soon as that is done I have to find new work. We'll be married long before that comes to pass and she keeps me honest with myself while I dream.

Alison Wonderland said...

What are you talking about?! Things have turned out exactly as I planned... Nope, sorry couldn't hold the straight face. I won't bore you with the details of what we planned or where our train derailed (although I might steal the idea of a post of my own, if I may?) but the thing that's funny to me is that past failure to follow the plan has not deterred me from continuing to make them. They're not quite as starry or unrealistic as they were but they still probably won't happen. So get back to me in another ten years and I'll have even more.

Julie P said...

This post was a kick in the pants!!! You crack me up.

We didn't have too much of a plan. 4-6 kids (on our way). Own a house one day (we do). Be happy, even when it takes hard work (and wow, does it ever take work some days!). Utah was never in the equation, but boy am I glad we found our way here.

This post cracks me up - I was recently thinking about what advice I would give in a "better your marriage" lecture. I came up with the following: date every week, and never ever stop making out!

(never mind that we don't date once a week, but a girl can dream...and have a goal)

Ok, this was really long. Sorry.

Summer said...


I'm sure we were a little starry eyed but nothing like the newly weds we've met since then. Neither Tom or I are very romantic but I'm sure we were cheesy in other ways..

As for our lives now, we were certain he'd have graduated school two years ago at least. Ha!

tamrobot said...

I like to think I still have stars in my eyes for Jared! We didn't really have any set plans or expectations though other than be a couple. And I guess it hasn't really been that long (2.5 years).

Never A True Aggie said...

I actually had a "single life" plan. Before I met Don, I was the ripe old age of 24 (shock!) and working on my Masters. I figured I would just go on to get a doctorate and travel the world. I actually had a plan to move back home to CA, attend the singles ward in Stanford (Palo Alto) and marry a really rich super smart guy and live out my dreams. Well, I married a super smart guy, minus the rich. No stanford. No Doctorate. Sigh.

Actually, I went into marriage a little like a deer in headlights. I actually would say to any newlywed: Don't worry about the first fight. You will have more and you will always find your way through it. I am so glad that we have moved beyond some of our bad habits from the begining of our marriage. I do remember that first year was a doozy. Sooooo glad it did not predict the other 10.

Amber said...

I was older when I got married and not as naive as I would have been in my early 20s. Then again, if I'd have married back then, I would have married THE WRONG guy.

So, for me I didn't have these great expectations. I knew it would be tough. And it sometimes is. But mostly, motherhood and marriage exceeded my expectations and it amazes me I spent so many years running from them.

Janelle said...

I loved reading these comments! I'm with Amber. I am amazed at how fulfilling motherhood and marriage is.

I also agree with Katie, the first year can be a doozy!

Didn't have too much of a plan besides find a husband, have kids, buy a house, stay married. I imagine those are everyone's plans thus the pain felt over the loss of any of these are what women feel most deeply about.

But what of the future - I have tons of plans for that! Do your next post on what we want to do next.

I want: to have all of my children become financially independent of me and be responsible citizens.

I want: all of my children to have a Testimony of Jesus Christ and be active members in building the kingdom throughout their lifetimes.

I want: myself to be faithful and courageous if/when those two things don't happen.

But if they do.... I want to serve a mission (or many) with my husband, get my doctorate and teach religion at BYU.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I thought I would be a nice, patient, and happy person ... like I'd always been. Then we had children. Enough said.

Thanks, great post!