My Wedding Taught Me How to Accept Love

Normally, I do absolutely everything in my power in order not to bother people. I do NOT like inconveniencing others, and will avoid asking for help at pretty much all costs. But that philosophy doesn’t really work well when you’re getting married. When you’re about to throw a 200-person party that you’ve been planning for hundreds of hours AND have to get the most dressed up you’ve ever gotten in your life AND have to coordinate with 10 different vendors AND have to get in the right headspace so you can be fully present when you get married, AND a million other little things, it’s just not physically possible to do it alone. It’s absolutely not possible. So on my wedding weekend, for the first time in my life, I allowed myself to completely and fully accept help from my friends, family, and professionals without feeling an OUNCE of guilt. And you know what? It was not only one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had, but also probably the most loved I’ve ever felt.

It made me wonder how much more fully I’d experience life if I allowed myself to give and take. Most often, I conserve. My personality type is very much prone to deep thinking, quiet time, reading, writing, and being by myself (If you’ve never heard of the Enneagram personality test, PLEASE MESSAGE ME ABOUT IT. YOU NEED TO TAKE THE TEST. I’ll probably write a whole new post about this!). It is physically difficult for me to leave the comfort of the mind and put my ideas into action. I offer myself through a screen by sharing my ideas, but it takes a lot out of me to offer myself in person. I love people, but I am so easily drained by socializing. No matter how much fun I have with my family and friends, I feel like I need to recover from all the effort it takes for me to interact.

Knowing my introverted tendencies, I was prepared to exert the absolute most energy I’ve ever exerted in my life when my wedding rolled around. And I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about that part. I was afraid of being overwhelmed by it all, and I wasn’t sure how I’d handle it. But when the time came, I got a taste of what life is supposed to be like. I was surrounded by my family and my best friends-people who love me! And I actually let them love me. Love looks like giving, sacrificing, prioritizing. It was really uncomfortable for me to ask my friends to fly to San Diego, take time off work, buy bridesmaids dresses, and spend time with me. It was really hard to know that my family flew from across the country, rearranged their schedules, and made it work to be at my wedding. It was really uncomfortable when my bridesmaids paid for my breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout our whole bachelorette weekend. I felt selfish! I couldn’t handle not being able to offer them anything in return. I couldn’t deal with being the recipient of so much generous love. But when I settled into the fact that they were giving me this gift regardless of whether or not I accepted it, I decided that if I didn’t just give up my fight to be self-sufficient I was going to miss out on a lot. So I decided to accept love and push the thoughts out of my head when they came to tell me I didn’t deserve this, or what if my friends all secretly didn’t want to be here, or what if people weren’t having a good time. I pushed those thoughts out, and I stopped worrying. I stopped and I just took the gift they were giving me. I took the gift God was giving me. And it felt amazing.

My wedding taught me how to accept love. Not from Devon- I already fought that battle & lost long ago. You know the battle where you can’t believe another person is willing to do the things they do for you? And you fight against it because it makes you feel a new level of vulnerability to accept sacrifices from another person who is not your parent? I learned that lesson- it doesn’t really work if Devon gives me love and I immediately try to give it back. Love requires accepting. And I finally learned how to accept it.

9.9.18

September 9th, 2018 was the most amazing day of my entire life. It could not have been more perfect- I married my best friend in the whole world!!! I’ve been dreaming of my wedding day since I was a little girl, so there was a LOT of anticipation. Now that it’s happened, I want to share my experience with as many people as I can, because I know firsthand just how overwhelming and challenging wedding planning can be. I have so many different things to share about my wedding, so I’m planning out lots more blog posts. So if you’re interested in following along, there will be A LOT more coming about what I learned during the whole process! But for now, I’ll just share a couple things.

Our wedding was in San Diego at a gorgeous botanical garden (If you’re getting married, definitely check out Ethereal Open Air Resort). Let me first start by saying that this venue was WAY over our budget. In fact, when we first went to tour it, I was angry with my mom for setting up a tour at a venue that was 100% too expensive. On that first tour, I was just trying to leave as quickly as possible- I didn’t want to entertain the idea of getting married there because I knew it wasn’t realistic. It was too good to be true, so I didn’t even want to be there. It’s like test driving a Mercedes when you know you’re probably going to end up with a Honda (Nothing wrong with Honda by the way, that will probably be my next car, haha!). My mom, however, is more of a dreamer than I am. So she started working her magic that day, and if you know my mom, she has some secret ability to get what she wants & win over pretty much anybody.

