When my husband and I met with our pastor for one of our pre-marital counseling sessions, the pastor turned to me and asked, “Have you cried?”
“Yes,” I said.
He looked surprised but then said his wife had cried before their wedding also. “I just don’t get it,” he said.
I tried to explain at the time that, while I was happy, I was also sad. I could simultaneously feel elated that I’d finally be married to the love of my life and also feel the loss of the last name I’d be giving up.
He didn’t seem to get that either.
“It’s just weird,” I said. Because it felt weird.
We planned our wedding in six months. As each day sped by, my thoughts were consumed by more than just the big party coming up. Don’t get me wrong, so much planning goes into that One Day. But through our pre-marital counseling, we also got to talk about finances, living together for the first time, and our biblical roles as future husband and wife.
Back then, I was also metabolizing the idea of sharing a bed with someone else. When I shared that with my pastor, he laughed, and it’s funny now in hindsight. But there was a real fear there. I still hate sharing a bed with anyone other than my husband.
I felt like my toes were gripping the edge of a cliff. Little bits of Earth were falling down into the deep dark unknown. Jon was there, too. He was holding on to me, and either we’d pull each other back to safety or fall forward.
Crying was the best outlet I could come up with for all of that. We made sure my wedding makeup was waterproof.
When my dad walked me down the aisle, and when I eventually went to the Social Security Office to change my name, I felt the closing of one door in my life. But a new door opened. I became part of a pair.
There’s a song played on Christian radio called “Different” by Micah Tyler. It started playing while my husband and I were dating, and the message was compelling to me. I wanted to look different, didn’t I? As a Christian, I was called to look different from the rest of the world. I had followed my husband to a new church while we dated and was even baptized in that church about a week before our wedding. Being with him was making me different. He was leading me closer to God.
One night before we got engaged, I was praying to God over my anxiety about getting married. A voice inside my head was telling me it wouldn’t happen, that no matter how long we dated, my boyfriend wasn’t going to propose. I prayed, asking God to send me a sign if we were supposed to get married. I didn’t need to know a date or exactly when, but I needed to know if we would at all.
The next morning, I woke up early to see him get promoted at his job. We talked about his future, and he told me that he would consider me in all of his plans. When I left to go to my job, “Different” came on the radio. I knew then that God had answered my prayer. I don’t know how to describe the moment other than I felt at peace. And I was confident in at least that one piece of my future.
Looking back at these moments, I can see where God was through all of it. He fulfills His promises, and He knows what is best for us.
There is so much joy being married. I look happier, feel better, and do better than I ever did without my husband. That’s the way it should be.
Featured Image by Lindsay Hamilton