The glory of a wedding is two people becoming one in Christ. A new family. New identities taken as new names are bestowed – Husband and Wife.
Even now, before you are named Wife, you have taken on a new name, identity, and work. Your name now is Bride. The question is, how will you wear this name? Will you be the Bride who is making herself ready for the Bridegroom (Rev. 19:7-8, Esther 2:12-13)? Or will a self-seeking attitude bring confusion and disorder to your wedding planning (James 3:16)?
The Bride is usually considered the center of the wedding preparations. This means you will receive much of the attention, glory, and blessings. It also means you set the tone. Just as a woman creates the atmosphere of a home for good or ill (Proverbs 12:4, 14:1, 18:22, 19:13-14, 21:9, 19, 25:24, 27:15, 31:10), the Bride creates the tone of an engagement. How you think, act, speak, and work during the next weeks and months will determine whether your engagement is a time of joy and anticipation or stress and frustration. How will you wear the name of Bride?
Consider the weeks that lay before you as an opportunity. What can you do during your time as “Bride” to be a blessing? There are many people surrounding you during engagement who you can bless with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Consider your husband-to-be, mother, mother-in-law, father, maid-of-honor, bridesmaids, friends, your groom’s friends, the list could go on. For many of these participants, your attitude toward them will determine their experience of your wedding.
One way to bless those around you is to share your joy. Most couples will naturally be pretty wrapped up in only each other during their engagement. It will bless your friends and family, however, if you take time to bring them into your plans, conversations, and activities. Give liberally of your time and attention. Enjoy their excitement over your happiness. Your friends and family will want to be a part of what is going on with you and be reassured that they still have a place in your life. Take time to notice what is happening in their lives. Be careful not to fall out of all other relationships as you focus on your relationship with your fiancé.
A bride can also be a blessing by practicing the good habits of a godly wife now. Ward off the many temptations incumbent in being a bride by actively choosing to love your groom in your words, actions, thoughts, and priorities. It is very easy as a bride to unintentionally fall into unlovely habits. Avoiding this requires actively pursuing the good habits you wish to have as a wife. Remember to put your groom’s desires before yours in the details of the wedding, seek out ways to include and enjoy his family members in your plans, take time to put aside planning and just focus on giving love and attention to him, and spend time praying and preparing for your coming role as wife. Such positive actions will help keep you from sin and prepare you to be a blessing to your husband when you exchange “Bride” for “Wife.” Habits are hard to break. Use your engagement period to form good habits.
Also keep in mind that your groom may or may not have as much time as you to spend on the wedding. Be gracious and understanding of his time constraints and energy level. Give time to one another that doesn’t involve the wedding. If possible, consider taking one night a week as a date-night during which no wedding plans are discussed. Go out and enjoy one another’s company. Talk about his week at work and your future together. Tell him what you appreciate about him. This may seem obvious; however, as the busyness and stress of the wedding builds, you may find yourself forgetting to do these simple things. As far as is possible with you, do not let the wedding overshadow the marriage. Put your fiancé and your relationship with him first.
Aside from the relationship with your groom, two of the people you can most bless during your time as a Bride are your parents. This can be a particularly difficult transition for parents. While you are excited to start a new life, they are anticipating letting you go and the many changes that will bring.
Typically, Mom will be heavily involved in the wedding plans and trying to spend as much time with you as possible before you marry. Do your best to welcome the extra involvement and be grateful for her help. Be sensitive to your mom’s stress level and gracious as you work through problems with the wedding plans or differences of opinion on wedding decisions.
Most moms will feel particularly blessed by a daughter who makes an effort to spend time together before the wedding. Go on a mother-daughter date. Ask your mom’s advice on your coming marriage. Be creative in finding ways to show your appreciation for all she has done to prepare you to be a wife. Let her know that you want her to be a part of your special day and new life.
Dad is often expected to stay in the background and just write checks. Many dads, however, would love to have their opinions requested and considered. Does he have any ideas or wishes for how his money is spent? His helpful input may extend beyond who you should marry, if only you’d ask him!
Dad also probably has a lot to work through at the thought of giving away his daughter. Continuing to show deference and affection for your father as you prepare to leave his home and leadership will strengthen your relationship and bless him. What thoughtful actions can you take towards your father when you are spending your final weeks as Daddy’s girl? He will appreciate the attention just as much as Mom.
As you walk through this wedding process, make it your mission from the beginning to put on the self-sacrificial mind of Christ in your attitudes and responses to the various situations that will arise during the wedding preparations (Philippians 2:2-16) Hold your plans loosely. Realize that some things just won’t work out. Consider others’ plans, needs, and expectations as you approach various decisions and especially disagreements that may arise. Pause before responding to every situation. Check your attitude. Begin your wedding planning process with a commitment to put on the mind of Christ, who laid down His life for others.
Lastly, enjoy this time! That also may seem a little obvious. Sometimes, though, when we get carried away with the busyness of life we forget to step back and take joy in the process. Enjoy the memories you are making with your mom, your girlfriends, your fiancé, and your families. It may be cliché, but stopping to smell the roses is valuable advice. Planning the wedding may be a bit of a blur, but try and pause once in awhile to enjoy your moments. If nothing else, take lots of pictures so you can look back and enjoy them later!
May you relax, enjoy your wedding planning, and both be a blessing and find blessing in it all.
An excerpt from All Things Are Ready By Amy Hayes, © 2012. Photo credit: JennLynn Images