First Marriage Loss

The day you set the date to get married is also a day of commitment. It’s making it real. It’s the day that goes on the save-the-dates and the invitations. There’s no turning back after that, and so, I thought it should be the best day of a couple’s relationship up to that point…

…for me, it was our first marriage loss. That day sucked a**.

We drove down to Raleigh that morning to see a possible wedding location. This was our 3rd trip down to see some possible places, and at this point, we would be getting married at the courthouse if we didn’t find a wedding location soon. I had already heard great things from our planner. “You’re going to love this place,” she said over the phone. I was tired and excited. We wanted to get married in August, and it was already April. 

When we arrived, I wasn’t too thrilled with the outside. It could be perfect with some work, but it wasn’t perfect yet. It wasn’t what I had envisioned in my head. The good thing is there was an outdoor location for the ceremony and an indoor location for the reception. I needed to see more.

We went up the steps to see the reception location, and my smile spread from ear to ear. Our planner was right; the location was perfect – just what I wanted. The price tag, on the other hand, was not what I wanted.

My parents were footing half the bill. They probably would have paid more, but I told them that we could handle it. The truth is that our half was going on a credit card. We didn’t have thousands of dollars to put toward a wedding, especially not with the large expenses we had coming – some that we didn’t even know were coming. In my mind, when something is right, the price tag doesn’t matter. We had to have the wedding there, and the bills would be handled later.

To book the location needed an immediate down payment – half up front, half one month from the wedding day. Because the date would be in just four short months, there was no going back. If we decided to cancel the wedding or change locations, there would be ne refund on the upfront payment. Paying with my parents’ check that day was the same as saying “I do.”

The planner looked at us and asked, “Are you sure?”

My fiance at the time looked at me and said, “Whatever you want.”

I responded in a joking way. “There’s no going back. This is it. You won’t be able to change your mind after this.”

He said, “I’m marrying you.”

I smiled. I gave over the check. I was sure. The location was what I pictured in my mind, and I knew we would make it work. The credit cards might be maxed out by the time August came around, but we would make it work. I believed that we could do it together.

On the way home, I could tell something was different. His demeanor wasn’t sweet. He wasn’t happy – like his life had just changed. Those feelings were mine. I was the one who felt like we had just turned the husband and wife corner.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, already getting an attitude because I knew what he was going to say.

“It’s just a lot of money, that’s all.”

I blew up immediately. I didn’t understand how the happiest day of our relationship had gone so wrong! He agreed with the decision! He allowed me to make the decision and give over the check! He didn’t protest or voice any hesitation at the location! He was silent when he needed to speak up, and now that the decision had been made, he was questioning it. In my mind, he was questioning a life with me, the marriage, the proposal. After all, handing over the check was the same as saying “I do,” right?

I cried. I was devastated. My fiance’s hesitation and attitude devastated me. I cried all the way home. When I got home, I got in the shower and cried some more. I cried because I thought it was a sign from God – a sign that we had made a mistake. I had jumped the gun on the location; I put what I wanted ahead of what was best for us. The man I wanted to marry was silent when he needed to be vocal. He chose that day to get cold feet. I cried myself to sleep that night.

The next day, he proved me right and wrong. He panicked but not over the marriage. He panicked over the money. In my mind, the money didn’t matter because the location was what I wanted, but I didn’t take into consideration what was happening in his head. To him, the money was everything. He told me that it was his responsibility to be able to pay for our wedding, and he knew the money would be tight. The price we paid for the location, furniture, and food was a hefty price – not as expensive as some but more than we initially wanted.

I forgot to keep the peace. I thought I was including him, but truth be told, I made the decision all on my own. That day made me rethink everything – his love, my commitment, our bond, the future…

That was our first marriage loss. It was a loss, not because of the argument, the crying, and the hesitation. It was a loss because the happiest day of our relationship was a fantasy that I created in my mind, and the consequence was devastating when reality didn’t live up to that fantasy.

My fiance reminded me that the best day of our relationship was yet to come…

…the day we would really say “I do.”

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