Tag Archive: marriage


581482_10153100888645354_1366500074_n

Today we celebrate the Marriage of my best mate Rob Lloyd and his wife Nicky.

We continue to mourn the loss of a dear friend, a husband, a brother, a son, a mentor, a pastor, a worship leader, an ultimate frisbee player, a model of generosity, a voice of reason and hope and faith and so much more. Continue reading

Advertisements

I was thirty-five when I tied the proverbial knot and so had attended many marriages and yet this one continues to stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Not simply because it was my marriage, which no doubt adds its own weight of bias, but I imagine regardless of whose ceremony I was attending that day, I would have still been blown away.

Purple-haired, black suited, I waited nervously for my bride to arrive.

Upon receiving word that she had arrived, I grabbed my djembe drum, sat centre stage and began a simple drumming beat.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

drumpre

The beat and rhythm resonates out from the front where I am sitting and emanates through the amphitheatre shaped room and suddenly everyone’s attention is on me.

Then Gavin, whose drums we are using, joins me and establishes a base beat that is informed by my rhythm and which will give direction and form to everyone else.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumhands

Suddenly three more drums come to play as my three best men, sitting together in the front row, join in to this beat which is now starting to build.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

drumdunc

My younger sister who is one of my best friends and two other women who are spread around the room take up the beat. Eight drums playing in unison. Singing together. Daring each other on.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumtblur

One more. And then another. Two from the back row. One from the edge of the left hand side. Another from somewhere near the front. The beat has become like a hungry beast that is slowly striding around all areas of the room, picking up pace and strength and rhythm. Suddenly there are 18 drums in total pounding out this ever present beat.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

The anticipation is growing. The emotion is overwhelming. We all know the moment is soon. The drums tell us so. Any moment now my beautiful bride is going to burst in from the back of the room and slowly make her way down the aisle to me.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drummike

But time passes, and the beat is allowed to grow. To surge and move and create and invite. Every single person in the chapel is now completely caught up in this sound, this music, this invitation. Call to marriage.

SLAPP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

I am struggling to hold back the emotion. The day itself brings enough of its own, but now with this wild beast of percussive engagement pounding at my heart, my mind, my emotions, it feels like everything is about to let loose. And still the rhythm grows.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumwide

Was it two minutes or maybe ten? It is hard to tell any more. All that I know is the beat has taken us all prisoner and is holding us in its mesmerising grasp, readying us for that moment which is imminent. The moment that surely must be about to happen.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

And she arrives.

valarrive

Those without drums rise to their feet, but the drum beast is not finished yet. Surging in rhythm as the father walks her down to the front, towards me. And then says his final goodbye. The beautiful Valerie has made her entrance, and my blown awayness has a new source, and her being next to me has sucked all of the power out of the beat of the drums.

SLAP BOOM

The moment has arrived.

beatoni know people may think i’m biased, but that remains by far the best opening to any wedding i have ever been a part of and it is great to be reminded of it as we head towards our 6th anniversary – 11 July – which incidentally we will be spending celebrating the marriage of two of our good friends MJ and Ash and so i thought i would get this gem out a little earlier as that weekend there will be a huge focus on them.

[Marriage takes a lot of work and i have been privileged to share a whole bunch of different thoughts, ideas and stories from a number of different friends of ours who are in good marriages, and you can see a lot of those over here]

mc

I have often said that ‘Being Married to the Right Person’ is one of the best things in the World’ and I hold by that.

Not the easiest though. Or the most comfortable necessarily.

A large percentage of the people I know who have gotten married typically go through some kind of marriage counselling or preparation before the wedding day happens. Dealing with conflict and putting a budget together and decision-making and things like that.

Then the wedding day happens and it is like a fairly young child being thrown in to a swimming pool with the genuine belief that it will be okay and pick up swimming. Except maybe with even less supervision or the sense that if something goes wrong there is already someone in the pool or someone more than ready to dive in to rescue.

