This post is the first where we are officially married; before The Lord, according to the state of Pennsylvania, and in agreement with Pastor Todd. Our blog is no longer lying in it’s title- Kent and Ashleigh have said “I do.”
We have also posted our wedding vows, which can be viewed either by going directly to the top of this page under our banner and clicking on “Our vows,” or by going here:
Today Ashleigh and I are sitting in the airport ready to board our flight back to BWI from our honeymoon in West Palm Beach. We are sitting next to a little boy, named Oliver, who is singing happy birthday to his dad, and a little girl named Sloan who has dropped all of her popcorn onto the floor. Sloan is now eating the popcorn off of the floor. Their parents have already threatened to take away their yogurt parfait, and future trips to Disney World. Awesome.
Moving right along.
I have been so thankful for all of the people who have surrounded Ashleigh and I in our journey of dating, engagement, and now our marriage. We have learned so many tools that will definitely aid us on the adventure of our marriage.
One thing that has been extremely helpful for me (Kent) is to know that our marriage together is not for my happiness or my completion. Don’t get me wrong- I love Ashleigh, and she makes me very happy. But if her chief goal was to make me happy, then she would never infringe on my boundaries that I have set up over the years of living without her. Ashleigh is not made for my happiness, but she is in my life to help me become more sanctified and holy. Holiness takes time and work. We engage The Lord through grace-driven works. We do not work because we need to be loved by God, rather we work because we are already loved by God. In Christ we are seen by God as righteous, and our minds and hearts have been freed to love each other as Christ loves us.
There have been moments during our honeymoon where we both began to get a little antsy. I think we are both pretty motivated and driven people. At one point I had the sudden urge to go through all of my 1,500 emails and delete what I didn’t need. There were emails from 2009. I now have an inbox of 40-something emails, and only 13 unread emails. I have also officially taken my business email off of my phone so that I do not compulsively check my emails. At one point during the honeymoon she asked why I was checking my emails since I had just checked them five minutes ago, if that. If Ashleigh were concerned primarily about my happiness more than my holiness she would probably just not care whether I was checking my emails again. But she does care, and this kind of love is not a love that only loves me for who I am, but it is also a future-oriented love who wants me to grow into someone more like Christ, free and not enslaved by the things of this world. She puts pressure on areas of my life, and I need to receive her wisdom. In this example we both need Christ, because this is not natural to us as humans. The natural response for her is to either become personally offended, or not care at all. My natural response would be to continue doing it, or to be personally offended that she is rightly concerned, and wall off that area of my life and check my phone in private, trying to keep her out of my life. These natural responses do not create Oneness or unity that marriage is designed to create. Marriage is meant to make one unit out of two people, rubbing our edges off of ourselves, through our friendship with each other.
This is only one function of a marriage, although it is inevitable. During our life together we will collide because we are by nature and choice two selfish individuals living under one roof. This can very easily be viewed as annoying, but the truth is I am a weak individual who needs help. I need help to know when to rest. I need help to know what to eat, and sometimes how much of it to eat. I need help to know how to love people. I need help keeping clothes in the laundry hamper. I need help to keep my shoes in one place. I need help keeping track of my wallet and car keys. It just so happens that Ashleigh is awesome at all of those things. Literally, I just now in the airport placed an empty cracker bag beside me because I was ready to throw it out. Without stopping her place in her book she reached across, picked it up, and put it into a trash pile that she has designated for all trash items to go.
Do you know what kind of pressure it would put on Ashleigh to suppress those gifts? She is naturally inclined to be good at that, she was intrinsically wired that way by God. There are things that I have been wired with as well, but the list is a lot shorter. There have been a few times already where we have both viewed the gifts of one another as competition instead of as a help, and we have needed to apologize for that and get to the roots of our sin together.
The truth is that we both need Jesus to redeem us from the way that we have been wired differently. We do not only need to learn how to compromise and work together and show our children how to be nice, but we also need to model forgiveness and repentance toward each other as we learn to grow together in Christ. Our righteousness is in Christ alone, and this means using our gifts in a way that builds each other up and frees each other to be the person that God has uniquely created us to be.
As our honeymoon has come to an end, we will need your prayers- that we are strengthened together in the unity that only Christ can provide for us. We are two very imperfect people who daily need to grow. Nothing has taught me this more than beginning the journey of living together.