Many girls grow up dreaming of their perfect wedding fairytale. We are taught to desire the perfect dress, flower arrangements, and decor. We envision the moment where we walk down the isle with all eyes on us. Our groom is foooineeee, 6 foot, with everything marked off our list of what we want in a man.
The thing is, although there is nothing wrong with having your wedding turn out the exact way you dream, this is not the reality for everyone. The truth is, this was not my reality.
The world does a great job at preparing us for the wedding day but not such a great job at preparing us for marriage. These weddings are extravagant, lovely, and picture perfect. There are so many professionals there to help… from a wedding planner, to the florist, receptionist, photographer, travel agent, caterer, and so on. So many people contribute to this one time event and help you prepare for this moment that will change your life forever. The only thing is… after you cut the cake, make a toast, and dance the night away… everyone leaves and goes back to there normal lives. At that time, you will have the responsibility, along with your spouse, of working out your marriage together.
You are no longer a child. You are no longer under your parent’s roof. You are no longer anyone else’s responsibility. You both belong to each other… husband to wife and wife to husband. You become one flesh.
“…’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:5-6
Now real life starts. After the preparations for the wedding are over… can you say that you have made the necessary preparations for sustaining a long-lasting marriage?
Getting married is about more than just your wedding day. Getting married is a lifelong commitment. The vows that we recite on our wedding day are more than just ceremonial vows, they are spiritual and bind us into a covenantal agreement with our spouse. Legal marriage is more than just a “piece of paper” as some may say. The vows that bind us to this paper are the engravings upon two hearts… the intertwining of two individual souls as one. This is why divorce is so harmful, not just to those involved, but to the generations to come.
When I was 20 years old, I knew that I was ready to get married. Not because I had everything together. Not because I had a savings account and neither because my husband did. All we had at that time was each other and a word from the Lord. We knew that the Lord had called us to be together. Though it didn’t look like the right timing to everyone else… God gave us peace to trust Him. We trusted Him during our struggle. He was our foundation. We were committed to one another, not because of what we had. It was not because of the list that we wanted in a man or a woman but because of the love we shared.
The love we shared was not the way that the world loves. It wasn’t a love solely fueled by emotions, looks, or comfort. This love that the Lord was teaching us, was His way of love, unconditional love. Sometimes I didn’t “feel” like responding in love to my husband when we were engaged. We had our arguments, like any other couple. In the midst of these arguments though, the Lord would push me to press past my feelings and work it out instead of running away. That is how I knew that God was working in our relationship. My husband is very attractive but it wasn’t just about his looks. I knew that the Lord had put us together for a specific purpose and reason, a purpose that was far bigger than “us.” We’ve faced many challenges and have been in very uncomfortable situations, especially in regards to finances. Yet, the situation on the outside could not change the love I have for him on the inside. Those situations challenged us, built us up, and drew us closer together.
My husband and I met in college. We didn’t honor God when we first began dating but eventually we came around and started courting with the purpose of bringing God glory through our relationship. We grew to respect one another and when we felt God was leading us to get married, we got engaged. We didn’t have much. Between the both of us, as struggling college students, we couldn’t afford a fancy wedding. People wanted us to wait until a more opportune time, but we knew we were ready. We were not going to let our financial state hold us back. We didn’t see this as a burden but as an opportunity to grow and build together, which would bring us even closer.
What I appreciated about my husband during our courtship was that he courted me with the intention of marrying me. He didn’t have one ounce of fear in his body but he trusted and believed that God was with us and God was for us. He didn’t for a second make me question his commitment and whether or not I should really be with him. I just knew he was the one and he made it clear that he knew I was too. I can’t stand to see so many women out there, waiting for a man to make up his mind after 10 years of dating. Sis, he’s not trying to make up his mind! He’s already decided in his heart that he’s not 100% sold on you and he’s selfishly stringing you along for the ride.
So we went to the courthouse and got our legal documentation together and we got married over Skype (video conferencing) by our spiritual mentors. They also did our marriage counseling during the engagement process to help prepare us for all the facets of marriage. They too believed that we were ready and encouraged us to get married despite our financial state.
We married with a budget of only $40 US dollars. Our wedding rings were $10 each from Groupon. Later on, my friend did a free photoshoot of us to celebrate our union. My dress was $20 from Forever21 and I got costume jewelry from the beauty supply store for less than $5! I couldn’t even afford a good pair of heels to wear at the time so I had to wear flats to our photoshoot. That’s why all the pictures we’re pretty much taken from the waist up.
That day I woke up with a smile and put on my $20 dress :). I was truly happy because I was so blessed to wake up next to my best friend, the love of my life, for the rest of my life!
We had no furniture when we moved into our first place! It was in the ghetto, they sold drugs right next door, and on our wedding night we slept on a blowup bed. I’m thankful because our family came together and blessed us with furniture a couple months later a basic kitchen appliances. I saw this as a way of God’s provision, favor, and hand over us. We had no getaway or honeymoon. On our wedding night we found a Groupon dinner package that we could share for $20 at a local restaurant and that was enough for me.
Don’t get me wrong. Though God was with us during our season of hardship, He is still the same God who is with us during our seasons of prosperity. There is nothing wrong with having money or being financially stable and this blog post is not to bash those who are. The focus here is not on the circumstance, but the foundation. As long as God is your foundation, it doesn’t matter if you have $10 in your bank account or $100,000.
Do you think that first year was easy? That was the hardest year of my life! Yet, it was the most beneficial to me as a woman and to our marriage. Those tests truly pruned and molded us. We learned how to trust in the Lord and truly live by faith, as He was our ultimate source. I learned how selfish and proud I was and I had to grow in respecting and submitting to my husband as unto the Lord. It was scary… our home was having so many issues and it was a constant struggle with the management. Our roof was literally falling over our heads and many times our house leaked when it rained as you can see in these pictures I took! We used whatever we could to hold it up and keep it from collapsing until we finally got it repaired.
Though our natural home was collapsing, God was building us up as a home spiritually. He was teaching us in that season that He was our strong foundation and it was through Him we could stand. Our foundation was not our bank account. Our foundation was not the sex or the physical attraction. Our foundation was not like the weak foundation that our townhome was made from. He was our solid foundation and He was our covering. I will never forget that season.
The bible says in Mark 3:25, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” What the enemy tries to do, is start you off with a flimsy foundation. Then, when you get into a marriage, the winds and waves begin to come. This erodes the foundation, which causes the house to collapses and end in divorce.
I am sharing our story because I’ve heard of too many couples who spend thousands and even millions on a wedding… but because there was no true foundation set for the marriage, they are unable to weather the storm and their marriage ends in divorce only months later.
We’ve only been married for about four years but I can truly say that my husband and I have had our share of storms. Life hasn’t been all tulips and roses. We’ve had our arguments, we’ve said very harmful things, and we’ve had our test and trials. Yet, it is God who sustained us. He has been with us in and out of every season. He is the mediator in our marriage. He leads us to forgive, teaches us to love, a calls us to die to our flesh day by day. It’s a process… but I honestly can’t image going through this process without God on our side.
I say this to say… God’s word is true. If God has placed you with someone, there is no way that anyone or any demon in hell can come in between that! But you must keep God first. This is why it’s so important to wait for God’s best and be in an equally yoked relationship. The power that will come from your marriage and the way that God can use you two together will be above and beyond what you can ever imagine.
If you made it this far… thanks for taking the time out to read my blog :). Please share this with anyone who is struggling in this area. No one’s story is the same, but God gets the glory out of them all.
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