Kind of like how we put so much focus on the wedding day as if that was the big event as opposed to a huge celebration signifying the beginning of a big event. The wedding is not the thing. The marriage is the thing. And it sometimes feels like we don’t put enough emphasis on that.

The idea of ‘Marriage Counselling’ once someone is married is typically reserved for a moment of huge crisis or last resort.

Marriage, like money or sex, tends to be something we typically don’t speak a lot about, especially when things are a bit of a struggle or really going wrong, even with our closest friends. Because there is a shame factor. If my marriage is struggling then something must be wrong with me. So we tend to walk that road alone and do our best to figure things out with our partner and hope for the best.

What I want to suggest though is that this is a Taboo Topic that could really use a lot more conversation. It needs to be healthy conversation and it needs to be safe for both us and our partner and so we have to be clever about how we go about it.

I also want to suggest that Marriage Counselling within a marriage can be the most helpful thing . It doesn’t have to be only when things are falling apart, but can be a helpful way of helping you as a couple steer yourselves in a healthier direction, by picking up on blind spots that may be causing conflict or by giving you tools to help you to live together in a way that helps you serve each other better. In a way that helps you both to shine.

Let’s be honest – the commitment to spend the rest of your life living with someone else, sharing their space and your money and your bodies and more is an enormous thing. We should definitely be giving it a lot  more attention than most of us do. Learning from those who have successfully journeyed for a number of years and inviting a professional to sit with us and help guide, direct and counsel feel like two very powerful ingredients for a successful marriage.

tbV and I have benefitted from spending some time with an excellent counsellor – having someone who was on both of our sides who helped create a safe space for us to be able to work through some difficult things. Someone who helped suggest structures, rhythms and equip us with some tools to be able to do this marriage thing better. We have seen the results in our relationship.

I can highly recommend it. And am hoping to share some stories here from others who have experienced a similar thing. Don’t wait until you’re standing right on the edge of a cliff before calling out for help.

Taylorraephotography.com

Photo courtesy of Taylorraephotography.com

I’ll be the first to tell you that I suck at marriage. Let me give you an example.

A few weeks ago we were sitting on a bench outside a perfect little neighborhood boulangerie in Australia, eating pain au chocolat in the sunshine when Jonathan told me he was thinking of applying to grad school so that he could potentially start a program when we return from Korea. “What do you think?” he asked me.

Do you know what the first thing out of my mouth was? I’ll give you a hint – it wasnt “I think that’s great and I support you in your dreams of getting your Masters,” and it wasnt “Where do you want to apply? Let’s start thinking about how we could make that work.” It was (imagine this with an extremely whiny voice), “But if you start grad school right away we won’t have time to do any traveling after our contract is over because you will have to go back right away for school, and traveling is basically the entire reason I came to Korea!” I actually said that. While we were sitting on a sunny bench on an idyllic tree-lined street in the trendy part of SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.

I suck at Marriage, but my Marriage doesn’t suck – Lily Dunn

Of course, when I came to my senses later I apologized sincerely for how selfish and spoiled and inconsiderate I’d been. But the point is…that’s still the stupid first thing that came out of my mouth. Everyone knows that one of the first rules of relationships is to show support of the other person’s dreams and goals. But seven years into this relationship and I still can’t seem to manage that simple task. I think we can all agree that this was a fail.

*****

Sometimes I really suck at marriage. I have unrealistic expectations. I am moody and unpredictable. I am unsupportive. I am bossy. I am lazy. I am inconsiderate. I am whiny. I am demanding. I am terribly selfish. Jonathan is mostly perfect, but every once in a blue moon he loses patience with me too. He hurts my feelings. He pulls away because I’ve become too prickly to handle. We are broken people and we fail to love each other well in so many ways.

 And yet, we have an extraordinary, impossibly beautiful marriage.

