Written with love, by Karley Kiker
Hello hello! I am so glad that, for whatever reason, you decided to stop by this brand new column on The Overwhelmed Bride! Since you’re here I’m guessing that you already know what we’ll be discussing in this little corner of the internet...and that would be marriage. It’s a subject I’ve been passionate about for years! Although I’ve only been actually married for three of those years, I’ve been thinking about things like aisles and vows and the concept of being forever-teammates since I was 14 years old.
See, at age 14 I had braces on my teeth. I wore a back brace to school every day to help correct my scoliosis. I was skinny, lanky. Male attention of the "I want to date you" variety was non-existent. But one day, I knew that would change. My future husband would desire me and pursue me. He would call me beautiful. He would see what all the “totally lame” 14-year-old guys surrounding me couldn't. He was out there somewhere, I was sure of it—loving me without knowing me, praying for me and waiting for me, just like I was for him. With these things in mind, I penned my first entry in a new journal. It had blue and white stripes on the cover and a swirly, curvy title written in thick black marker: Only You. Separate from my prayer journal and everyday journal-journal, I began Only You to write letters to my future husband.
Despite the fact that I didn’t know him, I took great comfort in writing him pages upon pages detailing the strength of my affection for him. "Just think," one early entry read, "I could know you in five or six years."
Through the years I would forget about the journal until a breakup, a bad date, or a particularly lonely day reminded me of its existence. Of his existence. When I came home from my first semester at college, my 18-year-old self shared a laugh with him about the dramatic poetry (yes, poetry) penned by 15-year-old me. At 19, I told him I was pretty sure he didn't attend Pepperdine University, and that if he did, he was taking his sweet time trying to find me around campus. At 20, I told him to forget looking for me and to keep growing and discovering who he was in Christ instead—to see the beauty that can come from pain, to grow into the spiritual shape of a man after God's own heart. At 21, I let him know that I was going to be a bridesmaid in two different weddings, and that I was still watching for him, waiting for him. And then, at age 22, I told him we had met.
I’m planning to share more of that story in the future—a cliffhanger will keep you guys coming back for more, right?—but for now, I’ll jump back to the present for long enough to drop the following disclaimer: I am not a marriage expert. In fact, I’m still in that sweet spot known as the “honeymoon phase” (minus the bronzy glow that accompanies a week spent sipping mojitos in Mexico).
So why write about marriage now? Shouldn’t that kind of thing wait 10, 20, or 50 years? I think not. I want this column to be a place to talk about marriage in the moment, right as it’s happening; when it’s less of a finished masterpiece and more of a “Where is the paint by numbers guide?” kind of thing. This is not a retrospective exhibit marked by the admiration a lifetime of achievements is due. This is a disorganized studio that’s open to the paint-slinging public. It’s also a really extended art metaphor that I can only hope at least five percent of you are catching on to.
If any of you are there—at the very beginning of a brand new marriage and feeling so excited for what’s to come, and yet a little unsure as to whether or not you’re really doing the wife thing like it’s “supposed” to be done—then this is the place for you. Scratch that. This is the place for us. A place to laugh away disillusionment and dissect the lies that Disney told us. A place to throw confetti as we celebrate the joy of exchanging the title of fiancé for wife, and then talk honestly about trading “tossing the bouquet” for the slightly less glam “throwing laundry into the washing machine.” Again. And then again. No, like, literally for the third time in one day.
Okay. Enough about laundry. There’s always going to be more than enough of that to deal with. Let’s dig into the vows we exchanged and the promises we made and find out what it’s really like to take a journey down this road called marriage!