Healthy Body, Hot Life: When we don't have a happy ending...
This month my husband and I celebrated our anniversary. We usually use this day as an opportunity to remember the most treasured moments of our relationship. We talk about what has helped us grow, we laugh about the moments that made us cry, and ...
This month my husband and I celebrated our anniversary. We usually use this day as an opportunity to remember the most treasured moments of our relationship. We talk about what has helped us grow, we laugh about the moments that made us cry, and we cry remembering moments that made us laugh.
Every year, one specific memory always comes to mind. A moment that made us realize that in our world, even with the fairy tale wedding, we don't necessary find "happily ever after" at the end of the day. It can actually be quite the opposite.
It was Aug. 19, 2005. I was in Brazil at my wedding living my Cinderella dream day with my American Prince Charming. We invited 500 guests. On my side was just my 488 family and closest friends; and on my husband's side, 12 American friends and family that were able to get their visas in time attended the wedding.
It was everything I ever dreamed. Every detail was fitting perfectly into place - including the last button on my beautiful wedding dress.
At our reception, everybody gathered around for that classic moment, the moment we cut the first piece of wedding cake together.
In Brazil, this is a beautiful, romantic moment where the I-finally-made-it bride and the I-can't-believe-I-committed groom ceremoniously hold the knife together and cut the first slice. Usually after cutting the cake they stop for a magical picture, a picture that I dreamed of having in my wedding album, where our hands are unified holding the same knife as we cut our wedding cake.
After this magical moment, a lot of brides don't even eat the cake because they don't want to take the risk of having crumbs in their dress or destroying the result of their Atkins diet.
But what I didn't know, and my husband forgot to tell me, was that his wedding cake tradition was a little different than mine.
We were getting ready for the magical picture of which I'd always dreamed, and as I was waiting for him to continue holding my hand so they could take the happy-couple-cutting-the-cake snapshot, my husband grabs a piece and starts smashing it into my face like a crazy 4-year-old boy.
Besides his 12 guests, the other 488 wedding guests were shocked by his reaction, and for what seemed like the longest minute in the world, the whole party was silent. I swear you could hear the crickets chirping back in North Dakota. The only thing I remember noticing was my beloved Catholic grandmother making the sign of the cross and one of the guests whispering: "This gringo is crazy!"
Today I know that my American groom wasn't crazy. He was following a tradition that a lot of historians believe starts in ancient Rome. They used to have a cake baked with barley or wheat and would smash it over the bride's head at the reception as a symbol of good luck and fertility.
This is just one example of many moments that has helped shape our relationship. Moments that we couldn't understand each other, moments that our intentions got misinterpreted, moments that we need to choose if we were in this relationship to win or to grow.
According to psychologist and researcher John Gottman, there are two types of problems: solvable and unsolvable. He says that in a successful marriage, roughly 69 percent of all problems will not be solvable; you'll deal with them for years.
Our wedding cake incident was one of those issues that we were never able to agree on. But that moment taught us that even when we don't agree with the others' opinions or traditions, we can always find a way to come together and move on. Luckily, the day of our wedding, my husband was able to find his way out.
As my husband noticed the dead silence, and that instead of clapping and smiling, everyone at the party looked shocked. I could see the embarrassment on his face. Instead of trying to explain his tradition, he chose to laugh. As he started laughing, I started laughing and because we couldn't stop laughing, everyone at the party started laughing. He was able to transform a really embarrassing moment into one of the funniest moments of our wedding day.
After all these years, do you think I agree with my husband's tradition of smashing the wedding cake on the bride's face and ruining her expensive make up? No, I still don't agree. But the good part is that I am realizing year after year that I don't need to agree with everything, and I don't need to waste my time and energy trying to convince him to agree with me.
This year on our anniversary, we were able to look back and see that there are a lot of unsolved problems in our everyday life, there are a lot of things we still don't agree with each other on, but that day we both agreed with the text in a picture frame I gave to him: "Humor can help a marriage to last forever, and a marriage without humor seems to last forever."
Chris Linnares is an international author, Brazilian psychotherapist and creator of Diva Dance. She is the founder of Naturally Diva and Diva Connection Foundation for women's health and empowerment.