Tag Archive: wedding

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.




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.




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.




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.




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.



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.




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.



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.




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.



And she arrives.


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.


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]


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.

with the theme of ‘Kiss’ there are certainly a lot of different interpretations i could have given to this week’s challenge, but the one that i have to share so obviously rises above all of those and that is a kiss between my wife Valerie [aka tbV – the beautiful Val] and myself on my wedding day… but as i searched for the picture i was wanting to use, namely this one which for me symbolises the start of a new journey of ongoing Love and affection:


i couldn’t help but choose to include this one as such a powerful image captured by a combination of sweet accident and the alertness of a talented photographer absolutely ready for anything that presented itself:


this one for me speaks of the kind of fairy-tale imagining you figure must be going on in the mind of the silent observer with a sense of ‘that might be me some day’ and so hope, Love and the greatest of expectation…

[For the previous Photo Challenge on the theme of ‘Unique’ click here]

with the theme of Love, the first thing that springs to mind has to be God and the beautiful Val… and so the most natural pics to choose would be linked to both, so out of the thousands i chose these two from our wedding, the time of us celebrating and officialising our Love before God and friends… the first one i would title ‘catching the first glimpse’ as this was the moment that tbV walked into the chapel in all her stunningness and beauty and you can see this guy was captured…

Catching the first glimpse

then secondly there is a picture of us just enjoying the moment – another love, the mutual appreciation we have for the colour purple, is clearly displayed in this pic and just a sense of taking a moment in a life-transforming ceremony of significance to let the moment really sink in…

Purple Love

and finally one of the happy and muchly in Love couple as we set out on what has so far been a three and a half year journey of life, Love, challenges, commitment and adventure… this is my girl whom i much Love…

happily ever after


[For the previous Photo Challenge on the theme of ‘Illumination’ click here]

yesterday tbV and i attended the wedding of some friends we have made in americaland, namely Kristin and the Beatles [as i call Matt, cos to me he looks like 2 or more of the Beatles rolled into one] and had a really fun time.

the wedding was outside and the highlight of the event [apart from all of the wedding-related stuff of course] was this young flowergirl who completely messed up her job and yet somehow got the equivalent of a standing ovation [that sitting people can give] from the crowd…

and my explanation will do it absolutely no justice at all, but let me try – the audience had formed a semi-circlish kind of shape and the seven bridesmaids had walked through one after another building the expectation and with gentle music playing in the background as everyone awaited their first glimpse of the lovely bride… enter flowergirl…

young, pretty, dressed nicely and walking along with her basket of flower petals grabbing handfuls of them [‘grabbing’ in the way that a heavy metal lead guitarist would as opposed to the more graceful ‘grabbing’ one might use to describe a heart surgeon carefully reaching past a crucial artery] and throwing them at [as opposed to ‘gently and lightly tossing them into the air so that they might settle like a flock of gently settling doves after a synchronised flying aerial display] the ground [in the way that the previously mentioned heavy metal rocker might ‘gently lay down’ his guitar at the end of a set into thousands of tiny scattered guitar shards] and having most of them land on her top… before savagely [well, as savagely as a prettily dressed flower girl might be capable of] turning the basket over and emptying the rest on the ground just over half way to the front…

and the response to this messed up, ungraceful, wedding-holding-up display? applause… thunderous applause… as thunderous as a [well, by now i’m thinking you get it, it was pretty thunderous]

because it was a wedding. and she is a young girl. and the crowds were gathered for a celebration. and everyone was in the spirit of love and life and wonder and grace and joy. and because no other response would have felt close to being the right one.

she didn’t steal the show from the married couple, because it was a wedding and the marrying couple deserve and win the majority of the love and support and celebration… but she did provide an extra unscripted moment of unity and surprise and fun.

and this morning as i thought back to that delightful event, i thort to myself, imagine if we could treat all forms of ‘failure’ or ‘accident’ or ‘mishap’ like that… what if we chose to celebrate the person, rather than the action? what if we decided that the ‘failure’ [which, at least for a few more years, we cannot go back into the past and make any changes to] was just something to learn from or to save for ‘remember that time when you’ stories and chose not to get angry or frustrated or make people feel stupid? what if, time after time, we chose people rather than things?

what if, we chose to take the stance of the wedding crowd more often than we currently do?

