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June 29, 2015 8:25 am
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When I first moved to a new city after college with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, I had no idea that my first job would be advising engaged couples on what kinds of stand mixers they should ask for on their registry. But, well, that’s exactly what happened: I interviewed with one of the largest retail corporations in the world and landed a job as Bridal Registry Advisor.

For the next few months, I guided giddy almost-married pairs through the list of things they might want for their home together, from cutting board to curtains. What I learned on the job gave me newfound respect not just for retail work but for what goes into making a marriage sweet and lasting. Here are the lessons that my first job out of school taught me.

Compromise is the glue to a loving relationship.

If there’s one truism my family members told me that turned out to be totally true, it’s this: You cannot get by in a relationship without compromise. The only way to get something like wedding planning, a process that can be super-stressful, is to take your partner’s needs and wants into account. Maybe you love one dish pattern and fight for it hard, but let your partner choose the cutlery. Maybe it’s about budget, or about kitchen appliances or duvet covers. But what it really boils to is how you envision your future home together. Being able to come together in the middle is the most important element of the process. What I learned most of all is that compromise will not only help assuage hurt feelings, but it may also turn you on to some pretty cool experiences you may have missed out on otherwise. Keep an open mind, and you never know where the road may take you.

Patience? Yeah, it really is a virtue

Speaking from personal experience, nothing kills a relationship vibe more than a short fuse. I’ve had couples walk out of the store in a heated argument 20 minutes into registering for their wedding. Generally, an argument always stems from an expectation that hasn’t been met, or purely because the expectation wasn’t even realized in the first place. We all need to remember that none of us are mind readers. If something needs to be said, say it. If you’d like something to be done, ask. You haven’t failed anything if you have a disagreement: A wedding is a big life event, and some friction is inevitable. But holding back a minute before launching into a tirade will really help. Talk it out, and the love will continue to flow.


It’s so hard, and so important, to try to savor the moment

When couples came to me for advice on what china patterns to pick out, what place settings would please the future in-laws the most, or what champagne flutes would be best for toasting, I would give them this exact advice: Slow down and enjoy it. Bask in it all, take nothing for granted. In relationships, like in wedding planning, it’s easy to get caught up and stressed out by the future and forget to enjoy the actual process. You know how getting ready for a party is sometimes just as much fun as the actual party? Whether you have a wedding planner do it all, or you recruit the help of family and friends, the journey is one of the most exciting parts. Formal china aside, you are piecing together a new part of your life together as a couple.

Even the stuff that doesn’t seem that thrilling can end up cementing your bond

Being with someone in a relationship means going through both the great stuff and the sort of annoying everyday stuff. You have a partner and a support system for both.Wedding planning is like that, to some extent. To some, picking out pots and pans may not seem important or thrilling, but when you are making your first meal together as husband and wife with the set Aunt Susie bought for you on your wedding day, you’ll remember why you did it.

At the end of the day, all you need are your loved ones

This one is simple. Sure, my job was to help register couples for things, but even the most exquisite crystal vase is just stuff. All you really need are the people in your life that you love, to kind of misquote the Beatles. We don’t need 10 sets of pillows or 5 extra cake servers. The beauty of being an advisor was getting to see all the new love radiating from different couples from all walks of life, and see how happy they were. And that’s what I really remember: Is how the couples may have looked and acted totally different, and had completely differing taste in glassware, but love always looks beautiful.

Natalie Bingham is 24 year old Boise, Idahoan who loves Mario Kart tournaments, black coffee, and traveling to music festivals.

{Image via Shutterstock]