Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?

     I was never one of those girls who had her wedding planned out by the age of ten and since I was never in a wedding until I was an adult in my cousin's wedding, my experience was very limited. I always knew that I wanted something nice, but wanted to focus more on the reason why a wedding was being held in the first place and that is why I didn't collect bridal magazines and peak into wedding shops until it was time. So after the proposal,   Mr. Awesome left most of the details up to me and my optimistic and naive self went to work on planning this wedding that I was determined was going to be "simple" and nice. Everyone was going to be happy to celebrate with us and support us without imposing any confusion. Yep.  After we came up with the budget , everything else was going to fall into place.  It was just going to be that simple.

      Between finding out the hefty price tags of the various venues and hearing of the different requests that we "needed" to meet in order for someone else to be comfortable at our wedding, I was becoming overwhelmed fast.  I know that weddings are not only a special time for the bride and groom, but also for each of the families.  However when all of the requests started rolling in, it was starting to look like we were just going to be the bride and groom at someone else's major film production. I never understood why we were being asked to order the most expensive meal on the menu when the wedding was being solely funded by Mr. Awesome and I.  To this day, I still don't understand why someone told me that we would regret it if we did not register for gifts when between Mr. Awesome and I, we had enough kitchen utensils and blankets. I am still baffled as to why the wedding was deemed to be unconventional because we decided not to have ring bearers that probably couldn't care less about dragging a floppy pillow down the aisle. Somehow, someone made it seem as if our marriage would not start off right unless we ordered a china pattern. A china pattern?! How does our use of candles instead of flowers for table centerpieces affect your personal well-being?  Why should there be an argument about one particular song not showing up on the play list because it is one of your personal favorites? How is it inconsiderate that the wedding was scheduled at a time of day that you would not have picked for the wedding that you did NOT plan? How did our wedding date selection become something that we needed to consult your personal calendar for?  My focus was quickly shifting from the reason that we were having the wedding in the first place and was moving toward trying to accommodate everyone else's desires. I was trying my best to enjoy the process, but was having a hard time with that. Most people were probably well meaning, but did not know how much stress their two cents was causing and I was getting more and more stressed as I realized that I could not meet all of the expectations. On top of the planning, I had just made a major move, changed jobs, changed churches, left some familiar friends and territory and was trying to adjust to it all at one time, while planning the wedding from out of state. Whew.  Don't get me wrong, there were some absolutely fun times with planning the wedding, but the process was nothing I was prepared for, even after receiving advice from other brides who had recently conquered the planning.  I must say that one of the most peaceful and fun parts was the dress shopping. Ironically enough, I found THE DRESS on a chance visit to a bridal shop that I was just browsing through on my way to another shop. To share that moment with others was a true delight, and one of the most joyous parts of the wedding planning.

     The last few weeks before the wedding were so stressful that I begged Mr. Awesome to elope at our honeymoon spot.  Our honeymoon spot was a secret kept from me, but all I knew was that I just wanted to get there and unite with the love of my life in a peaceful and lovely way. Forget the deposits, the flower arrangements, the wretched guest list, the grueling menu. That was my attitude about it, but deep down I knew that there would be regrets it if we did not have the ceremony that we really wanted. We did press through the trenches that lasted up through the rehearsal the night before the wedding, and sadly a 14 year friendship with my Matron of Honor finally unraveled the night before our wedding.  I needed to get refocused and I prayed before I went to bed. After much prayer, it happened.  I woke up very early on the morning of September 3rd and I had a peace that could have only come from above. My heart was full of joy knowing that I was marrying the love of my life.  I got up to get ready to unite with Mr. Awesome and I knew that no matter what happened that day, everything was going to be OK. If the cake did not arrive on time, or if my hair did not turn out right, or if some of our guests complained about the food that we worked hard to pay for,  it was going to be OK. I didn't spend years praying for the perfect wedding, I prayed for a wonderful mate and that is what God gave me. In the end the wedding turned out to be wonderful and worth the pain that it took to plan it, but the best part was when we said 'I do'.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How Our Engagement Helped Prepare Me For Our Marriage (Part II)

Check out Part I to see what I learned during our engagement.

  * Keeping God First Is The Only Option. This should have been at the top of the list and is our priority. My husband and I are believers of Christ and believe through him we came together as a couple. It is also through him that we are able to withstand storms that are an inevitable part of life including those in relationships. One of the most memorable illustrations that was learned in pre-marital counseling was that of the triangle in which God is the head and we are connected on the other ends of the complete triangle.

