10 Things I’m So Looking Forward To About Being Married
Goodness, time has flown.
After getting engaged five months ago, our wedding day is now exactly 3 weeks away. And I couldn’t be more ready this amazing man who — in two short years — has become my hands-down favorite person to hang out with, my closest confidante, my easiest travel partner, my most faithful encourager, my best IRL inspiration for serving people well, and the best friend I’ve ever had.
I love this man more than words can say, and am so ready to be his wife!
(Well, I should probably say heart-“ready”. Our wedding check-list still has a ways to go, whoops. ?)
Seriously, though. After having spent almost all of my adult life hoping to find this kind of love, it still feels so surreal and crazy that this story is finally unfolding right now before our eyes. And that after nearly two years together, we’re soon going to be taking these life-changing vows to stay close to one another for a lifetime, for better and for worse, no matter what. We’ve been talking a lot about our vows lately, and definitely feel the weight and wonder of them in a way we couldn’t have imagined 15 years ago. And, how they also just feel like the most profound gift, promising this adventure of a lifetime ahead. So amazing.
We can’t wait!
So anyway, in all of the flurry of everything happening around here behind the scenes these past few months, I realize that I haven’t really shared much about our engagement on the blog lately. (Time = flew!) So before this sweet season of being engaged passes me by, I thought I would pop in and share a few quick posts with you this month about what’s been on my mind lately. “Fun secrets”, as Barclay likes to call these sort of conversations. ?
To begin, I thought I’d start with a snippet from some things I’ve been journaling about what I’m looking forward to in married life! There are, of course, dozens of things I’m excited to experience. But since I kind of have a thing for lists of 10, here goes…
I’M SO LOOKING FORWARD TO…
1. Finally Living Together
Probably the most obvious change I’m looking forward to is finally living together.
For various reasons, Barclay and I decided early on that we wanted to hold off on moving in together until we actually got married. And I’m really glad that we stuck to it. But after being together for two years — man — we are both just sooo ready to finally to finally live in one place. ? No more parting ways at night. No more texting each other first thing in the morning to see how we’re doing. No more “his place” and “my place”. No more paying double rent/mortgage when we basically spend all of our downtime together. No more shuttling the dogs back and forth.
We’re ready to finally call the same place home. And do all of that good home-y stuff together. ?
Seriously — it’s the silliest, tiniest stuff around the house that I can’t wait for. Like, folding laundry together on a Sunday afternoon. Figuring out who will feed the dogs their breakfast each morning. Seeing all of his guitar cases lined up on the wall next to mine. Finally combining our Netflix and Hulu and Spotify accounts. Stocking the fridge with both his and my favorite foods. And — more than anything — finally starting and ending every single day with him snuggled up by my side.
I know that combining households will be a fair share of work (we’re already doing some epic minimizing that would make Marie Kondo so proud). And that there will be the learning curve that comes with figuring out how to be “roommates” (and let’s be real — live with a boy!).
But bring it on. I can’t wait.
2. Becoming The Martins
Lots of you have asked whether or not I’ll be changing my name when I get married. And, after going back and forth on the decision early on, my final answer is an enthusiastic YES.
In 3 weeks, I’m going to be Ali Martin! (<– Which still feels so crazy to hear and see in writing, btw!)
I think that a decade ago, changing my name would have felt like a no-brainer for me. But I’ll be honest — after 34 years as an Ebright, it feels wild to consider changing the name that I’ve become so attached to both personally and professionally. (Plus — yeesh — the process of changing it on 5 million pieces of paperwork sounds exhausting. If any of you have tips on doing that quickly, send ’em my way!)
Here’s the thing I realized though — I absolutely love the idea of us being The Martins!
- It just sounds so fun to be the ______s! For as long as we’ve been together, we’ve always known as “Barclay and Ali”. But I get goofy-excited about the idea of friends being able to say, when they’re organizing a dinner party or something, “Let’s invite the Martins!” or “Here come the Martins!” or “Did you hear about those crazy Martins?” ? Even just this week, we received our first card in the mail addressed to Barclay and Ali Martin, and I totally got choked up. It looked so perfect!
- I love that Martin is so easy to spell. After having had to spell my last name my entire life, and being mistaken for Ali E. Bright, Ali Ebrite, Ali Albright, Ali Elbright, etc. more times than I can count, having an easy last name sounds pretty dang great.
- I absolutely love the family that comes with the name. Seriously, I hit the absolute jackpot when it comes to future in-laws, and can’t wait to officially join their family. And I feel like it will be so special to join them in name as well. Plus, they have all sorts of cute “Martin” family jokes and traditions that I’m excited to carry on with Barclay, like toasting with sparkling Martinelli’s every Christmas when they’re together.
For sure, I know there will be a part of me that will always feel a little sad to leave behind my Ebright-ness. But I’m excited about this new name, and the new season and certain adventures ahead that it represents. ??
