Sunday, June 25, 2006

Happily Ever After...

In an effort to avoid the melancholy I’m in threat of wallowing in, I am blogging about the very happy events of the last three days.

Saturday night I attended my most favorite wedding to date. The groom and I have been friends for a few years, and last spring we had several discussions about whether he was ready to pursue a relationship with the bride. He wanted to make sure it was the right time. I am the kind of person who immediately classifies “boys” into "friend” or “possibility,” so it was interesting for me to see him contemplate asking out a woman he had known for years. I can’t imagine. I’m also the kind of person who can’t eat just one cookie. I’m clearly not an expert at delayed gratification and would not have exercised the patience that he did.

In part, the groom had not asked the bride out earlier because he was beginning law school and knew the first year would not be an ideal time to begin a relationship. They had known each other for years, had developed a friendship, and knew each others' characters and beliefs before they ever went on a date. And things progressed quickly with an engagement within about six or seven months. While at one time that kind of whirlwind courtship would have seemed insane to me and is still kind of hard for me to imagine being a part of, they have my complete blessings (not that they need them).

Their ceremony was centered on God and included more than the rote marriage vows and scripture reading. One of the pastors admonished the bridal party to not take sides when the couple argued but rather to remember the priority was God and the marriage rather than their respective friendships with the bride or groom. The other pastor spoke at length about how the bride and groom must rely on Christ to fulfill their marriage vows as they could not possibly love one another as they should without Him.

It was all the more sweet because they had both maintained their purity and had clearly made God the center of their courtship. The groom can’t stop talking about the Tim Keller sermons on marriage that he has listened to for the past few months. His favorite thing about the bride is her heart for God. They took premarital counseling seriously and have discussed important issues of how they want to give to God’s kingdom.

And their courtship lacked the drama and heartache that I’ve become accustomed to in my relationships and those of some of my friends, and their courtship serves as a reminder of how different things can be when we choose to follow God’s plan for us and be obedient to His word.

More happy events to share, but for now here is a photo of Donatello (he even danced at the wedding!!) and me at the lovely reception.

7 comments:

kimberly said...

You look beautiful Allyson! It's awesome to see weddings at that and relationships that are really based on integrity and faithfulness to God...however, from my own experience at weddings like that I would add that it's also a little painful not to be on the receiving end of such happiness. Last week at the beach Kerri and I were surrounded by marital and relationship bliss and I had to struggle not to get cynical and bitter about it from being on the outside. I know that God is just as present in my life as a single person as in the lives of a married couple, and there are ways for me to be a part of God's kingdom that don't include marriage...I just wish the world would every now and then throw a big reception and give nice gifts to people who haven't yet gone that route. (still sorting out that bitterness)

Ally said...
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Ally said...

It is awesome!

Kimberly, I'm sorry to hear about your struggle last week. I think a lot of single people share that same struggle, and perhaps it would help if you had some unhappily married friends. Just kidding.

I wonder if marriage makes it tempting to make another person the center of your life rather than God. I know that I sometimes struggle with that in dating relationships, and I lose the appropriate perspective.

As for big receptions and gifts, I find that our culture's traditions are out of control. When my mom got married at 21, she had a reception with cake, nuts, and mints. She probably received towels, dishes, and some miscellaneous small gifts. Those gifts helped my parents "establish" their home. The registries I've seen lately reflect the fact that people are getting married at older ages, and they've included very expensive luggage, $180 place settings, and the like. A friend went to an engagment party last week, and the invitation requested "cash donations" to help defray the cost of the honeymoon to an exotic island.

My point is that in many cases the gift giving/receiving is no longer to just help the couple get off their feet, especially when they already have so many things that they are registering for 1000 thread count sheets or snorkeling excursions on their honeymoon. Perhaps people feel justified in doing so since they are spending in excess of $30,000 to throw the wedding. Although I would love to have some decent dishes and nice towels, I'll gladly do without if it means I don't have to coordinate some enormous gala and spend crazy amounts of money on one day. It sounds so overwhelming to me. I wish we could revamp the whole system, and perhaps if we did, you could have had a "getting set up" kind of party at which we would shower you with gifts to establish your home at a certain age (when you most need it) rather than when you finally meet the right guy. And getting married could be more about glorifying God and less about socializing, dresses, and the like.

Ally said...

Oh, on a side note, I think as single people it's also easy to make an idol, so to speak, of marriage. I think we have to be careful to avoid thinking that "if only I were married, then" or "when I get married...." I definitely have a hard time with that as I think being a wife and mother would be so much more rewarding than being a lawyer. But I'm forgetting that right now I am a friend, sister, aunt, and daughter as well and can make those roles incredibly fulfilling too.

spam_price said...

Indeed you do look beautiful in the picture from the wedding. That is a very pretty dress as well!

The wedding sounds like it was a wonderful occasion to be reminded of the glory of the marriage relationship and the fact that we are all Christ’s bride. For me marriage is a constant reminder that I am called to reflect Christ to my wife, as she is called to reflect Him back to me. We are all fortunate to have a Bridegroom in Jesus Christ that makes us fully His regardless of our personal marital status.

I know that both you ladies are beautiful brides of Christ and are being used to reflect His glory into the lives of so many around you. Thank you both for that and being a sister in Christ to me.

allbilly said...

as a product of a christian home and an almost divorcee...i think WAY too much emphasis is placed on the party. the focus should be on the commitment and carrying out those vows.

have you ever seen anyone register for counseling?

Ally said...

Billy,

I haven't seen anyone register for counseling, but I actually think registering for books/sermons, etc. is a wonderful idea. A friend of mine gave his friend Tim Keller's series of sermons on marriage as a wedding gift; learning how to have a succesful marriage that is God centered is going to be a much more valuable gift.