I recently got married to the love of my life.
No blog post can go wrong when it starts with that! I’ve been dying to write a little bit about married life, but as I sat down for this blog post I kept thinking back to the weeks and months preceding Katie and I’s marriage. There are just so many social dynamics that evolve and form around weddings, some of which are lovely and some of which are dreadful. I wanted to specifically talk about some of the perceptions of a guy and his involvement in the wedding/marriage/engagement process. These are a few things I’ve noticed:
1. There’s still time. I was told this so often. A laughable, knee-slapper. There’s still time! Time to get out! Time to be free! I know it’s just an age old joke, but really? Is this the mentality of men on marriage? Is our mentality that Christ has created marriage to bind and shrink our souls, rather than expand and improve them? I’m sorry, but it was just so frustrating. I got this from the typical guys you’d expect it from (dudes out on a golf course), but I also heard it from strong Christian men. I hope that I never tell a guy that is about to make one of the most important decisions in his life that there is “still time” to change his mind. You know what there’s still time for? There’s still time to make Christ the center of your life. There’s still time to read your bible and pray that you can be a good husband. There’s still time to read more books and get to know your spouse’s needs better. There’s still time to reflect on how good God is for orienting your life and the events in it so that you met this lovely person when you did. There’s still time.
2. Not that you care about that. I often had people ask me how the wedding planning process was going. Most of these people, guys or girls, would eventually assert that the process, stressful though it may be, had little to do with me. Well, of course not! She will choose this and decide this and you? You’ve never even thought about it. You’re coasting down the aisle on the hard work of others. Your opinions are second-rate and most likely uninformed. Your attitude? Well, you obviously don’t care about the wedding as much as she does. She’s been waiting her whole life for this and spending every hour planning it all out… you? You’re lucky she let’s you show up! So what’s wrong with this?
The main thing that I see in this is a perpetuation of man’s most difficult sin. You can look all the way back to Adam and Eve for our tendency. We, as men, have a tendency to do nothing. We tend toward laziness or inaction. We like to sit back and watch things happen, rather than take an active involvement in our roles that are God-designed. So this perpetuation, this constant discussion of my lack of involvement or my lack of caring or my lack of opinions… isn’t it all pushing the guy toward the belief that he SHOULDN’T care? Do we want our guys soft and uninvolved? Do we want guys that are content to sit back and let others do everything?
Don’t get me wrong. Katie is superior to me in all things wedding. Her sense of colors, design, and decoration? Amazing. I could add little to those categories. But what I could add, I was happy to add, because this day is about a lifetime of action or inaction. Men! Be active, take a role, and love your wife through your decision-making.
3. So… how’s the wedding stuff? If you’re about to get married… be prepared. You’re about to experience one of the most alarming and undeniable shifts in social interaction that you will EVER experience. It is almost impossible, now that you are engaged and have selected that lovely locale for your big day, to go into any conversation without this as the center-piece. People dynamically shift to asking you, not about writing or about your job or about sports, but about your wedding. How is that? How are things? And you get to generally say, “A little stressful, but coming together.” I’d urge you to continually reclaim your conversations and talk about things other than your wedding.
Is the wedding a big deal? Of course it is. God has designed a ceremony and a party that will unite you with another person for the rest of your life. His grace is so, so sufficient in that. But you should also talk about life with people. You should keep learning from married couples. You should keep joking and laughing and telling stories. I’m not suggesting you avoid the topic, I’m just suggesting that you remember to love your friends and family by de-focusing them on a “day” and focusing them on the reason for the day (God).
4. Honor People – I don’t know when guys got in their heads that they can’t be emotional or sincere. It is one of the biggest lies we are told. That we must be tough. We must not cry. We must always strive to be hardened men without feelings. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to honor important people in my life. I said something about each of my groomsmen, about my brothers, everyone. It was such a great chance to remind people that God put them in my life with purpose and precision. It was a great chance to make a big day about not just you, but all the people that made you who you are and changed/impacted you for the better. Don’t miss your chance to take the stage in this positive way. For a weekend, everyone is kind of… watching you. They’re looking at you and talking to you or about you and celebrating you… What if, as often as you could, you made it about them? What if you tried to point outward? I don’t know.
All I know is that there are a handful of stereotypes regarding guys and weddings. Ignore them. There should be a few simple rules:
1. Remember God is good to you.
2. Honor and love your wife during this week.
3. Thank your family and friends.
4. Ignore what people tell you about being a man and try to figure out what God tells you about being a man