March 4, 2010

Hot then Cold, Part II: The Outcome.

Posted in Relationships at 5:21 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

First off, I want to say a heartfelt thanks to you ladies for your support during this difficult, difficult time of Professor Paisley’s cold feet.

I nearly didn’t blog about it. In fact, I was so worried about receiving negative comments, or having people advise me to run for the hills, that I pulled the post off of my personal blog before it went up on Weddingbee. But it was already scheduled to go up, and go up, it did! I’m actually really glad it did go up, because I know some of you read it and related to it. And it personally helped me feel better that I’m not the only one who’s gone through an emotional break up of an engagement right before her wedding!

What I didn’t tell you was, my feet were cold, too!

….when we went snowboarding:

Professor and Miss Paisley in the cold, cold snow

Haha, no, really, when I left off with my last post on the topic, things were better-seeming, but still definitely up in the air. Professor Paisley hadn’t made up his mind: wedding, or no wedding? I had extended an olive branch to him while I awaited his decision. I wanted to be steadfast, and patient. But I admit that branch, metaphorically speaking, after 6 weeks of hanging out in limbo land, had dropped all its leaves and was beginning to seriously droop.

Since the beginning of our troubles in paradise, we had been diligently following the book The 5 Love Languages, as well as its companion workbook, The Love Dare.

And in that time, Professor Paisley had broken the engagement, taken it back, broken it again, and then said he needed time to think about marriage. At one point, he said, “if I HAD to choose between marrying you, and asking you to leave forever, I would choose the latter.”

So, you see, my heart had broken, several times over. It was seriously as if someone had died.

Then he needed time. So I gave him time. Truth be told, however, my impatient nature meant that when I said I’d give him time, I would last only about 5 days before I would pester him, ultimately leading to yet another tearful discussion. So, it was up and down, hot and cold, with a lot of waiting in between.

On Valentine’s Day, it was the worst, brought on by my screaming, “Why can’t you make up your freakin’ mind!?!” And then crying hysterically when I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear. I began researching the cost of a U-Haul, and contemplating my life without Professor Paisley.

A younger, more inexperienced Miss Paisley would have DEFINITELY high-tailed away from a cold-footed fiance, and never looked back. On that Valentine’s Day, after hearing the above heart-breaking words, it was one of those Sliding Doors moments, where you see two paths before you, and the one you choose will change your entire life. Your dignity and pride says “get the hell outta there” while your love says “hold on one more time.”

I thought about it for a long while, and decided even though he had said those things, to stay, and keep my olive branch extended.

We decided to go to Sea World for the weekend and try to get back to good. Do something fun together, which we hadn’t done for a long time.

It was an amazing time. Even amid moments of extreme confusion, or depression, or sadness, Professor Paisley and I somehow manage to have a lot of fun together, and make each other laugh.

Just before, during and after the weekend, Professor Paisley started giving me hints of his decision: “It will be good.” And, “you will be happy.”

At first those hints gave me a little thrill. Then I thought about them some more, and they made me very mad. If he knew what his decision would be, WHY didn’t he just end my misery?! Then and there. The absolute second he knew for sure? Well, obviously, it was because he didn’t actually know his decision! I wrote him a letter expressing my anger and frustration. The day he read it, he had had one of his bad days, depression-wise. He came to me to talk, and ended up saying “I just don’t know [my decision]”

Snap.

That was the sound of my olive branch breaking.

I had had enough. So I told him, please make your decision within two days.

The next day, I texted him while he was at work: “actually, I really can’t take this anymore, please make your decision tonight, you’ve had enough time.”

So, I spent the day crying and not getting any work done. Actually, the whole month of February, I unfortunately didn’t get any work done, which was really bad for the bank account, since I’m a freelance writer.

I went to the grocery store to inquire about picking up moving boxes.

I called the U-Haul company.

I called my parents to inform them I’d be moving in for awhile, until I got back on my feet.

