Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wedding vs Marriage.

Hello friends. First of all, excitement! I have reached and surpassed 500 page views! Thank you! I feel loved, and a little less obscure.

On to the things that are heavy.
[Disclaimer: I am divorced. I am not an expert on marriage. It terrifies me. These are just the thoughts I have collected after witnessing many beautiful weddings become beautiful marriages.]

Tonight, I witnessed the wedding of a childhood friend, who I have watched grow up. She is a beautiful creature, and she just has the biggest heart and the most creative mind. Her wedding was lovely. It was perfectly her. I don't know her (now)husband, but he seems quite genuine and is absolutely in love with her. The setting was wonderful and the energy was amazing and God was there. The space was completely filled with God's presence, and it was written on everyone's face and etched on everyone's heart.

Based on their wedding, their energies toward each other, the support from their family and friends, and the look on their faces when they spoke their vows to each other, I truly believe they will have a wonderful marriage. They have been together a long time and they seem to have a jive that fits. Their beautiful wedding will lead to a beautiful marriage.

That's not always the case.

My ex-husband and I had a beautiful wedding. We were surrounded by people who loved us, everything looked amazing, and I do believe that God was there. Was he trying to weave a new story in our hearts? Maybe. Was I letting him? No. I already knew that our beautiful wedding wasn't going to lead to a beautiful marriage, because I was allowing the wedding to be more important than the marriage. I was blinded by the wedding. I hadn't even crossed over into marriage territory, because I knew it was doomed.

Whew. There's that.

I think that, more often than not, people bank on weddings, both figuratively and literally. They imagine that, if they have a beautiful wedding with lots of friends, food, and fun, they will have a beautiful marriage. If there is something lacking in the relationship, they create this big, gorgeous band aid, made of ribbons and lace and frosting and cards and well-wishes. "That'll do the trick," they say. "People will say, 'What a beautiful wedding!' and we can feel good about this huge mess, because a beautiful wedding means a beautiful marriage!"

This is not entirely incorrect.

In every relationship, there is bound to be some glaring flaw/problem/disagreement/issue. Maybe you and your significant other come back to it every now and then and it's never really resolved, just discussed. Maybe you had a huge fight about it and it just slid under the surface, like a sliver that you can't see but that hurts tremendously. Maybe you don't fight about anything, because you never scratch the surface of the "hard things" like politics, religion, children, etc.

None of these things are all bad. It's good to have things you disagree about, because it means that you're human and you have your own opinions and thoughts and you're willing to SHARE THEM with your S.O. (significant other). It's good to disagree and fight, because sometimes hearing the opinion of someone else causes you re-think how you were looking at an issue in the first place. It's good to not have a "perfect" relationship, because we all know that's bound to boil over into a hot mess someday, probably at the most inconvenient of times.

What IS bad is allowing yourself to ignore these flaws/problems/disagreements/issues and cover them with a big, beautiful, wedding. What you're screaming to the world is, "OUR RELATIONSHIP ISN'T DOING SO HOT BUT IF WE LOOK GOOD TO OTHER PEOPLE WE SHOULD BE OK!"

These were exactly my thoughts on the day I got married. Look where it got me.

On the other hand, sometimes a beautiful wedding does lead to a beautiful marriage, like the one I attended tonight. I'm sure there have been disagreements, big upsets, arguments and fights and slammed doors and tears.That's where the beauty is. Once you see someone flawed, broken, and imperfect, you begin to love them more. You see the pain they feel and you begin to love that pain because it's made your soon-to-be-spouse exactly who he or she is. This is when your love begins to mimic God's love for us.

God saw our brokenness. He saw our tears and our under-the-skin slivers and what a hot mess we've made of ourselves, and he looks on that with compassion. Some people would use another person's pain to their own advantage, or to victimize them, make them feel unworthy, unloved, etc. God doesn't do that. He looks on us with mercy, not pity, and then applies his own band-aid. This one isn't made of lace and frosting and cards and bells and whistles. It's made of grace.

The beautiful wedding becomes a beautiful marriage when the two people can look at each other's flaws and imperfections with mercy and not pity, compassion and not vindication. When our love resembles God's love, that is when the beautiful marriage begins.

This is one of the things that I love to discuss, because you can never talk too much about what a good marriage looks like, so if you have thoughts to add or even contradictions to make, please feel free to do so. Good discussions lead to new ideas.

Brooke + JuneBug


  1. I had a beautiful wedding and a beautiful marriage, for the most part. It began to change once my son was born. My wife started to become very negative about so many things. I was working a job where I was needed to go to work day and night. It wasn't a choice, it was a necessity. I was the only one in my department and the work needed to get done. I would go to work in the morning at 8:30, work until 5:00, go home and have dinner with my wife and kids, stay home and tuck the kids into bed. Then I would go back to work until 2 or 3 in the morning. My wife wasn't working. I carried the insurance, I had the huge burden of providing for my wife and kids.

    This was the beginning of the end. Doing what I thought was right wasn't. I couldn't do anything right in her eyes. I tried to please and couldn't seem to. Our biggest problem...communication.

