Looking over the mountain side in my dress and heels, I realized how misled I had been by society, the church, and all of my pretense about marriage. Moments prior to my departure from the car, my fiance, our friends, and I were laughing and chatting and enjoying the splendor of God’s creation before us. As we pulled off onto the site of our first location for the photo shoot that had been months in the making, we laughed at the baby mountain goats grazing and playing. We admired the wonder of tourists who were ingesting the unparalleled views of the Montana Mountains for the first time. And our elation transformed into dismay only when we began to take stock of just how windy it was at an elevation of 11,000 feet. It was mid-August and an hour and a half prior to our ascent up the mountain pass we had been sipping iced drinks with air conditioning in the car blasting in an effort to ward off the ninety-degree blaze that was attempting to melt our skin cells and bath us in sweat. Now as I climbed over rock formations and attempted to
Now as I climbed over rock formations in my high heels and attempted to fight the wind chill that was ripping through my short, cotton dress, I was able to identify my misgivings about an engagement photo shoot in the mountains. What I had assumed to be a whimsical adventure in the wilderness with the love of my life and two of our very best friends, turned out to be an epic battle against crabbiness and the cold. Crabbiness because my perfectly curled hair was whipping me in the face and getting greasier by the minute. Crabbiness because I was freezing my nearly exposed buns off! And crabbiness because as loving as my fiance, Kyle, was trying to be, he kept rubbing a large bruise I had on my elbow in an effort warm me up and look good for the photos being snapped. So not what I pictured when I fantasized about our engagement photo shoot! Of course, our award-winning, photographer friends captured the most AMAZING picture of Kyle and I. But the process to achieving these stunning images was grueling.
Just as I had a harsh reality check awaiting me at the top of the mountain pass, I realized that Kyle and I have some harsh reality checks coming our way in marriage. We looked like a million bucks standing on top of a mountain in our Sunday best. But what you can’t see in our photos is the fear I felt standing in a precarious position in my heels. I wasn’t sure that Kyle could prevent me from falling and I was grumpy with him for not holding my hand and leading me through the tumultuous terrain. What you can’t see is the not so gracious reprimand I deliver to Kyle every time he accidentally rubs the bruise on my arm. All my loving fiance wanted was to keep me warm and rub my arm in a loving manner, but what he delivered was hurtful and counterproductive to preserving my warmth. What you can’t see is my lament over the hair and makeup that I spent hours on. I don’t often get the chance to really channel my energy into my hair and makeup, so any chance to perfectly coif my hair and attend to every detail of my makeup fills my tank! As I stood on the windy mountaintop retrieving strands of hair from my mouth and eyelashes I sorely regretted the investment I had committed to my beauty routine.
All things unseen provided a glimpse into marriage with my beloved. There will be times when Kyle and I find ourselves on tumultuous terrain and I might not feel supported or secure in his leadership. There are times when Kyle will try to comfort me and end up offending me instead. And I am certain that there are times when I am going to try really, really hard to be a good wife, yet I will find myself picking up the broken pieces of my insufficient efforts.
When I think of marriage, I imagine Kyle and I spending everyyday in a state of bliss. I see us moving furniture into our chic, little apartment. I see us cooking brunch on Sundays after church. My beloved and I go for walks in the sunshine and have our friends over for fabulous dinners. What I don’t imagine is the backache I have from helping Kyle haul our heavy belongings into our dwelling. In my daydreams, I don’t see the little arguments Kyle and I will engage in over counter space. I fail to recognize the sweat and preparation that will go into orchestrating fabulous dinners. And I absolutely neglect to address the hustle and bustle that will go into cleaning and preparing a space suitable for guests.
Kyle and I are embarking on a tremendous adventure together. But sometimes I fail to recognize the precarious situations that we will find ourselves in. At the end of the day, Jesus is the only one who saves us from the brink self-destruction. He is the only one who can catch us when we topple off a mountainside. The only one who can tenderly warm us when our situation leaves us freezing death. I would undoubtedly share an extraordinary love with my husband. In order for us to love one another to the best of our ability, there will be moments, days, even weeks or months where we will have to lean on Jesus for the things that the human heart cannot provide.
Whatever your unrealistic expectations might be, Jesus is the only one who can restore our relational blindness entirely. He is the only one who binds our wounds completely. He knows your soul intimately and he died to be the one you can run to when earthly relationships fall short of our expectations. It is my prayer that in times of disappointment our cloudy perspective, you can call on the name of Jesus and ask him to restore your sight.
Photo by the Lovely Kristin Jean Photography