I went through an entire box of Kleenex.

Professor Paisley came home early from work that night. He walked into the room bearing some flowers (potted Chrysanthemums) and, funnily, a can of cream cheese frosting and cake to put it on.

At this point my thought bubble read: “OK, he wants to break the news nicely, and thinks I could probably do with a can of frosting afterward. Makes some sense.”

But instead he said:

“We’re getting married!”

Screeeeeeeeech.

That’s the sound of the record in my head of what to say next screeching to a halt. You see, I hadn’t rehearsed for THIS answer.

I was not, in any way, shape, or form, expecting this answer. I was happy, I mean, exhilarated, but a whole lot of other emotions as well.

What makes me feel peace about his decision, and feel in my heart that he won’t ever change it, is that I know him. After living together and being together basically as married people do, for the past three years, I personally know and love this man. Very well. I understand his reason for taking time to make his decision: he wanted to be 110 percent sure he would never break his vows to me. And not just the typical marriage vows.

In addition to planning to take the regular marriage vows, we had promised to do the extra things it takes to really make each other feel giddy inside: for me, that means he needed to promise to always work hard to remember to bring me flowers and little surprises and plan date nights each week. And for him, I needed to be able to remember to do little acts of service from time to time, like bringing him breakfast in bed or taking out the trash when it’s not my turn.

You see, we had learned back in January that we speak completely different love languages (according to the book The 5 Love Languages). It was this book that helped us learn to love each other better, but also led Professor Paisley to doubt himself: could he remember to do these things for me throughout our marriage? He needed to know for sure he could, and that was a big part, if not the main part, of his indecision. It wasn’t, thankfully, doubts about loving me with all of his heart. He did. He just wanted to love me the way I needed and deserved to be loved.

And while I WISH he had thought this seriously about the meaning of marriage when he proposed to me in September of 2008, I am glad that he voiced all of his concerns to me, and took time to really think about the meaning of marriage, the meaning of us, and how best to improve our relationship to become a more in-tune couple.

We’re happy. We’re solid again, and I know that after these weeks of incredibly difficult, trying times, all the while talking deeply, fighting for our relationship fiercely, and continuing to love, laugh and hug, I’ve finally reached my 110 percent faith in us. I’m faithful we’ll be OK and that God (if she exists–I’m agnostic, so I’m not sure) willing, our marriage will be a long, loving and happy one.

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February 14, 2010

Valentine’s Day Surprise

Posted in Relationships tagged , , , at 9:36 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

How was everybody’s Valentine’s day? I love the day myself: the romance and the fun of giving and receiving cute cards, chocolates, or maybe flowers.

I awoke to find this on my kitchen counter:

A pair of orchids! I love orchids, but always kill them. They don’t get enough sun in our North-facing apartment. But Mr. Paisley found a variety that actually shuns the sun, so hopefully this time it won’t be houseplant fail, it will be houseplant success!

What I loved best was this funny customized card with our photos pasted on it:

And I can’t leave you hanging without the punchline on the inside of the card:

I got him a pair of books, and cooked dinner.

How was your weekend? Are you enjoying a long one, or are you working?

February 13, 2010

Get ready for some busy days ahead!

Posted in Deals, DIY Projects, Fashion, Inspiration Boards, Mr. Junebug, Music, Personalizing Your Wedding, Relationships, Wedding Design tagged , , , at 4:13 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

Hello there! It’s so nice to see you! I’m Miss Paisley, and I’ve actually been a Bee since I was a very young gipper. First, I was a “busy bee” at Busy Days Preschool, where I adored the mascot bee with all the unbridled enthusiasm of a five-year-old.

Then, my first job out of college was as a daily news reporter at the Record-Bee newspaper! Of course, the bee was also the mascot there. On a recent visit back to my hometown paper, my dear friend and editor of the Bee gifted me this lovely hat:

Please excuse the harsh lighting. It's a self-portrait taken late at night, after seeing Dear John at the movies

Which I think is so appropriate considering I’m once again…a bee!