    We always danced the dance of anger. One would say something to anger the other. The other would say something to anger the other. Not a good form of communication. By the time we sought help it was too late.

    I was married for 21 years. Together for 19, separated for two.

    Now that her and I aren't together we get along fine. She is still considered a good friend of mine and I wish her all the happiness in the world. She gave me my two best blessings. My daughter, and my son.

    My life.

    Neither of us have remarried. Interesting.

    What does God have in store for us? I don't know. I just know I love each and every day he gives me. The opportunity to see my grandchild and the opportunity to see my future granddaughter be born. I thank Him for my good years and bad years of marriage. I feel so blessed to have had the time with Karen. I wish it could have been better in the end but it is what it is and it is still healthy.

    My advice to others, communicate positively. Don't argue with each other. Take the time that is necessary for both of you to have a healthy discussion, not an argument. Express your concerns in a healthy and positive way. Read up on what is available on healthy, God loving, relationships. It can be wonderful. Like everything, it takes work. What better result from hard work than a happy family.

    God bless.

  2. What has helped Tom and me in our long, tumultuous journey is to understand our family of origin and how that has impacted who we are today, and how we interpret and react to everything. It has much more importance than you'd like to think. When I can understand why he reacts a certain way, I'm able to step away from anger and deal with situations in a clearer way. A great book on this subject is How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. They have a one day seminar coming up in October, in fact, in Spring Lake, on How We Love Our Kids, in case it interests anyone. Understanding your family of origin also has the side benefit of giving you the chance to understand and forgive your parents, too, which is necessary many times.

    Another biggie is to stop the assuming. We do this constantly, and while you think you may know your partner, very often the assumptions you make are negative based, and unfair. Please, just ask.

  3. Part 1: I am not a firm believer in marriage. The older I get the more I am against it. Every time I pass a wedding taking place I say outloud, "sorry about your luck." We live in a fractured world and the fracture is getting bigger by the day. I firmly believe that everyone who gets married is in "la la" land over the excitement of being engaged and getting ready for the grand ole wedding that costs thousands of dollars. And then "life" sets in and all heck breaks loose. There are so many demands now days that the stress of our fractured world takes the enjoyment out of everything. I truly feel that the "wedding bliss" is more important than the marriage itself. I am not saying that everyone is not entitled to a big beautiful wedding. But my question is why? Why do people spend so much money on these grand ole weddings? What would happen to this world if big beautiful 10,000 wedding dresses were never invented? Then what? In the olden days, it was standing outside in a sunday dress for church and that was it. And ya know what? Those people never divorced. They were committed till death do us part. I see too many people spend thousands of dollars on a wedding and then turn around and get divorced two or three years down the road. To me there is no law that says you have to be married to be happy. There is no law that says you have to be married to have children. If a woman wants a child and is not married, then so be it. It is her choice. And to marry someone just because they pregnant to make it "right" is asking for trouble. I also believe that everyone has deep dark secrets no matter who they are and they are eventually going to surface and all heck is gonna break loose again. I have over the last year seen two of my good friends find love, only to realize three or four months down the road after some investigating that they are on the Michigan Offenders list with numerous charges of felony and prison time.

  4. Part 2: I myself, married young. Only to find 19 years into the marriage my husband had a secret lifestyle that involves dominating women mentally, physically, verbally and sexually. He told me after 19 years of marriage that this lifestyle was more important than his family and marriage and if I could not stand other women being in the picture then I should divorce him and be done with it. He was willing to throw away a 20 year marriage for a BDSM lifestyle. He openly admitted to me that he did not tell me of this lifestyle when he asked me to marry him because he knew I would not marry him. Then after ending the marriage I found another man who was the most amazing man I had ever met in my life. I had never been so loved and put so high on a pedestal ever. Only to find out.............he drinks too much.......he is addicted to football, he is addicted to golf and his campground from April 1st to October 31st and work. Out of 210 days from April to October he is at the campground 24/7. He has been divorced for 12 years and has made a life for himself that noone can touch. He basically has no room in his life for me because his drinking, his buddies, his nonstop golf on Friday Saturday Sunday and Monday for 12 hours each day and Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday's 9 hours each day and a Football Stratomatic league every sunday and working 12-15 hours a day during the winter pay for his 2000 lot rent at the campground from April to me is insane and I refuse to take a back seat.

    Brooke, your following comment is right on!!!!!!! "I think that, more often than not, people bank on weddings, both figuratively and literally. They imagine that, if they have a beautiful wedding with lots of friends, food, and fun, they will have a beautiful marriage. If there is something lacking in the relationship, they create this big, gorgeous band aid, made of ribbons and lace and frosting and cards and well-wishes. "That'll do the trick," they say. "People will say, 'What a beautiful wedding!' and we can feel good about this huge mess, because a beautiful wedding means a beautiful marriage!"

    I also agree with Thom about Communication. Life is not life, love is not love without communication.

    I probably myself will never marry again like Thom. I have been hurt, I have been let down, I have loved only to find failure. I would much rather spend the rest of my life alone than to go through what I have gone through over the past 30 years.

    Great topic honey! You have the gift of writing. Keep it up! I would love to buy a book written by you some day!