3. Adopting A Sweet Fur Baby
Speaking of Martins, I’m also very excited to soon be officially adopting another new Martin into my life when we get married — Fiona, Barclay’s rescue dog.
Oh my goodness, this furry dog is such a sweetheart. She absolutely loves people and other dogs, her little tail wags more than any dog I know, she has the most gentle disposition, and she loves nothing more in life than a good belly rub. Thankfully, she and Henry also hit it off from the moment they met, and she is the absolute calm yin to his crazy yang. We have kept them together 24/7 for probably about a year now — bouncing back and forth between our two houses — because they just seem to love being together.
So thankful that they’ve become BFFS…and are soon going to become sibs! ???
4. Having Someone To Share The Load
I have to imagine that this is one of the best parts of any partnership. But man, especially after having spent literally my entire adult life handling 100% of all “adulting” responsibilities on my own, the thought of finally having someone to share those with sounds like absolute icing on the cake of marriage.
Truly. For better or worse, I feel like I’ve been doing everything on my own for so long that I actually have no expectations anymore of anyone else jumping in to help. I’ve learned how to take care of my place (and buy and sell a house) on my own, I’ve learned how to start and grow a business on my own, I’ve learned how to surround myself with community I love on my own, I’ve learned how to manage my finances and mow a good-lookin’ lawn and travel internationally and wire a light fixture and raise a dog on my own. And just basically — find my peace with doing the single life solo.
But now, when Barclay steps in to share the load — like when he jumps up to do the dishes, or takes my car to the shop to fix a flat tire, or coordinates a gathering with friends — it just feels like this fabulous surprise. Like an extra bonus to this relationship of ours that I already love so much. And goodness, it always always means so much.
The same goes with helping carry just the general emotional load of life. I’ve been so fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible group of friends and family who have been there for basic life stuff that has happened over the years — from being there with high-fives and happy hours to celebrate the good moments, to hugs and long chats during the hard moments, to just the sheer gift of their presence each week through the in between. They’ve been an amazing support in my life. And thankfully — those good friends are still just as near. But I’m so grateful to now additionally have Barclay nearby as my “constant” through it all — literally checking in on me multiple times a day, giving lots of hugs every day, and cheering me on every day. It’s amazing how even the hardest moments seem so much more do-able with him by my side.
So yeah — I’m sure that those “That’s the wrong way to load the dishwasher!” moments in our marriage will eventually come. ? But right now, I feel like I’m still just so dang thrilled and thankful to have someone willing to load the dishwasher.
And I look forward to doing whatever I can to lighten his load as well.
5. Starting To Have Stuff That’s Ours
One of the interesting things we’ve noticed about meeting later in life is that we spend most of our time introducing one another to our favorite people, places and things. For example, it’s usually, “Let’s hang out with your friends on Saturday” or “How about we cook dinner my house” or “Could you bring over your tape measurer?” or “How about we use my blender for the party?”….which is all good! I love that we both came into this relationship with full lives and houses and social circles and schedules.
But moving forward — and literally moving in together — we’re both really excited to start collecting new things and experiences and friendships and memories that are ours. Together. Finding a new home that we pick out together. Meeting brand new people as a couple together. Exploring cities that are brand new to us for the first time together. Buying new furniture and cars and groceries and plants together.
We’re in no hurry with this, and know that there will be plenty of stuff thats ours to collect in time. But it’s one small yet significant thing about marriage that we’re both really looking forward to.
6. Hosting Guests Together
Having people over is one of my favorite things on earth. But ever since Barclay and I started dating, we’ve learned that co-hosting and having people over together is totally one of our favorite things to do as a couple.
Whether it’s having our family over for brunch, or entertaining a small group for happy hour, or cooking up a big dinner for friends, or hosting birthday parties or wedding showers or house shows or whatever the occasion — we’ve had a blast co-hosting all sorts of events over the past two years as a couple. We both share a total passion for good people and good food being gathered around the table, and all of the memories that can be made during those moments. And I’ve gotta say — my handsome and charming fiancé is a fantastic host, and always makes people around him feel so welcomed and at ease. So entertaining has been a natural fit for us together, and something we look forward to doing more and more once we are married.
Also — as someone who’s had a 1-bedroom apartment for the past 7 years — I’m super excited that the next home we move into together (probably this fall) is finally going to have a guest bedroom! So we can’t wait to be able to host overnight friends and family who are in from out of town together too! We like to say that it’s going to be our own Air A&B (<– get it? ?), and can’t wait to hopefully make all of our guests feel nice and welcomed (and full of delicious food) in our home.
Oh yes, we’ve already fielded lots of questions from people wondering if we’d like to have kids.
My answer: Yes, we’re hoping to in a few years.
Barclay’s answer: “2 to 10!” (<– His favorite thing to say, which comes up pretty much daily. ? For example, when it’s time to do dishes, “Man, just imagine how fast these will go with our 2 to 10 kids!” Or when a travel brochure comes in the mail, “Gotta bookmark this one for Family Vacation 2027 with those 2 to 10 kids!” Or when we’re surveying our mounting instrument collection, “I mean, we’ve gotta have a guitar for each of our 2 to 10 kids!”)
