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How To Wear Your Wedding Dress On Your 20th Anniversary

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How To Wear Your Wedding Dress On Your 20th Anniversary

My husband spent the last six months secretly planning a surprise wedding ceremony to renew our vows. I had no clue. Zip. I showed up in a t-shirt, shorts and a ponytail.  If I had even had the slightest suspicion, my hair and makeup would have looked more Cosmo crazy rather than country lazy.

Twenty years. That’s a lot of face time with one person.  We’ve traveled the world, had babies, changed jobs, changed homes, changed furniture. You know you’ve spent some serious time with someone when you’ve replaced all the appliances you received at your first wedding.

The night was romantic, sporadic, and casual. We laughed, we kissed, we danced, we ate… I cried. After twenty years of marriage what was the big question everyone wanted to know… how did I get into my wedding dress? Not one person asked us how we’ve managed to stay together for twenty years, which struck us as a bit curious.

I’ve had enough time to learn a thing or two about my body and my marriage. What I discovered was that the same lessons apply to both. The Skinny:


I accepted my body type before we were married. I’m never going to have broad shoulders, or trim hips or model long legs. It takes me forever to build muscle tone but then again I can eat a stack of Oreos without unsnapping my pants.  No matter how hard I work out or how well I eat, my general frame is going to stay the same so striving to look like a gym goddess is an utter waste of my time. I’ve spent the last twenty years making “Monica” the best I can possibly be.

The same can be said of my marriage. I’m never going make my husband into a jolly, devil-may-care guy, and he’s never going to make me competitive, so there’s no use trying. We’ve never spent a moment comparing our marriage to someone else’s or tried to be the poster child for marital bliss. Each relationship is a unique creature with its own energy and purpose so enjoy what it is, thrive in it and feed it.

Love what you’ve got. Strive to bring it to its fullest potential.

Listen to Connect

I find all the diet research incredibly frustrating. I’ve literally read an article advocating one thing to read another article pushing the exact opposite: take vitamins, don’t take vitamins, eat lean meat, go vegetarian, run a marathon, don’t run a block.  I believe, over the next decade, research is going to prove that “diet” is not a one-size-fits-all formula. You’ve probably already noticed this in your own life. Your girlfriend lives off Ruffles while you gain a pound walking by the chip aisle. The expert that is going to know what’s best for you is the body you’re living in; forget Slim Fast, listen to your hips.

Over the last twenty years I’ve become an expert at listening to my body. When a New York State Fair blooming onion brought me to my knees at thirty, I stopped eating deep fat fried foods.  I avoid cheesecake because rich food makes me nauseous. I never take Tums or Pepto-Bismol because they mask the messages my body is sending me.  I’ve learned to control my weight by what I eat and my health by the exercise I get.

One of the best tools for communication I’ve found is the scale. I get on the scale each morning so I can see how the food I ate the day before processed in my body. I’ve learned that carbohydrates, late dinners and alcohol bump up my weight while a solid breakfast, lean protein and green juice notch it down. And believe it or not, marathon training and long distance biking triggers my body to gain weight. You’ve got to stop looking at the scale as a torture mechanism so you can receive the daily personal messages your body is sending.

The same holds true in my marriage. Listening to one another is a big part of staying connected. True listening is done when you not only hear the words, but the needs behind the words.  When I say that I need him to help me with the yard work he hears “I’d like your support.”  When he says he wants to decide what we are doing this weekend I hear, “I want to be included in our family.”  We’ve learned that when one of us becomes defensive the communication is over.  He knows what matters to me and I respect the things he cares about. When we came to a shaky phase in our relationship we always, always turned to one another, even when the truth was painful to share.

Every successful relationship requires deep listening.

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By Monica Wilcox

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9:31PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

The info you provided in the blog that was really unique I love it!!!

mori lee julietta

8:00PM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

Thank you for all the wonderful comments!! I was especially touched by Stella's and Yohan's. Most of the posts I do for Care2 trigger some hostile comments but I guess it's pretty difficult to do that when it comes to staying healthy and loving hard.

Wishing the best of all worlds!!

7:49PM PDT on Oct 29, 2012


3:13PM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

Lovely article - good warm advice. Looking forward to my future with my guy

4:42AM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

Witty and wise. Thank you.

9:30AM PDT on Oct 27, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

4:35PM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Congratulations. And thanks for the nice article.

4:31PM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

I'm pretty sure I don't want to be the person I was that day -it was fun and loving and lovely, and I've grown since then. (Besides that, the sparklers we had burnt a hole in the gown -that makes me smile).

10:53AM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Thank you for an unusually insightful article. No feminist over tones, no self righteous ‘do it my way’ aspects. Just two people listening to each other, wanting to understand each other, trying to be better in each others eyes and accepting the changes that come with life. How refreshing.

10:30AM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

I love the comfort, confidence and mutual love expressed in this article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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