Bryan flew out to Arizona this morning.
That means, the next time we see each other will be the day of the Rehearsal (next Friday!).
So, in my last post I wrote about how 20 days seemed ‘so short’…?
Let me tell you from this point: 7 days is both an eternity and a drop in the hat. It’s so close that these next couple of days in distant cities will be torture!
I’ve wondered what it’d feel like to be just a week away from arguably the most permanent commitment of life.
I haven’t seen much written on this stretch of engaged life. Perhaps most brides are too busy (let tell you about this one! oh my goodness … you can be as crazy-busy as you want!). Or, perhaps they’re stressing (I’m determinedly not letting stress get to me). Or maybe it’s simply because preparing for marriage is difficult.
Sometimes I feel that way. I’ve been reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. This book was recommended to us by our officiating pastor and it sums up what I mean when I say that preparing for marriage is difficult. Thomas challenges Christians to see marriage as the refiner of faith and character rather than as a relationship that fulfills our every need. There was not a hint of “true love” mentioned. I appreciated that.
Bryan and I have long approached marriage with the mutual understanding that living life together is not what Hollywood portrays as being ‘in love.’ However, this perspective means that looking forward to marriage is not easy. We don’t assume that we will be radically or automatically transformed into kind, patient, loving, thoughtful, passionate people 24/7 (I mean, seriously, who is that way all the time?). In this “true love culture,” our realism perspective is not really fun to think about.
Learning through a relationship is so beautiful and exciting, but making that forever commitment without rosy glasses CAN be scary (forever still echoes in my head if I say it too many times).
What I witnessed this past week on The Bachelorette (*pause for pointing and laughing*) reminded me how prevalent this ‘romanticism view’ of marriage is – even for GROWN ADULTS. One of the male contestants – who is in love with the bachelorette – positively baulked at the idea of marrying her. “I love her,” he said, “But I just don’t feel the way I imagine I will when I’m ready to be engaged.” I’m paraphrasing here, but: WHAT? So, the gist of this guy’s breakdown was that his idealization//idolization of engagement and marriage means that he thinks he should feel that ‘can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, etc.’ type of feeling. And even if he had felt that – ever in his life for one split second – the reality is that he won’t and can’t possibly maintain such a superlative, fleeting “feeling” for his lifetime.
So, that’s destined for failure.
Anyway, the point is that when you’re not married, it’s easier to think only of yourself; it’s easier to pretend you’ll full of admirable qualities – when alone at home, you can complain or break down or throw a fit without anyone else seeing.
Marriage is wholly different. It requires steadfast commitment from fleetingly emotional people.
But, you know what’s superlative and constant and never fleeting and not destined for failure? God. And his love and his provision for our life.
I realize I sound like a broken record here, but in these upcoming days before our wedding day, this is what I’m resting in. I’m excited and giddy and happy (Blue Zone! Saint Lucia! Dancing dancing and raspberries in a chocolate cake (!)), but I’m working to ground myself in what I know to be unchanging and true, and in what I know will make our marriage fulfilled and lasting.
Which is why this quote from Mere Christianity will be read at our wedding; it’s one of my absolute favorites:
“Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both parents ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.”
If you’re at our wedding, I hope you take away the lighting and dress and frills and music and realize that what lies ahead for me and Bryan is a life lived together and stronger, but a life that’s not quite summed up by “Happily Ever After” … !