God’s Twisted Sense of Humor

Ideas for blog posts come from all different places. Today, my inspiration comes straight from the gynecologist’s office. I initially called in to ask a question about an annoying little symptom of my birth control, so the receptionist had a nurse give me a call to chat. I told her what was going on, she asked what kind of pill I was taking, and I mentioned that the only other thing I noticed with it was that I had gained a few pounds. We both jinxed each other when we said, “Well, maybe that was just getting married, though.”

So accurate! Even if I wasn’t on the pill, I think I’d have gained a little bit of weight from moving in with a guy and trying to keep up with a healthy diet. We laughed a little and she reasoned that I was probably eating a little more now that I was living with a man.  Yep. Not only am I eating more, but I’m also not eating as well. Salads with grilled chicken used to be a pretty big staple in my diet, now I order Dominos enough to get a free pie every other month from the rewards we’ve collected. Basically, almost every Friday I like to take the night off and get delivery. I think the pizza joint has figured out this pattern, because every Friday evening like clockwork a notification pops up on my phone saying, “Let us make dinner for you tonight!” with a little pizza emoji and “swipe to open” to the Dominos app, where I can just go ahead and click two buttons to order our favorite things. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to refuse someone else cooking dinner. Also, I’m not insane, so I absolutely love pizza and it’s probably a good thing for my emotional wellbeing to have it once a week. A couple of pounds is a small price to pay for this new lifestyle.

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Marriage has been great. I love living with my best friend, and doing nothing together. We often watch Judge Judy or Family Feud while eating dinner, and enjoy shows where we can solve crimes and show off how smart we are to each other. I do notice some funny differences between both of us, though, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are a man and woman living together. I always laugh when I say that I think that God must have a pretty twisted sense of humor since He made the existence of mankind based on men and women getting along, living together, and reproducing. Like, think about it. We have to get along with the opposite sex and have made it a practice of living with them, even though sometimes it feels like they’re a different species. It’s kind of hilarious and must be so funny to watch from the outside. If one couple isn’t having a complete misunderstanding, you just tune in to another and BAM, hours of reality TV-style entertainment.

Okay, so the first thing I’ve noticed from living with a guy is that men and women are scared of different things. I am terrified of bugs. I freaking hate them, and as much as I love animals, I want my husband to get rid of them by any means necessary. I just don’t want them in my house. The creepy crawly legs — especially on centipedes — freak me the heck out. I always picture them crawling on my arms or down my spine and shiver. It reminds me of the one time I actually tried to catch a spider to get rid of, and he decided his best escape route was diving deep down into my shirt. I will never forget the bone chilling scream that came from that incident, and how it felt having a bug violate me like that; I just can’t handle having it happen again. Men, on the other hand, have an irrational fear of laundry baskets. I don’t know if it’s the polyester fabric that freaks him out or the fact that we have two — one for whites and another for colors — but my husband’s clothes rarely touch the inside of the basket unless I place them there. If we’re lucky they’ll go right next to the correct basket instead of in the monstrous pile in the corner of the master bedroom, but 10 times out of 10 they don’t make it in the proper receptacle. I hear this is a very common thing amongst males, and seems to be a number one complaint of wives everywhere. I don’t really understand why I’m afraid of bugs that are a million times smaller than I am, and I bet he doesn’t really know why he’s afraid of the laundry basket either. It’s just something that’s wired into our genetic makeup I guess.

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Another funny thing about living with a man is the emotional aspect of it all. I am going to make another big generalization and say that guys don’t really get what it’s like to be a basketcase of emotions once a month for absolutely no reason. Unless you’ve gotten a visit from good ol’ Aunt Flo firsthand, you probably have no idea what it’s like crying over literally nothing and feeling cranky for two days straight. Sure, part of it is the horrendous cramping of your uterus, but the other part is just the sudden influx of hormones that overtakes your body and dictates your emotions for a few days. Remember how Karen from Mean Girls can tell whether or not it will rain by *ahem* how she feels? Our periods are the exact same way. I’ll feel really funny and off for a few hours, maybe snap a time or two, and then realize it’s because my uninvited — and frankly, unwelcome — Aunt will be there any day now. The funniest thing about it all is that I think he’s starting to catch on and sometimes can sense when this is coming before I even know it. This is either because he’s become in tune with my feelings, or it’s the one time of the month that I actually sometimes snap about the previously mentioned laundry basket. Either way, men will never completely understand women, and I think this is a pretty big reason why. The one thing I am thankful for is that I am the one who has a monster overtake my body for a few days, so he’s the one who really has to deal with tiptoeing around the beast, while I just ride it out.