Long story short, we booked a DIFFERENT, cheaper venue first (it was not NEARLY as cute), canceled that booking, and by the grace of God got this venue at a steeply discounted rate. (If you’re wondering how the discount worked, we snagged the date that another couple had originally booked and then canceled, which came at a discount. We also booked a Sunday, which is cheaper than Friday or Saturday. And to top it off, my mom got on the phone with the owners of the venue and somehow got them to agree to a discounted rate in exchange for my dad editing together promotional footage of their venue for their own uses. She also milked the fact that the date we’d be getting married was Devon’s grandparent’s anniversary, so it was just meant to be! I have no idea how my mom does stuff like this. But she is completely the reason we got this venue. Oh, and the cherry on top? This venue is switching management and our wedding was one of the last to be booked before the prices TRIPLED. Insane. Thank you God!!)

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(Photo by Noemi Mejia)

Our engagement was six months, and if you know anything about the current state of wedding planning in our society, six months basically equals 3 weeks. Every wedding person my mom and I came into contact with- like at wedding gown boutiques, venue appointments, etc- basically peed their pants when we told them the wedding date. They’d be like, “Oh, September 2019?” and we’d be like, “No, September 2018! Like, the September in 4 months.” And I could literally see the beads of sweat forming on their upper lip as they started fast-walking around showing me their “in-house collection” of designer gowns that “wouldn’t require shipment”. Like calm down Lulu does it REALLY take that long to ship a wedding gown here? We learned quickly that if you listen to most wedding professionals, they like to have their ducks in a row WAYYY in advance. The average engagement time is about a year & a half. So I understand they are used to having much more time! But take it from me, it can be done in less time than you think! Surprisingly enough, six months actually felt like an eternity. I definitely was working very hard to get things done quickly, but I could barely handle the pressure that built up from the anticipation. When you’re planning any kind of event, whether it’s a fundraiser, a showcase, a competition, concert, whatever- it really taxes you. It’s like your mind has a tab open for that event at all times, and is constantly subconsciously aware of it. It drains your battery without you even realizing it. Six months was definitely enough for me! I take my hat off for brides who can deal with that build up of nerves & excitement for over a year!

 

When I got to the actual wedding day, I didn’t feel nervous when I woke up. It actually didn’t feel real yet… I couldn’t believe it was happening! The first thing I did that morning was go for a little walk by myself. I went to the cafe at our resort & picked up some tea and oatmeal, and then found a quiet spot to sit down. I spent about an hour there, reading my Bible, going over my vows, and just praying. That hour was one of my favorite parts of the day, and I’m so glad I was able to have that time. Everyone’s different, but I’m very introverted. I get overwhelmed easily, and I knew I would need some alone time to mentally prepare for what was about to happen. Marriage is a huge deal. It’s not just about the party and the decorations. In fact, it’s barely about the party and the decorations. Mostly, it’s about making a promise with another person and with God. And that’s a promise I do not take lightly. I loved being able to get in that mindset first thing that morning, and I’m so glad I did!

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The actual wedding day FLEW by!! It felt like it lasted a total of 15 minutes. Everyone warned me about this, and they were right! I wish I could go back and relive the whole day in slow motion. The amount of emotion I felt just from looking around and seeing all of my closest family and friends in one room was mind-blowing. I still feel so unbelievably thankful that everyone took time from their schedules, traveled from over 16 different states, and made it work to be there for me and Devon. It was the craziest, most amazing feeling ever!! I have never felt so much love and joy from so many people at once. And don’t even get me started on actually marrying Devon. I need about a million pages to write what that felt like. I’ll save that for another post, but I’ll start by saying that being married is the most wonderful thing I’ve experienced. I’m so excited because I know that as the years go on, love like this only grows deeper and stronger. From just a few weeks of living with Devon, I’m already a better person. He balances me out, he helps me grow, he pushes me to chase my dreams. He’s the reason I’m writing this blog post, because he doesn’t let me procrastinate on what’s important to me. He makes me the best version of me. And it’s such a beautiful thing. I can’t wait to write more, but for now, that’s all! Otherwise I’d never get off my couch and would spend a month straight writing about this! Thanks for reading along!! 

 

Satan Already Hates My Marriage

love, marriage, engagement advice, wedding planning, christian wedding planning, premarital counseling, marriage blogging, engagement blogging

   I’m barely engaged and Satan already hates my marriage. He hates that Devon and I have decided to join forces. He hates that we are going to make a powerful team, stronger together than we would be apart. He hates that we will see the worst in each other, but still love each other unconditionally. He hates every bit of it, and I have experienced the evidence of it.

