Wedding planning begins at an early age for most girls.
She pictures her “perfect” day themed around a Disney movie. The Clydesdale horses pull up, she steps into the carriage with her glass slippers, and her prince awaits at the end of the red rope just through the castle doors. They live happily ever after.
The Disney theme fades in the background little by little as we get older, but the idea of a fairy-tale wedding still exists for many. So many find themselves waiting for their Prince Charming to show up, knowing their lives will be so much better after the wedding.
Then reality sets in.
Dr. Alex Himaya, pastor of The Church at Battlecreek in Tulsa, OK, recently preached a sermon on the topic of marriage that everyone, both married and single, should hear.
He asked the singles in the audience a question that’s been ringing in my ears for the last few weeks:
Are you preparing for a wedding or a marriage?
If I can take a guess, I would say the majority of single women who wish to be married are planning a wedding, not a marriage. They’re planning for the fun, the kids, the laughs, the sex, the house, etc.
I’ve never been a big wedding planner, even as a small child. I always thought it was because something was wrong with me. I guess in a way it was. I had a horrible fear of men. Growing up, being rescued by my knight in shining armor was not on my list. However, in the last several years, as I have allowed God to heal my heart, processed through my past, and refused to live in fear, the thought of marrying a man has come to the forefront more frequently.
I find myself dreaming of the fun, the laughs and all that comes with a wedding. But I find myself more focused on what comes after the wedding day: the marriage. Things like my pride, the first time I actually have to submit to my husband’s decision. Praying he will be supportive and full of grace when my fears come out of nowhere. Wondering if we will communicate our feelings of frustrations clearly, instead of just pretending everything is okay. Most importantly, planning for him to be a godly leader who loves Jesus more than me.
As I prepare for marriage, I have a list of non-negotiables: his faith is the most important number on the list. Often times, we think we can ignore those red flags (anger, a little pornography here and there, drinking, etc.) because surely we can change him after the wedding. That’s far from the truth, my friend. If the red flags are there before the wedding, without spiritual intervention, they’ll be there after the wedding, too.
Here are three marriage myths to pay attention to as you prepare for your wedding:
Marriage should be easy.
I remember talking with a couple once who’d been married for over 50 years. She said the key to their successful marriage was that they had never had a fight. If you go 50 years without a fight, you’re fooling yourselves. Every couple fights unless one party is completely passive and doesn’t confront issues. There will be conflicts along with the laughter. I’m excited to work through our first argument. I know it will only lead to better communication.
If you get married, everything will be okay.
If Jesus Christ is not your source, you’ll quickly try to make your spouse fill that role. Life doesn’t just get better after you say “I do.” Marriage is designed for you to go through life together, both the hard times and the good times. The exciting parts of marriage come with the hard parts, too.
Marriage is meant to meet your every need.
What happens when your needs stop being met? Unfortunately, in today’s culture, both with non-Christians and Christians, we decide to move on to someone else who can give us what we want. As Dr. Himaya said, “We look for a new deal, then it becomes an ordeal, then we look for a new deal.”
One of the most important lessons I learned in my last relationship was how selfish I could be. I’m independent. I like things my way. When someone comes in and mixes that up, it rubs me the wrong way. But I’m learning life isn’t about me. I can’t get everything I want all the time.
Himaya defined marriage as “two flawed people, creating a unity of love and grace, reflecting God’s purpose and enjoying each other in the process.”
We often want to create unity and love, and enjoy each other in the process, but we forget about the “flawed” part of the equation. I am flawed. My spouse will be flawed. But it’s the process of living that will make our marriage, not the wedding.
I look forward to the good days, the bad days, the worst days and the best days, for they will define our character and reflect our purpose for God.
Here’s to marriage.