Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wife (to-be) of the Month: Nikki

When one of my closest friend's inquired about being a guest blogger, there was no way I could turn her down. This woman is one of the most amazing ones I've ever met. Not only does she always push me to do better than my best, but she is one of the most understanding, devoted, loving... I could gush on and on and on... women to everyone she meets. So, without further a do, meet Nikki.

The Calling of a Wife
(Nikki and her fiance, Addison.)

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty driven person. It’s an addiction really. I've won journalism awards, I've presented at international conferences, I've been punched by a photographer who was trying to steal my spot when I was taking a great picture of Michelle Obama. But after years of living with an immense pride and addiction to success (read: fear of failure), I have finally realized a calling God has truly placed on my life.

Above all else, I am meant to be the world's greatest wife to my husband and eventually mother to our children.

I never realized being a wife was such a calling until this past year during my engagement. I had been raised to be a kick butt, independent woman who makes her own opportunities and changes the world. No man would get in the way of that ever.
(Nikki interning at Parents Magazine in NYC.)

And so, I found a man who supported me and my dreams, and as God showed me, he was the man I was meant to marry. Over time, my dreams started to change. Sure, I’m still a writer. Yes, I still make my own opportunities and have big plans. But I’ve realized if your family suffers…… what’s the point?
(Addison's proposal.)

It took me a while to get to this place. And looking back on it, I now understand what my premarital counselors were meaning when they suggested, "We think you may be a bit delusional."

Needless to say, almost a year later-- a year filled with a hell you cannot even begin to imagine-- I was nearly reduced to tears when I read the words in parentheses after a sentence my premarital counselor had written about something I had done: “(signs of a good wife).”

Even though I thought I wasn't delusional back then during that first pre-marital counseling session, I cannot deny that this year leading up to my wedding, I probably learned more about life, love and commitment than I think most engaged couples do before the big day.

You see, the year or months before a couple's wedding is usually used for making plans. You plan the wedding. You plan the honeymoon. You plan your first home and even whose family you'll spend the first holidays with. It's all about making plans. For my type-a personality that is all about planning the future, I had this down pat. Everything was going to be perfect. Addison was going to finish his last semester of school by December, I was already working a great job in Florida, we were paying for a townhouse in cash near my job and he would move from NC to FL after graduation. We'd live there for 5 years, reassess and probably move back to NC to start raising a family. It was a sound plan, we thought.

Well, November, Addison's mother was diagnosed with leukemia. It was a huge blow and shock to both of us and he could barely focus on anything at school. Eventually it was decided it would be best for him and his family if he withdrew from school to be his mother's caretaker. Addison stayed by her side for months. He slept next to her bed on a couch in the hospital. He ate hospital food and watched her soap operas with her. The only breaks he'd take would be for a phone call or web cam with me. It was definitely a rough time and it definitely changed our plans. How/when would Addison finish school? He didn't even want to talk about it until we knew more about his Mom. One thing was for sure. That beautiful townhouse we were about to buy in cash...we wouldn't be getting it. And in a week, someone else snatched it up.

What was worse was how I was seemingly harassed by "well-meaning people." Every old lady on the planet had a comment about the situation they knew virtually nothing about.

"He's not graduating college? Are you sure you still want to marry him?"

No. Of course not since God says, “Thou shalt not marry a non-college graduate.” That makes SO much sense.

"You know, he's not making you a priority right now."

No duh. His mother's dying. SHE is supposed to be his priority.

Oh…and my “favorite” rude statement was when his mother actually did pass away: “That’s going to be tough with him mourning this year. Are you still sure you want to marry him?”

Um… seriously? I’m pretty sure that is the dumbest thing you could possibly ever say to anyone. Ever.

People were ridiculous about the whole thing and it really just beat me down a lot. But honestly, while difficult, Addison’s devotion to his mother made me love him more even though I heard comments like this non-stop. I knew that his commitment to family was unbreakable. When everything was happening in the beginning, he told me that it was his duty as a son to take care of his parents, but when we got married, we'd find a solution that would be best for everyone since he said his priorities would change when I became his wife. This whole year, I grew a huge respect for Addison beyond anything anyone could imagine.

When I read posts on Facebook from newlyweds talking about how magical newlywed life is because it's like one big "party" or "sleepover" I just shake my head a bit. Sure, I'm not married yet, and yes I do want at least a few moments of bliss, but if there's anything I've learned this year, it's that love is this unconditional force that carries you through the most horrible parts of life. I've seen my fianc√© break down completely during this whole ordeal. I held his hand as we watched his mother die in the hospital and I learned to tie a man’s necktie through Youtube so I could help him get dressed the morning of the funeral. This year has been hard. At times, we lashed out at each other over webcams. Other times, we were so tired we couldn’t even talk. But we pulled through and I think our marriage will be stronger for it.

Technically we have one session of premarital counseling left. We were unable to finish it because our plans had changed (big shocker). But like Addison says, "I think this year has been pre-marital counseling enough."

Now with a month until the wedding and his mother's funeral a month ago, we're picking up the pieces of the hard year that has happened and are trying to move on the best we can. He wants to finish school, which I think whole heartedly he deserves to finish the way he wants to. And of course everyone not involved who has a comment pipes in with their doubting statements. But yes, I'm picking up everything and moving back to North Carolina. Yes, that means I have to lose my job. Yes, that means life will be a little more uncertain than we had hoped starting our marriage would be.

We've learned a lot this year about each other. But if it's one thing we've learned the most, it's that God is going to be the center of our marriage. We had always heard that and of course it's a no-brainer to say, but I know I didn't really realize it's gravity until I had to pick up everything, give up everything, and step out in faith in order to marry the person I know God wants me to marry. Marriage isn’t just a thing you do. It’s a calling. I don’t think people understand that as much anymore.

While people won’t always agree with my decisions and will always say their doubtful comments, I know what I’ve been called to do and I have faith that if I follow God, then it’ll be alright.


Make sure to check out Nikki's blog Mrs. Healthy Ever After that launches July 29th, after she's officially married! Congratulations (in advance), Nikki and Addison!

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