Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a huge Colts fan. I've loved the team for a long, long time, and remember the days when a typical season meant a 3-13 record. Well, during the Peyton Manning era, things changed drastically. In only Manning's second year they made a total turnaround, and made it through the whole regular season with only three losses, going 13-3. The following decade, the Colts were a dominant team and a perennial contender. They broke records, filled the stands and won over fans throughout the nation. They made it to two Super Bowls, winning the championship following the 2006 season.
Unfortunately, recently the Colts' fortunes have taken another drastic turn. This time for the worse. It all started a year ago. What began out as what I thought was an insignificant off-season medical procedure, turned into the absolute worst case scenario for Colts fans. The team's long-time All-Pro quarterback, on-field general and heart and soul of the team wasn't able to start the regular season. For a man who had been so reliable, going over a decade without ever missing a game because of injury, the unimaginable happened. Manning missed the whole season. Without him, the Colts nose-dived their way to a 2-14 record. The nightmare continued, as owner Jim Irsay decided to totally dismantle the team from the front office, to the coaching staff, all the way to the players. Even the face of the franchise was not exempt. Peyton Manning was let go. It was a sad day for Colts nation.
So why am I mentioning this on the blog? What does this have to do with weddings or photography? All this has gotten me thinking. What are the lessons we can learn from this? First off, I'm reminded of how quickly things can change. In fact, change is one of the only things that remains constant - we can count on change coming our way at some point, no matter what. How will we react to that change? What will we do when things in life get tough? How will you react when things in your marriage get a little rocky? Will you stick to it, knowing that God is in control, trusting that things will work out and committing yourself to making things better? Or will you buckle under the pressure?
Mr. Irsay's decision when faced with difficult times this past year, was to start over from scratch, with new coaches and new, younger players. Was it the right decision? Well only time will tell. I'm not here to judge what he did, after all, he is running his team and his business as he sees fit. It'll be exciting to see what the next few years have in store.
I learned another lesson from Peyton himself. And this was one of being authentic, humble and being willing to shine the spotlight on others. In his going away press conference, Manning had to choke back tears as he thanked fans for the support over the years. He wasn't afraid to show his emotions, whether it was intentional or not, as he looked back at the good times as the Colts quarterback. He showed grace when he could have lashed out at the ownership that let him go. He could have refused to even show up at the press conference, but displayed class in delivering one of the greatest speeches ever by a player in his situation.
As you prepare for your wedding, undoubtedly there will be times in which you'll feel overwhelmed, emotional and perhaps even disappointed. When it seems like a potential vendor is trying to cheat you, remember to try to react with grace. When it looks like it'll be difficult to get everything you want and still stay within your budget, remember to stay calm, keep your poise and work together with your fiancee to figure things out.
And unlike an owner's relationship with his players, your marriage will last a lifetime. Don't be afraid to put in the work necessary to make it be the best. Making it through difficult times will strengthen your relationship as long as you persevere, trust in God and remain committed. It will definitely be worth it. After all, a lifetime of marital happiness is worth more than an the applause from fans, more than an MVP trophy, more than a Super Bowl trophy. A lifetime full of mutual love is priceless.
(Photo courtesy of Colts.com.)