I can’t wait to get started telling you all about our chic, family-lake-house wedding we’re planning. Get ready for a healthy serving of DIY projects, a little letterpress printing, and a side of bumps, surprises and relationship lessons.

But first, let me tell you more about Mr. Paisley and me. He’s a Spanish professor, and I’m a journalist. I used to work as an editor for a national glossy magazine, before I decided to start my freelance writing career last summer (so glad I did).

Professor and Miss Paisley, aboard the Paisley Italian Stallion (Vespa)

Professor Paisley and I met on the forever-exquisite day of Jan. 3, 2007. The date is seared into my mind because I was moving back to Santa Cruz to complete my Feminist Studies degree after just having finished a 10-month stint in the UC Center Sacramento journalism program. The future-Professor-Paisley greeted my mom and me in the hallway.

“He is SO cute!” I said to Mama Paisley.

“And he’s a professor, too!” I squealed. “Biology, wasn’t it?”

“I think he said Spanish…but now don’t you go after him, young lady!” Mama Paisley warned. I’m pretty sure she even wagged her finger.

She was right about the first part–the Spanish Professor bit–but the second? O-oh no! I’m glad I made the first move. He followed up with a date to Greek food, and we’ve been pretty much inseparable since, save one year when he was in Orange County and I was up in NorCal working. Let’s just say there were a lot of long nights in the newsroom followed by 8-hour-long drives with me arriving in the OC at 5 or 6 a.m., only to turn around and leave again 24 hours later. Yup, it was love!

Together, we’re a couple of goofballs who dig all things outdoors. He’s a Utah boy and an avid rock climber. I’m a NorCal-turned-SoCal girl, and an ex-river-rafting guide and ropes course facilitator.

Here we are in August about to summit Mt. Whitney, with Groomsman Josh. I think we all look pretty funny.

But not as funny as this:

It ain't called an Italion STALLION for nothin'

Weddingbee has been an important community for me for the last year-plus, so you can imagine I’m feelin’ extra honored to be here. I relish this opportunity to build friendships in the ‘hive, hear what you have to say and share my thoughts.

With less than 5 months until the wedding, get ready for some busy bee days ahead!

Welps, see ya later!

January 24, 2010

Nothing’s Perfect

Posted in Relationships tagged , at 7:28 am by Elizabeth Nixon

This is a hard post to write, because it’s so personal, and because when you’re an engaged couple, there’s so much pressure to be perfect. But Professor Paisley and I are the first to admit we’re not perfect.

This is the story of our wedding-that-almost-wasn’t:

We’ve been having communication/compatibility problems. Basically, if you’ve ever heard of the wonderful book Five Love Languages, we score completely opposite on the love language spectrum according to this book, a book that I think has quite a few things goin’ for it. According to these quiz’s, http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/personal-profiles/ and http://www.afo.net/hftw-lovetest.asp, Mr. Paisley is a “Quality Time” and “Acts of Service” person–meaning he feels/shows love through one-on-one time and doing things like cooking/cleaning/taking out the trash, while I’m a “Gifts” and “Touch” person–meaning I feel/show love through little presents, surprises and lots of hugs and kisses. I scored near zero on Acts of Service, and he scored zilch on Gifts. So those are two areas we need to work on for each other, in order for us both to feel better loved, and better appreciated.

And while we acknowledged the things we needed to work on months and months ago, what with both our busy schedules (I earn the dough as a writer/journalist for eight to ten hours per day, plus have an intensive landscape architecture internship, and he is a full-time PhD student AND works the equivalent of a full-time job!) we let a lot of things slip by the wayside. I think BECAUSE we get along so well (we rarely fight, and when we do, we make up easily), and we DO have so much in common (a love of outdoor activities, senses of humor, love of literature and good conversation) we had put our relationship on autopilot, which is never a good thing to do. Relationships take a lot of nurturing, and we just weren’t giving it our all.

