Posted by: anakalia66 | January 30, 2008

Going to the Chapel

 This year, 2008, is an important one in my life. I am engaged to be married on April 13. Yes, I am very happy. Yes, I have been waiting for this moment all my life. And to tell you the truth, I have been utterly terrified of it and spent much time dodging it, fretting about it and having nightmares about it since high school. In one dream, I can’t find my wedding dress in time. In another, I am getting married in a church with awful purple chairs. I am no Daniel, so I can’t decipher these visions, but I think they point to a paralyzing fear of commitment. Not really the stuff chick flicks are made of.  

I am almost 28, and most of my friends are already on their second or third child. I am one of the marriage-phobic career-minded people in their late 20s who fear the fun will screech to a halt when they say “I do.”  We’ve seen too much and heard too much to believe in a couple finding lifelong happiness in a monogamous relationship. We don’t really trust ourselves, not to mention our partners, to be strong enough to make a marriage last through truly hellish times.  

It’s not that I have doubts about my choice of a partner. He is beautiful in a Gap-advertisement sort of way. He is well read, laughs loudly and remains a pacifist despite the state the world is in. He sometimes can be coerced into taking a nap with me. And he cooks (ah, mercy on us). It is just the institution of marriage that I feel is going to snap underneath us like a threadbare hammock. So he’s a great person. I’m a great person. What holds us together? 

It’s now, in the middle of picking out aisle runners and guest books, getting invitations designed and selecting music … that I really need to know that marriage is about more than two weak people held together by an even weaker bond. Yes, I love him, but I cry out to God that it’s more than that. I am desperate to know that my wedding day will be rooted in the state of God’s mind when he decided that it was not good for man to be alone. It comforts me that Jesus reiterates marriage so clearly thousands of years later. “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”  

The culture has changed and our perceptions have changed, but Jesus knows exactly what my fiance and I are doing on April 13 in a little chapel on the South Side of Chicago; we are male and female, fulfilling the ageless heart of God when he plucked a rib out of Adam’s body and “poofed” a lovely woman into existence.  Yes, we have dressed it up, or torn it down, but is marriage any less weird, necessary or beautiful today than it was then?  

I continue to pray that on that day in early spring, our vows tap an underlying spiritual current and resound with God’s creativity from the beginning of time. I want to uncover the silent affirmation God built into man and woman as one flesh. Could it be that the transcendence is already there, and I need to peel back my cold, dark fears to see it? Maybe God’s original handiwork remains perfect somehow even in the face of our miserable failure.  

On a totally different note, here is a very funny wedding blurb I stumbled on the other day. 

 Why Should You Only Be Engaged Once? 

At one time it was thought that to be engaged more than once meant certain damnation. The groom-to-be often avoided making the proposal himself, but instead sent friends to represent his interests to his intended bride or her family. On their way to make this visit, these representatives would observe certain things that they would interpret as omens for the future couple. A monk, a blind man, or pregnant women were among the bad omens, signaling that the representatives should give up their mission. Nanny goats, a pigeon, or a wolf were among those bringing good fortune. One warning for brides-to-be was to avoid suitors whose surnames began with the same letter as their own. 

Just curious: Why is a pregnant woman a bad omen, as opposed to a wolf?

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Responses

  1. Welcome Anakalia66! We are so glad to have you join the rest of the Merging Lanes team. As this first entry shows, your posts will add incredible depth and perspective to our site. Again, welcome!

    Thanks for your honest thoughts about your upcoming nuptials. It’s nice to hear someone else echo the awe with which I always watch friends take that life-changing walk down the aisle. In my mind, I’m never thinking, what a pretty dress or, the groom sure looks happy. It’s always more like, wow, till death do us part? really?? they are crazy.

    I think your heart is in the right place– it’s not really fear you’re expressing, but reverence. I wish more people approached the sacred covenant of marriage with such trepidation.

    Thank you.

  2. Two Ana’s. This will get pleasantly confusing! Thank you so much for joining the ML team.

    I hope to get married someday soon. I remember the other Ana telling me in a book he was reading how a married couple will always be strangers to each other.