Having to guard my food at all costs is somewhat new territory. I grew up living with two men — my dad and brother — so I know that writing my name on the box of leftovers is a must, but I am not used to living in a space where every room can be infiltrated by a hungry man. I will tell you my secret to keeping chocolate stocked in the house at the risk of my own husband reading this and learning my secrets. It’s a big sacrifice, but I hope it helps other women out there figure out how to keep their daily chocolate stash safe. I hide my dark chocolate in my desk drawer, under a pile of really boring bills. I know, I know, when you get married everything is supposed to be “ours” now, but in all honesty this is just a base for a healthy marriage. I get very rage-y without my chocolate fix, and it’s just best that we always know that there is some emergency chocolate close by. You never know when you might need it, and if I kept it in the kitchen where it belongs it would just get eaten up as soon as I brought it home. I need. My emergency. Chocolate.

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Living with a man keeps life interesting and has had some of a learning curve, but we do have some things in common, too! A big similarity we have is the fact that we both lose things on a very regular basis. In male and female fashion, though, we lose things very differently than one another. I keep a messy purse. Between my chapstick, snacks, my wallet bursting with gift cards I’ll probably never even use, and an abundance of other “necessities,” I can never find my car keys or drivers license quickly. It takes a good purse overturn to retrieve anything, which in turn, messes up it up even worse for the next time I go in there to find something. You would think I was a descendant of Mary Poppins with all the junk I keep in there! It takes just under an hour to find anything, and this can be irritating when it’s below freezing out. My husband, on the other hand, loses everything at home. I laugh at how often I see women posting memes on Facebook about the way their husband looks for things. “Krista, have you seen my (insert item here)?” This is often quickly met with a, “Never mind, I found it!” Most of the time the shouting from the other room indicates that said item was in the exact place it was supposed to be. 

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Photo Credit: Birdbox

Luckily, all of these silly scenarios help keep life lighthearted and interesting. Getting married has given me a whole new world of things to write about, and made me realize just how similar of experiences we all have to one another. That’s why memes and relatable posts on Facebook go viral. How boring would it be if we lived with an exact replica of ourselves?! Plus, having different strengths and weaknesses is super helpful, especially when there’s a bug in the house. Instead of having 2 people jumping on furniture and screaming, one of them is able to keep calm and take action.


What do you think is a funny difference between men and women? I know some of these were silly generalizations, but I think — generally — generalizations have some truth to them! At least when it comes to marriage they do. I have yet to meet a wife who has not brought up the laundry basket when they ask me how life is as a newlywed.

The Story of Robert And Krista

Robert and I have been meaning to update our wedding website for awhile now, as we wanted everyone attending to know a little about each of us since there will be people on both sides who don’t know us as a couple.

We talked about what we wanted to include — how we met, when we knew we wanted to marry each other, and what we want our future to look like — but after that we each went to our own computers and wrote. It was kind of hilarious to see how similar each of our answers were, so I am going to keep all of the content, even though it’s a bit redundant.

Whether you are a guest who is here for the first time to see who we are as a team, or you’ve been a reader since my Single in The Suburbs days, I hope you enjoy!


How We Met

Robert’s Story

Krista and I originally set our first date for a Friday evening. Unfortunately on the Friday that we had our date planned, I found out that I had been selected for a deployment I volunteered for. In addition to this, I was ordered to go on active duty immediately in Staunton, Virginia to help prepare the unit for the deployment.

Because of these life-changing circumstances and the fact I would be relocating immediately, I sadly canceled the date and went out for a last celebration with co-workers.

About two weeks later, there was an issue with funding my position and I had to return to Northern Virginia until the situation was resolved. I texted Krista that I would be home for a couple weeks and that I had been regretting not meeting her the first time. For whatever reason, Krista decided to give me another chance at a date.

We finally met at Ozzie’s Italian restaurant. I will always remember the moment I met her. I walked up to Krista (she was petting somebody’s dog), and I said hello to her. She looked up at me, said “hi!”, and immediately returned to petting the dog.

