10 Things I Learned From My Friend’s Wedding

10 Things I Learned From My Friend's Wedding

10 Things I Learned From My Friend’s Wedding

 Last weekend I had the opportunity of being a bridesmaid in a close friend’s wedding. The experience was one of the most fun times I’ve had in a long time. It was also one of the most enlightening experiences and it provided me with many beautiful memories that I’ll cherish forever! I met many newlyweds, soon-to-be newlyweds and a few couples with years of experience under their belts. Being able to speak to the various couples and observe their relationships made an impression upon my heart, and allowed me to add to the list of qualities I desire for my own spouse. Upon my return home, I sat to reflect on the many things I learned and observed. After making my list of lessons, I thought it would make a pretty awesome blog post for singles so I decided to share it with everyone today. I hope today’s post inspires and encourages you.

  1. God Will Exceed Your Biggest Prayer.  Always pray big prayers over your future spouse but know that God can exceed those. My friend and her husband decided to write their own wedding vows (which were absolutely beautiful by the way). While reading her vows, my friend was intentional about mentioning that her husband was everything she had prayed for PLUS MORE. Though she had her own ideas of what she wanted in a husband, God had a plan that superseded her imagination. If you’re single, never stop praying big and bold declarations over your spouse. You never know how God will blow you away.
  2. Your Spouse Will Compliment You, Not Complete You.  I couldn’t help but notice that talking to my friend’s husband felt like I was talking to my friend, and vice versa. They were a reflection of each other from the inside out, and seemed to be the long lost version of the other spouse. Observing these characteristics in both of them reiterated the importance of being complete and whole in God before dating, and especially before getting married & saying “I Do.” I’ll never forget hearing about the many trips my friend took while dating her husband, and reading about the various social outings she attended. Though she was in love, she did not live as a hermit or discontinue her social life just because she was in a relationship. This is another characteristic I greatly admired about her relationship with her husband and one I thought was noteworthy. Why?

Because, no one wants to be a “gap-filler” or “center piece” to your life. They want you to have your own life and be whole in God. They don’t want you to feel like you’re nothing without them, they’d rather be assured that nothing and no one but God comes before them. Lastly, your spouse doesn’t want you to be empty without them. Rather, they desire for you to be strong enough to communicate when you feel empty so they’ll know how to encourage you. More importantly, when you do feel empty, they want you to be wise enough to turn to God for help so that He can be the one to refuel and replenish you.

  1. Looks Truly Aren’t Everything.  A person’s heart and mind are so much more important than looks, and a friendship with him or her is priceless. I met many couples who at first glance appeared to be mismatched based on looks but their personality and heart were the perfect match. As a result, those commonalities foreshadowed physical aesthetics and became the qualities and characteristics that mattered most. In other words, the inner parts of each person were the things that made him or her pleasing to both the eyes and heart. As a single, we often tend to overlook men and women just because they aren’t a 10 on the “Fine-O-Meter.”  Though it’s important to be physically attracted to your spouse, it’s the heart, mind and character of that individual that will allow your relationship to grow, prosper and flourish.
  2. Take The Limits Off God.  You can meet your spouse just about anywhere so NEVER stop being hopeful and ALWAYS be expectant. Challenge yourself to truly take the limits off God. Over the course of my friend’s wedding weekend, I met couples that found their significant other or spouse literally all over the world, including the virtual world (online dating). Whether you’re making a run to the drugstore, going to the movies or taking a trip outside the country, never underestimate the power of God’s hand in your plans. You just never know how, when or where you’ll meet your future spouse so always be expectant.
  3. “Married Couples Are The New Single Friend.”  Married Couples are an endless supply of knowledge. Over the past year my circle of married friends has increased and my circle of single friends has decreased. While some of this is due to an increased number of friends getting married and engaged, it is also largely in part the result of making a conscious decision to spend more time with friends who are married. Why? Because married and engaged couples have successfully navigated the journey of singlehood and possess the knowledge that singles are looking to acquire.  Single friends will convince you to go to places that resemble a “meat market” in order to meet men and women. However, married couples will help cultivate more productive settings such as house-warming parties, backyard barbeques and social outings that actually provide an opportunity to really get to know someone. In contrast to going places that put you on display like a museum exhibit, married couples will help you attend activities that create an opportunity for healthy and engaging conversation. Over the past year, I’ve had more fun and learned more from my married and engaged friends than my single and ready to mingle friends (no shade though).   If you’re looking to meet someone try hanging out with a few married friends every once in a while…they might even know a few single cuties for you. 😉
  4. Try SOMETHING NEW.  It’s important to try new things as much as possible. Just about every married couple I met during my friend’s wedding weekend shared that they met their spouse after they decided to try something new. For some, “new” meant giving online dating a try. For others, “new” meant completing a dating fast for 6 months; and for a few, “new” was as simple as visiting a new church, becoming celibate or going to a local event alone one night. However, the common thread in each story was doing something new. Like the old saying goes “old ways won’t open up new doors” so don’t forget to spice up your single life with something new every once in a while.
  5. RESPECT Is Everything.  One of the most important characteristics I observed in the relationships of the couples I met last weekend was, respect. The couples made a point to honor each other both in private and in public. More importantly, their honor included respect for their spouse and the things that were important to him or her (i.e. occupation, career goals, religion, morals, values). If you’re currently with someone who doesn’t respect you or the things that are important to you, this would be a great time to reevaluate that relationship and wait for someone who honors and respects all of you.
  6. Your IMPERFECTIONS Will Be Perfect to Your Spouse.  It’s so funny how much we get hung up on our “imperfections” to the point of affecting our self-esteem. At the wedding I met spouses and engaged couples of all shapes, sizes and hues. There were men and women who were short, wore glass, had blemished skin, pudgy tummies, overweight, underweight, stretch marks, crooked teeth, freckles, full lips, thin lips, small ears, short hair, frizzy hair, no hair, very curvy, athletic, non-athletic, etc.…. However, none of these characteristics stopped the men and women from wanting to be married to their spouse.   None of these things were deal breakers for the men, and they certainly did not stop the men from asking their wives for their hand in marriage. Sometimes we have been single for so long that we begin to nitpick at things we perceive to be imperfections. “If only I didn’t have these stretch marks on my body.”  “If only my butt was bigger or perkier.”  “If my hair wasn’t so kinky or curly.”  “If my skin was darker or lighter.”   The “ifs” are endless but in a God-kind-of-love, none of these things matter because the love is endless and unconditional.  The man or woman that God has for you will love the exact way that God has created you. In fact, he or she will likely love you more than you love yourself.  I saw it with my own eyes and it was a beautiful reminder of why we should never sweat the small stuff. ;-)
  7. Good Friends Are Priceless.  Both the bride and groom were surrounded by a host of close and faithful friends on their wedding day. But the bond between the groomsmen truly touched my heart. The groom and groomsmen had been friends for more than 11 years, and nearly one-third of them drove from Philly to Atlanta just to support their friend on his big day. During the reception, the Best Man told how he knew the groom was going to marry the bride just after 6 months of dating because that’s when he began to see his friend change and grow into a better man.   He shared how pleased he was with his friend’s development and praised his growth.

