planning your marriage while planning your wedding: week 17 “in the going without”

Version 2

Clay and I are doing a two week cleanse. We have officially made it through week one. We have one more to go. And let me tell you – it’s been rough. We can’t have coffee, sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, high glycemic fruits, and more! I could have stopped at no coffee and that would have been enough. Is it sad that I have actually had the thought, “Well, what’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning if I can’t have coffee?!”

That’s sad. Don’t tell anyone I said that.

The reason I’m doing this cleanse is to try to give my stomach a chance to re-strengthen itself, to repair any damage been done from various food sensitivities I have or stress-related irritation. And the reason Clay is doing it? “Solidarity,” he says. I tell ya – this man is so sweet and supportive, and I truly could not have done this without him… considering day #1 (a Monday and workday) I texted him at about 10am, “I mean, can’t we just have one cup of coffee and ease ourselves in?” I was fully prepared for him to agree (given how much coffee he drinks!), but much to my conviction I received a text back, “Babe, if we are going to do this, let’s do this!” 

So “do this” we are!

I have learned a lot already in this cleanse. It’s such a practice of not getting what I want when I want it. We live in a culture and society today that is all about instant gratification, and our advances in technology have only exacerbated the problem – you want information? You pull out your smart phone and Google it. You want pretty much any item under the sun? You log into your Amazon Prime account and it’s at your door within two days – sometimes that same day! I could go on but don’t need to because, well,  you live here, too.

In this season of preparing for marriage, this practice of “going without” is such a valuable one (and let’s be honest, this cleanse is a mere microscopic fraction of what much of the world goes without daily: clean water, enough food to eat of any sort, a solid roof over their heads…) Nevertheless, it is helping to refine me, to grow me, to stretch me. I was just reading in Ephesians this morning in chapter 6 where Paul encourages us to put on the “armor of God” in preparation for the very real evil we will face in this world.

Similarly, in preparation for marriage, we must practice not self-serving at every moment we get, but rather the virtues of truth, righteousness, peace, faith and salvation that he speaks of in verses 14-18.

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.” – Ephesians 6:13, The Message

I am not naive to the reality that in marriage we will all face “more than [we] can handle on [our] own.” I know that we will be stretched in ways we never have before. But I am also not naive to the reality that if we root ourselves in the Word, in God’s great truth and hope, we can find strength to withstand any “going without,” any trial, and any attack that comes our way in marriage.

So I continue on in my fast, with a supportive fiancé encouraging me along the way, with my eyes set on the finish line, and with the metaphor of my faith journey as well as future marriage on my mind. One day at a time. One step at a time. One prayer at a time.

“We might never be rich folks, but I love how we are… You can take whatever I call mine, but please don’t take my love away.” – Emily Hearn, Please, Don’t Take My Love Away

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