    And I can see that, even in my own dating relationship. I can “feel” that I “know” my girlfriend even as that is somewhat of a cognitive endeavor.

    So, embrace the stranger in your life! I think seeing it that way frankly makes things more fun.

  3. welcome 66! (will that stave off the ana confusion?)

    thanks for sharing what’s going on in your life. exciting times! i was kinda struck by the comment about those who are in the late 20’s fearing the fun will end. I’m surrounded by them in my church setting. There are so many in their late 20’s and now early 30’s unmarried. Some, desperately want to be, and others… avoid it like the plague. and I kept on thinking about this. coincidentally, a friend just posted an article on his blog which I thought was appropriate… (warning… it’s long)
    http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001135.cfm

    many blessings! do you know where you’re going on your honeymoon??? =)

  4. i think everyone should just append “ana” to the beginning of every name. anaworinld. anajadanzzy.

    and actually, i’d prefer not to be called “ana” by itself. :-X

    anyway, welcome.

    marriage is crazy, huh. two people, basically strangers, becoming the same family. how does this happen? why? consider: other than adoption, marriage is the only way you can MAKE someone your direct relative. every other relative, every other “family” relationship is one of blood connections. but marriage… it’s like become a blood relative with a complete stranger.

    that’s the “otherness” that i had mentioned to jadanzzy before, the idea that someone is totally not you but yet wants to invade your life. that picture of marriage, that idea of total trust in the other person’s love for you and desire to be trustworthy in your love for the other person…

    you mention that you have a fear that it’s two weak people with an even weaker bond, and that you hope there’s something more. i’m sure that there is something to be gained there, like a “cord of three strands is not easily broken”. but in addition, i wonder if there isn’t something to be learned in the midst of the fear of merging your life with a totally alien person, in the midst of the fear of the failings of humanity (which are warranted, totally)…

    maybe in contrast to the fear of leaping into the abyss of surrendered individualism with an imperfect alien… we can dwell on the leap into an abyss of surrendered individualism with a perfect alien.

    oooh, i keep saying aliens.

    anyway, best of luck. there’s unique blessing to be had in unique situations.

  5. as you will soon find out, i am the delinquent of the group, but i will forever maintain that i do thoroughly enjoy being a part of this team.

    i swear!

    haha, but seriously, altho i am fashionably late in my response i want to also echo the welcoming sentiments of my co-bloggers and i want to thank you for sharing your inner thoughts as you approach your wedding day.

    first, CONGRATULATIONS! and i don’t necessarily only mean the wedding, but the very decision to get married is what i am especially impressed by. i kno EXACTLY what you mean to be a latter half 20’s person desperate to do this whole marriage process correctly, wisely, God-pleasingly and for you to be where you at – at the cusp – well.., KUDOS! haha

    praise God for the uncertainty that you feel (yes, maybe the transcendence is built-in! how crazy is that!?!)

    and pray a prayer of blessing as you embark or continue on the mystery that is “life” and “knowing God” highlighted by this one particular watershed known as “marriage”.

    i pray that your marriage shows both of you a better and more life-altering glimpse of God’s heart.

  6. hi, ana66! thanks for your post.. and CONGRATS! what an exciting (albeit stressful) time!

    i remember wrestling with those same thoughts during our engagement. and, i felt so guilty even having those doubts and fears. honestly, i went into the wedding without the answers. when we were standing at the altar, with everyone in the church praying for us, that’s when it all clicked… God met with us, and whispered so gently to both of us, His pleasure and His delight. i didn’t realize matt had heard the same until some weeks later when we were looking back at the wedding photos.

    you’d think weak sinner + weak sinner = disaster. and according to the world’s statistics it does. but i learned that day, and am continually learning nearly 2 years into marriage, that God’s economy is so different.

    weak sinner + weak sinner + God = beauty. it wasn’t so much a pledge that we made to each other, ’till death to us part… it was a pledge we made to God, i think. Lord, for you, and with you only.

    those times when i see matt graciously covering my weakness.. or times when i find myself covering his, i see a small glimpse of what it means to be intimate with Christ… as He lovingly covers over mine, time and again.


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