We have been together for almost 14 years. Wow. We still can’t believe how lucky we are to have been able to grow up together. We’ve seen the best and worst of each other, and have overcome difficulties that no one ever prepares you for. But even after all that, one year of marriage has changed us more than all the previous years combined. We’ve become more patient, compromising, and resilient. We are are no longer the two crazy high school sweethearts that may or may not ever get married. Or as one friend put so eloquently about whether we were going to get engaged, “It’ll no longer be a ‘Will They/Won’t They’ scenario like Ross and Rachel. It’s going to be a ‘ABOUT DAMN TIME” kind of moment.'”
We are now husband and wife. On September 20th, we will have been married for one year.
This past year has been an interesting adventure. Celebrated Christmas and New Year’s in Europe. Realized our current careers were not our passion or future. Experienced becoming an aunt and uncle. Made new friendships that we will treasure for years to come. And most recently, we discovered our limitations and our priorities.
So, here are four things we’ve learned over the last 365 days of being Mr. & Mrs. Ciesielski:
1) Take the time to listen and talk to each other, especially when it’s difficult. Everyone says communication is key, which is very true. What they don’t tell you is that the most important time to actually listen and discuss how you are feeling is when all you want to do is argue. Yes, arguments/disagreements between spouses are healthy and very normal. But only if both stay present and respectful. We have learned that while you don’t have to agree AT ALL to what the other person is saying, you must listen and acknowledged their feelings. Encourage an open and healthy discussion. And if things get too heated, learn to hold hands. Which brings us to #2!
2) There will be days that challenge your relationship, but even so, hold hands. Always stay connected. One thing we practice is that when we are annoyed or angry, we must hold hands at all times. This may seem extremely awkward, and even kind of funny. That’s because it is!! The last thing you want to do is to hold the hand of the person that is annoying the crap out of you. But it’s so beneficial. It helps you stay connected. It helps us stay aware and focused, creating a way for us to realize that there are two people – two different ideas, feelings, and experiences to always consider.
3) Working together has been the most difficult and rewarding experience. We launched Ed & Aileen Photography earlier this year, and it was the most amazing feeling in the world. Photography has always been a passion of ours, and to finally be able to pursue our dream was truly a gift. We quickly learned though that it was not all fun and games. We had to create a business plan, sit down with the bank, register with the county, hire an accountant, etc. Our daily conversations quickly became all business. We would come home from our day jobs and get straight to work. We were working non-stop and barely talked about anything personal. It wasn’t until we realized we had not cuddled on the couch in over a week that there was a serious problem. We immediately recognized the issue, and sat down to make a game plan. It’s definitely a work in progress, but we now make sure that we spend the evenings together and go on date nights. We learned that spending time together outside a work-related environment actually made our photography better! After all, our relationship is the foundation of this business, so the more connected we are, the more we can pour our love and selves into our photography.
4) We are capable of loving each other more and more every single day. We definitely don’t implement all the things we wrote above all the time. And sometimes, we even need to remind the other person to listen or hold hands. We are still learning and growing. Regardless, we still feel so fortunate to be able to wake up next to someone who is willing to try to work towards something greater. And there’s something between us that will never go away. We still get that spark of excitement when we see each other after work. We can still melt into each other’s arms after a long day. We love being able to just look at each other and know what the other is thinking. We love that there are no secrets between us. We love that no matter where we are in the world, we are home when we are together.
We love each other. Simple as that.
“I will love. More. So much love that no one will have any idea what to do with me. They will watch with a confused look and wonder why I give so much and do not ask for more in return. I will give it because giving is getting and there is nothing quite so important as emptying your heart every single day and leaving nothing undone, no declarations of it unsaid.” – Tyler Knott Gregson
This has been an incredible first year of marriage.
Ed & Aileen