   Devon proposed to me two weeks ago, but I’ve already felt moments where the pressure of wedding planning overtakes the joy of engagement. I’ve felt the enemy trying his very best to shoot arrows of anxiety at me about where the wedding will be, how much it will cost, or who we will invite. His goal is to distract me from the joy and purpose of our marriage and preoccupy me with the insignificant details of our wedding.

   I have a serious problem with the wedding industry right now. Fifty years ago, weddings were thrown together last minute, but marriages were built with endurance. Today, weddings are planned down to each petal in the bride’s bouquet- but it seems like marriages are thrown out when they aren’t easy anymore. And I feel like the way we treat weddings might have something to do with that.

Culture has it backwards. There are countless websites dedicated to wedding planning- The Knot. Wedding Wire. Brides.com. I’ve spent the past two weeks entrenched in wedding planning websites, and found that there are countless articles about finding the perfect nail polish color and the perfect bridesmaids dresses and the perfect consistency of icing on your wedding cake. But it’s all a huge wash! Because even the most picturesque wedding won’t keep your marriage strong. Why aren’t there any articles on these websites about how to prepare your heart for your actual marriage? You know, like, the part that lasts decades and comes after the ONE DAY of your wedding? Being in this generation of wedding obsession makes it really easy to get swept up in the hype of planning a magazine-worthy wedding. And I think it’s one way Satan has succeeded in distracting us from the core of what marriage is about.

There might not be much I can do about the way our culture has diluted the beauty of marriage. But I do have control over the way I view my own marriage and my own engagement season. I recognize that my wedding lasts one day, but my marriage will last my whole life!!! And I’m so excited for it!!! That’s why I will be putting more work into my future marriage than I do into the tiny details of my wedding. I will never stop putting work into my marriage, because all beautiful things require hard work.

You would never expect an oak tree to grow if you planted it on rocks and sand and never gave it water. On our wedding day, we will be planting the seed of our marriage. And we will be responsible for nurturing it and giving it what it needs to grow. So right now I’m focusing on the soil where that seed will soon go. I’m focusing on the dirt. It’s not polished and shiny like the wedding magazines portray. It looks more like prayer and honest conversations and instilling an undying determination to choose love even if you feel like digging up everything you worked to plant.

One day, I hope to write a book about wedding planning and never  mention color coordination, guest count, or flower centerpieces. I’ve been dreaming of my wedding day since I was a little girl, but now that I’m here, I realize it’s going to be even more beautiful than any of my dreams. And that has nothing to do with the decorations, and everything to do with the man who will stand across from me, the people who will stand with us, and the God who loves us enough to let us experience just a fraction of His love in each other.

love, marriage, engagement advice, wedding planning, christian wedding planning, premarital counseling, marriage blogging, engagement blogging

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12

 

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6

Single & Stung

I definitely didn’t fit the mold of the typical girl at my college. You know how every college has a different flavor and culture? Well I didn’t really fit mine. I was too feisty, too loud, too unconventional, and too sassy. I think most of the guys at my school thought I was a freak!! And I definitely picked up on that. And I was definitely hurt by it.

I felt like something was wrong with me! When I was talking to guys, even just casually on campus, I felt like most of them were kind of off-put by me. Like I was just too much for them to deal with. And so I would put this pressure on myself to act a bit more tame, try to fit the mold, and just be more normal! Ha! But really. I was struggling. I felt like I had to prove my value to them, and it wasn’t a good feeling.

And then, I met Devon. On the very first day we met, I got dared to eat a sour gummy worm off of the floor of the bleachers and did so with absolutely no problem…real smooth. He for sure thought I was insane. But for the next several months, I continued to act like a COMPLETE fool in front of him when we hung out with all our friends. In my mind, he was off-limits because I thought my friend liked him. So I just acted like my crazy self! And you won’t believe this, but I later found out that he LIKED that I was different! Something was different about him from the other guys too, and it matched my kind of different perfectly. But first let me rewind.

