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When my then-fiance asked me to marry him, we had already been a couple for almost five years. In a way I felt already married to him in my heart because we already were united in so many ways. We made decisions together, went places together, if either of us had money it was OUR money. We didn't have a house, real bills or any kids, but really how different could it be?
During those months of planning I felt like the ceremony was mearly a formality of the unity we already had. I was still kind of outside of it and just focused on making the decisions that needed to be made. He proposed at the end of March and we planned to get married at the end of September, on the anniversary of the day we met, because we had been together since that moment. Time seemed to fly by during those six months!
We made most of the decisions together. We knew what we wanted and so it was relatively easy and we worked well together. I was okay through all of it... until the day of the wedding. My mom presented me with a bride down while we were all getting ready for the ceremony. The doll wasn't anything super high dollar.It was a plastic Bride doll, but tt was so much more. It was a doll that had belonged to my Great Great Grandmother for many years. She had kept it in the packaging and it hung on a nail on the wall of her living room until after she died. I was just a girl when she died so I'm not sure who kept it for all those years between, but my mom got it and was able to give it to me that day. I knew exactly what it was wen she brought it to me and I couldn't keep my emotions in check anymore. Once I started crying, I didn't stop. I cried most of the way through our ceremony! People might have thought I was being forced into the marriage! It was just such an overwhelming moment that even though I knew it was right for us and it was what we wanted, the reality of it was right there.
We returned from a wonderful honeymoon to start really being husband and wife. We still didn't have anything of our own. We were staying at his Moma's house while she was living elsewhere. We did assume the bill paying since we were the ones using the power and gas. He had graduated college and gotten a job earlier that year so we were learning to live on the budget we had. I'll be the first to tell you, the first year was tough. Even though we knew each other and were already committed, marriage was an added dynamic. It was in those first several years that we learned what being truly united was. It meant that we had to put each other ahead of the parents and siblings and other family that had separately been part of each of our lives for so long. While we still loved them and there was no way they were not going to be in our lives, the dynamic had shifted. We made a choice that caused that dynamic to change and we had to adjust to it. Years later, the dynamic changed again when we decided to have a child. Thankfully we were always pretty much on the same page when it came to how we wanted to raise our child so it seemed to flow fairly easily. Being in unity on the big things has made it not only easier on us as parents, but also easier on our son. He has always known that we were united in our decisions. That he couldn't play one against the other. Through that unity, he also knew stabililty and security, knowing we were a team that was not against him, but in support of him.
Although we have remained in unity most of the time, I know there have been times when it seemed we were going in opposite directions. During those times you feel a friction that seems to tear at your very soul. With the focus put on raising our son, worry over bills, and other distractions that come along, I think it's fair to say a lot of couples drift away from their unity, often without realizing it. The Blessings of Unity - God's Best for Our Marriages by Richard T. Case, is like a guide that can help you recognize weak areas in your relationship and how to correct them to bring you back into unity. While it is written from a christian standpoint, it has information, ideas and solutions that are useful for any marriage. It opens with questions for each of you so you can perform and evaluation of your marriage - a base with which to discover where there are issues. There are a set of questions for each to answer and I don't mind admitting that they made me a little uncomfortable. Not because of the nature of the questions, but because I know my own failings and it's uncomfortable to not only be confronted with them within myself, but to also know my husband will be ranking me in these areas. But the goal is to learn these things so they CAN be confronted and the things that damage and endanger your relationship can be corrected. I usually read quite fast, but this book gives a lot to think about. I have had to slow myself down to allow full absorption of the text. The book adresses the things that commonly affect a couple's unity and offers solutions, backed up with biblical passages explaining that marriage was designed to be a blessing full of pleasure, respect, partnership and comfort and many other great things.
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