After finally accomplishing one of the hardest missions of my life –pulling Krista away from the dog — we had dinner. We shared a bunch of stories, had a lot of laughs, and then we went on a walk around the shopping center. I still remember the things we laughed at along the walk that probably wouldn’t make sense to anybody besides the two of us. We had an instant connection.

As those last couple weeks in Northern Virginia passed, Krista and I went on a number of other dates. Our connection got stronger every day, and all of a sudden I found myself wondering how I could get out of the move to Staunton (about two and a half hours from where Krista lived). I didn’t, but came back to NOVA every weekend, and my first stop was always Krista’s house. We spent the majority of every weekend together until I was deployed.

Krista’s Story

Robert and I were supposed to go out to dinner for our first date, but a few hours before we were going to meet up he sent me a text saying that his friends surprised him for his last day of work with a cocktail hour. I was actually relieved because I got to stay home and eat pizza with my family instead of making a bunch of smalltalk with a guy.

A few weeks later he messaged me to see if he could have a second shot at a date. I don’t know why I said yes to going out with someone who was getting ready to leave the country and had flaked on me once before, but it is one of the two most important times I’ve said “yes” to something. My third will be in September.

Our first date was the best first date I’ve ever been on. We went to Ozzie’s Italian restaurant, and I remember getting a text from Robert saying that he would be an hour late because of traffic. I was still at home, so I got to watch another episode of The Office before getting ready to go, but in hindsight this is hilarious because since then the tables have turned and I’m the one who is chronically late. You set the bar low, Robert!

Anyway, when I finally got there, I found a cute dog sitting underneath a bench right outside the restaurant. I was excited that Robert still wasn’t there because I got to play with the little fella! I was unintentionally a bit rude at our introduction — not because I wasn’t happy to meet Robert — but because the dog under the bench was irresistibly adorable. To this day he still sends me pictures of puppies when he sees them, and knows that by saying, “look, a dog!” I will always squeal in excitement.

We exchanged funny dating stories and learned more about each other, and by the time we finished dinner I didn’t want the date to end. We took a short stroll outside, and I was surprisingly disappointed when he dropped me off at my car to go home. It didn’t take long, though, for Robert to text me that he had a nice time, and my heart felt warm and full. Little did I know the guy I went with on my best first date with would turn into the man I would one day marry.

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When We Knew

Krista’s Moment

I remember the moment I first knew I loved Robert. It was when he was in Staunton, and we had been talking on the phone for a few hours after work — as usual. I had such a hard time not saying those three little words to him before we hung up the phone that night. I resolved to tell him the next time I saw him in person, but it didn’t quite work out that way. That is one of the stories I have chosen not to share, though, and is still one of the most heartwarming moments I’ve had.

I’ve had lots of moments throughout our relationship where I’ve felt like Robert was the one for me, so I can’t pinpoint an exact day or time. Once would have been realizing how much I missed him while he was on his deployment. An earlier moment was when he told me to listen to the song She’s Everything by Brad Paisley. He told me that the song reminded him of me, and I forever have a beautiful love song that feels like it was written just for me. We were recently apart for a few weeks because Robert had military training to attend, and I played the song for my family when they were asking about our mutual love of Brad. I realized my mistake quickly as I started tearing up in front of everyone. A tear slipped down my cheek and onto the floor, and my heart missed the guy who has become everything to me, even though we were only apart for a short time.

Little moments that made me love Robert more than I could have ever imagined have happened when we were playing Super Smash Brothers in his Arlington apartment, the time I surprised him with a prank “birthday party” in November (his birthday is in March) and all he could do was turn red and take it while I laughed, when he reviewed a date with me for my blog, and every single trip we took together in his blue Ford F-150. I loved him more when he tried to win a Minion toy from the movie theater claw game, when he got Junior Mints stuck to his jeans from my movie candy stash and walked around the parking lot looking like a crazy person, and every time he cooked me dinner or sent a little green text. Robert is kind, thoughtful, caring, and absolutely hilarious. I knew my single life was short-lived after a few dates with Robert, and even though the timing wasn’t what I felt like I wanted, I quickly became grateful for every extra day I got to spend with Robert because I met him when I did. I wouldn’t trade any day I spent with him for the world, and feel so blessed that we found each other.

Robert’s Moment

One of my favorite memories with Krista was the first time I told her I loved her. It was in-between her birthday and Christmas. We were hanging out in my apartment in Arlington, and I could tell that there was something on her mind. As she fumbled through her words, I could see where her conversation was headed, and I wanted her to know that I felt the same way. I told her I loved her and from that day, I was sure that she was the one for me.

