Thursday, 17 May 2012

Nay to the Naysayer!

When I was preparing for my wedding five years ago I encountered a disturbing number of people who lamented at length about how hard the first year of marriage would be. When they heard that we were moving in together for the first time after the wedding they was even more wailing and gnashing of teeth. 'You've not lived together already?! That's going to be a NIGHTMARE.'

Walking into DISASTER?! Nay! JOY!

Apparently the day we arrived back from honeymoon we would be plunged into the pit of despair as toilet seats were left up, I would be transformed spontaneously into a stereotypical nagging wife and we would immediately discover that we didn't really know each other at all and yet were shackled together for life. It was a great relief when we met a couple who had been married forty odd years a week or so before the wedding who, when we relayed the list of horror stories we'd be told, laughed and said. 'No, it'll be amazing. You'll love every minute of being married.' Hurrah for them!

As it turns out they were right. There was an ongoing battle (still raging four years later) over where is a suitable place to leave damp towels but this was far outweighed by the total joy of living with my best friend. Of course there were new things to navigate, we worked out what this huge commitment we had made would mean and sometimes that lead to moments of frustration but nine times out of ten it lead to laughter, happiness and sheer thankfulness for the decision we had made.

Well, here I am on the eve of taking on another commitment that arguably could be considered as monumentally life changing as marriage. And just like embarking on a marriage people are very forth coming with their views about quite what your life is going to look like. A lot of these have been in the form of the dreaded 'horror story'.

It goes a bit like this: It's going to be REALLY hard work, you're freedom will be curtailed as you are FORCED into living in the college community, you will go from 'important person' in your workplace to 'church minion' in the blink of an eye, they will deconstruct you, three years will be PAINFULLY long and at the end of all this the post-ordination training will be SO HARD and you will just cry and cry and cry (ok, I added that last bit).

When I announced to all the naysayers before my wedding that actually I was quite excited about living with Ben (I had been living out one room for as long as I could remember, had never really had my own home and was desperately excited about it) they would look at me with a mixture of shock and 'We'll see'. it's much the same when I say I'm excited about college. But I AM excited and surely that will be a better way to go into the whole experience than negatively? I'm doing my reading, I'm thinking through what the challenges will be (a bit like the marriage prep we did before our wedding) but I'm staying happy!

I'm excited about the hard work. Odd perhaps but I can't remember the last time I spent my days doing something that I found challenging. I'm already a bonafide minion at work so there isn't likely to be some dramatic fall in status for me to cope with. Much as I wanted to throw my lot in with Ben when we married I actively want to be part of the community at college. I'm happy to hand my fate (and the hours in my day) over to the course and to let that shape me. I feel as lucky as I did walking up the aisle to be embarking on a course where some of the greatest minds in the world share their knowledge and at a college that has shaped some truly remarkable people.

So I'm sticking with positive, determined to be flexible, joyful and accepting of what comes, and saying to the naysayer, 'Nay! I'm going to have a GREAT time.'


  1. And you will, Nicola! With an attitude like that you'll really get the best of college and I'm betting you will love the challenge. Speaking as someone else who only lived with her husband once the rings were on our fingers, I really enjoyed the first year of marriage as I have enjoyed the 43 which have followed it. :-) Stick to your guns and ignore the doom-sayers.

    1. Will do Perpetua! Thanks as always for the encouragement!

  2. Hello Nicola- tried to send a message by Contact mebut it wouldn't let me. just wanted to say hello from soneone who has just spent 2 years at Cuddesdon- I'm about to leave for curacy. Hope you love it as much as I have. If you are interested in waht life is like here you can read my blog at

  3. Jante, your blog is a gold mine for me!!! Thanks so much for getting in touch! I'm really looking forward to it. Will be there for three years starting September :)