Relationships

What Marriage Means

Disclaimer: I’m 8,000 months pregnant, which means I’m extra hormonal and schmoopy. But last night, I was thinking about our marriage…

Ever since I got pregnant with Toby, my left foot has been randomly cold. It’s probably bad circulation or something? At night, it feels especially freezing. Still, I always forget to put on a sock before climbing into bed. So, pretty much every night, after we read and chat in bed, and I’m half-asleep, I’ll murmur to Alex, “Would you mind grabbing me a sock?” And every night, he says of course and finds a sock in his drawer (usually one of those gray business socks, if you must know). Then, while I lie there, basically passed out, and hugely pregnant, he’ll put it on my foot.

Last weekend, we were visiting our friends’ cabin in Connecticut, drinking lemonade in their gazebo in the woods, when the skies suddenly opened up, and rain poured down around us. Although he’s never had an asthma attack before, Alex started wheezing. As we chatted in the gazebo, the toddlers playing under our feet, it got harder and harder for him to breathe, and our friend ended up rushing him to the hospital. (As they raced down the country roads, they also HIT A VULTURE. What an omen!) Finally at the hospital, the doctor stabilized Alex with oxygen and steroids and explained that it was allergy-induced asthma due to record-settingly high pollen counts. Apparently, the situation had been very serious, they had arrived at the hospital in the nick of time, and Alex had been moments away from serious trouble.

Afterward, with Alex back in my clutches, I realized that if anything had happened, the things I would miss most would not be splurgy dinners or weekend getaways, but the little things. Who would care enough to put on my sock? And so tenderly? And not find it annoying that I didn’t do it myself? There’s something so heartbreakingly sweet about that act. Those little things are what a marriage is all about, it brings tears to my eyes.
(I told you I was schmoopy.)

P.S. A surprising marriage tip.

(Photo from our friends’ wedding last summer)

  1. Ashley says...

    Ugh this is so sweet. I am getting married in a little less than two months and reading this really struck a chord. Things like ‘the sock’ are totally what deep marriage quality love is all about. I am just so excited.

  2. Susana Silva says...

    Thank you so much for that Joanna.
    I feel so related to this post. Unfortunatley I’m separated, but I have never stopped loving my father’s son. I was the one who decided to bring it to an end, but not a day goes by that I don’t think if I have really done the right thing. Reading your post makes me think that that was exactly what I missed in our relationship – tenderness without finding it annoying. Looking back at it I think he did love me in is own way and I feel really guilty for not being mature or smart enough to get around the personality gap. Anyway life has tricky ways of teaching you, but in the end you have to respect your essence.

  3. I was going through a rough patch with my fiancé, after almost 9 years together since we were 18, it seemed our future was uncertain. After reading this post, I couldn’t hold back the tears, I dont know if it was partly also because of the music we were listening to. Sharing this post with him, it seemed to dissolve the feelings of difficulty we were struggling with and just remember the little things. Thank you for the woderful post!

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  7. I have bookmarked this post and have read it several times. I can’t tell you how special this post is to me, and it reminds me so much of the love I share with my own sweet love. I told him about this post recently, coincidentally right before our anniversary, and he adored the story. I love that the little things are what make you appreciate a true love and really melt your heart. Ever since I told him about this post, he asks me every now and then, “Do you need a sock, my love?” Thanks for sharing so much with your readers, I can’t get enough of your sweet stories and kind words. Happy Holidays to your beautiful family!

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  9. Fertility Rituals

    Marriage is one of the biggest fertility rituals Known in Indian culture. When two people get married. they are said to enter grihasta ashram where they are expected to bear children. satify their sexual urge, earn money and follow religious practices. Hindu marriages profess the idea of coming together of the energies and paving way to a new creation.

    Offering of Grains

    Throughout India, one thing that remains common to all communities is offring of grains in wedding ceremony. Mostly rice, puffed rice or whole grains, these grains are fed to the sacred fire in different ceremonies.

    Importance of Shiva’s Bael leaves

    Holy Bael leaves are proffered in several ceremonies before the wedding and after it. In many communities in india, before the wedding day arrives, Bael leaves are placed in earthen pots which are topped with different kinds of cereals. After the wedding, the sprouted seedlings are then released in a flowing river or a pool. This ritual is performed to invoke blessings of Lord Shiva upon the married couple and pray for their progeny.

