Saturday, January 30, 2016

Countdown to the Big Day

This isn't really how it happened.

My fiancee proposed on January 2nd, 2016 and this was taken about two weeks later at our engagement photo shoot.  We had a lot of fun.  The real proposal was much better.  Everything went wrong, not the way he planned it, but he still pulled the ring out of his bag, got down on one knee and started to cry as he asked me to marry him.

I've learned a lot since getting engaged.  My fiancee is an amazing leader.  He's taken the reigns of planning and yet at the same time has given me freedom to plan the decor and figure out the theme and colors.  He's using every contact he has to save money and at the same time it's going to be a truly beautiful wedding.  He does all this while working 50-60 hours a week and taking care of his mother, sister and me.  He's been thinking about his wedding for more than a decade - definitely longer than I have!  I'm not one of those women who dreamed about her wedding since she was little.  I hadn't started thinking about marriage until my early twenties, and didn't start taking it seriously until about six months before I started dating my soon-to-be husband.  But when I tried on my first wedding dress, I was moved to tears.

That word still strikes me - husband.  The gravity of this life change hasn't escaped me.  We've held to the command of the Bible thus far to be pure before our wedding.  We're saving our first kiss for the altar.  The biggest change won't necessarily be what happens on the wedding night, but rather what happens every day after that.

Getting married isn't just starting your life with another person.  It's working through what life throws at you, with another person.  When you're single all you have to be concerned about is yourself.  There's no need to consult a different personality, come to an agreement with someone who has different priorities and opinions than you do, or even listen to a person who disagrees with you.  It's your life - do what you want.  All of that goes out the window once you get married.  Marriage is no longer about you - it's about your spouse.  When it's done right everyone's needs are met all the time and everyone is happy all the time - because each person is constantly thinking about the other!

Anyone who's been married longer than a week or two (after the honeymoon, typically) will realize this just isn't possible.  We're selfish human beings with our own plans, our own goals, our own dreams and debts and demons.  We leave the toothpaste cap off, we throw our socks on the floor - six inches away from the hamper, we forget to close drawers, we never put anything back where it belongs, we lie, we're selfish and we don't trust.  And when we get married we drag another person into that mess that is our humanity and hope and pray, dear God do we pray, that they'll keep loving us anyway.

I've read books on the subject of marriage and becoming "one" together and how marriage is meant to make you holy, not necessarily happy.  Holiness does breed happiness, but happiness doesn't necessarily breed holiness.  I've been engaged nearly a month and I'm already seeing the truth in this.  I've never been more aware of my insecurities, shortcomings, failures and struggles than I am now.  But I'm seeing many ways to grow and be more like Christ.  And I know once I get married it'll only get worse!  Marriage is not for the faint of heart.  It's not for those who refuse to change.  It's definitely not for those who aren't willing to put up a fight.  

Marriage is about reflecting the relationship between Christ and the church.  Christ is the bridegroom, the church his bride.  From the moment my fiancee and I say, "I do," we're taking on that symbol and have an opportunity - an obligation - to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church.  He is to lead me, give himself up for me, and love me the same way Christ loves the church.  That's a seriously tall order!  I'm to follow my husband, submit to him, trust him and be a helper to him in all things, not a hindrance - and that's no easy task for a woman so used to being independent and fearful of failing anyone, much less the person I love most.

All decisions are made together.  Money is no longer his and mine, but ours.  Family is no longer his and mine, but ours.  Goals are no longer his and mine, but ours - or at the very least we're supportive of one another's goals.  We become one unit, inseparable to the fiercest storms life throws at us because at the center of us is Christ holding us together.  We're no longer relying on ourselves, but clinging to Christ as our reason for loving one another - he first loved us - and the cement that holds us together - he is immovable, unchangeable and indestructible.

I honestly don't know how marriages last without Him.  My fiancee and I are about to face the test so many others face and we've already hit a few hurdles on the way.  I'm grateful for them.  My fiancee shown himself to be patient, loving, determined, and a rock I can lean on when the crying comes.  He continues to lead me in my relationship with Christ and even when he faces enormous challenges at work, he still shoulders the responsibilities God has given him, straps on his boots and says, "This is life.  Let's pray, and do this."

I can honestly say that while I'm excited and nervous for this change, I have no doubt in my mind this man is the one for me and I am incredibly blessed to get to be his wife in just a couple of short months.