  * Communicate. This was and is one of the best pieces of advice that I am thankful to have received before our wedding. Communicate with each other. We actually started our relationship with constant communication over the phone until we officially began our courtship and it was during this time that we got to know a lot about each other. For the majority of our courtship, we were long distance with lots of plane trips in between and communication was one of the important factors that kept us together. The importance of it became more prevalent as we got closer to our wedding and now that we are post wedding, it is something that keeps us on the same page. Now, there are times when we have miscommunication and have had an unnecessary disagreement, but that is a part of the work that we are doing to make sure that we stay on the same page. I am so glad that Mr. Awesome is always trying to make sure we are on the same page.

* Love Languages. Before and during our pre-marital counseling sessions, we read a book by Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages. In the book we learned how each other receives love. In Mr. Awesome's case, I learned that his primary love language is Words of Affirmation. and that is how he receives love. My primary love language on the other hand is Physical Touch. If I were to show him love in my primary language, then I may get offended when he does not interpret it as I would and vice versa. There are times when I slip and want to show him in the way that I receive love. One good thing is that among our top three, we do share the same love language of Quality Time. I love spending quality time with him.

These are some of the things that I learned along the way to help me in my transition into marriage and they have been beneficial . I know that I am still growing, but I am enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How Our Engagement Help Prepare Me For Marriage (Part I)

     It was September 24, 2010, a beautiful, crisp summer day. The sun was smiling at us, the birds were chirping a special love song , the heart shaped clouds were graciously dancing across the sky, and Mr. Awesome had just proposed to me in the airport lobby. He knew that I loved public displays of affection and proposed in a way that touched my heart. Our love had been taken to another level and I was on Cloud Eleven, because Cloud Nine could not hold me. After days of smiles that stretched our cheek muscles, it was time to enjoy our engagement and plan the wedding that would celebrate our union. This was a great time, but it was also a time that I was challenged the most. I must say that I was not expecting all of the things that would come during this time of engagement, but I now know that they were necessary in order to truly prepare us to begin our lives together. Here are some of the things that I learned during this special period of our lives.
* Leaving and Cleaving really begins after you are engaged. Genesis 2:24 states "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." I always knew this verse, but never really had to exercise this until after the engagement. Sure, I had left my parents home when I was seventeen to go to college and have lived away from my hometown for over ten years, but I never realized that leaving and cleaving meant more than the physical distance and the financial freedom that I had for those years. It also meant a reprioritizing detachment from my family of origin in order to start my new primary family as well as getting into the family that I was marrying into. I did not know that the process would be as emotional for me as it was, but it was a necessary part of the transition as I turned my allegiance to my hubby-to-be. So many marriages are ruined, because someone did not leave and cleave. During this time, I no longer had as much time to talk to my family on the phone, nor was I as available to hang out with some friends as much as I once did. Some people understood what was happening and some were upset. Although, I value and love my family and friends deeply, my number one priority outside of God is my new family. There is no neglect for my family and friends, but the time and access are more limited.
* Going from "Me" to "We" helps you to prepare for becoming a team. This was definitely a time when my transition to being married took root. After, we courted long distance for the majority of our relationship, I figured it was time to move to the same city (no cohabitation) with Mr. Awesome before our wedding. This really helped us to continue our transition and this was definitely a time where we did things and made major decisions as a team concerning everything from the wedding to what goals we had for our marriage, things that we do even more so now. This was also a bit of a challenge for me, because I was accustomed to doing things according to my own system without consulting others and this was a time of trying to create a new system that would work for both of us. And now that we are married, I see how important it is to be a team as we meld our family together. There are times when it gets challenging, but is still rewarding.
* It is EXTREMELY important to watch who you let near your relationship. This was a tough and big lesson to learn. Not everyone likes to see you happy and will use whatever means that they have to rain on your parade.  I experienced a couple of tests concerning this during our engagement, but knew that our union was worth fighting for and protecting. Some access doors needed to be shut to our relationship during the engagement and during our marriage. On the other hand, there were those who poured positivity and blessings into our union and I am so thankful for those people and couples and look to those for further encouragement now that we are married.
Stay Tuned For Part II on Thursday.

They Want It All

         I am sitting down to a moment of peace and quiet.  In front of me is a yellow package of my favorite cookies that my husband o...