    Vishnu’s pious Lotus

    As per mythology, at the time of creation of the universe, while lord Vishnu was pondering over the creation of mankind, a pious lotus rose out of his navel. On that lotus was seated Lord Brahma who paved way to the creation and illumination of the universe. Thus, lotus remains symbolic of procreation, birth and fertility. It is Therefore, offered during wedding puja to the gods to confer potency upon the couple. Also, At the time of a Hindu wedding, the bride and the groom are given the stature of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu because they represent the eternal companionship and exemplify how a relationship between husband and wife should be.

    Nose ring

    Usually seen as a piece of accessory, almost all brides sport nose ring on their wedding day. In some communities, girls are told to get their nose pierced before they tie the knot.

    Sacred coconut rituals

    Across India, since time immemorial coconut has enjoyed its association with human fertility in a sacrosanct manner. In Gujarat, there is a ritual of bride presenting a coconut in a customary way to the groom at the time of the marriage. Here coconut is symbolic of the progency of the couple that the bridegifts the groom. Of all the fruits, coconut is most closely related to human skull because of the three marking on its base that resemble human facial features.

    The mantras of virility

    During saat pheras in a Hindu marriage, there are several mantras that are chanted for progency of the couple. While the first phera is for a long lasting companionship, in the second Phera, “Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam”, the bride promises the groom that she will fill his with love and will bear children of him.

    The History

    There was a time when potency was considered as the be all and all of all activities. The earliest ritual of fertility among Hindus can be dated back to the Harappan civilization where it has been discovered that people worshipped clay figurines of a mother goddess who represented fertility. Several phallic symbols representing gods in sitting position wearing bull’s horns (Bull being a universal symbol of male potency) have also been found at the sites of indus Valley Civilization. As the world evolved and ancient civilizations paved way to the modern societies, marriage started being considered as a mandatory ceremony before women could conceive. Also, the idea of marriage was propelled by the thought of having the family legacy move ahead; so that families could get heirs.

  10. Great expectations

    Life is full of surprises, particularly if you are a newly – wed . Expressjodi you a glimpse into the future and tells how to be prepared to face married life

    Love is all about romance whereas marriage is a lot about responsibility. When two different individuals from different backgrounds live together, differences of opinion on things like spending habits, career, having and raising a baby, sharing household responsibilities etc, are bound to crop up, the key is to broaden your outlook and accept all the changes that marriage brings, and to remember that marriage is a momentous change for you and your spouse. And, fear not, over a period of time, you will find a way to make it work.

    Responsibility

    With marriage comes a whole lot of responsibility. “From the time you ger married, the decisions you make will not be yours alone, but your partner’s as well. This is because your choices will impact both of you. But this doesn’t mean that you’re tied to a ball and chain. “It only means you have a companion with you for life. In fact, in your capacity as a spouse, you become your partner’s caretaker, friend, confidante and even punching bag etc.

    Finances

    Arguments over money are bound to happen, so be prepared for it. And unless you establish some ground rules for dealing with financial issues, you will continue to have these arguments. Bear in mind that you are now a part of a unit, and no longer flying solo.

    In – laws or outlaws?

    if you thought that marriage is all about sharing your life with your significant other, think again, and this time, factor in your in – laws into the equation. When you’re used to a particular lifestyle, moving in with your in – laws can be a rude shock. You will be required to make changes in your daily routine. Like waking up a little earlier to help around the house or rescheduling your plans on weekends or even modifying some of your eating habits. these might seem like an additional burden, particularly if you are a working woman. Remember to keep an open mind when it comes to handling your in – laws. They may be rigid in their ways, but there is always a way to work out a compromise.