One day after one too many encounters with guys who brought out this ugly insecurity in me, I sat down by myself on the grass and wrote out a little letter to myself. It was a letter of encouragement, but it was fueled by frustration. I was so done trying to convince others that I was worth loving. I was irritated with the way I would beat myself up for just being authentic, and this letter was my way of putting an end to that mindset of desperation. It listed expectations I had for myself, the future man I would marry. Here’s a little bit of it:

“I do not want to date a man unless I am truly and genuinely excited about him. I want to be able to go on and on about how amazing he is, and tell everyone who asks about him how incredible he is. I don’t want to have to say “but he smokes” or “but he’s not super intelligent” or “he’s not very Christian” or “he’s a little rough around the edges”. I don’t want to have to pick up his slack. I’m not expecting perfection, but I am expecting him to desire God as his first priority. I want to be on the same page as him, the same level, the same playing field. And yet while I expect this from someone else, am I worthy of the kind of man I am holding out hope for? Does the kind of man I want see all the qualities he hopes for his future wife reflected in me? Am I matching up to what I’m demanding?

The point of marriage is to make me a better woman in the eyes God. The man I’m waiting for will challenge me and grow me, he will coax my dreams out of my hesitant heart and encourage me to make them a reality. I won’t settle for a man who is after anything other than becoming one with God. I won’t settle for a man who I have to make excuses for. And he also won’t let me make excuses for myself. The point of marriage is not just to make me feel good about myself or to become unhealthily infatuated with. The point of this relationship is not just to have someone to waste time with when I’m bored. There is a bigger picture, a bigger reason for this union, and that reason is to draw us closer to God. I will push him, and he will push me. Together we will become better. We will bring out the best in each other. We will remind each other of our mission. We will wake up each morning and pull each other along.

It’s important that I’m ready for this. Or is it? Will I ever be ready? I don’t think that I will ever be prepared or equipped to handle a marriage. Apparently nobody is ever ready until they do it. While I might not be ready, I will be willing to keep trying. Relationships are exhausting. Relationships require us to choose each other every single day. But trials will only strengthen our relationship. We will become too strong to break-nothing will tear us apart. There will be ups, and there will be downs. But I will trust this man with my entire life. I will know he is capable of protecting me and our family. I know he will be willing to lay his own life down for mine and for our children. I know this man is made of strength and humility. I know that he wants a deep love with me and I know that he wants to please God. I speak about this man with confidence, because I am speaking the things into my life that I want to see. God honors bold prayers and specific desires, and I am confident in the man he will unite me with.”

Little did I know that when I wrote this, I had already met the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with!! He was less than a mile from me at that very moment, and in less than 6 months after writing this, we were dating. I wrote this with the determination to wait for God to paint my love story in vivid color instead of trying to scribble my own with a broken pencil. And I can say with such incredible joy that God answered my prayer ten times over and blesses me so immensely through Devon every day!!

So if you’re single on Valentines Day and sad about it, I get it. And I’m sorry, because I’ve been there too. But my advice is to tell God what you want. He already knows, but still tell Him so you can remind yourself. Speak boldly over your future and wait with determination. Ask for patience and practice being thankful no matter the circumstance. I know it can be so lonely, but God has infinitely more love to give you in your loneliness than than the wrong man ever will in his embrace.

Being a People Pleaser Almost Cost Me My Virginity

I used to label myself as a people pleaser to justify the fact that I was just too scared to stand up for myself.

Most situations were harmless, like lying to my waiter when he’d ask how I liked my food. I did that for my ENTIRE life up until the past few years, and it’s not really a huge deal. Thankfully, I have now discovered the freedom that comes with the courage to send back gross food! If I’m paying money for it, it needs to be quality- The Cheesecake Factory can handle the loss of throwing away one plate of nasty pasta!

Anyways, being a people pleaser isn’t always a bad thing. People who have this tendency are usually some of the most kind, empathetic, and thoughtful people. But getting in the habit of deferring to others can quickly become a slippery slope.  I learned this the hard way.

I have always known that I wanted to save my virginity for my wedding night. I was brought up that way, and it is my personal decision to honor God, my future husband, and myself. But I almost threw all of that away because I was so terrified of letting another person down.

I dated a guy in high school who pretended to respect the boundary I’d drawn for our physical relationship, but actually just did a great job at hiding the fact that his goal was to gradually push the line further and further until I broke my promise of purity.

I thankfully never broke that promise, but my strength to say no was considerably weakened over time! My boyfriend’s persistent badgering ended up in me compromising more than I wanted to, and I suffered from it. I allowed my fear of disappointing him to become stronger than my personal convictions. From this experience, I learned that being a people pleaser is really code for being trapped within the confines of others’ expectations of you.