Good friends don’t just support you, they also provide honest feedback as you begin to date someone seriously.  Good friends place your friendship above things, money and people and never allow distance to become a factor that separates your bond. Good friends encourage you to be better, stick with you during the process and love to see you grow and develop. Good friends are priceless.

10. God In Your Relationship = Everything.

A one-strand cord is easily broken by tugging and pulling.

two-strand cord is tougher but can also be broken by twisting, pulling, stretching and pulling; but

three-strand cord is the toughest of them all. It is not easily broken by the toughest of external pulling and twisting. Even if one of the outer cords begins to weaken from being pulled, the strength of the third cord will help keep all three cords together by providing extra strength and support. Don’t ever date or marry someone without having God in your relationship. He is the third cord that keeps your relationship strong when the stress of the world (i.e. finances, disappointments, setbacks, familial pressure, etc…) tries to pull you apart from one another. One of my favorite things about my friend’s wedding is that they began their marriage by partaking in communion at the wedding ceremony. The communion was a symbol of their commitment to keeping God first in their marriage, and it set a wonderful example for many singles, and married and engaged couples to follow.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT)

This post is dedicated to my beautiful friend and new bride Daedrea, and her wonderful husband Chris. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your special day. I love you and I pray that God takes your marriage where no marriage has gone before (Ephesians 3:20).

 

Photo Credit: @elledanielle (on Instagram)

Photo Credit: @elledanielle (on Instagram)

Love,

~Erika

=)

 

 

4 Comments
  • Courtney White
    August 20, 2014

    What a beautiful post! I am so glad you were able to have fun and gain such wisdom. It is truly a joy to have Christ centered married and single friends. I think often many singles step back from married friends once they get married not realizing those relationships help keep them grounded about their desire to be married. They also provide hope! Many blessings to the lovely couple!!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      August 20, 2014

      So true friend! I used to do and think the same thing about my friends once they got married. However, I thank God for enlightening my understanding of those friendships. They relationships with friends have been such great blessings to my life and development as a single…not to mention future wife. It’s just another reminder to always take the limits off God. Thanks so much for reading and sharing! I love you!

  • Roselyn
    August 20, 2014

    Wow Erika what a gifted writer you are! I think I have read this post at least 3 times today. You are blessed with such an outstanding gift and you share it with all through your wonderful and encouraging post. You are truly what Paul talks about in 1Corinthians 12 regarding our God given gifts and using it them in the body of Christ. I read this scripture from 1 Peter 3: 1″Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

    7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

    And indeed your beauty is from inner self and an unfading one, and I want you and everyone be it man or woman single, married etc to know you are one of very few women I will boldly write and say in caps that you are A REPLICA OF THE WOMAN IN 1 PETER 3. May god continue to bless you and enlarge your territory!!!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      August 20, 2014

      Rozzy thank you so much for always pouring into me. The other day you stated that I am highly favored but it’s because I am surrounded by friends like you who love, honor and adore God in all things. I can’t thank you enough for always sharing the word of God with me. It’s one of the most valuable things we could ever give someone, and because you continuously share God’s word with me I am rich, blessed and full of favor.

      We are both replicas of the woman in 1 Peter 3 from head-to-toe and from the inside out. Thank you for sharing this scripture with me. I smiled the entire time as I read it. I pray that God also continues to bless you, keep you and blow you away with His great love and favor in every area of your life. Love, Erika! =)

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