i read a blog called a holy experience. written by a woman who has a way with words, it inspires my walk with god and reminds me of the key aspects of my relationship with him and with others. ironically, this woman lives very near to where i spent my childhood summers, and it gives me simple pleasure to read about her life in ontario, a life that is not all that dissimilar from lives i have known, my grandmother's, my mother's childhood, and even pieces of mine.
on wednesdays she invites bloggers to join a discussion on a topic related to faith. for the next three weeks the topic of marriage is being explored. i thought i'd take this time to journal my reflections of preparing for marriage...to remember what this sacred time feels like.
my fiance and i are currently spending thursday nights at church in central london surrounded by 150 couples. all of us are preparing for marriage. the course is aptly named 'the marriage preparation course.' the night begins with dinner and conversation with other couples on your table, the sessions mainly consist of teaching from the front by two really wonderful marriage pastors, and then time for each couple to discuss the topic at hand. and while each of us are really excellent at communicating our thoughts and feelings on a wide range of topics - this course has provided a framework of topics for us to consider. our first session was on communication, the second was about commitment - specifically how we would be creating a new family, and how we would make our marriage our very first priority.
it's a daunting thing, if i'm honest, to think about serving another's needs before myself. to consider what my husband thinks before making a decision, to coordinate our diaries and our lives, our morning schedules and dinner preferences. thinking through our roles and responsibilities within the marriage, and remembering that really there are more sociological conventions in terms of gender roles associated with marriage than biblical conventions. and that it is up to us to walk our own path, develop our own marriage and find our own ways of serving god together.
in our last session we were asked to read over the marriage vows and consider which words were most striking for each of us. for me the most striking was the phrase 'i will.' contrary to popular thought, the marriage vows ask us to promise for now and for the future. 'i do' is present tense - 'i will' is future tense. and so i've been thinking this week about what i am willing to do in marriage. when we say 'i will' this august, we are saying 'i will' to everything that will come next. to everything that we cannot imagine. to everything that we hope will happen. i am not sure what that looks like - but i am sure that i will face it with a man of faith at my side, and that together we will figure it out. because we believe that god wills.