I woke up this morning in New Jersey so excited for this weekend’s upcoming wedding. Being a mom, I’m always the first one to wake up which gives me a lot of quiet time to think, pray, read and just reflect. Sure, amid all the pondering, I started thinking about this weekend’s wedding. What would the ceremony be like?
With over 250 weddings under our belt, we’ve heard a lot of beautiful ceremonies. Some have made me cry uncontrollably, forcing me to hide behind my camera. Some ceremonies have made me laugh, literally, out loud. Sometimes they share their story of how they met, which is always so sweet to hear. Despite all the unique ceremonies, we have heard one thing shared in over 80% of the ceremonies we’ve documented. Something that by now I can mouth out as the officiant speaks. Words that have caused me to think and have inevitably penetrated my heart.
What are the words that have led to such deep thought you may ask:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
You’d think that growing up in the church I would have heard these words before, and I have, but I never sat and meditated on those words. I never let it sink in. I just glanced over the words without letting them edify me. But here I am, married, shooting weddings for a living, and the fact that officiant after officiant would share these words felt like a light bulb turning on in a cartoon. It hit me. This isn’t just the definition of love this is a guide on how to love.
This leads me to write this blog. The reason we get married is that we have found the one we love. The one we cannot imagine life without. We don’t get married with the intention of ever getting divorced. Or at least I assume so. So why is the national rate for divorce 50%? When I looked at the statistics, it blew my mind to find that every thirteen seconds someone is filing for divorce. And even though the divorce rate in the US is going down, it is not because couples are deciding to stay together. On the contrary, they’re just not getting married at all!
Divorce is a complex issue that has an impact on so many parts of our lives. Both Landon and I come from broken homes and if you see the statistics for divorce among people that come from broken homes it is even more alarming. Then add getting married young, and your chances of divorce skyrocket up to 80%. We got married at 20, so there goes our odds. From the very beginning, we knew that the odds were against us. We truly believe that this awareness has led us to be more proactive in our marriage. We figured that if from day one, we were intentional that we could beat the odds. Problem was that besides knowing that we never wanted to imagine a day without each other we didn’t quite grasp what it was to truly love someone.
I’m sure right now you can understand why hearing these words over and over at different ceremonies led us to such pondering. We know firsthand the effects that divorce causes not just on the adults involved but also on the children. When Landon and I got married we always said that we didn’t want divorce for our family. It’s never been part of our plan for our family and we know that it wasn’t the plan of the 50% of marriages that ended up in divorce either.
This made me want to dissect this scripture. The words of the living God who displayed the ultimate act of love for us all. Surely He knows what it is to love and how to love. Before I continue, I want to emphasize that I am not trying to Bible-thump anyone. We initially tried to love each other the way you see in movies and novels and the way the world explains it. But we still weren’t getting the results we expected. We were happy but not OMG this is awesome about our marriage. We figured we had nothing to lose by embarking on this examination. This is a genuine personal analysis that Landon and I did on our marriage which humbled us.
It’s easy to feel like you’re in a safe zone when people around you tell you that you are the perfect couple. #couplegoals or #marriagegoals they say. It can easily get to your head. But nobody is above hard times! No one is exempt from this roller coaster we call life. We had to be extremely honest and humble to examine our marriage. Examine if we were truly loving each other intentionally as this scripture defines love! I begin this, What is Love series next week by dissecting the very first claim;
Love is patient
Because this is a series that both Landon and I are writing together, we invite you to read it as a couple. This journey has humbled Landon and I so much and taken our marriage to a bliss we never even knew existed. Understanding love has made us better spouses, parents and even transformed how we serve our couples and community. Our hearts want nothing more than for other couples to experience this kind of love in their marriage which is why we finally agreed that sharing this journey, as vulnerable as it may be, was something we had to do.