it immediately starts after the moment you say ‘i do’. it is at play when you are doing your family portraits or dancing on the dance floor. it doesn’t just start after your “honeymoon” phase withers out. no, it occurs the moment you say that two-word-vow in front of your family, friends & God. its a big deal. big. marriage is not about diy details or picking out the friends for a eclectic bridal party.
and although those things are fun and a part of the wedding-planning experience, they are not marriage. and unfortunately a lot of ladies [single/dating/engaged] believe that picking out a mason jar is a parallel for marriage. and although someone could find some sort of witty metaphorical resemblence the truth is that not enough girls prepare for their marriage. they prepare for the wedding.
that is my introduction of sharing a personal story about a very close friend of mine. although she gave me permission to write this blog about her, i will still call her the anonymous “megan” this story serves to share the difference between a friend who wanted the wedding vs. the friend who wanted the marriage.
a friend who wanted the wedding
megan was dating a great guy in college – he was smart, had a solid job, was clearly handsome, loved God and of course was very kind to all megan’s friends & family. the type of guy that you would want to see your friend date. year after year the question kept coming up “megan, when are you guys going to get married?” after college, megan had moved home to save money for the wedding. and her plans for her dream wedding were big. with a $20k dollar wedding for 250 people stewing in the imagination, she just needed the proposal to seal the deal. and another year passed and another. megan had pushed the pause button on her life as she waited for him to propose like he said he would. and yet, like out of a chapter from ‘he’s not that into you’, he never did.
“soon we will.”
“its not the right time.”
“after my brother gets married, we will.”
the list continued.
megan was dedicated to her relationship and the planning of her wedding. but things were not moving forward. instead, she was dating a guy for almost four years who would not pursue her and was not only giving her but also her family the impression that he would marry her. and that reality was becoming bigger and bigger to megan. so after months of disappointment, megan bravely ended the relationship. and with that decision the wedding plans vanished.
a friend who wanted the marriage
for the next year, megan moved from california to downtown chicago to start over. she traveled to china and road-tripped across america. she was living a single life. she was not worried about finding her next boyfriend or making sure she has the wedding she had dreamed of. instead, she focused her attention on appreciating and enjoying the place where God has her. one year after her break-up, megan went on a spontaneous blind date. after that, her life changed completely. she didn’t become obsessed with a wedding again. no, instead she enjoyed getting to know a man that she knew, not hoped, but knew would be her husband. like a man on a mission, this guy pursued the crap out of megan. it is true when they say that when a man wants to marry you, he will do everything he can to make it happen. and eight months later, he proposed. now megan’s dream wedding has evolved into something she two years ago she never would have thought. she could easily throw a $20k wedding, and yet, her priorities had changed. you may call it maturity, but i saw it as God changing her heart towards the things that were more important. with a 17-person guest list, a small chapel in indiana and a budget of $2,500, she is marrying the man God brought into her life. and they are getting married three months after the proposal. because ultimately, when you know you are with the right man, the wedding details take a backseat.
i have known megan since we were eight. its incredible watching megan go from a young lady who was wanting a wedding so badly to a woman who desires to marry a man of God and start a life together. it is unbelievable to watch how He protected us from marrying the wrong men [my story is too long to blog…] and how he has been faithful in providing the men he created for us. and yes, it was not in our planning – maybe we thought we would get married years ago or marry men we thought were the right ones. but neither of us would have wanted anything different than God’s perfect planning.
i hope this personal blog serves to encourage those women who are single & looking, dating & waiting or engaged & overwhelmed with planning. embrace where you are at and see God’s purpose in it. if you are single, embrace where God has you. if you are dating, be wise with who you date. and if you are engaged, prepare for your marriage with the right man. when you are with the right man that God planned for you, those details are not marriage. they are temporary. they are insignificant. but marriage is permanent. it is significant.
that is the beautiful reality of marriage.
I planned my wedding since I was 6… way before a guy was even in the picture. I would attend various weddings of friends and family and take mental notes of the aspects I wanted incorporated into my own wedding one day such as a foot washing ceremony and releasing doves into the air during the kiss. When I was in college, I planned hard… still with no guy in sight. Then, when the right man came into my life, I didn’t have to plan very much because it was already planned, from the silhouette of the gown to the flowers in the bouquet to what would be eaten at the rehearsal dinner right down to what would be said at the ceremony. All I had to do was find the venues that fit into my budget and tell them what I had wanted since I was a little girl . My wedding day and the months leading up to it were completely stress-free. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about your wedding but I can certainly see how when you’re in love with the right man the little details no longer seem important. I remember the hurt I felt when it seemed like everyone I knew was invited to a wedding except me and I made sure that I saved enough money so everyone I knew could attend my special day. Finances should never determine who gets to be there and who has to stay home and wait for the pictures to show up on facebook.
beautiful. I am almost 24 and lots of my friends are getting engaged & married. This at times, is overwhelming. Embracing where God has us (me) is really hard, but it is going to be so rewarding. Thanks for this beautiful reminder of the significance of the right man loving our great God, and the significance and sanctity of marriage; rather than rushing to find a man, or getting engaged, or planning a wedding. This is something that i needed to hear today & this week and pretty much all year. Thanks Bethany