When you hate rocking the boat, but your boyfriend keeps asking you to take off your bathing suit top even when you’ve repeatedly said no, you might not say anything when he takes it off anyways and then turns it into a joke. (This was a different boyfriend, yikes!!) I can’t tell you the amount of times I was repeatedly pressured by guys to go physically farther than I was willing to.

This isn’t me anymore, but it used to be. I consistently prioritized the happiness of others over my own values. I wish I could say I stuck up for myself more, but it took some bad experiences for me to grow into the outspoken person I am today. These experiences taught me to wait until I found a man who respects me enough to wait until marriage without pushing the limits. And in that journey of learning to stand up for myself, I ended up with a man who exceeds my wildest dreams and shows me what real love looks like each day. He has brought me so much healing through the way he respects me! (Read more about that here)

From all this, I’ve learned that I won’t always be able to make others happy. And that’s okay, because that’s not my job!

If someone is pushing you to compromise your values, moral convictions, or safety, then they can deal with being let down. They’ll survive.

Never let your fear of hurting others result in hurting yourself, and never compromise your standards for another person’s happiness.

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How To Know If Your Boyfriend Respects You

  1. He always snapchats you right when he wakes up.
  2. He wears nice jeans when you go out together.
  3. His favorite color is red.
  4. He only chews spearmint gum.

Does anyone else come across advice as meaningless as this list as often as I do? There is no shortage of subjective articles on how to interpret the spineless romance our generation has now settled for. But these articles, while usually well-meaning, are most often hollow and misguided. They promise sound advice, but are frustratingly devoid of legitimate substance, throwing out inconsequential examples of affection with little to no relevance to true respect. Sometimes, the people clicking on these articles are genuinely desperate for tangible advice, and petty examples just don’t cut it.

I believe my generation especially is suffering from a lack of understanding in this area. It seems like we are struggling to identify true respect.  If you’re not happy with the relationship you’re in, no matter how serious or casual it is, let’s be real.

You don’t need an article to tell you if you’re being disrespected- you already know.

If you’re reading this with a specific person in mind, chances are that you already knew if they respected you before you clicked on this. You can tell if you are being treated honorably without reading an article about it. But sometimes, it takes a little encouragement to come to terms with the truth.

I’ve been in several relationships that I knew I shouldn’t have been in, but continued to accept disrespect simply because I didn’t have the courage to fight for anything better. (Read more about that here)

So my aim is to encourage you not to do what I did. If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who does not know your worth, it’s not a bad idea to rethink your participation in that relationship. Or, at the very least, consider how you might open up communication about improving your relationship. Often times, your guy might just need a little clarification as to what you expect from him. For example, communicating that you’d like to be walked to your door or to your car when being dropped off is something that can easily be worked on. But if you are seeing consistent red flags that you know aren’t going to change, that’s a different story.

re·spect
rəˈspekt/

verb
1. admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

 

To break it down: when you are being shown respect, you are being admired for your:

abilities
qualities*
achievements

(*Side note: Although our physical qualities can be beautiful, true respect is not earned based on physicality. Respect is earned based on character qualities. If a guy is interested in you only for what you look like, or what you can give him physically, you are not being shown respect. I could write a whole book about that from personal experience, but I’ll save that for later.)

Although I believe most people know when they are being respected, I can give three personal examples of how I know my boyfriend Devon respects me:

  1. He listens to me. He values and trusts my opinion, and makes it a priority to listen to what I am thinking and feeling. He works to understand me, and asks questions when he doesn’t get what I’m saying. He makes it a priority to know what’s going on in my heart and in my mind!
  2. He builds me up. He encourages me every single day, and pushes me to be the best version of myself. He helps me set personal goals, and celebrates my victories as if they were his own. He also builds me up publicly, telling others about how proud he is of me and showing me off. He makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to!
  3. He sacrifices for me. He does this with little things- like walking on the side of me that’s closest to the street to protect me, giving me the best bite of dinner, or paying for my food. He also does this with bigger things- like giving up sleep to stay up late with me when I’m feeling lonely, spending time with me even when he has a crazy schedule, and working really hard to be able to take me out to nice places and make me feel special. No matter what it is, I know he is willing to sacrifice for me.

I’m never left wondering if Devon respects me. I am confident of it without a doubt, because of these reasons and so many more. He respects me, and I respect him- it’s a two-way exchange. In a relationship, respect needs to be mutual. So if you clicked here knowing you’re not being shown respect, I’ve been there too. Just don’t stay there.

 

“Be devoted to one another in love, and outdo one another in showing honor” Romans 12:10

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