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Robert proposed at the top of Rockefeller Center in NYC

The Deployment

Robert’s Perspective

During the entire time of us getting to know each other and beginning dating, the looming deployment was always on both of our minds. It sucked. It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but I kept feeling that the timing couldn’t be worse. However, I had an obligation, and I was going to do what I signed up for.

Krista was the most amazing girlfriend a soldier could have on a deployment. We talked at every opportunity we had, she sent a ton of care packages, and she was always there to chat when things were stressful. She kept me sane, excited, and happy for the duration of my 9+ months overseas, and I could not have done it without her. By the end of the deployment, I realized it actually could not have come at a better time. Our relationship somehow grew stronger, and there was no question that we were meant for each other.

Krista’s Perspective

The deployment was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in life, but it was also so worthwhile. I love that we only got closer during that time, and that Robert still prioritized our relationship while he was 6,500 miles away. If you follow my blog you have probably seen the dozens of posts I wrote about him while he was away, and I have even more thoughts scribbled throughout letters and journals.

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I liked giving Robert silly little gifts with his care packages. I gave him this little “Love Bug” before he left, and he traveled all over the Middle East with it because he knew it would make me laugh whenever I saw a snapchat with the little pink bug in it.

Our Future Together

Krista’s Dreams

I am so excited about our future together. One thing I love about us is that “quality time” is both of our top love language. This means we enjoy going grocery shopping and running errands together, and always make spending time together a priority. Whether we are enjoying a Blue Apron meal and watching Big Brother and The King of Queens, or going on a little adventure out of town, our hearts feel full at the end of the day because we spent it together. I can’t wait to move in to Robert’s home and make it just a little more girly. I think married life is going to give me a lot to write about, and I am ready to take the next step together hand in hand. Robert is my best friend, my partner in crime, and always makes me laugh — no matter what else is going on in life. If I listed every single thing I was excited for, I would have to write an entire book, but what I’m most excited about is having the other half of my heart by my side for the rest of my life. I know there are so many great adventures in store for us, and I cannot wait to see where our next step takes us.

Robert’s Dreams

I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together. There are so many things I’m looking forward to, it’s hard to come up with a list. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is all the small things that add up into one great thing. Cooking together, going on walks, going to the movies, etc. Then there are the larger things, like the many dogs she continues to tell me that we will have one day.

Krista is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I look forward to the many decades we will spend together.

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An English Major’s Love Language

Who else was excited that Ed Sheeran got engaged this weekend?! I was super excited for a few reasons. First, I absolutely love love. I want every single person in this world to be happy, and falling in love is something I think can really add a different element of brightness to your life. Second, I am stoked to hear all the new music he comes out with now. One of my favorite things about listening to artists I really enjoy is knowing who songs can be about. Taylor’s breakup music is fun, but the tracks about being in love and spilling her heart out in words is incomparably beautiful. I am excited to learn more about Ed’s fiancée, Cherry. Lastly, I like having a face to put to his song Perfect. The lyrics are some of the sweetest I’ve heard, and I absolutely love that he wrote such an amazing song for the girl he wants to spend forever with. That is just the “cherry” on top of the most wonderful words that have been put together.

Oh my gosh, this really gets the waterworks going. As if I needed any other reasons to love this song, knowing that each and every word written is real and raw makes me so, so happy. Something I enjoy most is knowing that the feelings in Perfect are real and raw. Being a fellow writer — though far less eloquent — I know exactly what it’s like to feel like your heart is about to burst and overflow with all the love it’s trying to contain. I also know very well that the only outlet for us to really express a deep love is putting pen to paper. Even though I don’t really know Sheeran, I feel like I’ve gotten a peek into his heart, and he’s been able to bring up my own feelings and experiences, despite being really descriptive about his own, too.

 

 

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Me interviewing Sheeran at the Jingle Ball in 2012. If you click the first link in this article you’ll see a picture of Cherry wearing this sweatshirt. I guess when it comes down to it we all love stealing our guy’s clothes.

I know that there’s significance behind “dancing in the dark,” and that they’re not just meant to be carefully crafted lyrics.  I know that there was a night where he whispered, “darling you look perfect tonight,” and I can picture him blushing happily while dancing with his sweet new fiancée.

