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my truth.

PREFACE: this is an extremely personal post, and i tend not to open up about my personal life on here, but these are thoughts that have been on my heart lately and i'm sharing them, if for nothing else, but to release them from my head and heart. STOP READING if you don't want to get personal.
okay, so, here's the thing>>i see a lot of these "things i wish i knew before i got divorced" and
"marriage/relationship advice" columns and such. and i always read them.
and i find truths in a lot of them>>things i learned through my separation and divorce that i have applied/bettered in myself into new relationships and will continue to do so. here are some of my own paraphrased:
>never stop courting/dating your partner
>be quick to forgive and slow to anger
>know yourself and be able to admit when you're at fault
>be introspective first
>accept your partner and love them for ALL of them, even the hard stuff
>know and be intentional about loving them through their love languages
>challenge each other in life and adventure, ask hard questions, go deep
>support each other in all that you do--be each others biggest fans
>be grateful, appreciative and encouraging always--notice how they love you and say thank you
>have grace, with them and yourself
>makeout often, it'll give you butterflies all over again
>being two independent individuals and then choosing to do life together is the healthiest
>let go of the past-its irrelevant now and certainly don't bring the past into current arguments (ladies, we are bad at this)
>love, so so bravely with vulnerability and genuiness that is fierce and courageous
>GIVE YOUR WHOLE HEART//never do anything with half of it
HOWEVER. i also tend to feel guilty at the end of reading them, like i did something wrong; like we should have tried harder. like society and doctrine want me to feel bad that i'm part of the percentage of people that have been divorced>>especially because i'm young. truth #1: I NEVER WOULD HAVE LEARNED THE ABOVE IF I HADN'T GONE THROUGH MY DIVORCE.
i feel like the last 2 years since our decision to separate and in doing so, get a divorce, i have experienced more learning, especially when it comes to relationships and marriage than i had ever assumed i would. when it first came about, there were rumors upon rumors of what POSSIBLY could have happened that we would have broken up. ugly rumors. hurtful rumors. rumors because people NEED things to be tragic sometimes in order for it to make sense to them. but here's a truth: you'll never be able to judge or speak to the inner workings of a relationship, because, guess what? you're not in it. 
that doesn't just apply to marriages, but all relationships. 
noah was my best friend, i spent all of college with him as a unit in our friend group>>learning and struggling to grow as individuals within a relationship during what some consider the most challenging/formative growth period of life. here's another truth: noah is a good man, and i'm a good woman. we loved each other, but there's this simple idea that i think we both realized, him sooner than me>>we just weren't right for each other. period. 
we got married way too young, we had no idea what we were getting into. we were naive and we romanticized marriage and the idea of it. we thought that "love" was enough. and LOVE is enough, however, you also need commitment, similar life directions, relationship balance, speaking/understanding each others love languages, to know who you are, individuality, self-care and a deeper understanding of relationships before you may want to enter into such a sacred and LIFE LONG commitment. marriage is forever people> you have to know who you are and who the other person is, inside and out and love them and yourself whole heartedly. 
here's my mistake: i went into marriage wanting to change my husband. to "grow" him into the man i wanted him to be, knew he could be, instead of accepting him for all that he was when i married him. but the truth here is, he didn't even know who he was and neither did i. we were two lost souls, trying to figure life and marriage and existence and religion and ourselves out all at the same time and we just couldn't. and i find so much peace in that truth now.
here's why: noah and i have grown exponentially into BETTER individuals because of our separation and divorce. it was a hard road and there was a lot of pain and guilt and confusion along the way because we really did desire to honor that commitment. but we have grown into the best versions of ourselves a part from each other and that makes me sure we made the right decision>>because that is OUR truth and no one else, nor any column/article can over-generalize that truth for us.
not even what i've written here is YOUR truth, or should sway your ideas, it's only mine and noah's. you have to discover your own about love and relationships and marriage, on your own journey. that's what's so beautiful about life, how very gray it is. 
BUT when i read these columns as mentioned above, i don't deserve to feel guilty and i choose not to. i choose to believe that we followed our hearts. that either decision would have been a hard road and we chose the one that was best for us. that we were both selfless and selfish all at once. that marriage DOES NOT have to be THAT HARD when you choose the partner best suited for you and as long as you are honest with yourself about what that person will be and patient with yourself in your search, you can find that. i believe that no one should settle because of age, or biological clocks, or because religion tells them to wait to have sex until they're married or any other reason one might choose marriage before they may or may not be ready.
this period in my life has been a time where my friendships, career, adventures and life experiences have been in the best kind of overload. i have loved harder, cried more and laughed the deepest belly laughs. i have adventured and freed myself to feel all things however passionately and with an open heart. i have been scared and sad and broken and joyful and every other emotion in between. and i wouldn't go back and change anything. NOT A THING.
HERE's MY TRUTH: i still love noah. very much so. he was and is one of my best friends. there's not a day that goes by i don't think of him, care about him. he's getting re-married now and i couldn't be happier for him. in the middle of going through a recent break up, who did i call? noah. and he met me for breakfast and we hashed out a lot of what i'm writing about in this post. 
it's funny i used to watch our wedding video, and weep and feel so broken. and now, i watch it and there is SO MUCH JOY in my heart because i still love my friend, and this was still SUCH an amazing day, and i trust in the decision we made and that everything happened just as it was supposed to. that we are better human beings because of all of it. that OUR truth is ours alone and that we made an honest and hard decision but ultimately, we were BRAVE and best showed our love for one another by letting each other go and grow.
promise: i do believe in marriage and commiment and love. i am a wedding planner for goodness sakes. i'm also a caretaker and a hopeless romantic. i will get married again one day, i want to do life with someone, and it will be to the person i was created for and that was created for me. and i won't be settling for anything less than that becauase if i'm going to do this again, it's going to be forever and i will carry all the above truths into it with me like a flame in my heart.


Wedding Preview: Noah and Rachael from The Cana Family on Vimeo.

wedding band: the wild reeds.

sunset cliffs shoot.