|Here Comes The Bride|
Last week I hosted a bridal shower for my cousin who is getting married in two short weeks. Her sister Rachael, fresh off an LDS mission served in England, helped me carry it out.
We had a great time. I cracked open my box of craft supplies and mustered up some creative energy to make some sweet decorations with a gold and pink theme. Rachael had us playing fun games and sparking discussions to help us get to know each other better. Even though we're family, that side just doesn't meet together as often as we should so when we do get face-to-face we try to live up the moments.
|Adorable tutorial HERE for making these cute pennant banners (mine were 2x the size described)|
In countless other bridal showers I've been to for family members, there are typically women attending who have years of marriage experience. They write things down or verbally express pieces of advice for the new bride, all while pouring hope and optimism on her and blessing her with an eternity of happiness with her chosen man. I have enjoyed witnessing this happen because it gives me a glimpse into the intimacies of the advice-giver's marriage.
Marriage is a very intimate, very private thing that is more often than not celebrated in an extremely public manner. The marriage of two people can bring together hundreds of people from family to friends to coworkers and more. This is one reason why communities celebrate the occasion. But I have recently realized that the celebration, the preparation, the plans, and - let's face it - the budget, all have only one focus: the wedding. The wedding lasts a few minutes, maybe a little more. The marriage? It has eternal potential.
In my religion, marriage is regarded as a commandment from God, an ultimate goal. I wish I had been more prepared to experience it as less of a social and spiritual peak and more of a transformative undertaking. I remember being an excited bride. Happy to be the center of attention and happy with the man I chose. In all my optimism and excitement, however, I failed to recognize how tall and rough the mountain in front of me was. How huge the undertaking. How marvelous the adventure. Even if I had, it couldn't prepare me for what I have experienced so far.
The advice I received at my own family bridal showers was valuable but it was relative. Each bit was given to me from the perspective of my family members' own marriages. How could they prepare me for my own? They couldn't. They could only tell me in the undertones of their words that they have experienced the ups and downs of the meaningful relationship between spouses and had grown from it and that I would too.
The past year has delivered many challenges I could not have predicted and those challenges have impacted my relationship with my husband. So far, it's all been for the better. If I felt wise enough to pass along advice to others who find the opportunity to take on the challenge of marriage it would be:
Avoid glorifying marriage as some sort of goal to hang on your wall of accomplishments. Instead look at it as a rewarding, potentially eternal experience put in place to help us understand the meanings of permanence, selflessness, humility, and other Christ-like attributes.
I have high hopes for my cousin and her soon-to-be husband and, judging by the laughter I hear when they're together, I'm sure they'll have no shortage of happiness.