I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the renewal that springtime represents that serves as a perfect backdrop for weddings; so much so that springtime is thought to initiate a period that has become affectionately known as “Wedding Season;” the period that extends throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
This is the period when we see a steep uptick in the number of wedding ceremonies being performed. This is also the period when it becomes easier for us women to get lost in the frenzy of everything weddings—especially if you are the bride, if you’re in some way related to the bride-to-be, or if you secretly long to become a bride (i.e. a spectrum that I’ll call “The Bride Continuum”).
As a *bride* on The Bride Continuum, it’s likely that you’ve dreamed about your wedding day for as long as you can remember— envisioning how he’d propose and how you’d accept…setting the scene in your mind and replaying it in your mind over and over again.
You obsess over every little detail as you go about the perfect wedding ceremony and reception—picking the dress…the invitations…the cake; filling out wedding registries; deciding on the overall color scheme and theme for the festivities; picking the bridesmaids dresses; deciding how big you want your wedding party to be; hiring the photographer and DJ; deciding on a venue; deciding what food to serve; deciding how you will wear your hair; deciding what shoes and jewelry you and your bridesmaids will wear; and, the list goes on and on.
You want to be sure to get everything right, so you make time to attend pre-marital counseling with your husband-to-be. You do whatever you can to put your best foot forward in an effort to impress your future in-laws and extended family members ALL while trying your damnedest to maintain your sanity! And then it happens! Your wedding day finally arrives, and it’s time to get married!
The ceremony begins, and it’s everything that you thought it would be AND MORE!!! You say your vows, and repeat your “I do” with an outpouring of love that announces to the world that you’re his, and with that, you just become a wife! So now what? What, exactly, does that mean??? AND…more importantly…did you ever stop to think about whether you were REALLY ready to become a wife?”
Chances are you probably got so wrapped up in the process of having a picture-perfect wedding ceremony that you didn’t take time to consider your level of readiness to endure the process of becoming a wife. Yes…to everything there’s a process, and becoming a wife is no different. There’s a process to becoming a wife too, but the kicker is that there’s no “how-to-be-a-good-wife” handbook…no cliff notes on how to be a good wife…no classes to take…no guidance on the subject—other than the insight that we’re able to glean from pre-marital counseling, other wives, and through observing what we perceive to be examples of successful marriages.
So…how do you know if you’re READY to become a wife?
You’ll know you’re READY to become a wife when you can look deep within yourself and answer these three questions:
1. Are you HONEST with yourself about the WHY behind your “YES?”
Women accept marriage proposals for all sorts of reasons. Regardless of the reason, you must be honest with yourself about your motive for accepting the proposal—in other words, what is the single biggest motivating factor that had the greatest influence on your decision to say “yes” to the marriage proposal in the first place? Were you motivated by true love? Were you motivated by money or material gain? Were you motivated by your fiancée’s physical appearance/attractiveness? Were you motivated by your ability to assimilate into a higher social class and/or social standing because of the social status of the family name that you’ll inherit after you say “I Do?”
Whatever the reason, you must be honest enough with yourself to own then confront the part of yourself that motivated you to accept the marriage proposal. You have to be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge the places of brokenness and invalidation within yourself that you believe saying “yes” will fix. You have to be honest enough with yourself to identify the places within that need to be nurtured and healed so that you won’t drag unhealthy patterns of self-neglect into your marriage.
Despite your best efforts to keep your flaws and all your “other” stuff tucked away neatly deep down inside yourself so that the polished version of yourself shines through for everyone to see, all of that toxic build-up will be exposed…eventually. If you’re either unable or unwilling to identify the truth behind your why, you’re just setting your marriage up for failure in the long-run because you’ll never be able to acknowledge your faults in the marriage—especially in terms of how you either contribute to or respond to whatever issues arise.
2. Are you WHOLE by yourself?
If someone asks you why you said “yes” to his marriage proposal, and if your answer sounds something like “because he completes me,” then it’s highly likely that you have no idea about the most basic truth about coupledom—that truth being that no one person can “complete” another person, no matter how strongly you feel as if that person fills a void in your life…a void that you never even knew was there.
Oftentimes, we get confused by and caught-up in the newness of the emotions that we feel because we begin to recognize and associate his presence in our lives with a level of fulfilled happiness that we never experienced before—a level of happiness that we believe completes us in a way that we never experienced before he came. While it’s nice to live in the newness of what you’re feeling when you meet who you believe to be “the one,” you can’t let that feeling eclipse the woman that you were before he came into your life.
You owe it to yourself to present the most authentic and complete version of yourself. You can’t do that if you’re not able to be honest with yourself about who you are at your core. To get there, you have to be clear with yourself about your personal strengths, your weaknesses, and limitations so that you can do whatever work you need to do in order to be free of whatever you allowed to break you down.
Moreover, you will never be whole until you do this work for yourself. No one can do this work for you, and the key thing to remember here is that you’ll ultimately attract what you put out. You’ll never be able to attract the wholeness and completeness that you need your spouse to be if you don’t project a wholeness and completion. It takes two whole people make a marriage work, because the whole unit will always be of greater value than the sum of its parts.
3. Do You know your WORTH?
I mean…do you really understand how much you’re worth? If you did, you wouldn’t allow yourself to settle for less than your worth. You wouldn’t allow yourself to settle for less than what you believe to be a match that’s consistent with the standards you’ve set for yourself.
In other words, if you identify certain standards that you’re not willing to compromise for the sake of not being alone, then you must treat those items as your “non-negotiables.” In doing so, you’re announcing to potential suitors that “THIS-IS-WHAT-I-EXPECT-FROM-YOU-BECAUSE-I’M-WORTHY-OF-BEING-TREATED-WITH-DIGNITY, -RESPECT, -AND-HONOR.” If you don’t think of yourself as being worthy enough to set the standard for the type of person you allow into your life, you’ll allow yourself to settle for anything that breathes in your direction.
How you perceive your worth is directly related to your decision-making process regarding what you’re willing to allow into your life. The quickest way to identify how you determine your worth is to not allow yourself to fall into the trap of making decisions from a place of brokenness and desperation—especially when those decisions cause you to compromise your standards to accommodate acceptance.
If you can answer these three questions for yourself, then you just might be ready to become a wife!
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