These memories bring up my own. I think about dancing to Sheeran at a friend’s wedding with my own significant other. I think about how perfect that moment was, and going home to write this in my journal:

“Our first dance together was magical. We smiled at the newly wed couple happily, and our eyes danced as they met one another. We knew we were thinking the exact same thing; we are similar in so many ways, and we both feel touched deeply by true love — though Robert might not as openly admit that.

We swayed back and forth and I got lost in the twinkle in his eyes. For a moment I felt a little self-conscious that we were having such a moment in front of other people, but my nerves were quickly put at ease when I realized how comfortable Robert was. The way he was looking at me I knew he was peering deep down into my soul, and our two moving bodies became one. My heart hadn’t ever felt so warm, loved, and bright as it did in that very moment. It was as if all the love that had ever been in our relationship was piled into this one dance, and I didn’t want it to end.

‘I guess our first dance is to Ed Sheeran,’ Robert observed. His eyes were still smiling at me, and the twinkling lights in the barn around us were just background noise; he was the star of my show. ‘I don’t hate it.’

We continued to sway to the sweet lyrics until the song ended. I didn’t want it to come to end, but I also knew in a way it wouldn’t. I would have this in my heart forever, and that dance will be one of my favorite memories of us for the rest of my life.”

I remember having a feeling of pure bliss because of how innocent and special sharing a slow dance with the love of your life is. I think further back to being pulled close in the kitchen and listening to his heart beat while we swayed back and forth to silence. I wonder if he remembers this too, or if these moments are only preserved in my own heart and journals from before the deployment.

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Writing, to me, is the most beautiful love language. Words of Affirmation aren’t listed as my #1 love language, but they are the most special to me in so many ways. They can make my heart sink or soar, and I use them to share my deepest thoughts and feelings with others. I have screenshotted text messages from years ago that made me so happy that I couldn’t imagine just letting them disappear into thin air. I save every note someone who is special in my life sends to me, and I treasure certain words that are said in my heart forever.

I want to collect thousands of “I love you’s,” and hearing about what I mean to someone is the best gift that could be given in this world. I look at words as being sacred pieces of the heart, and despite using the “L” word freely, it also means very different things to each person in my life. When it comes to romantic love, there is only one person in the world who hears “I love you” in the giddy way that will always signify true love, and for me, that person is Robert.

Congratulations to Ed and Cherry; they’re definitely going to be people I ‘ship while wedding planning and thinking about how beautifully special two people coming together to create a life with one another is. I can’t wait for the next sweet single to come out, and in the meantime I’ll continue gently taking words from my own heart to keep writing about the things I love in this life.

Enjoying Engagement & Wedding Planning

I should start this by saying no, we don’t have a date yet, and no, we haven’t done any concrete planning. It was hilariously overwhelming when Robert and I announced we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together how quickly the questions about specifics came. It’s kind of nice that we got engaged over Thanksgiving because instead of doing a ton of planning right off the bat, we are just enjoying the holidays together and being excited at the thought of everything. There are a few things we know we want to do for sure, but those are sweet little details that I will save until after the big day.

In the meantime I have a few really neat surprises up my sleeve that I’m excited to eventually reveal to Robert. I’ve thought about getting engaged to him before and what I wanted to do to make this time — and the big day — special for him, and I am really stoked to start making some of these daydreams a reality. He hates surprises and this is going to be the first he’ll be hearing of this, but trust me babe, these are going to make you really, really happy. Nothing too crazy, but a few special details that I know you’re going to love. Surprises are kind of my jam, so he knows that marrying me means that even if he’s not totally into getting little surprise presents or going on spontaneous dates, he’ll be marrying that part of me, too.

Anyway, I got my fitted ring in yesterday and I absolutely love it. Robert did an amazing job picking out something for me, but more than that I think it’s so sweet and romantic that it makes me think of him every time I look at it. I never realized just how much you look at your hands throughout the course of the day, but I’m super sentimental, so jewelry has always felt special because of the thought you know someone puts behind getting it. I’ve always worn something that he’s given me, whether it’s the beautiful bracelet he got for my birthday our first year dating or his dog tags under a cozy oversized sweater. Now I have something I get to wear every single day, no matter what, and it’s a really neat feeling.

