Monday’s are usually reserved for Marriage Mondays and sharing tangible tools to help married and soon-to-be-married couples thrive in their marriages, and as much as I enjoy sharing on that subject, today has to be different. Today is my birthday :-). On Saturday, I started celebrating by doing the most responsible thing ever. I went to the DMV! My driver’s license was just about to expire, and it was time to renew it after about 10 years with this ID card I’ve grown so attached to. And while I sat there in the DMV waiting for my name to be called and held on this card that I’ve known since I was 18 years old, I started thinking about the places we’ve been, the people we’ve met, the heartbreak we’ve felt, and everything in between. Now, I’m not trying to get all sentimental over a piece of plastic (although surrendering it to the DMV teller made me get a little weepy, but I digress). But that very “adult” act made me reminisce about the last 10 years of my life–the ups, the downs, the bumps, the loop-de-loops and everything else. What a roller coaster it has been! There’s so much I would have done differently, and also so much I wish I could do all over again. But there’s no sense in trying to live in the past. All we can do is keep moving forward the best we possibly can. What we CAN do, is use our life experiences to be a blessing to others. So that’s what I’m hoping to do today. I’m sharing 28 lessons I would tell my 18-year-old self and all of you reading this!

  1. Have fun.
  2. Try not to get stressed out about your life’s purpose–it will be revealed in due time.
  3. Always wear a watch to an interview. Punctuality is everything, and looking at your phone for the time is NOT a good look.
  4. Allow yourself to have a broken heart, but don’t allow it to break you.
  5. It’s okay to hustle, but give yourself some grace every now and then.
  6. Good friends are hard to come by, but be sure to keep best ones closest to your heart.
  7. Treat yo self to a glass of wine. You deserve it! (Just make sure you’re 21 first)
  8. Make sure you’re in the company of people who are challenging you emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. Life is too short to be complacent.
  9. You’re never too old for sleepovers.
  10. You’re also never too old to dance in the rain.
  11. Find someone that you can be vulnerable with. Don’t hide how you feel from them. It could potentially save your life.
  12. On the other hand, be that same person for someone else. Sit with them at lunch when they’re all alone and be their friend. (Thanks for being my friend, Josh <3) It could potentially save their life.
  13. Try one new thing every day.
  14. Learn how to change a tire. Trust me, that skill with come in handy someday.
  15. Start saving your money as soon as you can.
  16. You don’t have to do everything that everyone else does. It’s totally okay to be weird. Just be you!
  17. When you try on clothes in a fitting room, don’t think about how you look in the clothes–think about how the clothes look on YOU!
  18. Don’t dress for how you feel now. Dress the way you WANT to feel later.
  19. If we can adapt to the many changes on Facebook over the years (and there are MANY), we can adapt to change in our own lives. Embrace the change.
  20. Turn off the phone and be present! The world in front of you deserves your full attention.
  21. It’s okay to sing the wrong notes at karaoke. Yes, people may laugh, but it’s all in good fun!
  22. A career switch is not the end of the world. It’s just the beginning of something that could fuel your fire for the rest of your life!
  23. Family is everything. Love them as hard as you can, and as often as you can. You’ll never know how blessed you are until they’re gone. (I miss you, mom!)
  24. Do not spend money that you do not have.
  25. Love languages will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. If you haven’t figured out your love language, do it NOW! (Read the book too, if you can!)
  26. If you fall, get back up and try again. There’s nowhere to go from here but up.
  27. Find the person who makes you feel like 10 million bucks, even when you don’t have makeup on and feel that you look a hot mess. Once you’ve found that person, cherish them for the rest of your life.
  28. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful, smart, kind, and important. Your life has value.

I hope you enjoyed these little nuggets of wisdom from me to you!! I’m off to enjoy a sweet birthday with some of my favorite people. But until next time, enjoy a little (embarrassing) time warp from way back when and now! Have a great day, friends!!

Yup, that’s me at 5 years old with a mic in my hand. Once a performer, always a performer!

Year Eighteen!

Well, this is embarrasing…haha! Nerd day in High School!

I got to direct my high school choir at the WHITE HOUSE! So cool!!

Me and my mom sharing one of our passions together! <3

Senior Prom! I didn’t want to go, but I’m so glad I did!

Dad, Mom, my sister (Hannah) and me at my graduation party. Again, family is EVERYTHING.

Now

The love of my life, and our favorite kiddos in the world!

(photo credit: Chelsea Anderson Photography)

(Photo credit: Bethanne Arthur Photography)

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As a marriage encourager, I can NOT stress the importance of pre-marital counseling enough! There’s a lot of information out there in the industry about what to do to prepare for a beautiful, stress-free, fun, and all around awesome wedding day. All that information is fantastic and will help you enjoy your day that much better. But let’s be clear. A wedding day is only ONE day. The days after, and every day in your marriage not only need to be celebrated, but they also need to be carefully and intentionally prepared for. Today I’m demystifying some of the stigmas that are out there about premarital counseling and sharing why every soon-to-be-married couple can benefit greatly from these sessions!

Reason #1: Preparation is essential.

You go to grade school for at least 12 years, undergraduate for 4, and graduate and terminal degrees can last several years as well. You go through all that training to prepare for the career that sets your heart on fire and to make sure that you are an expert in that field. If you are a musician, you’d practice tirelessly for years to make sure you are prepared for professional performances. Doctors sometimes practice intricate surgeries to ensure they have a more positive outcome on a patient. We all take a lot of time prepping for a wedding day–choosing the right linens, coordinating wedding professionals, purchasing the perfect dress, etc. If we are willing to prepare for each of these things and so much more, why not take the time to also prepare for one of the most important relationships in your life! Don’t go into a marriage blind. Even those who have the strongest love on their wedding day can have deep struggles in the days ahead. Premarital counseling will help you prepare for those days and will help to ensure that you are truly ready for the journey ahead.

 

Reason #2: Marriage is hard.

Although this sentence is brief, there are so many layers to it that you can’t even imagine.  Not only are you marrying an individual that is completely different from you, but there are also issues that arise pertaining to children, extended family, finances, expected roles, emotional and physical needs, and even chores around the house. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When I tell you that marriage can be complicated, I truly mean that it can be an emotional rollercoaster full of joyful highs, difficult loops and turns, and those oh so painful lows. A premarital counsellor will be about to walk you through these issues, teach you the principles of a meaningful and lasting marriage, and help you discuss tangible ways to settle conflicts that will arise in the future. Your love will be tested, and it’s okay. Trials make us stronger. But it’s much easier in the long run when we have the right guidance and planning to help us through challenges in marriage.

 

Reason #3: Your marriage deserves it.

Every time you spend intentional time learning how to love your spouse better, you are making the best investment in your relationship. Your relationship, your love, your marriage, and all the joyful experiences you will have today DESERVE to be prepared for. Treat yourself to trustworthy guidance and planning to handle future conflicts in your marriage. Treat yourself to financial planning, and learning how to budget your finances together, well. Treat yourself to a better understanding of your soon-to-be husband or wife, and learning how to love them better every single day. Your relationship deserves all of that. When you make a financial investment in the right things, the goal is to reap benefits ten-fold later on down the line. The same is true with premarital counseling. When you invest time preparing for your marriage, you will reap a stronger relationship, a better understanding of one another, and have a greater experience weaving through life’s rollercoaster together!

What questions do you have about pre-marital counseling? I’d love to hear them, and send you in the right direction help you prepare for a meaningful and lasting marriage!

Have some marriage advice or a testimony you’d like to share? Email me at adrienne@heartscontentevents.com to be a contributor for our Marriage Monday posts!

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