*****

We aren’t the oldest and most experienced of married couples. We don’t have a perfect marriage. But we’ve learned some things along the way. We’ve learned we don’t believe in molding our marriage to meet anyone else’s expectations. Everyone seems to have an opinion – that we got married too young, that we should have kids by now, how our home should be run, who should be “in charge.” And we shake our heads and laugh. Because we aren’t interested in what anyone else thinks our marriage should look like. We aren’t interested divvying up our roles according to some chart or in having children based on someone else’s timeline, and we couldn’t care less about who is “in charge.” People say, “You’ve been together since you were nineteen? Aren’t you afraid that you’ve lost who you are?!” And we laugh again. Because we haven’t lost who we are. Together we are becoming the people we are meant to be.

Because our marriage isn’t about keeping score. It’s not about who’s pulling their weight or who’s in charge or who’s loving the best. It’s about heaping grace on one another until our marriage is dripping with it. It’s about soaking in that grace, from God and from each other, becoming so heavy with it that it overwhelms our disappointments, our failures, our hidden ugliness. It’s the kind of grace that changes us.

Our marriage is about understanding that every day of our lives together we are living out a miracle. It’s the miracle we wrote in our wedding vows, “I choose you, today and every day…” The miracle is not just that we fell in love when we were nineteen. And it isn’t just that we made these vows four Junes ago. The miracle is that when I come home from work each night Jonathan wraps his arms around me in a hug so big it lifts me up off of the floor. It’s that I chose him on my wedding day and I chose him again when I woke up this morning. That I will choose him tomorrow and that I will choose him on the day I die. The miracle is God giving two broken, unfaithful people the measure of grace necessary to choose this kind of love on a daily basis. The miracle is that after being together for seven years, I am still in awe that I get to choose him.

Sometimes I suck at marriage. But my marriage doesn’t suck.

Of course, when I came to my senses later I apologized sincerely for how selfish and spoiled and inconsiderate I’d been. But the point is…that’s still the stupid first thing that came out of my mouth. Everyone knows that one of the first rules of relationships is to show support of the other person’s dreams and goals. But seven years into this relationship and I still can’t seem to manage that simple task. I think we can all agree that this was a fail.

*****

Sometimes I really suck at marriage. I have unrealistic expectations. I am moody and unpredictable. I am unsupportive. I am bossy. I am lazy. I am inconsiderate. I am whiny. I am demanding. I am terribly selfish. Jonathan is mostly perfect, but every once in a blue moon he loses patience with me too. He hurts my feelings. He pulls away because I’ve become too prickly to handle. We are broken people and we fail to love each other well in so many ways.

 And yet, we have an extraordinary, impossibly beautiful marriage.

*****

We aren’t the oldest and most experienced of married couples. We don’t have a perfect marriage. But we’ve learned some things along the way. We’ve learned we don’t believe in molding our marriage to meet anyone else’s expectations. Everyone seems to have an opinion – that we got married too young, that we should have kids by now, how our home should be run, who should be “in charge.” And we shake our heads and laugh. Because we aren’t interested in what anyone else thinks our marriage should look like. We aren’t interested divvying up our roles according to some chart or in having children based on someone else’s timeline, and we couldn’t care less about who is “in charge.” People say, “You’ve been together since you were nineteen? Aren’t you afraid that you’ve lost who you are?!” And we laugh again. Because we haven’t lost who we are. Together we are becoming the people we are meant to be.

Because our marriage isn’t about keeping score. It’s not about who’s pulling their weight or who’s in charge or who’s loving the best. It’s about heaping grace on one another until our marriage is dripping with it. It’s about soaking in that grace, from God and from each other, becoming so heavy with it that it overwhelms our disappointments, our failures, our hidden ugliness. It’s the kind of grace that changes us.