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Other than all of that, I don’t have a lot of major updates, but I do have a lot of new posts coming up! I know I’ve been a bit MIA, but it’s been the perfect storm of busy between getting engaged, having the holidays upon us, celebrating my birthday, and having a few winter weddings to attend. I am so excited to share more of my life and feelings with y’all, and thank you to everyone who’s been so excited, supportive, and wonderful during this exciting time. I’m right here cheering all of you on, whether it’s with blossoming relationships, new jobs, exotic travels, or serving others with little acts of kindness every day. I love you all so much and am so blessed to be able to write about things that make hearts happy.

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I took this picture about five minutes before Robert proposed, and it’s one of my favorite things now. I can’t wait to go back to New York with him and continue to celebrate life together. 

Acts Of Service

Acts of service is one of the more difficult Love Languages for me to write about, as it’s the lowest on my list. This is interesting, though, because I speculate that a lot of people who are incredibly close to me have this as one of their top LL’s. Ever since I realized this I’ve tried to be really cognizant about the things other people do for me, as well as amp up my acts of service in their lives, too.

Did you know that sometimes when you speak the wrong love language to someone that they don’t necessarily register it as being something coming from the heart? I learned this when I began to realize that one of my favorite ways to show love — through little gifts and letters — wasn’t necessarily what was making everyone in my life feel loved. After paying closer attention to what others need I have tweaked the way I love, which in turn has changed my heart to receive all 5 love languages a little better. I used to brush off acts of service as things people felt they had to do for me, but now I take note of even the smallest actions people do from their heart.

One act of service Robert thanked me for today was getting up early to take Jax outside and keep him in the living room to let him sleep in. I actually didn’t think Robert would have even really noticed, but it made my heart warm this morning just knowing he would get the rest he’s needed.

Ideas to implement this LL:

  • Run an errand for your loved one.
  • Play chauffeur and drive your loved one somewhere they need to be, but can’t get to on their own. Lots of my friends and family do this for me often, as I can’t drive much longer than 10-15 minutes at a time, so I’m very familiar with this act of service.
  • Do some of the chores your significant other hates so (s)he doesn’t have to. This is difficult because fine motor skills (ie: loading and unloading the dishwasher) can add to the pain in my arms, and so my parents have taken a bigger burden with chores in the house. I’m so thankful and try to help out in other ways, since I’m currently trying to work to get stronger so that I will hopefully be able to serve others with this again one day.
  • Fill up their car with gas. This is such a tiny act of service, but it’s one I’ve grown to really appreciate. I can’t pump gas with my arm pain, but even before I got sick my dad always tried to fill up the girls’ tanks to keep our cars in tip top running shape.
  • Cook them a meal. I know I mentioned cooking in the “gift giving” Love Language, but it can also be categorized as an act of service. This is a great way to show someone you care about them and want to spend time with them. Even sending a packed lunch to work is a really sweet gesture.
  • Don’t complain when someone asks you to do them a favor. I cannot emphasize this enough, as I have had to swallow my pride the past 4 years and learn to ask for help. I already have a really hard time asking for the things I need, but it’s really made it harder when someone tells me how difficult the favor was to do. For the most part everyone has been so incredible about pitching in, though, and I remember so many of the sweet things people have done to help make things a little easier on me. I couldn’t feel more grateful, and I hope to be able to love with some of the acts of service that are hard on me in the future.

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Acts of service can be difficult to spot, and easy to take for granted. People who love this way, though, will show it in everyday life. Whether it’s doing home improvement projects, cooking a meal, or simply doing the laundry, acts of service are often the little pieces of love woven into the little pieces of your day. They are often even combined with other Love Languages, such as physical touch through a massage, or gift giving with a homecooked meal. What kind of acts of service do you notice in your life?

June Is For Weddings

I’ve been incredibly busy the past couple of weeks because I’ve had to save all of my energy for weddings! It’s crazy how I had only been to a couple of weddings before this year — now I’ll have been to four this year alone.

26 is a funny age because half of your friends are engaged or married, the other half are super-single. I wanted to write a little note of encouragement to each type of person, as I know there are highs and lows associated with each.

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To my married friends: I am so happy that you found your person! I always hear that the first year of marriage is the hardest. I’m no expert on this, but I would assume it’s a huge adjustment suddenly sharing everything with your significant other. Having to re-budget finances and learn how to save together, sharing living quarters with someone new, and fighting for the last cookie in the pantry are a few that come to mind. Be kind and patient with one another — and to yourself — and always remember why you choose to love each other first every day. It takes time to adjust to big changes, so it’s normal that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed after the excitement wears off. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough, but in the meantime make sure you still have the time to go out on dates and continue to speak your spouse’s love language to them.

