My Beautiful Struggle + [story]

dresses and flowers and reception halls, oh my!

what a wonderful evening. after 4 long, torturous days of mum, the facebook status was finally updated and KLM's engagement was made public knowledge. long story on the mum part, but tonight i saw the shine of the ringy ring ring and there was nothing but excitement and bridal magazines to be had.

in general, i enjoy a good wedding. i love the feeling of hope and promise. i'm not so idyllic to know that it's all sunshine and roses, but from my 4 years i can tell you that when it's good, it's good (and i hear it just keeps getting better). like parenting and families in general, if it's not hard at times, it's probably not worth it. love is worth it.

which makes this wedding particularly exciting for me. not only is she a fabulous girl, but i think they have a wonderful relationship to start with. both have experienced enough life to know their own hangups and shortcomings - and to love themselves and one another for it. as they prepare for life together it's clear that the vows they'll take are not just words repeated after a man holding a book, but rather promises of how to live and decisions to make.

we're super excited about mingling the right flowers and avoiding the local caterer chicken breaksts, not to mention my extreme interest in making the reception efficient (take all the time doing pictures you want, but once you enter that reception, you're on my clock). but i'm also excited to see how they meld together as a couple, beginning to function and make decisions as a unit.

this is where i have so much hope for the church (at work, we'd call this an "area of growth opportunity"). now, i don't know all the pastors in the world. actually, i know like 5. and of those 5, i know how 2 of them do premarital counseling. so far, i'd give 2 thumbs down. i think we just make the assumption that because 2 adults come to the decision that they want to get married that we should just toss them into the mess and see how they come out. btw, the blame just isn't on pastors - the church has many more resources to offer couples if we just knew how to bring it together. now, i don't think we need to go into deep psycological counseling of childhood issues, but i think there are some very fair questions that we need to ask of young couples as they're preparing to become one. not just "who balances the checkbook" but "how do you spend $$ differently? how do you become ok with the others' spending habits?" there has to be ways to help couples begin to ask questions of themselves, and each other, that challenge them to open up.

i think our counseling should also challenge us to ask how we might need to change. that's a very unpopular thought (you're supposed to just be loved for who you are, right?). but i had a thought pop up in the recent history that said maybe divorce happens because we give up hope - and generally the hope we give up is that God can't/won't "change them". but maybe if we were asking God to change us, some of the problems could be navigated or managed. after all, we can't control people, but we can control our reactions to them. (**incredible disclaimer: this is not a blanket statement about all divorces or all couples or all situations. especially where there's abuse involved. it's just a what-if thought, that's all.)

so i'm wondering... what questions would have best helped me prepare for life with another? and granted, there's no way to *really* prepare for marriage. there is an element of "everyone in the pool!" but maybe there are some thoughts to ponder about myself and my beliefs about marriage that would be good on the front end. i'm just wondering what they are.

what do you wish somone would have asked you before you got married?