by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes
Over the last several months, if not years, you have been focused entirely on planning your special day. Catering decisions, wedding party selections, venue choices, and decisions about flowers, bridesmaids dresses, and tuxedoes have finally all been made. Hopefully, the Bride even got to say “yes” to her perfect dress. So, there literally has been no detail too small that you and the love of your life have not anguished over and spent countless hours reviewing, and tailoring to make them absolutely, wedding fabulous!
Mistianna: It seems a lot of newlyweds, like Derrick and I were years ago, get really caught up in the excitement of an elaborate proposal, the fabulous wedding, and a hot, happening honeymoon in the fantasy suite. The problem with that is when we do this, get so “wedding crazy” as my Daddy calls it, we fail to nurture the reality of what truly sustains our relationship with one another and instead focus all of our time and energy on our Wedding day, and not, on growing our relationship, or on learning what really makes each other tick, or understanding the expectations we each have for the other in this lifetime commitment we’re about to make through the Sacrament of Marriage. Unfortunately, this reality often catches couples by surprise once they return from there honeymoon and have time to really sit back and discuss life after the wedding.
Derrick: There can be a letdown after the wedding and at the beginning of your life together. That’s exactly what happened to Mistianna and I once we returned from our honeymoon. Once we started talking, we realized that when we were engaged, we lost sight of the reason we wanted to marry each other in the first place. We were so focused on planning our wedding and dealing with all the wedding stress that we forgot for a bit what originally attracted us to each other.There is really so much we do to get ready for that one, big, special day. The question that we had to ask ourselves and that we now ask you is – do we pour ourselves into our marriages in the same way that we did planning for our wedding day? After all, our marriages should be filled with thousands of special days. After having that discussion, Mistianna and I realized that celebrating the small things in our marriage, like committing to 30 minutes of uninterrupted “Couch Time” each day (communication time and face to face talking), having regularly scheduled Date Nights, calling each other during the day to say “I Love You”, sending romantic and “hot” love texts during the day to one another, meeting for lunch for a quick unscheduled date, having regular budget meeting and making sure we go to church together and sit together when I am not needed or scheduled to serve as Deacon of the Mass are really as important as celebrating our Wedding Day.
Mistianna: While a Wedding Day is a very important and a very special day, it should be the beginning, and not the end, of a couple pouring their lives and love into one another. So, now that the wedding has been celebrated, and the honeymoon is over, do something to ensure that your marriage will last a lifetime. Actively pursue knowledge of your spouse now that you’re married. Ask questions, tell stories, and get to know the cast of characters in each other’s world. Practice empathy. Make it a habit to learn one new thing about each other, each day. Find out how you each receive care, compliments, and even correction. And don’t take this work for granted: It’s the foundation of intimacy in your marriage, and that is “HOT STUFF”.
Derrick: Finally, we’d like to recommend an awesome book that will really help you each discover your love language or the way you receive love and give love, and how your partner also responds to receiving and giving love. The book is by Gary Chapman, and it’s called “The Five Love Languages”. Falling in love is easy, we all know that; but, staying in love, well that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing after the honeymoon is over, amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? In “The 5 Love Languages”, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner. The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful and it will definitely help create and develop the intimacy, you newlyweds are looking for as you work to build a marriage that WILL last a lifetime.
Good luck and God Bless!
Deacon Derrick Barnes and his wife Mistianna serve the parish of St. Margaret Mary in the Archdiocese of Louisville as well as the Louisville Engaged Encounter program.