The Meat is in the Marriage!

Landon and Grace!
Landon and Grace!

You may have heard that our sweet Landon proposed to his sweet Grace. Oh, we knew it was coming….they have been dating quite a few years and are hopelessly devoted to one another. That devotion will carry them through the inevitable ups and downs they will encounter in this life.

Disclaimer: I am not trying to sneakily communicate to Landon and Grace through this post–I have been saying stuff like this for years to all of our kids, so they know my spiel! But we are seeing a lot of engagements this year and I have just have a couple of things on my mind.

Just so you know, Grace accepted Landon’s offer! We love Grace and we love her family and we are looking forward to the big party in November! Landon and Grace are in the throes of planning because this wedding is their deal and while we are supportive, if it gets too much for them to plan, then it is probably getting to be too much. Know what I mean? When you are marrying your best friend, everything else is gravy….non-essential…..The meat is in the marriage.

Have you seen the crazy tv shows out there? There is Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezillas, Four Weddings, etc., and with all kinds of things being posted in various media outlets it seems there is a fair amount of pressure to have some fabulous (read: EXPENSIVE) shindig. I am all for fun but I am not all for debt. And some of these potentially beautiful brides act so ugly. I suspect the pressure of juggling everyone’s expectations contributes to this ugliness. Marriage is hard enough work without having the financial burden (and pressure) of wedding and honeymoon debt due to “perfect details”. If you are getting married soon and getting overrun by details keep reminding yourself “I am marrying the person I don’t want to live without and that is the most important detail of the day!” And if you can’t say that, then we have some other talking to do!

Don’t misread what I am saying: There is nothing wrong with having as big and wonderful and detailed a wedding as you can afford to have . . .

but what level of effort and energy and expense goes into the life that follows that sweet day?

I haven’t decided if having Pinterest and wedding planners are good things or not. Ideas are great–particularly ideas that help something be affordable. So, in that sense, Pinterest is great. Wedding Planners? Well, I suppose they may have their place, but it is a tiny place in the corner of a very large universe. Very tiny. Generally speaking, I think wedding planners signal that our lives are way too busy or we are envisioning way too complicated of a day! With all the details and pressure it is no wonder people run off and elope or hire someone to tend to the details! Often mothers and grandmothers and aunts all seem to have their ideas and expectations for an upcoming wedding…and then the guest list…don’t get me started! There are so many difficult decisions to make even for a relatively simple event.

And women aren’t the only ones who are stressed! Think of the pressure guys are under to be romantic and have a photographer sneakily snapping some photos of his perfect proposal. Never mind the guy has just had to find and pay for a ring and come up with some clever way to declare his undying love and affection (think of some of the proposals that are super public–like on the big screen at a ball game…oh boy…)

Talk about pressure….

And we haven’t even touched on the wedding yet—the date, the wedding party decisions and discussions, the colors, the food and beverages, the readings, the vows, the musicians, the honeymoon… So much preparation goes into the day. And for those who love to plan this kind of stuff–they are in their element. For others it can be a challenge.

Any discussion on budgets and debt and what are our dreams and goals for this life? What about children? What about education or travel? What about church? What about your history and how will it impact your future? What about volunteering? Do you have a place to live? Do you have enough for the bills and savings? Do you have a contingency plan? Are you committed for the long haul???

I think if you are utterly exhausted by the planning of the wedding you might need to re-evaulate your efforts. If the meat is in the marriage then everything else is really gravy. And I believe the day should be simple enough that you enjoy it without getting stressed about too many details!

Think of the effort invested in the proposal, engagement, wedding and honeymoon….are you committed to putting all that and more into your marriage?

Marriage will take more of you than you thought you had to give and will reveal your selfishness like nothing else. It requires sacrifice. It is about compromise.

Are you ever really ready for marriage? I doubt it. One thing that is certain is you need a team effort! And a commitment! If you go overboard trying to figure out if you are ready, well, you probably won’t ever be because, honestly, who ever really is? Having God in the center of your life and marriage can make a significant difference in how you view yourself and your spouse and how you deal with the inevitable conflicts and troubles that will come.

If you have been married for any length of time, what advice do you have for those getting ready for this big adventure?


3 steps to a new _________!

10 ways to teach your ______ how to ______!

12 foods you should eat every day!

7 ways to a new __________!

9 foods to throw out of your diet!

I know most of the things I should be doing but I am so overwhelmed with everything I have to do that I would love a sure fire formula for a few battle areas. Do you ever feel the same way? I know when I am desperate I am not as discerning as I need to be and it is then that I fall prey to deception.

If every formula depended on only me, maybe, just maybe they would work, but considering my level of distraction, I don’t guess so. While I am not against suggestions, I think it is important to remember that many of the “formulas” for weight loss, obedient children, a better marriage, success in school, etc do not take into account that people and their wills are also a part of the equation. Some of these ultimate formulas are ultimately frustrating and keep us chasing our tails!

If you find yourself in a desperate spot, hoping that someone else’s perfect formula will help you out of a crazy situation, think again because if you pursue a plan without any discernment on your part, you might make things worse. There isn’t a perfect, sure fire plan for most things because we are dealing with unique people and complicated lives and culture. You cannot control every variable and you should not try.

There may be some things you can control and there are many, many more things you cannot. Amazingly, God allowed us to have our wills and He continues to work in, with, and through our mistakes and struggles to bring His message of love and grace to a hurting world. If we do a little more releasing of things we want to control, God can move in and have some wiggle room to transform a situation. It might not follow a formula someone recommended to you but are you comfortable enough with God to let Him lead you in a way unique to your situation? Following someone else’s formula isn’t always the best plan–but following God is!

Dig into His Word and seek His face. You might consider what those around you have to say but listen with discernment. When you adopt a formula, you are taking the lead. It is hard for God to lead when we are in the way!

PrayerPoint ~ Weddings & Marriages ~ March 21

It is fascinating how much money people are willing to spend on weddings. Amazing, really. And some of these tv shows like “Say Yes to the Dress”–wow! If you have the money and feel the burning desire to spend it, by all means, go ahead. I don’t believe parents should be taking out loans for a wedding, and I have been training our kids to understand that you can have a sweet and simple and affordable wedding day. It is far more important to spend more on being married and staying married than on the wedding. Be sure you are investing in something of substance–like a lifetime–instead of just a showy day.

It is always a good time to pray for marriages but do you know of a couple tying the knot this year? Start praying for them now. Tell them you are lifting them up in prayer. Hopefully they will have some sense of their need for God and prayer in their life already and being married will surely strengthen their understanding of that need. With finances, children, in-laws, illness, disabilities, job loss, etc…there are many challenges that can occur within marriage.
Think of the newly married or the “almost married” people in your life. Would you pray for them? Whether or not you have been married, you surely can imagine the challenges of two sinners united in marriage who go on to possibly birth a few sinners and life in a sin-filled world. Prayers aren’t just appreciated, they are required! Intercessory prayer is probably the most important gift they will receive! Personally, I can’t imagine living life without God forgiving me, sanctifying me, and loving me–because there are some days when I am not very lovable. Just ask Don. But the way God weaves us together–amazing! It’s truly only something He can do!
For fun and encouragement, find a few couples who have been married 30, 50, 60 years and ask them for a few tips. You might be surprised at what they say!
God’s blessing on your day!