Finally answer: We will have to see what life brings us. ?
8. The “For Life”-Ness Of It All
This may be an obvious one, but dang, it’s the part of marriage that still blows my mind:
The “from this day forward…all the day of our lives…’til death do us part” part.
The whole idea of staying together for a lifetime. ?
By this point in life, Barclay and I both know that the one true certainty of our future together is change. We know that life is going to change, and grow, and challenge, and stretch, and shape the two of us into totally different individuals over the course of our lives. And we’ve seen firsthand with friends’ marriages what a challenge that can be at times, and have no rose-colored glasses about the kind of work it takes to navigate through hard and disorienting and difficult times together as a couple. We’ve already weathered a few of thos hard seasons together ourselves.
But, at ages 34 and 39, I have to say that we’ve also been privileged to be there with many of our incredible married friends and family (including both sets of parents who have been married 40+ years) who have shown us how powerful, and awesome, and redeeming, and fun, and adventurous, and freaking beautiful marriage can be. And how thrilling it can be to grow and change alongside one another…and keep doing that over…and over…and over…for life.
I still remember that during the weekend after Barclay proposed, he kept asking me again and again how I was doing. And — besides grinning galore and feeling the absolute happiest I’d ever felt in my life — I kept telling him that my heart just felt so flooded with peace. I had completely loved the relationship we’d had for the past 1.5 years. But the second we looked one another in the eye and confirmed that this is what we wanted for a lifetime, something in my heart just clicked into place. I’m imagining that our wedding will be yet one click deeper. But even more, I’m looking forward to a future of re-committing ourselves to one another again and again. For better and for worse…for richer and poorer…in sickness and in health…click, click, click.
All the days of our lives.
9. Learning How To Love
On that note, as cheesy as it may sound…one of the things I’m most looking forward to about our future is simply learning how to love better. Specifically, how to love this amazing fiancé-soon-to-be-husband of mine better and better.
I feel like the past two years have been this wild and wonderful introductory crash course in learning how to love one another well. And while some people may be quick to dismiss the first few years of a relationship as just the “honeymoon” bliss period, I’ve gotta be honest and say that I’m actually really proud of us because we haven’t just coasted on all the feelz. We tried to be intentional about digging in and learning how to communicate and care for and love one another. We decided to start meeting with a counselor together regularly about 6 months into dating, which has been super helpful and fascinating and challenging and good. We’ve both dug deep into the Enneagram (I’m a 3 and Barclay’s a 9!), which I swear has felt equivalent to years of counseling on its own both for us as individuals and together as a couple. We’ve had countless conversations (more “fun secrets”!) with close friends, who have been the absolute best at encouraging us and talking sense into us and being our most faithful cheerleaders along the way. And — probably more than anything — Barclay and I have just tried to check in with one another regularly about “us” and how we’re doing and how we can better care for one another.
And man, it has been so freaking cool. Also hard at times, of course. But overall, so cool, and so exciting to slowly watch ourselves get better at loving one another. ? It definitely feels like this new world of baby steps — trying to communicate in that next argument a little bit better, or jumping up and helping with that task a little sooner, or trying to avoid doing that thing that annoys them the next time, or surprising one another with something special more often…etc. Every week, I feel like we take a few steps forward, and usually a few steps back. But it has been a blast, and hands-down, my favorite “learning experience” ever.
So excited about a lifetime of that ahead.
10. Keep On Keepin’ On
Last one! (You guys are champs if you made it this far.)
With all of these conversations popping up about marriage lately, it’s been tempting for us to buy into the idea of marriage being this huge “starting line”, and get swept up in wedding planning and dreaming up big plans and resolutions for the future. And it is the beginning of an exciting and different new season. But when comes down to the foreseeable future, most of our conversations circle back to the same bottom line:
We’re really just excited to keep doing what we’re doing. ?
To keep soaking up lots of quality time with one another and with the awesome people in our lives. To keep dreaming up exciting new adventures both near and far (and then actually booking them). To keep encouraging one another to do work that is challenging and meaningful. To keep cranking up Spotify and pulling one another in close for surprise kisses while we do the dishes each night. To keep seeking and having conversations about faith together. To keep occasionally splurging on a new bottle of scotch. To keep having “reading dates” on the couch all cozied up with our pups and some good books. To keep trying to live below our means, and be generous in giving together. To keep making one another lots and lots of espresso (his specialty, my fave) and lemony arugula salads (my specialty, his fave). To keep forgiving one another, and trying to do better next time together. And on and on…
…we’re just love this idea that we get to keep building on this sweet little foundation that we have started together.
Who knows what the future will bring. But today, I know for certain that I’m feeling so thankful for this place where our marriage is beginning. And this handsome, amazing man I get to marry. ?