Jake and I had a ton of fun doing this anniversary photoshoot in Durham, the city we live in and love. However, I do want to bring some #realtalk as you look at them – I don’t want you to see these photos and think that this is a fully accurate representation of our actual, real, day-to-day marriage. Yes, we love each other very much, we dance and are silly, I do in fact look like a demon when I laugh. These are wonderful snapshots of us looking our happiest. But over the past year I have learned that marriage is not what I thought it would be. It is difficult, sometimes it’s so hard to communicate honestly and lovingly that it physically hurts my head.
Sophia & Jake | 1 Year Anniversary
Hi! I’m Sophia, and here I am with Jake, my husband (and the newest photographer for Blest Studios, holler!!) Brett and Cole have kindly allowed me to hijack this illustrious blog and tell the story of our marriage after one year, in my own words.
Let me start by saying that Jake is kind of a saint. I am not an easy woman to be married to (hi Jake, yes, I am aware, and I am admitting it to the entire internet). My temper is short and my moods look like a Richter scale. Part of that is my ongoing struggle with anxiety, part of it is my intense desire to control things in order to feel safe. The poor guy often doesn’t know what’s going on in my head, and as an introvert, I usually don’t know how or don’t care to tell him about it. One of our biggest challenges is that when we fight, he wants to talk it out and I want to go hide until I calm down. It’s getting better, but we still have days where I kind of miss not having to be responsible for someone else’s feelings.
Kind of, but not really. In my life before Jake (and before knowing God), I was incredibly selfish. My friends and family would have told you I was a good and loving person, but I was usually concerned only with myself and what I could get from the world. I loved my tribe, yes, but my ambitions were all about my achievement and personal gain, and that included relationships. I wanted a partner who would let me be exactly as I am, never wanting to change a thing, because if he tried to change me, that meant he wanted to stifle my spirit and independence. I was raised on Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj – ain’t no way I was going to let a MAN get in my way! But I had it wrong, so wrong.
I am a California girl who grew up in Silicon Valley, went to the most liberal school in the country (go Bears), considers herself a die-hard feminist and believes that men and women are completely equal. I say all that so you know my background and where I’m coming from when I say: it REALLY IS about sacrifice and putting someone else’s needs before your own. It is not weak to put others before yourself. What good is it to be married if you still rely on yourself for all your needs? When you trust someone to take care of you and you take care of them, that’s what’s up.
Our culture teaches us to get ours and get out, that life will finally be good when we have what I call the “mental resume” of everything in place: the beach body, the best school, the glamorous yet rewarding job, and most of all, your soulmate. But as someone who used to be on that path, I can tell you that it doesn’t work. I said it in my wedding vows and I’ll say it again: you choose your soulmate. They will not start out that way. At some point you will look at the person you married and be like, who are you?! Where am I, what have I done? And it’s all normal. Marriage is not the same as dating, it’s not the same as living with someone, it’s not the same as being engaged. The commitment changes everything and it’s a crazy paradox: of course it makes you infinitely vulnerable, but it also gives you infinite strength. As someone who has a hard time being vulnerable at all, this was a revelation.
These photos are all the more precious because they are a visual reminder – we really do love each other that much, IN SPITE OF all the extremely difficult things we’ve been through over the past year. Jake, you are my number one and you always will be. Thanks for choosing me to be your soulmate.
In conclusion, my favorite part of my vows: “saying I love you is more about the showing than the telling – when you say it to me, it is the greatest gift of my life that I can say “I know”.