Thursday, January 17, 2019

Story of Marriage

our wedding day in 2006.
I remember getting engaged to Zeke on Christmas day. It was one of the happiest moments we shared together at that time. I remember immediately getting on wedding planning mode. No, we didn’t have a date yet but I just wanted to plan.

I remember going to a popular wedding planning website and getting a profile completed. I still have my wedding planning book. I remember asking a late friend for help with the food and cake. The only problem was that Zeke and I were broke.

We didn’t have an immense amount of inheritance laying around. We planned, we had an idea of how much things were going to cost but we were in this relationship by ourselves. I’m glad God was on our side.

Our story is one that screams the question, “what do you do when material commodity has been stripped away?” Do you have a legitimate relationship without engagement photos, the expensive wedding, and exotic honeymoon?

One of my kids thought that every couple getting married had a limousine. I gently informed her that her parents didn’t have a limo because that’s not a requirement to have a Christian wedding.

Zeke and I had a strong belief that God wanted us together. Once we became engaged, we pretty much looked to God to bless our union and we just kept following His lead. No limo required.

Our beginning was really out of the ordinary. We attended a 6 a.m. prayer meeting on the morning of our wedding. We waited for the courthouse to open its doors and we got married on a Tuesday morning. We then went to our chaplain’s home and we got married in the living room. We couldn’t afford to rent the beautiful chapel available in the place I used to work and we were going to get married in my office. The chaplain kindly offered his home. He had given us marital counseling a few days before and wisely asked about our plans. We are forever thankful for his kindness, wisdom, and hospitality.

Six months after our wedding, we had a “blessing of our marriage” ceremony in Mississippi. The only family member who was at our wedding was one of my cousins, so the MS ceremony was a good way to gather more family and friends.

The ceremony happened at the church where Zeke used to play as a musician. The church kindly donated their space and resources and gave us a sweet, sweet ceremony and reception. Our family helped us with what they had and we were grateful to have more people close to us to celebrate our new family.

I think about the beginning of our family as God’s best for us. I certainly had an idea of how I wanted things to go. God had the final and best answer.

I know for a fact that an expensive wedding filled with exquisite details does not guarantee a happy marriage. The Christian marriage requires a commitment to God, His word and His ways. No wedding planning website can teach a couple such things.

The lure of keeping up with appearances distracts many people from the reality they will face when the guests are gone and two people begin their lives together. The cute engagement pictures are irrelevant when dealing with baggage from one’s past. The height of a wedding cake and the popularity of the DJ does not help heal the hurts two people experience in a marital relationship. It is important to prioritize the time spent on wedding planning versus life planning.

I don’t come from a place of perfection when it comes to wedding planning. I started out planning my dream wedding but our lack of resources changed all of that. By God’s mercy, I grabbed a hold of a premarital counseling book which I managed to read. We also saw two counselors before we got married. We were blessed to attend a financial planning class as newlyweds. Again, none of this was really my idea. God placed these resources our way and we took advantage of it.

You’d think that we would have no problems because of the amount of counseling we received. I believe that all the wisdom we received opened our eyes to see our need for even more help.

We learned to get help when we needed. I had to desensitize myself from the fear of asking for help.

The longer we are married, the more thankful I am to God for the beginning of our relationship. The most precious features of a successful marriage can’t be put in dollar signs.

Sure, I used to feel embarrassed when people looked at me up and down and my appearance as a wife didn’t measure up. I got over it and I know I stand in my confidence.

My confidence comes from knowing that God knows what He is doing. My confidence comes from the inner treasure Zeke and I enjoy as a married couple.

I know that there is nothing wrong with the expensive, dreamy weddings we often see and enjoy. I am actually happy for couples who had them. Those types of events were not part of my love story. I’ve been blessed with God’s best. I know that the blessing of God looks different for different people. In my case, the simplicity of reciting my vows in someone’s living room was enough to start a lifelong Christian marriage.

I have experienced virtue and joy through simple beginnings. I am thankful God chose us to be a family. I am thankful God continues to bless us as a Christian married couple.

Happy 13th anniversary to us!

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” Proverbs 15:17 (ESV)

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