    Sharing space

    Marriage involves sharing everything – whether it is sadness or glad tidings, chores or finance, which can be a difficult task. This is why marriage necessitates an equal contribution from both side. ” Sharing is absolutely essential for a happy marriage,. Besides making it easier to run the show, it also brings you closer to your partner, and cement a bond in a way that only experience can.
    Differnces of opinion

    Shaadi brings two different individuals together, as well as two sets of arguments for everything. Remember that your husband is as new to the marriage and the relationship as you, and he is facing the same issue for the first time as well.Irrespective of the nature of the relationship, any two people are bound to have differences of opinion at some point of time, It is how you handle these differences that mtters. The best antidote for deviant interest lies in adapting to the situation. “Be carteful not to retaliate for the sake of it,”

    Planning for the future

    As a single independent working woman, you may be used to your lifestyle, going on holidays or splurging on the latest pair of Jimmy Choos. But married life is a journey and you need to plan carefully to get to your destination. “Planning is the key. Make sure you and your husband are on the same page as far as long – term goal are concerned,” “Whether or not you plan to have a baby or deciding on investments for the future and are thing that you should discuss in advbance, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in you married life,”

  11. I’m not even married and that just made me tear up. So so sweet. <3

  12. Your Wedding Handbook

    Get Organised

    Plan your leave from work

    Apply for leave work as much in advance as possible. Complete all pending tasks
    and divide the workload between cooperative co – worker. “This way you can get up
    to speed real quick when you return from your blessed – out honeymoon”

    Delegate small wedding day tasks

    Delegate duties in advance – get a couple of close friends to be by your side during
    the ceremony to calm your nerves and handle the gifts, some relatives (in rotation)
    to greet guests at the entrance, someone with a list of all vendor contact
    information.

    Have a chat with your photographer

    Decide the theme you want for the marriage pictures and give the photographer a
    list of moments you want captured.

    Pack your accessories and wedding night bag

    Pack a bag with all the accessories you’ll require to get dressed on the wedding
    day. This includes jewellery, makeup, hairpins, safety pins, undergarments. Leave
    this bag next to your wedding dress along with your bag of “just – in – case” items.
    Also, pack a small bag to carry with you to the hotel for the wedding night. This bag
    should have everything you’ll need. Besides lingerie, make sure to pack a change of
    clothes for the next morning, your cosmetics pouch and a midnight snack (since no
    one seems to eat at their own wedding!)

    Gather Memories

    Make a DVD of the days leading up to the wedding

    “What I’m sure I’ll continue to find truly endearing and entertaining in the years to
    come is the DVD of my wedding preparation – from the sangeet practices to the
    makeup trails to some heartfelt moments with my family”
    Maybe you can include messages from your close friends and family as well.

    Write out ‘Thank you’ notes

    A lot of people have worked tirelessly, spent lots of money and treated you like a
    princess in the weeks leading up to your big day. Make some time to write
    personalized cards for all of them and give it to each one before the wedding
    ceremonies begin.

    Look And Feel Your Best

    Oodles of pampering

    This is perhaps one of the most essential and enjoyable parts of your pre – wedding
    routine. Book appointments at least 10 days in advance for your pre – wedding
    beauty regimen, preferably at a spa you frequent. Make sure to include a stress –
    relieving massage to soothe those nerves.

    Get lots of sleep the night before

    “No matter what beauty regiment you go through in the days before your wedding,
    unless you’re well rested on the night before the big day, you will neither look nor
    feel your best,”. “The last thing you need is a headache putting a
    damper on your mood.” So the evening before your wedding should be a quite one –
    spend quality time with your family, eat a healthy meal and get at least eight hour
    of sound sleep. Eat something and use the washroom before the ceremony. You
    have got a long day ahead of you. Grab a healthy snack before you put on your
    makeup and use the washroom right before you head out to the mandap”

    Focus on your husband – to – be

    If, in spite of your best efforts, things get too chaotic, try this trick : “Every bride will have a moment of nerves, no matter how perfect
    everything around her is. It’s human nature. When this happened turned complete focus on my handsome fiancé and on the beautiful life we were about to
    embark upon together. My mind instantly quietened down and I had a lovely smile
    on my face that made me look even more fabulous in the pictures”. Maybe
    you could even give his friend a note to slip to your fiancé right before the
    ceremony. This could pep things up a bit for the two of you and help ease the stress
    too!

  13. I love this story, how it’s told and I relate. My husband gets my extra blanket and mouth guard whenever I ask!

  14. Vivaah Wedding Decor Stylist

    A wedding Planning Bussiness, Vivaah explores All the element that make weddings so special different. By tracing the romentic history of weddings from colonial times to the present suggesting ways to create a signature Wedding.