i said to my beautiful wife Valerie the other day something along the lines of ‘what do people write statuses [stati?] about on Facebook if they are not entering into a relationship or having a baby? [or these days in americaland making some kind of staunchly pro this party or anti that one political statement] as it just seemed like the majority of statuses [stati?] i was reading were about one of those…

and two things come out of that, the one for those of you who are not the ones celebrating is this:

it is easy to get caught up in the fact that in the last week you have witnessed thirteen new relationships, seven new engagements, two weddings and heard that four of your friends have announced their pregnancy, an adoption came through and two other friends had a baby just from reading statuses [stati?] on Facebook…

it can begin to feel like a deluge and “aw no, not another one” can quickly become the response and the temptation to write some less than authentic comment on the latest pic can be strong…

but it is important to remember that for each individual involved it is not “another one”, it is their one. it is important and significant and it is beautiful and worth celebrating and it is special and life-changing [at least for today but probably for the rest of their lives] and that as much as it might feel like a deluge for you, the witness, for them it is unique… and has to be treated that way.

[which may be extremely tough if you are the person who has just broken up with your significant other, or been broken upped upon, or not been able to fall pregnant, or lost a child]

and so the call to get your mind into that place of realising that each announcement or declaration or celebration that happens on the social networks you are a part of, means something significant to the people posting/sharing it and to not simply treat it [even in your mind] as “aw, another one” but to try and celebrate with your friends and let them grasp the fullness of the uniquity of their occasion.

i think a great way of doing that is by stepping beyond the social network – making a phone call or taking them out for some caffeine-enriched beverage or inviting them round for a meal or something live where you can face to face [or mouth to ear] let them know that their thing is a big deal… and you choose to celebrate with them.


to make sure you are aware of the deluge in your unique, read this

the story so far: the beautiful Val is in south africa for the wedding of her younger sister. i am not.

tonite i cleaned house. earlier i was lying in the place of inspiration [the bath] and God spoke to me about a bunch of stuff i already knew [as you do] and about the serious need for me to, well, get serious, if i didn’t want to get to the end of my time here at the Simple Way and regret a whole bunch of stuff i didn’t do because of all the distractionary things i do do. [hee hee]

and so there was a literal cleaning of house that happened [don’t tell Val, she’ll fall over] so i cleared up our room, the computer room, did the dishes, emptied the dustbins and cleaned out the compost and vacuumed the hallway and our room and neatened up a bunch of stuff.

i wrote a note or two to some good friends that i felt lead towards writing some truth and love and encouragement to and for. and that was good. teas were close.

and then i put into place the things that needed to be put into place to clear up some of the other distractionary things that have been allowed to roost or take root in my life. and it is looking good.

there are two difficult things about that:

[1] the first is that i can justify a lot of them – there is a lot of good linked to some of the distractionary things and there is some good [simply that they are a distraction which can be a good thing sometimes i think] linked to others of them. but just because something can be good does not mean it is the best and so sometimes good has to be put aside or sacrificed for the sake of the better. and in some of them they had been right and good had been achieved [or maybe as He tends to do, God simply brought good through something that was not necessarily good?]

As i was clearing up i found a note i had made from some preach i attended that read “I won’t negotiate at the table of the enemy” which I really like and hope to make a stronger motto in my life.

[2] the second one is the fear that i will just find another distraction to replace the ones i have gotten rid of and it is a very real fear cos i have seen that happen before in my life and it is a very real possiblity. but not one that should cripple me from doing the right thing now ad if such a time comes that there is a different procrastionationary thing wasting my time, then i will kill that too. but part of getting rid of things that waste time in a bad way is the desire to replace them with positive dstractionary things… like reading more, playing guitar again, joining the gym, writing, reading the Bible more at a time, spending time with people in our community, dreaming up community- and world-changing ideas… being still and knowing.

if i have been a little vague here, that’s okay because it is not for you to know the specifics of what has caused me distraction. but to question what does that to you? tv, music, sport, facebook games, cellphone, world of warcraft…

it is so easy to get sucked into meaningless stuff and then have a moment of wait-a-second, Jesus called me to live life to the full – WHAT AM I DOING?

i know what i’m doing. i’m putting it right. well i’m going to try. feel free to cheer me on.

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