To my engaged friends: Congratulations! I’m sure you’re incredibly excited and overwhelmed with planning a wedding, but remember that your wedding is just one day out of forever. My hope is that you are incredibly excited to celebrate with your friends and family because you just cannot wait to spend the rest of your life with the most special person you’ve ever met. Try to enjoy your time being engaged and don’t stress too much over the little details for your big day. Remind yourself that this time is such an exciting one to bond and continue to learn about your fiancee, and make time to enjoy one another amidst all of the chaos wedding planning ensues.

Remember, though, that marriage doesn’t fix things. Signing your name on a piece of paper with another human being and moving in with them or having children won’t make you closer or communicate better. If you feel in your gut that the decision you’re about to make isn’t right, please take a minute to reevaluate. Seek counseling if you need to get an outsider’s opinion on your relationship. Breakups are tough, but it’s so much better to have a few months of grieving the loss of a relationship than spending your life with the wrong person — or going through an incredibly painful divorce in the future.

To my single friends: You are not alone. I know sometimes it feels like everyone around you is having a really easy time navigating the dating/relationship world, but always try to keep in mind that although you may see a million and one social media posts about great relationships, the other singles out there are just quieter. People don’t typically post things like, “I’m currently not in a relationship!” or “Doing nothing in my PJs by myself this weekend!” If you want to get married one day, your time will come. Celebrate healthy relationships with your friends now, and one day they’ll be excited to celebrate with you!

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I’ve felt so lucky having such a great date to take to weddings this year.

Today’s lesson: We are all on different schedules in life and you can’t always plan when people come into your life. Try to enjoy each stage to it’s fullest. One thing I’ve learned is that time is something you can never get back, so try to look at the positive things about today so you can feel like you fully appreciated each stage in life.

You. Are. Strong.

I was just watching the final episode of Ben And Lauren: Happily Ever After? (Can we all please just act like I’m supposed to watch things like this since I write primarily about dating?) and it inspired me to write a new post.

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Photo Credit: Jose Perez/Splash News

Don’t settle for someone who isn’t certain of you. It broke my heart when I heard Lauren say that she felt like she wasn’t sure what she’d do without Ben, that she couldn’t imagine a life without him, but that she still wondered whether or not he thought she was good enough for him. This comment hit me hard because I’ve been there before, and it sucks. The overwhelming feeling that you have wondering if you really could go on without your partner while simultaneously realizing they may not want you in their life is one of the sharpest pains your heart can possibly feel.

You know what I learned in my life, though? I can survive without him. I can survive without the next him, and the next. Of course I want a man who I don’t want to live without, but the reality is that I am a strong and resilient human being — even when I am hurting — and I can absolutely walk away from a relationship if I am not being treated well. If someone is treating me poorly or stepping out of our relationship, I have a wonderful support system of people who will get me through the breakup and help me back onto my feet until I do find the guy I’m supposed to be with.

It took years for me to learn so many of these life lessons, but now that I’ve realized all of this there is no way in hell I am going to stay with a man who is unsure of his feelings about me once he really knows my heart. The beginning of a relationship is the time where you get to know someone and after you get comfortable with them you see whether or not you really are compatible in everyday life. No, I wouldn’t want every single guy I date to be sure he wants to marry me right off the bat, but once we decide we do want to spend forever together, statements like, “I love you, but I’m just not sure if we are right for one another…” are a really, really big deal.

Someone I once thought was going to be my forever finally told me he loved me, but wasn’t sure whether we were really supposed to be together, and instead of leaving I stayed… And stayed… And stayed…

By this point in our relationship we knew each other like the back of our own hands and honestly, in hindsight, he was very right. We weren’t right for each other. I still respect this person and want nothing but the best for him, and I do hope he finds a girl he never has to wonder about. That’s the kind of love I am going to wait for, and I know I’ll have it one day. No matter how hard things get it won’t be a question over whether or not we want to be in each other’s lives, rather it will be a matter of how to get over the hurdles life throws at us together.

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Today’s lesson: Once we take anxiety about being alone out of the equation I believe we can often think so much more clearly. Instead of settling for someone because you just want to find “your other half,” wait for the person who will be your partner in crime and a costar in your story. Until then, learning how to be strong while you’re single will help you wait for the love you really deserve.