Hey yall I’m back! I’m Sheena Steward, and I was a Guest Bride Blogger last year. I’m here to give you a quick overview of my wedding and the real scoop on my first year of marriage. Anthony and I were married on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016 in Nashville, TN at W.O. Smith Music School. As you may remember from my previous blogs I’m creative and non-traditional, so following in that theme I had a video that played right before I walked down the aisle. The video was me thanking everyone for coming to the wedding along with a few jokes. I continued my creative streak by having a prop for the reading of my vows. Anthony and I decided to write our own vows and what better way to vow your heartbeat to your mate than to use a stethoscope as a prop. I’m sure I’m totally biased, but my vows were pretty amazing. The reception was filled with lots of dancing, drinks and fraternity/sorority traditions. Anthony is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and I’m a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Two days later we were on a plane headed to St Lucia for an awesome honeymoon. We stayed at a Sandals resort and it was pretty breathtaking. We had a private butler, all-inclusive food and drinks; we experienced several excursions including a trip to a volcano and a mud bath.
“I thought long and hard about what I would vow to you. I read that a vow is an oath, a pledge or a promise to another person so I wanted to pledge something to you that will always remain. I initially wanted to vow to you my love, but I remembered that at times I’m not my best, and I become difficult to love. I thought about vowing to you my heart because it’s pure and filled with compassion. But I thought about the days when my heart is spiteful, envious and prideful. Then I thought about vowing to you my tongue because it speaks life and encouragement into you. But I thought about the times when I use it to talk about doubt and fear. So today I have decided to vow to you my heartbeat. It’s the one part of me that never stops and always tells the truth. On the days when my heart and tongue conspire to make you believe that everything is fine take this stethoscope and listen to my heartbeat because it’ll always tell you the truth. When I say I’m fine, but my heartbeat is racing you know to trust my heartbeat above all else including my words. And on our random lazy days take this stethoscope and connect to the slow and steady rhythm of my heartbeat as it lets you know I’m at peace and comfortable within your arms. And on the day when my heartbeat stops and it can no longer tell you anymore truths know that those truths will be stored in the vessel known as my soul. And I’ll be waiting on your soul to connect with mine one the other side.”
Our First Year of Marriage
If I had to sum up the first year of marriage using one word it would be AMAZING!!! If you’re dating or engaged and you think you love your mate just wait until after you’re married. The love only deepens and intensifies. Some nights before we both fall asleep I’ll look at Anthony and say, “dude, can you believe we’re married?” He usually replies, “Sheena, when are you going to realize this is real? Please go to sleep it’s late, lol.” That’s usually how things go around our house, I’m constantly driving him insane, but he continues to stay by my side and enjoy this crazy ride.
2015 was a year of changes for us. We got engaged, started new jobs, started building a new home and of course started planning a wedding. After our wedding and honeymoon we had a few weeks to settle into our new lives and then it was on to the next adventure. Anthony suggested we have dinner once a week at a new restaurant. Nashville is growing like crazy and there are new restaurants constantly popping up. I thought his idea was cool, BUT since I’m creative I suggested we take it a step further. I came up with the idea of us having a date once a week during the week and we had to take turns picking the date. In June of 2016 Anthony and I started “Weeknight Date Night”. Every week since the beginning of June we’ve had a date night. We take turns on who selects the date each week, and we don’t tell the other one what we’re doing until we arrive at the location. We send texts to one another a few days before telling the other one what time to be ready and how to dress for the date. We’ve had some pretty amazing dates and several have been competitive. We had cooking competitions, karaoke competition, gymnastics, a field day in our backyard, we’ve created super hero characters and donated items to a children’s hospital, we’ve addressed injustice by speaking to police, and a Goodwill thrift date just to name a few. WOW! Me typing all of this makes me realize how much we’ve done and it hasn’t been a year of “Weeknight Date Night.” Anthony and others began to suggest that I start a blog, and in December of 2016 I started a blog called Love At Any Stage. It focuses on all my loves and the different stages of all those loves. One of them is Anthony and I’s Weeknight Date Nights. For date night tips be sure to follow the blog on IG at love_at_any_stage and subscribe to the blog at www.loveatanystage.com.
As previously stated, I’m a non-traditional wife, and I’ve had to learn to shut out all the white noise and judgement I receive. I know if I’m subjective to this then other wives, fiancés and girlfriends are too. I like to provide you guys with a few things I’ve learned during first year as a wife.
- Marriage is NOT one size fits all!