    Cater to All function in the wedding such as:
    *The Engagement
    *The mehendi
    *The Ceremony
    *The sangeet
    *The Reception

    Engagement
    This is the first of the formal ceremonies. Traditionally , rings and gifts are exchanged between the bride and the groom’s families. Ascertain ring sizes and buy the engagement rings well in advance, so that the couple can try them out before the ceremony.

    Mahendi
    Indian marriages are known for their many rituals. In fact, the beauty of Indian weddings comes forth in the numerous traditions that are associated with the special celebration. Marriage day being the most important day in one’s life. Infact one whole ceremony dedicated to its celebration popularly known as “Mehndi Ki Raat”. Indian marriages are incomplete without dance, music and lots of laughter.
    Destination Weddings

    Ceremony

    The Baraat is also a wonderful part of the indian marriage. The groom with the sehra tied to hide his face sits on the horse, while his mother holds a lamp lit for the household deity. It is merry ritual when they set forth for the marriage venue along with a band of musicians playing popular tracks, with his relatives groove their way to the wedding. The Swaagat is the ritual to welcome the groom and his entourage by the bride’s family. The bride watches the arrival from one window of the house , careful not to gaze upon his face and then comes out to welcome him. At the entrance the groom places his right foot on top of the bride’s foot to denote his dominating strength in their future life together. In the Sindhi tradition the groom is seen as the embodiment of lord Vishnu on the wedding day. The couple is seated with a screen separating them so that they cannot see each other while his feet are washed in a bronze thaali with raw milk by the bride’s brother and is known as Paon Dhulai. The couple now gets ready for the wedding ceremony and is taken to the wedding platform where the ceremony is to take place.

    Sangeet
    Decide whether it will be a small family gathering or a big event with a professional band in attendance.
    *Book a Mehndiwali well in advance. She/he should bring the necessary material.
    *List the songs and hand out the lyrics to all or you can use taped music as a back-up.
    *Hold practice sessions prior to the wedding, if you are so inclined.
    *Arrange for snacks or a caterer if the gathering is large.

    Reception
    Decide whether it will be sit-down affair or a buffet.
    *Make the arrangements in advance and confirm with the venue manager/caterer in writing.
    *Specify the number of guests expected to the caterer if you do not want to pay for extra food.
    *Confirm arrangements a day before the event.
    *Set up a gift table and assign a family member to receive gifts. Maintain a list of the gifts.
    *Allocate space for alive band, bar and dining.
    *After the reception, move flower bouquets and leftover liquor to the couple’s residence.

    While a destination wedding is a unique alternative to the traditional wedding, it is only successful when planned by an expert. Destination weddings require considerable planning and research, so couples should look for someone they know they can trust..

    the main concept of vow’s is to create an Exclusive One Stop Shop for all your wedding needs, right from the invitation card to the Honeymoon Plan.
    it will be the first and final destination for brides and bride grooms seeking exquisite resources.

  15. A Complete guide for your auspicious occasion of marriage

    Congratulations !

    You are about to start a new life.. one filled with the promise of happiness and dreams coming true..
    Your wedding is meant to be a momentous affair, but one that will demand a lot of planning and decision making. This wedding planner is specifically designed to provide an organised approach towards making your wedding a runaway success. By following this guide, step by step, and all your plans, we hope will run to perfection.

    Setting the Wedding Date
    The date is usually based on the auspicious time given by the family pandit, but it is thoughtful to make sure that it does not clash with any other event in the family, and is convenient for people to attend.

    Engagement
    This is the first of the formal ceremonies. Traditionally , rings and gifts are exchanged between the bride and the groom’s families. Ascertain ring sizes and buy the engagement rings well in advance, so that the couple can try them out before the ceremony.

    Invitation Cards
    Invitation cards are now available in individualistic and unique designs.
    *Place an order for invitations with a printer well in advance. A few extras will come handy.
    *Also order for informal cards for writing “thank you” notes.
    *It is in good order to place a small map of the venue on the invitation card.
    *Start mailing the invites two months in advance for outstation guests.
    *It is nice gesture to send invites to even those family members and friends who you know will not be able to attend the ceremony.