Our marriage is about understanding that every day of our lives together we are living out a miracle. It’s the miracle we wrote in our wedding vows, “I choose you, today and every day…” The miracle is not just that we fell in love when we were nineteen. And it isn’t just that we made these vows four Junes ago. The miracle is that when I come home from work each night Jonathan wraps his arms around me in a hug so big it lifts me up off of the floor. It’s that I chose him on my wedding day and I chose him again when I woke up this morning. That I will choose him tomorrow and that I will choose him on the day I die. The miracle is God giving two broken, unfaithful people the measure of grace necessary to choose this kind of love on a daily basis. The miracle is that after being together for seven years, I am still in awe that I get to choose him.

Sometimes I suck at marriage. But my marriage doesn’t suck.

[To read more of Lily’s writing, make sure you check out her blog, ‘Such Small Hands: Searching for Purpose and finding Grace’]

Photo courtesy of grainandcompass.com

Photo courtesy of grainandcompass.com

[To read the next Marriage Year 5 post by Lindsay and Nate Brown, click here]

[To return to the beginning of the series and get glimpses from 45 years of marriage, click here]

Lushaneandmarco

When I was young, I always dreamed of being married & having children.

Today I am a proud wife & mother of 2 beautiful boys. Its is only by the grace of God that we are now able to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary on the 1st May 2014.

As with any marriage, there are many challenges and yes most of them not easy, but even though we were caught up in our problems at those times, GOD was ever present.

We believe that things happen for a reason and so many times we look back and say to each other: “Wow, so that’s why that happened!”

When our beautiful sons were born we thought goodness this is what we always wanted but the scary part is that we thought that we didn’t have to keep learning things and school was over for us, but we were wrong! It only just began…haha. From ABC to projects…how nerve-wrecking, challenging and yet exciting to see the joy on their faces.

A wedding takes time to prepare, cost a pretty penny and only lasts for a day. A marriage however requires patience, love, kindness, forgiveness and best of all lasts a lifetime! And on the plus side it is so much more rewarding to have GOD in the centre of it ALL!

So this is to the partner God has picked out just for me; amazing, kind, loving & the best father our sons could ever ask for! Thank you for travelling this journey with me, I’m having the time of my life on this rollercoaster…yeah!

[For the next post in this series on Marriage through the years with Richard and Wendy Sumner, click here]

[To return to the start of this series and take a look at Marriage through many years, click here]

shana

Hello. I’m Shana, and I have a husband. He’s Carl. 

We haven’t been married very long but we are married nonetheless. 

I’m not really a writer, so I’m not really going to make this sound good or write particularly well, but over the past 2 and a half years of marriage I’ve been putting together a mental list of things I’d like my single friends to know. Here goes (all harshness unintended):

1) When your married friends don’t invite you to their wedding, don’t take it as a personal slight. Weddings are expensive and making the decision of who to invite and who to leave off is extremely difficult. They don’t hate you, they just have to draw the line somewhere. Also, if you are bleak, please please please don’t tell them. It only really makes them feel more crap about the decision. If you’re in the position of planning a wedding one day, you’ll see what its like, and you’ll wish you were more understanding and made things more about them than you. They love you, I promise. And they’re probably as upset as you that they can’t have you there. 

2) When your married friends get back from honeymoon, don’t give them knowing looks, or slap him on the back in a what-a-man kind of way, or ask “soooo, how was it?”. Or worse: “soooo, how’s the sex?”. Sex is intimate, and personal and a little scary. And it certainly doesn’t involve you. Don’t make us embarrassed, or draw attention to our sex life in a public setting. We don’t want to talk to you about it. We want it to be private, we want to protect it. Its for us, not for you. And also, I’m pretty sure an honest answer might make you far more embarrassed than it makes us. 

3) When your married friends leave a social gathering early, please don’t make remarks about how we just want to go have sex. Firstly, if that was the case, well done, you just killed the mood. Secondly, most likely is we’re tired, and we work a lot, and we need sleep. And now going home means we don’t have to leave the person we love for the night, which is awesome. So we really just want to go home. I promise married people don’t only have sex, we do other things too (surprise). 

