From Bride to Wife

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I first saw him outside a food truck in San Diego. It was almost 40 degrees Celsius and he was wearing a beanie. He was a handsome, bearded barista from Portland, who walked right up to me and told me he liked my accent.

When I met and fell for Camron, I didn’t know that two years on I would have moved overseas, left everything I’ve ever known, and that I would be about to marry an American. I didn’t know that all my dreams and expectations about my wedding day would be radically redefined as I accepted the difficulties of marrying someone from across the world. Choosing to marry Camron was also choosing the ache of long distance, a life split between two homes, divided time between two families and the difficulty of beginning life all over again away from Australia.

When I dreamed of my wedding day, I never expected it would be split across three events, 12,000km and four months, and that it would be a huge point of tension for us on top of the tensions engagement already brought. Since the day we got engaged, my fiancé and I have felt, for the most part, like we’re holding our breath. I think if I’m honest, the end goal and finish line for us has felt like the moment we say, ‘I do’ and it’s all over; all the goodbyes, all the traveling, all the saving, planning and creating. I see this same mentality all the time with couples; as they date and begin to seriously talk about marriage, they prepare their hearts, finances and circumstances for it. But from the moment they get engaged the focus of these things switch to the wedding day.

I want to be real for a second here. I’m writing this with only 25 days until my wedding. I’m right in the heights of what is usually a ‘stressful’ and ‘chaotic’ time—last minute planning, everything coming together, absolute busyness and functioning at your fullest capacity. In the first few months of our engagement, I was unable to make myself stop from my own busyness. My life was too loud to seek quietness, too fast to slow down. Hyped up by coffee, but without the awareness of a vibrant feel for the ‘now’. I’ve seen it in myself too; in all my haste, I think I’m making up for time, but it turns out I’m losing it. “Hurry always empties a soul”—Ann Voskamp.

But I discovered something that has completely changed my heart. It has helped me live with healthy perspective now, right in the midst of this chaos. And it was learning to reorient my mind toward the real goal of marriage: not being a bride, but becoming a wife, and preparing for a lifetime with the man I love.

I want to always keep this at the forefront of my mind; weddings are good, but marriage is better. The first day is important, but the choices you make now are better made in light of the last day.

Don’t get me wrong; being a bride is a beautiful thing and it is unspeakably exciting. Even calling them ‘fiancé’ is special! The root of the word ‘fiancé’ simply means ‘future’, so I often just call Camron my ‘future’, a constant reminder of what’s to come. So here’s the thing—when you have a healthy perspective that the end goal of your wedding is the marriage, your heart is liberated to make healthy decisions, both small and large. Time goes fast during engagement, but I encourage you to weigh it down with thankfulness so you can live slowly, presently, appreciating the unique beauty of this time so that you can prepare to love your future-husband fiercely, fully and faithfully. True joy runs deeper than just this one season and will overflow into your marriage.

As a bride, I need to reorient the way I think about my wedding. Being a bride is not the end goal; becoming a wife is! Though I have spent more hours of my life dreaming of being a bride then dreaming of being a wife, now I can say that I’ve honestly spent less time stressing and more time swooning over my future-husband. I have chosen to focus less on the small details of the day and more on my future with Camron. Being a bride is for a short moment in time—being a wife is for the rest of your lives together. The party is over in a few short hours, but that’s when the millions of hours afterward really begin—life living with your best friend and adventure partner, and choosing to fiercely love one another even when it’s really hard.

I choose not to see our wedding day as the finish line, where we sit there on our honeymoon reeling like we’ve just run a marathon. As a bride, I don’t want to hold my breath; I want to breathe deep, to slow down time with presentness, thankfulness and stillness as I prepare to become a wife.

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