So, a month ago, in a heartbreaking discussion, Mr. Paisley told me he didn’t want to marry me in June–IF–we still had these issues. Instead, he wanted to postpone our marriage, and work out our issues. He wanted for me to cook dinner more than once per week, and to be less messy, and for him to remember to bring me flowers or take me on dates on occasion.

I felt my heart drop to my socks and back up to my esophagus when he uttered those words. I told him I would marry him tomorrow, and that I was happy. He said he would not marry me tomorrow if given the chance.

For a good two days straight, I felt like someone had died. I also felt like I was breaking up with my wedding–all the hard work down the tubes. To make a long story shorter, a couple of days later, Mr. Paisley took back what he had said in a heated moment, and we are working on our problems–yes, with the wedding date still set. I couldn’t be happier, although a part of me is very sad we had such a blow up, and that we continue to experience bumps on the road to an improved relationship. However, I am incredibly proud and happy that Mr. Paisley came forward so candidly about how he felt.

I have learned, from our experience, and from many of my married friends, that it’s common for one or both of the couple to have cold feet in the months leading up to a wedding. It’s an incredibly stressful time.

One tidbit of advice for anyone who experiences something similar? Don’t hastily shoot off emails to vendors asking whether it’s possible to get deposit money back (as I did). However, in doing so, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how understanding our vendors could be, and how many of them were willing to give back the deposits. It was with happiness, and exceeding embarrassment, that I emailed them “nevermind, we’re still getting married!” just a short two days after my initial email. The only reason I did it, was because I had JUST mailed in several large deposits–and I wanted to see if they would hold off on cashing the checks until we’d worked things out.

When it comes down to it, the crux of our situation was this difference of opinion: I felt that our problems were fairly common relationship problems, and nothing that couldn’t be worked out. I wanted to try to “schedule” things for each other to ensure they’d happen: i.e. I would cook dinner on a couple of set nights per week, and clean the apartment on a scheduled day each week, and also do an “act of service” for Mr. Paisley once per week–such as making him breakfast in bed or something like that, that would really show him how much I love him. In turn, we would schedule a “date night” once per week when Mr. Paisley would surprise me with flowers, a gift, or a romantic gesture. But, Mr. Paisley, during the early stages of our discussion, was adamant against having to schedule these things. He felt they should come naturally. But after much discussion, we compromised and agreed that to jumpstart our plan, we’d try having a schedule.

Mr. Paisley and Miss Paisley working on improving communication.

So far, I’m happy to report it’s going really well. I’ve been cleaning the apartment every other day, and made him breakfast in bed. Last night he took me on a date to Thai, and then to the dollar theater where we saw Where the Wild Things Are, during which we both fell asleep! What?! It’s pretty exhausting to be a young engaged couple!!!

Today, while he is at work, I’m going to do one of his favorite things (that I used to do only about once every two weeks or so, but am now going to do twice per week): find a yummy-looking recipe in his Spanish cookbook and make it as a surprise for him when he gets home.

As I think of the areas I need to improve upon as a person and a future wife, I sometimes wish I could be more like my Mom, who never failed to make a home-cooked dinner and sit the whole family down for at least an hour each night. Who makes her bed with hospital corners each morning, who cleans the house and creates a warm home environment with so much routine.

As a feminist, I’m not necessarily for being a housewife, but I admire women who do it, especially those who manage to do it WITH their husbands’ help AND have their own meaningful career or passion. Sometimes I wish I could be more domestically talented rather than domestically disabled. In our relationship, Mr. Paisley is the more domestically-inclined, so I’m hoping he can help me along and we can do many of these things together.

Have you ever experienced a bump in the road in the days or months leading up to your marriage? Do you have any tricks to share that helped improve your relationship?

Photos by Ashley Rose Photography.