Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still His Bride

My beautiful "little sister in Christ," Marie, and her new husband, Chuck. Credit for the picture goes to Sun Lee--amazing photographer; if you're in the LA area and need photographs for any occasion, look him up!

Something struck me as I was helping my dear friend, Marie, prepare for her wedding this past weekend: Her groom was always on her mind. And, I don't just mean that she was thinking of how much she adores him (which she clearly does). I mean that, as she made decisions throughout the weekend and explained some of her choices about the wedding, it was clear that she was making such decisions with Charles in mind.

"I told my stylist not to make me look too made up or to do anything crazy with my hair," she explained to me when I commented on how much I liked the simplicity of her hair and make-up. "I told her I want to look like me. Chuck loves me the way that I look; so I wanted to make sure I looked like me."

She wore her hair down, she told me, because Chuck likes it that way.

In every family wedding, Marie has danced a traditional hula dance to a love song. She danced it, for the last time, at her own wedding. She said it was the first time she truly understood the dance and the song, the first time she'd felt anything while dancing it, and she wanted to give that gift to Charles.

Of course, some things Marie chose because she likes them. And, there were plenty of things that Charles did because he knew they would be special to Marie. My point is simply that it was plainly evident to anyone--we bridesmaids, guests at the wedding, the videographer, even the caterers, probably--that Marie wanted to please Chuck, to make him happy, to let him know how special he is to her.

I think that many brides are like this on their wedding day--at least I was, and I sincerely hope that other women would be, too. What struck me was the thought that, all too often, this desire to please our husbands can evaporate after the honeymoon. Not all at once, certainly, but slowly over time, it fades. The wife, once a starry-eyed bride, falls into a routine. Or, she simply starts taking her husband for granted.

She doesn't always stop to think, now, about what meals he might like best this week. She wears her hair any old way, not bothering to inquire how he thinks it prettiest. She buys the clothes that catch her eye without any regard for the fact that he prefers blue to green or that he thinks ballet necklines, rather than crewnecks, are best at showing off her lovely neck. She no longer greets him with a beaming smile and a kiss when he walks in the door in the evening; instead, she plops down on the couch or shouts from the kitchen that dinner will be late.

This is to be expected. None of us can be bubbly and effusive all the time. Sometimes, we are too burned out with the stresses of homemaking and motherhood to keep our husbands as the apple of our eye every hour of every day. We are only human. But, our husbands are human, too. And, it begs reminding that we humans like to be thought of and yearn to be appreciated and cherished.

In our wedding vows, we do promise to cherish our husbands. What does that mean to you? Are there small ways that you can show your husband he is cherished? Remember to mention to him what you're doing, not to fish for appreciation but just to let him know that there's a point to your specially prepared dinner or wearing his favorite earrings. Men often don't put two-and-two together that that thing you just did that he likes was for him.

And, if you don't think your husband deserves to be cherished right now...think again. Okay, maybe he doesn't. Nevertheless, you vowed to cherish him--with no caveats, no strings attached. Remember how you felt on that day, how much you wanted to please your groom. Your husband is still that man. You are still that bride. Think how you would feel if, after a truly wretched week when you'd shouted at everyone and been utterly miserable to live with, your husband called a baby-sitter for the evening, met you at the door with flowers, and took you out to your favorite restaurant for dinner? You'd feel truly cherished--even moreso because you didn't deserve it. And, wouldn't it just turn your sour attitude around and make you feel like a new woman, a beloved bride who wanted to draw nearer to the husband she'd been spurning for the past week?

Cherish him. Do it because you promised to. Do it because God calls you to. Do it because he's that man whose proposal you accepted. Do it because you're still his bride--even if you've been his wife for years.


My own beloved groom and myself dancing our first dance to "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. He still calls me his bride, and it makes my heart melt when he does.

12 comments:

  1. Most encouraging and inspiring. Thank you for writing this.

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  2. Bethany, I needed to read this today. After 21 years of marriage I am blessed to stand with an extraordinary man and I love my husband dearly. Yet there are times when "cherish" does not exist in either of our vocabularies. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

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  3. This is so true! Thanks for this reminder!

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  4. Such words of wisdom.... thanks for sharing.... I appreciate your blog. Thankful I found it!

    blessings,
    Teena

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  5. I feel blessed to have found your blog. As a young wife I need readings like this to inspire and remind me how to keep my husband's love alive.

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  6. Hi Bethany, you are just turning out so many excellent posts as I near my marriage to BG. I feel so fortunate to hear your advice!

    What resonated with me most was the idea that while yes, you are indeed human and allowed to feel frustrated and tired, so is your husband. Often times, for me, when I am feeling negative or short with BG, I feel thoughts of, "Well, I'm allowed to get angry sometimes!" creeping in. Sure, I'm allowed to be annoyed or frustrated, but at the same time, my fiance is human and craves the same love, appreciation, and gentleness that I crave as well. If we can communicate gently and lovingly, the anger seems to just melt.

    It sounds like the wedding you attended was filled with the spouses' love for one another and for Christ, how wonderful.

    P.S. After 27 years, my dad still says "Bride," to my mother. You're blessed to have such a sensitive husband! If you feel inspired to write more about marital issues over the next month, please know I'd love to read in preparation for the big day.

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  7. Could you please tell me where your mother ordered your daughter's baptismal certificate? I just love it...and would like to find one similar for my little one. Thank you.

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  8. Katy- Here's the link:
    http://www.victoriancertificates.com/birth.html
    She also got one for my son that I can't wait to frame! (It's a different design than my daughter's, but is also available on this site.)
    ~Bethany

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  9. What a beautiful reminder! That really made me think, and take stock of my attitudes. I am amazed by how I can think I know something (particularly regarding biblical truths), yet God uses someone else's words to show me things in a new light. Thanks for challenging me!

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  10. This past Tuesday, my husband and I have been married for 47 years (July 7th). It never hurts to remind ourselves that we need to remember what we were thinking on our wedding day.....We did just that last night and what we had hoped and dreamed and what we accomplished, etc. It turns out we made out quite well. We both are Christians and try to follow the Lord.....People are so amazed when we tell them how long we have been married. It is because we both meant it when we took our vows.

    Jodaju

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  11. Wise, true and lovely thoughts, Bethany. I wish I was as talented as you in being a truly inspiring blogger. This post made me think and question myself in a way I needed to do. Thank you!

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