In the last week of our premarital class, we were given the best piece of advice for marriage (and possibly life).
It was simple, yet profound and our pastor’s answer to almost every question we asked:
“Figure out what you want and do it on purpose.”
It’s hard to live with purpose if you don’t know what it is you’re chasing. If you don’t know how you want to show up in the world.
So whether it’s how much time you want to spend with your family, how you want to raise your children or how often you want to travel — in order to live a life you love, first you have to know what you want. And then, you have to pursue it with all of your being.
The distinction in marriage is figuring out what you want life to look like with another human.
And this is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful pictures of marriage. Together, the two of you get to create a life as one. And you have the freedom to create a life you love.
What do you want your marriage to look like 1 year from now? 5 years? 10 years from now?
Once you know, then, you fight — for it and each other — with all that you have.
The same rule applies when planning your wedding day: figure out what you want and do it on purpose.
At my core, I’m a people pleaser, so it was difficult to separate what we wanted as a couple from what everyone else seemed to want — our parents, our friends, our extended family.
There are so many traditions and pressures that can surround weddings. So sometimes, we needed to remind ourselves that this day is about celebrating our love and relationship.
And what better way to do that than to plan a day that reflects who you are as a couple.
Allow yourself the freedom to plan a day that you love.
How do you want your wedding day to feel? What is most important to you? What do you want to look back and remember?
If that means you elope with your closest friends and family, instead of a large gathering, or serve appetizers rather than a sit down meal, I give you permission.
But when it comes down to it, allow yourself the freedom to live a life you love.
It’s easy to become so consumed planning a wedding that you forget you’re planning a marriage.
Sometimes, all it takes is a step back, a deep breath and the simple recognition that flowers and fabric will not affect your longterm happiness. But a marriage — that’s something to invest a lifetime in.
My hope for you is that you invest. And you do it with purpose.
A version of this post was originally written for White Magazine.