    Legal Formalities
    *Register at the matrimony sites.
    *Inform change in address to the postal department and to all the relatives and friends.
    *Apply for change of maiden name in important documents, ration card, etc.

    Check List
    Maintain a time Schedule.

    Once the shaadi Date is decided.
    * Plan your budget.
    *Visualise your wedding theme.
    *Choose the venue.
    *Start interviewing service providers.
    *Start your trousseau and jewellery shopping.
    *Decide on your honeymoon destination.
    *Draw the guest list.
    *Buy a wedding planner and maintain records.

    At 6 Months to the Wedding…
    *Order the invites and stationery.
    *Book the pandit, beautician , car hire agency.
    *If travelling abroad for your honeymoon, check your visas, passports and medical clearance.
    *Reserve your wedding night bridal chamber.
    *Make hotel bookings for out-of-town guests.
    *Start a beauty regime.

    At 2 Months to the Wedding…
    *Do an RSVP with guests and draw up a final guest list.
    *Confirm all reservations.
    *Choose gifts for relatives and friends.
    *Do a hair and make-up run through.
    *Make a list of photographs you wish to be taken.
    *Make a list of the music you wish to be played.

    At 2 Weeek to the marriage…
    *Do a final confirmation of all the reservations and service providers.
    * Confirm the transportation schdule.
    * Give the caterer the final guest count.
    *Make sure all attentdants have a copy of the wedding day schedule.
    *Do a final dress fitting with shoes, jewellery and make-up.
    *Pack for your honeymoon.
    Its a once-in-lifetime moment. Surely make it your the best.

  16. I love that you linked back to this on todays post. So so so so so sweet. :’)

  17. An ode to the wedding songs in Punjabi Wedding

    Punjab is the state of festiveness. It is said that punjabis can groove to the beats of dhol even if there is no occasion. As such, when there is a shaadi in the house, it given them a reason to sing and dance. In Punjab, there are different genres of songs when it comes to marriage songs. There are categories divided on the basis of moods and situations.Some of the most popular categories include:

    Gharouli de Geet: These are happy songs that are sung when the pitcher is filled for bride/bridegroom’s bath on the day of the wedding.

    Sehra: As the Hindu priest ties the sehra (flower veil) on the forehead of the groom while chanting sacred mantras, the close family members sing sehra songs to pep up the environment.

    Suhag: A fairly popular category of wedding songs, the suhag songs are sung by the bride herself as she praises her of her life. Some of these wedding songs also reveal her anticipation of the approaching life in her husband’s home. In some households, bride friends and cousins also sing these songs on her behalf.

    Jaggo: Jaggo songs are sung a night prior to the wedding. These songs are sung as a celebrative way to invite the neighbours to the wedding.

    South Indian Melodies

    Laali: These are songs of praise for the bride and the groom who are seated on a swing in a
    ceremonial manner and are rocked back and forth. The back and fro motion of the swing in the ritual signifies the waves in the sea of life while the chains represent the eternal karmic link with god. Their movement on the swing depicts that the couple is together in body and mind that they would together cross the ocean of life.

    Nalangu: During this ritual, the new bride sings and calls her husband to spend time with her. These songs fill the atmosphere with a sense of merriment. The time signifies the breaking of ice between the bride and the groom as there are several other playful activities that take place, subsequently. While family members break papads on the couple’s heads toward off evil, the bride anoints husband’s body with sandalwood and sings to him. The female relatives poke fun at the couple and the in-laws while singing songs.

    Adding a Zing of Culture

    A part from the pre-wedding ceremonies that are replete with the sounds of traditional wedding tunes and lyrics, these days marriages are also witnessing a sort of rebound that seem incomplete without these rhythms and libretto. Live performances usually have the popular singers belting out hit numbers some originals, some legendary wedding songs that set the mood for the evening and get the guests tapping to these numbers. Traditional wedding songs are those symphonies that have bouts of emotions hidden behind, that bring people together to celebrate and have fun and that which any Indian marriage is not complete without.

  18. lovely

  19. I think about this stuff all the time. My husband and I have been married for 21 years this August. We got married young and I have honestly loved every moment of being together (even when we are both pains in the ass).

    The funny thing is I knew this at 19. I knew that snuggling with him, him teasing me about stuff, the day to day stuff would be my favorite part and it still is.