4) Please don’t ask your married friends when they plan on having kids. It’s like asking for a sex-schedule. if we want you to know, we’ll tell you. What if we can’t have kids? What if everything isn’t great? What if we just had a miscarriage or don’t want children at all? How would your question help in those scenarios? It wouldn’t. Also, everyone asks us, so it kinda gets old. 

5) Please don’t ask your married friends if they’re pregnant whenever they have gastro, or take a sick day, or look bloated. Don’t look at their fat tummy and make a comment. It’s just fat. We know it’s there. If we have news to tell you, we’ll tell you when we’re ready. 

6) We’re married. Which means that we’re going to be affectionate to each other in public. If it’s really overboard, of course you can tell us, we don’t want you to be uncomfortable. But we also don’t want to have to keep completely apart. Because we’re married, and that’s good. Please don’t roll you eyes or make comments when we move to sit next to each other or show our affection. 

7) We’re married (I think you’ve got that point by now though), which means some of our priorities and responsibilities have changed. It’s new for us, we’re also trying to get used to it. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to hang out with our friends. Which reminds me, please don’t refer to your friend’s wife as a “ball and chain”, or a “kill joy” or ask him if he needs “permission” to hang out. We’re not his mommy. And we really do value his friendship with you. We don’t want him to give that up. Ever. We want him to prioritise spending time with you. Just maybe understand that timing is sometimes an issue. 

I guess I could continue, but I prbably shouldn’t. Just know this: we love and value your friendship. Maybe you’re closer friends and you have the place to ask these questions, or make these jokes. But maybe not, and maybe doing so will hurt or embarrass us. So just think carefully next time. Let’s not make things awkward. 

Ok that’s me
Bye now

[For more thoughts from Alexa and Charles on what they would like their married friends to know, click here]

[For many other thoughts on all sorts of relationshippy things, head over here]

if you stopped reading after the ‘b’ this becomes a completely different post… so don’t.

the beautiful Val, in case you didn’t know, and yes only i get to call her that and really mean it in the way i do. [you can of course refer to her as ‘tbV’ th0ugh, and i love it when other people do, but it has also been fun to me through the years how so many of you have mistakenly changed it to ‘the lovely Val’ – which is also true]

we are on the way to having being married for 5 years and in that time we have transitioned three times [if you leave out the time Val left family, friends, home, church to some degree to move out to Stellenbosch when we got married – a huge ask!] from Stellenbosch to Philadelphia to Oakland [if you exclude lengthy stays at Che Houston in Kenilworth] which may not seem a lot [especially when you compare it to how many times her parentals moved in their first 20 plus years of marriage] it has been a whole lot for us. ‘

New place to stay, new country, new friends, new church, new food, no mayonnaise [to speak of] and so on.

So it has not all been easy and has definitely put strain on us as a couple of intense, seize-life-by-the-throat-of-its-balls, passionate people. But it has been an adventure and there is much more of that to come. Especially as we know that another transition looms ahead [with Americaland specifically asking us to be out by early August] and are not too sure of the specifics thereof. Or therein. Or therein of? Something.

And there have been so many, and i don’t have pictures of them all [which to some extent i am completely stoked about – some adventures we capture, some we just live] but i just wanted to take a moment to celebrate my beautiful lady. i love being married to you Val and these pictures are just a glimpse of some of the memories we have put together…um together… and looking ahead to many more.

i love and celebrate you, tbV:

 

As i have said before and will no doubt say again, being married to the right person is one of the greatest things in the world [and discovering more and more that you become the right people as you continue in your commitment of marriage to each other] and because i have such a heart for those in marriage doing it well, i have created a lot of space on my blog to focus on doing just that and so lots of amazing marriage resources, compiled by a whole big bunch of amazing people, are waiting for you over here.

%d bloggers like this: