We are beyond excited and honored to launch this new five-week marriage series, in which Chancey Charm Houston Wedding Planner Skylar Caitlin will be sharing her marriage counseling experience + some amazing things she learned along the way. This series is a true reflection of our heart for not just a beautiful wedding, but a beautiful marriage. Enjoy, friends!
-The Chancey Charm Team
Photo: Lauren Carnes Photography
Week 1: Understanding Marriage
Hello from Houston! I am so excited to be sharing with all of our couples + friends today about something I and the entire Chancey Charm team hold near to our hearts: marriage. Yes, our actual job focuses on that first day of this new season in your lives, but part of what drives me as a planner is the larger picture. The reason I strive to remove stress from the planning experience isn’t so you can float through your engagement blissfully sipping champagne without a care in the world – although, yeah, you should totally do that too. The reason I do what I do is to allow our couples to use the time they’ve been given to prepare for the journey of marriage ahead.
I’m going to be sharing a series that draws on the marriage preparation course I took with my own future Mr. There are two disclaimers I need to provide. First, I am NOT a marriage counselor. I highly suggest that you enroll in a certified course or work with a counselor, like our preferred partner Imani Counseling services. This series is meant to give you insight into some of the topics you’ll cover during the courses and why it’s so important to build a foundation for your marriage. Secondly, my fiancé and I took this course through our church. It is full of Christian themes and verses. However, there are important takeaways that couples of all religions can garner, so I encourage you to go into this with an open mind, ready to see the points you can apply to your own life.
Takeaway 1: Marriage is a Catalyst for Understanding God’s Love in a Unique Way (or Forgiveness 101)
Have you ever noticed how the convent vows of marriage mimic the covenant vows that God has made to his people? Again and again, He has said: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” This phrase mirrors the traditional vows made between a couple on their wedding day. It calls us to consider our marriage in the goggles of grace. Forgiveness is a vital part of marriage that requires us to look into the face of our partner when they’ve hurt us and repeat the words, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
It’s important to remember that only what is named can be forgiven. You have to talk to one another when you’ve been hurt. You have to acknowledge what’s been done. If you’re the one who needs forgiveness, you should be patient and give your spouse time to forgive. Unfortunately, we are fallen and do not have God’s power to forgive the instant it is asked of us. We do not forget hurts. Some wounds need more time to heal than others. If you are the one forgiving, remember that when you forgive, you’ve set aside the right for “justice.” You cannot simultaneously give forgiveness and dole out punishment. Keep an eye out for our next installment which will cover communication and conflict.
Takeaway 2: Two Becoming One
Oneness has always been an extremely weird concept to me. It wasn’t until one of our small group members described it as “two voices in harmony” did it click. In biology, the healthiest ecosystems are the most diverse. It is absolutely okay – healthy even – to have a different opinion that your spouse. Oneness isn’t becoming the same person, it’s thinking of the other person as if you were considering yourself.
My fiancé described it like this: “Before Skylar and I were together, it was just me. I could make whatever plans I want, eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I didn’t consider anyone but myself in the day-to-day. Now, I call her if I know I’m going to be late so she doesn’t wait up for dinner. If I get asked to go to a happy hour, I turn to ask her if she might like to join us. We aren’t attached at the hip, but she is a huge part of my life. I should be considering her whenever I make a decision that might affect her.”
Takeaway 3: Ephesians 5:21-33 is the Most Misunderstood Verse in the Bible
We’ve all heard it. And if you’re at all interested in equal rights for women, it has probably made you cringe. But our leader finally explained it to me… the New International Version made an egregious error when they translated this passage. In almost all other versions, verse 21 is joined together with the rest of the passage. Verse 21 calls for mutual submission in the family – or as the Message put it, “be courteously reverent to one another.” This sets an entirely different tone for the following lines when it is joined with verse 22, which begins, “Wives submit to your husbands…” If you’ve ever struggled with these lines, you are not alone. I invite you to revisit them with a new mindset of mutual submission and feel the power it has to build up a relationship – not demean any particular member.
And if the word submission is still ruffling your tail-feathers, I feel ya! But read this definition given by the leader of our course and see if it helps at all. Submission is the yielding of your individual will for the good of another. It is always freely given and cannot be demanded or coerced. Submission isn’t about doing whatever you’re told regardless of feelings. It’s about becoming one… considering the other person as if you were considering yourself.
Takeaway 4: Grief in Marriage
This was an aside our leader inserted, but it is an extremely important topic of discussion. We as humans grieve over every loss in life. Be it the loss of a job, a loved one, or an expectation. And we all journey through grief differently. For example, my fiancé and I won a wedding that seemed like it would be the answer to a very heartfelt prayer, but my future father-in-law was experiencing some health concerns and we had to turn down the opportunity. I can only explain the next twenty-four hours as grief. I cried y’all. I cried, drank wine, and cried some more, and I grieved for that lost opportunity. My fiancé did not grieve immediately. He grieved weeks later when it was closer to when the wedding would have been. And his grief manifested very differently than my own.
As a couple, we will face grief in life. Which means we have to learn how to draw near and how to give space. Grief is not as linear as the stages of grief would make it seem. Instead, they’re seasonal. Ask anyone who’s lost a loved one. On their birthday, near the date of their passing, on days with special memories… grief will sneak up on you. Be patient with one another in your pain.
As we move forward into this series, I encourage you to talk through these topics with your fiancé. The conversation about your expectations and ideals of marriage is so important. Consider joining a course through a local church or community center or contacting a local relationship counselor or therapist as you build the foundations of your marriage. This series is just a little appetizer to what the full course can provide. For those in Houston, I recommend the marriage course through Ecclesia or one-on-one exploration with Imani Counseling.
Chancey Charm Houston Wedding Planner