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I was not the typical bride. I was not the stereotypical girl rushing towards the goal of getting married. I avoided marriage for many years, and I ran away from several marriage opportunities. I was terrified of marriage really!

Yes, I did always enjoy watching weddings on television. I enjoyed watching the Royal Wedding today. I still love seeing beautiful flowing ball gowns on gorgeous radiant girls, flowers in bloom cascading throughout venues, and sparkling jewels catching the light. I am a feminine woman, and I am always drawn to beauty.  My own actual marriage did not come so easily though, and it was not because of my husband. It was me.

I was one of the last ones from my high school class to finally get hitched. When I attended my class mates’ weddings people would always give me those reassuring and pitying looks and say things like, “It will be you one day.” Little did they know that I was not at all worried about that! I was putting off marriage for as long as I could!

When my husband proposed to me we had lived together for about 5 years already. Yes….we were living in sin (insert sarcasm,) but instead of being all teary and girly at the proposal……my first honest reaction was a wave of fear and shock.

I in no way intend to dishonor him or his beautiful proposal in writing this. That is not the point. The point is that I have issues! I have never seen a healthy marriage up close and personally. I have seen my parent’s marriage and both of their remarriages, but…..none of it looked so inviting. My parent’s marriage only lasted until I was 3 years old. They both quickly remarried, and I lived with my mother and step father after that, but I had visits with my dad and step mother.

The examples of marriage that I saw were cold. They were not affectionate. They did not include much encouragement. There was infidelity. There was abuse. There was criticism and degradation. There was screaming and slapping. There was intimidation, lack of support, and honestly lack of love.

When I was around 17 I remember my step father sitting on the edge of my bed and telling me that my mother had caught him in yet another affair and that she had left. He apologized for not coming home the night before, and he said, ” I do not know why I cannot love your mother.”

This weird conversation came the night after I had come home the prior night from cheerleading practice or something to an empty house. I waited and waited for my mother, younger siblings, and step father to return,…….but they never did. I had no idea where they were or when they would return. I ended up calling my high school sweet heart to come and stay with me because no one ever came home that entire night. I guess they forgot about me or just assumed that I would be okay on my own with no idea where they were.

I remember seeing my friends’ parents holding hands and showing affection and being totally shocked! I could not believe that grown people were acting so affectionately! I thought that kind of behavior was just kid stuff for teenagers like myself at the time. I had never seen such a thing before.

So when I went wedding dress shopping for my own wedding it was not what I expected. I felt exhausted and fatigued the whole time like I weighed 1000 pounds. It felt like a chore. When I put on the first gorgeous gown and saw myself in the mirror I literally began dripping with sweat. I felt all of the blood rush out of my head, and I began to see spots. I also felt nauseous. My reaction embarrassed me so I tried to play it cool and hold it together so that no one would know. I wish that I could go back and do it again and actually enjoy myself.

Somehow I got through the whole ordeal of planning a wedding and getting married, and my actual wedding was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the day because on that day I finally surrendered it (the wedding itself that is,) and in spite of a few things that went wrong I managed to remain totally calm, peaceful and genuinely happy that entire wedding day. The wedding day itself is a good memory for me even though the year leading up to it was quite horrible.

Marriage is still a struggle for me though. I still don’t really know how to do it. I am doing it, but intimacy and affection are so foreign to me in the marriage arena. The whole thing makes me feel like I am from another planet.  I know that marriage is difficult in general, and believe me, I have never had romanticized expectations of it, not in adulthood anyway.

I have watched all of the marriage seminars. I know what I am supposed to do, but re-learning everything that was ingrained into me from 0-18 years old proves to be like swimming upstream in heavy rapids. There is so much more to it than head knowledge. There are emotional and physical reactions that are extremely difficult to combat.

I am trying to figure it out, but it is like reinventing the wheel. People can tell me all day how to do it, but nothing replaces actually living in a real working model as a child which I did not…..ever.

It has always been my desire to break the mold and to change the negative patterns that have been created in my lineage. That is so much harder to do than it is to say. I keep hope that this will click for me in time as other things do, and I am committed to the journey.

Spirit of God, purest love…….help me…..carry me…..I surrender it to you.

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