- I know Wu-Tang said CREAM (Cash Rules Everything Around ME) but I beg to differ and say that Communication rules EVERYTHING in my house.
- Dating is GREAT for the soul of your marriage.
- Arguments are normal, but remember to “fight fairly and try to gain a win in the end”.
- My husband is pretty darn AMAZING!!!
YOUR marriage is YOUR marriage!!! If it works for YOU then that’s all that matters. When Anthony and I first started dating I informed him that I didn’t want to change my last name (say what??). He wasn’t too crazy about it at first, but then he realized it was something that made me happy. I will admit it gets kind of awkward at times, but I never correct anyone if they call me Mrs. Hutchinson. Our wedding hashtag was HutchStew Say I Do. His last name is Hutchinson and mine is Steward, so everyone has conformed and they call us HutchStew. Our joint Christmas presents said “To HutchStew” (you gotta love when your mom plays along lol). Another clutch your pearls moment, I’m a southern wife and can’t cook (again…say what??). Anthony and I dated for 4.5 years before he proposed, so there was no surprise to him that when we got married I wouldn’t cook every night. He loves to cook and I love to eat lol. I’ve let the white noise/judgement get to me on occasions and each time he’s sat me down, looked me in my eyes and said if I wanted someone who took my last name and cooked me meals I would have married her. He let me know that what people don’t see if all the other valuable things I do for him and us that are needed for this marriage to flourish. I’ve been “the quirky girl” all my life so marriage wasn’t going to change that. I’m thankful to have someone that is open minded and accepts me as I am! So when you feel yourself listening to the white noise PLEASE remember MARRIAGE IS NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL!
Major key alert! Say it with me…C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N is huge in marriage! If your mate says something in a tone or in a way that you don’t like or you think is offensive, first STOP and THINK before you say a word. Most of the time things aren’t what they seem and you’ve simply misinterpreted what was said. Whenever we have any type of miscommunication I like to get to the “root” of it all. Yep, I’m the one that will stretch out a 5 minute conversation to an hour. Outside looking in it may seem annoying (okay I’m 100% Anthony finds it annoying sometimes too), but trust me it all works out in the end. When you get to the root then you’re able to find out the real problem and not the on the surface issue.
Remember when you were a kid and were sick? One of your parents always came through with the chicken noodle soup. It felt warm and soothing to your soul. That’s how dating feels to the soul of marriage. Yep, warm and soothing! Think about all the times your mate has surprised you or asked you out for a date. You’re happy, excited and anxious because of the anticipation. That’s how I feel EVERY week because I know Anthony and I have a date planned. It’s built in weekly quality time and it strengthens our marriage. Depending on what the date is it can teach you a few life lessons and make you see a different side to your mate. I understand that everyone’s schedules are different therefore weekly dates don’t work for some. But I do suggest at least a monthly date. Make sure the soul of your marriage is constantly fed!
Arguments, hey let’s face it they happen! Remember to fight fairly. What does that mean? It means sticking to the topic. Don’t bring up something from 6 months ago. Deal with that another time because it only muddies the waters of the argument at hand. Fighting fairly also means being open and present during the argument. You can’t resolve the issue if one of you isn’t fully there and open! Always try to gain a win in the end. No, that doesn’t mean have a judge come in and hold up the arm of the winner of the argument. The win I’m referring to is making sure you gain something from the argument. Even if it’s a small win. If your communication is on point you’ll be able to identify the “win” at the end of the argument.
Lastly, my husband is pretty darn AMAZING!!! We should ALL think this. Anthony and I balance one another. If it wasn’t for him my house concerts would go on until the wee hours of the morning lol. I’d probably be hurt because I like to climb, jump and have American Ninja Warrior at our house. He turns into a dad and lets me know running full speed trying to jump over the sleigh part of our bed is not a good idea (true story). He is extremely focused and will do anything in his power to make sure I have everything I want and need in life. Anthony is my biggest supporter and keeps me on tasks. He’s inspiring and very open minded. I’ve asked Anthony to do some dare devil things I knew he wasn’t comfortable with, but he says a prayer, looks at me and says I must really love you to do this (his words before he climbed the trapeze ladder lol). Anthony is eye candy! Seriously, look at him. He’s my biggest supporter, but I’m his as well. Anthony is extremely focused. He sets goals and CRUSHES them!!!
Again, HutchStew’s first year of marriage has been amazing! You’ll find us on a beach in Cancun, Mexico celebrating year number one.
Until next time loves…
Images by Ivory Door Studio || IG @ivorydoorstudio