Friday, May 8, 2015

My 2 Cents About Planning a Wedding

(engagement pic 2008)

My brother recently proposed to his lady friend....she said yes and we like her!  All is well!  The recent festivity planning has me thinkin'.  If someone were to be reliant on my advice for wedding and/or marriage planning, what would I say?  3 'simple' things are floating around in my brain:

1.  Spend more time on marriage planning than wedding planning.
The wedding is one day.  One Day.  Like a few hours, sometimes less than 30 minutes.  You can spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on 30 minutes.  The marriage is every day.  For better or for worse.  Marriage can be hard.  It requires a lot of self sacrifice.  Figuring out how to do every day life together can be tricky.  Spend the "planning time"  talking about expectations.  What do you think every day looks like when we come home from work?  What would you like for life to look like?  Having expectations that are never talked about but still, well, expected are a recipe for disastrous fights and heartbreak.  'I thought you were going to write me a love note every day and put flower petals on my pillow every night'.  Then when he doesn't, uh oh.  Talk about this stuff.  And maybe change goofy expectations like that. :)  Talk about why you want to do life together.  A lot.  Talk about the discernment process and how God made clear that they were the one.  So that when the hard days come, you have those commitments and reminders to stand on.

2.  Pick some non-negotiables (things that absolutely have to matter to you) and ditch caring about the rest.
For me, I wanted to love my dress and have some great pictures.  I picked my dress and a photographer early.  And then literally didn't care about anything else.  I honest to goodness don't know what my invitations looked like.  My mom would call me at work with questions and at one point I said "Mom, I don't care.  If I'm married at the end of the day, mission accomplished." My poor mom.  Anyway, somehow invites got sent.  And there were some cute things on tables at our reception I think.  And I know I picked a cake out and blah blah blah.  But I never got tangled up in those details.  I realize I was abnormally low maintenance.  (And I had an almost wedding experience that gave me a unique perspective.  Different post someday. ) But most girls will tell you they hardly remember their wedding day because it's such a blur.  So why develop an ulcer during an engagement for a day you can't even recall.  Care about a few, lasting things.  And let some type A crazies in your life deal with the rest.

3. Ask yourself: "Am I at peace?"
I don't mean happy and starry eyed every moment.  I mean peace--like knowing that God's hand is on this relationship and at the end of busy days, you have confidence and rest at the core.  If you find yourself in quiet moments - not wedding planning or in a whirlwind of busyness - and incapable of enjoying the person you're about to spend life with, this is not a good sign.  Married life is full of regular stuff like Wal-mart trips and meal planning and family balancing and eye boogers and bad breath.  And then changed plans and unmet expectations. And repeat.  It isn't glamorous.  But it's fabulous.  It's one of my favorite things.  And honestly not the hardest thing I've ever done.  Yet, anyway.  But that has a lot to do with 2 people who fight to sacrifice self for the better of the two.  And I choose to rejoice in the mundane, every day, things.  When I haven't seen him since dark in the morning and he walks in the door at dark when the kids are in bed, I'm so grateful we live in the same house.  And that I get to sleep in the same place with that guy.  That when he is too stressed for complete sentences, that I get to hold his hand every day.
Part of it is my third non-negotiable for my wedding day was a peace that I knew I wanted to get down the aisle to 'that guy'!  And on my wedding day, I stood in the room with my dress on with my dad and we both knew I was completely at peace.  Completely unsure of what was to come, sure.  But  so at peace with choosing him.
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At the end of the day, marriage is great.  I mean it, I think I have the greatest guy on the planet.  But it isn't really for selfish fulfillment.  It's another way to shape us to look more like God.  And it's a painful, creative way to do so at times.  To show us sacrificial love.   To sacrifice and be sacrificed for.  To put a mirror in our face to show us how truly selfish we can be.   To draw a picture of how hard it really is to love someone more than ourself.  Let alone give up His son for us!  To glorify Himself through the two becoming one when we're doing it well.  To glorify Him anyway and point people back to Him when we're not doing it so well.  Or don't feel like it.  It's not really about us at all.  It's about Him.  And if you can lock arms and decide to take on this crazy project together for Him, then you're steps ahead of most!