  20. Importance of Mehndi in Indian Weddings…

    Indian marriages are known for their many rituals. In fact, the beauty of Indian weddings comes forth in the numerous traditions that are associated with the special celebration. Marriages being the most important day in one’s life, mehndi has become an ornament for the soon to be brides. Infact one whole ceremony dedicated to its celebration popularly known as “Mehndi Ki Raat”.Indian marriages are incomplete without dance, music and lots of laughter.

    It is a common belief that the darker the color the mehndi leaves on the hands on a bride, the more will she be loved by her husband and mother-in-law. However, the significance of applying mehndi during weddings is not restricted just to sentiments and beliefs. Although these beliefs make the application of mehndi a much anticipated and charming tradition, the actual reason is of much deeper significance.

    ExpressJodi.com-Common Platform for Happiness

  21. the little thing in my marriage that i will always appreciate is him greeting me with some stupid balletic spins every morninig =)

  22. I’m not even pregnant, nor have I ever been, but I am in love. And this made me tear up just like the rest of the commenters :) I need to send this to my partner so that he can know (in more eloquent terms than my own) how much I appreciate those little things.

  23. I’m with everyone else here…I was 8,000 months pregnant 4 1/2 years ago and this still made me weep like a baby. Happy last month of pregnancy, Joanna & Alex!

  24. I just love the first 5 words of this post more than anything I’ve read this week.

    Loads of love to your 8,000th month of pregnancy!

  25. I am NOT pregnant and still tearing up. Thank you for sharing, this is so sweet (and thank God Alex is all right!)

    We have a thing with socks also, actually, I find that my hubby’s socks are so much more comfy than mine… so I snooped them all the time :)

  26. I am not married. But I find the one already. What it made me relize he was the one?
    We were datting for 5 months, I was living in Dublin (where he is form; I am from Spain) and I got very sick (My family was in Madrid). I thought I was gonna recover soon, so during the day my friends came to my house and take care of me and in the afternoon-evening my sweet boyfriend came and tryed to make me eat something (he was working during the day). The 3rd day he decided I was going to his house until I recover. He lives with his parents (you know how common is in catholic countries in Europe), so I wasn’t to sure… (I didn’t want to disturb his parents).
    He took care of me for a week in the sweetest way he could. What surprise me more was: Even when I was very sick, with my hair dirty and my legs hairy, he looked at me if I was the most atractive person in this world :)
    This was one year ago. Now I am living in Madrid and soon I will move back to Dublin and we will find an apartment to move in together. Cannot wait!

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  29. What a sweet story. (And seriously, Joanna, your idea of schmoopy is still totally eloquent and relate-able and all-around lovely. Mine usually involves lots of nose-blowing into soggy shirt sleeves. Thank you for sharing and so glad your husband is okay!

    Tanya @ the-wonderist.com

  30. I sent this today to my husband to tell him how much I love him.

  31. I’m glad Alex is okay! That must have book scary! Every night my husband heats up our dinner (we both work so we eat a lot of pre-cooked freezer meals) and we eat our dinner off of the same plate, sitting on the couch. If something happened I wouldn’t know what to do with a whole plate!

  32. Please enjoy the hugeness of your pregnancy… I delivered my beautiful (healthy) baby boy, Mitchell, 9 weeks early this January and long for the day when I will be teetering around our home with swollen ankles and a sore back, meaning I’ve made it to full term.

    Thank you for sharing this poignant reflection. I’ll never forget the way I felt when I leaned out of the shower one evening, stretching to reach my towel that I’d left on the doorw, only to find my husband had moved it to the hook by the shower so that I wouldn’t have to shiver on the cold floor. I never mentioned it to him but that small gesture stopped me in my tracks.

  33. Such a sweet post, and so reminiscent of what I’ve put my poor sweet hubby through. Keepers they are!

  34. i am:
    -not pregnant
    -not married
    -not even seeing anyone
    -at work
    -crying at this sweet sweet post.

  35. Okay well this just made me tear up. In any relationship whether married or not it’s always the little things that matter the most. I’m now 365 days away from my wedding date and this post even made me look forward to it even more (even though I already live with my fiance)…just something about it…

    <3
    heather
    fashionistanygirl.com