Ahhhhhh being in love. It’s a beautiful, precious, wonderful thing, isn’t it? Joshua and I were engaged for fourteen months, and it was a blast telling people about the plans and making all the plans themselves. And now we’ve been married for almost two months, and it’s lovely telling people about where we went for the honeymoon and how married life is.
Over the past few months, I’ve had SO MANY Facebook/Instagram peeps get engaged or married. So fun! I love seeing the wedding pictures, and when I see them in person I usually excitedly ask, “How’s the wedding planning going?” or “How was the wedding?”
But here’s the thing. When I was engaged, after a few months, I got tired of answering the same questions. “When’s the date?” “What does your dress look like?” “What are your colors?” “Where are you getting married?” “Where are you going on your honeymoon?” “Are you excited?” “Who’s doing your hair?” I remember giving the same generic answers but trying to sound upbeat. Because I really was excited! (Duh.)
However, I wanted to go deeper. I know that everyone who asked had good intentions, I really do. (Most of the people reading this probably asked me those same questions.) I don’t dislike them for asking, but I have to tell you: the best and most encouraging conversations I had before my wedding were much deeper than decorations and the honeymoon destination. I wanted to talk about my dress and my hair and the plans and how stressed I was and how pumped we both were, but I wanted to tell people how burdened I was to become an excellent wife. And a few people gave me that opportunity.
Think about the engaged young ladies in your life. How have you encouraged them recently? How have you CHALLENGED them recently? I realize that I have fallen short on this. True story: this morning in church, I approached a newly engaged young lady and asked her those same surface questions about excitement and dates and the like. But are those really the important parts of the engagement?
I propose (pun intended) that engagement is an opportunity to, yes, plan the wedding day of your dreams, but it is so much more than that. Our engagement was a period of time for Joshua and I to begin to make decisions together. It began our journey to oneness. Honestly, wedding planning is super stressful. But the best wedding planning happened when we could laugh together at how petty I was, or hold each other and imagine the life to happen after the wedding.
How can you encourage the ladies around you who have wide eyes, fluttery hearts, and a thousand wedding pins bouncing around inside their head?
- Ask how you can pray for them. Everyone loves being told, “I’m praying for you,” but ask for specific requests. Pursue those requests. If she tells you, “Please pray that my fiance/husband finds a job,” ask her about it every so often.
- Pray WITH them! If the timing is right and you have a few minutes to have a heart-to-heart, grab her hands and pray with her.
- Ask deeper, soul-searching questions, like “What are you most excited for in marriage?” or “How are you preparing your heart to become a wife?” or “How are you encouraging your fiance to prepare to be a husband?” The details of a wedding are nice, but the memories will eventually fade and all that will be left is the man beside her.
- Recommend books/sermons/podcasts/articles. My momma and momma-in-law both bought and recommended books for hubs and I. Because of that, we had great discussions leading up to the wedding, and were able to do a devotional book together. Again: engagement is the perfect time to discuss goals, routines, plans, and other decisions for AFTER the wedding, not just ABOUT the wedding.
- Ask how you can help. Seriously. A few years ago I saw on Pinterest something that said “When people offer to help with your wedding, LET THEM!” and I tried to do that with mine! Yes, some brides will turn you down (like I’m sure I did to some people…oops) but you may end up really giving her what she needs, whether it’s crafting favors, baking cookies (blessings on you ladies), or folding programs.
I hope this is an encouragement to those of you who have contact with engaged ladies! The same applies to after the wedding. The details are lovely to recollect, but ask the deeper questions. Make time to cultivate relationships with the wide-eyed young lovers who are so excited yet so nervous to begin life together.
Disclaimer: As I said in the beginning, I completely understand that those who asked me these questions had the best intentions and genuinely care about me and my husband. This post is in no way meant to offend or discourage anyone.
Bonus: Please don’t ask brides when the babies are going to come along. Pregnancy is a very personal thing. And for the sake of all that is good and wholesome in this world…please stop telling my husband to practice saying, “Yes dear” to make all of his ‘problems’ go away.
To everyone who did ask the deeper questions and invested in me, thank you!