Things I Need To Remember to Tell My Girls About Weddings and Marriage

I've been thinking about weddings and marriage lately. We know several young couples at our church who are getting married this summer. Love is in the air and in Instagram photos and status updates.

It's fun to hear the girls talking about their wedding plans and counting down the days until the Big Day. It was twenty years ago that I was planning my own wedding. We didn't have Pinterest then. Instead I had a binder full of sketches and lists and magazine clippings of all things bridal. I put a lot of time and thought into what type of flowers were in my and my bridesmaids' bouquets. Now I can't even identify the flowers, let alone remember their meanings.

Since I've been thinking about weddings and marriage lately, I decided to make a couple lists of things I need to remember to tell my girls.

Each of those flowers symbolized something important.

  1. It really is worth it to splurge and get your hair done for your wedding day. Don't be a cheapskate. Otherwise the last minute hairdo that your bridesmaid helped you with will begin falling down halfway through the ceremony. And every time you look at your wedding pictures, you will wonder why you didn't just pay someone to do it right.
  2. You will wish you had your reception in a place that allows dancing. Because there is nothing like watching people in their wedding finest doing the Chicken Dance.
  3. Floral print is not timeless.
  4. Make sure that your videographer knows that you do not like your nose in profile. If you don't, he will capture the entire ceremony in such a way that when you watch the video, you feel like you are watching your husband say his vows to a bird.
  5. It's a good idea to make sure that the items in your bridal registry are actually kept in stock. Otherwise you won't be getting any dishes for wedding gifts.
  6. When you are handing out jobs for the wedding, you should make sure that someone is assigned the job to hold up your dress while you go to the bathroom. There are some things you don't think about until you walk into a stall. You are welcome.
  7. People will not remember the food you serve at the reception, or the flower arrangements, or even the bridesmaids dresses years from now. So don't stress too much about these details, and definitely don't blow the budget on them.
  8. Make a list of everyone you want to get a picture with and give it to your photographer before the wedding. Otherwise you will forget to take a photo with your own family. I'm not kidding.
  9. Don't worry about making other people happy. Not even your mom, mother-in-law or your older sister. It's your day. Do what you want.
  10. Even if you have DIY skills, don't save money by tackling DIY wedding projects yourself. You have too much to think about besides the cake topper and will forget to do it until the last minute. Then you will throw something together, hate it, but have to look at it every time you look at your wedding pictures. It's not worth the money saved. Find a DIY friend to do it for you if you must have it made and not bought.
  11. Don't go into debt over one important, but very short ceremony. 

But planning a wedding and planning a marriage are two different things. I guess I wish I'd known that, too. I spent a lot of time fretting over the color of my bridesmaids' dresses and the ceremony. I wanted my wedding day to be just like I imagined it would be. And in a lot of ways it was.

But my marriage turned out to be not at all what I imagined it to be. I mean, it was nice to be married, for sure. But marriage was hard, too. I didn't expect that. We spent most of our engagement separated by 397 miles. It wasn't easy, but we did it. I remember thinking, when we were going through pre-marriage counselling, that we could overcome anything together because our love was so strong. In retrospect I think it would be more accurate to say that, at the time, our love was young and our passion for each other was strong.

  1. Conflict is not bad. Don't avoid it. Avoiding conflict is a slow poison. What is bad though is conflict done badly. Speak the truth in love at the right time. Always. The other side of conflict done well is beautiful.
  2. Congruence is important. Your words should always match your feelings and actions. Otherwise it opens the door for mistrust in the relationship. Don't say "I'm just tired" when really you are overwhelmed or sad. Don't say "I have a headache" when really you are just tired. Say what you mean. Always.
  3. Love takes work. At first it didn't take too much work because, honestly, the eros (erotic) love was driving and that just came naturally. But eros can only drive for a limited time. Then it goes wherever philia (friendship) and agape (unconditional) love drives it. Philia and agape do not come as naturally. In fact, the longer you live with someone, the less naturally they come. That's why love takes work. That's why you need God in your marriage, too. Love is in many ways supernatural. As you work on the philia love, and commit to agape love, with God's help and blessing, you will enjoy eros love.  
  4. You are capable of doing some stupid things. No one is immune to stupid decisions. Don't say "There's no way I will ever do that!" When you have that attitude, you might just be the most susceptible to it. Instead say, "I acknowledge that I am capable of doing that. Lord, help me. Guard me. I need you." Have good boundaries around your relationship and around yourself. 
  5. Marriage isn't about you. Marriage is all about Jesus. It's about us becoming more like Christ. That is, marriage is about me becoming selfless in my love, not self seeking. Our primary concern in marriage isn't about us feeling good or feeling loved or feeling no pain. Our primary concern in marriage is to reflect Christ's love. As one of our prayer counselors said to us many years ago, "Marriage is God's way of making us more like Him." Iron sharpens iron, and marriage makes you seek God.
  6. Marriage isn't the answer to the hole in your heart. There is a longing that only Jesus can satisfy. It's important to understand that. Don't expect for your husband to fill that hole, he can't. No one can.
  7. Marriage is a gift from God. Treat it as a gift. View your husband as a gift. Remember to cherish the gift. It's a really valuable gift.
That's what I want to tell my girls, and my son's bride too. For what it's worth.


04.15.2013 update:

One of my blog friends requested that I make a "pinnable" list of the above marriage advice. So.... here it is....


Lucy said...

I'm going to bookmark this as a point of reference:)I may be needing this when we plan my daughters down the road...not sure how far down...:)Blessings...

Sara H said...

Floral print is not timeless...LOL. A very good list. I'm writing (mentally) a book for my sons. There just seems to be so much out there for girls, books, conferences, etc. Anyway, I really, really liked your list about marriage, especially that part about it not filling the hole in your heart.

gayle t. said...

I am already telling my friend's 9 year old son the "rules" of being a good man. He's ignoring me now, but I hope he will thank me later! :)

As for girls . . . oh my gosh, we need to protect our hearts. I know this from experience. Painful experience!

I love your list, I'm backpocketing this one. :)

Gayle | Grace for Gayle

Amy said...

All so good, Anne! I feel it is God's grace that led me to solid colored bridesmaid dresses:) We must have gotten married around the same time, when floral was the rage. Looks like you were protected as well:)

Jessica said...

I had the wedding binder too. And back then I thought all the details were SO important. I wish I had an older sister telling me the really important stuff was about the marriage and not the wedding! Thankfully things worked out pretty well, but we've for sure had our rough times. Seeking God first and being Christ like is always the best plan! Thanks for this. I am for sure going to bookmark it for future reference!

Tamera Beardsley said...

I can't get through the last part because of my tears! I will be back when I can adequately devote time to this very important post... so so well done Anne! , especially # 6 :)

Tamera Beardsley said...

I'm sharing this one on my Facebook page... such excellent advice Anne!

Tamera Beardsley said...

Thank you for making this advice pinable my dear! You did such a beautiful job with the artwork!


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