From Condolences To Congratulations

The week before my wedding I was sitting at my work desk. I was busy handling last minute preparations for my week away from the office. Since my back is to the door, I have a rear-view mirror so I don’t get scared out of my shoes when people walk up behind me.

I spun around as he strolled up to my desk. He covered the talking end of his cell phone and whispered:

“My condolences” 

He winked at my as he smiled and shook my hand. Then he walked away.

He wasn’t the only one. As others in the building offered their sentiments on my impending marriage, many of them were cast in a negative or sarcastic light. Most of the time I didn’t even know what to say.

My last day of work before the wedding I was in the restroom, getting chatted up by another manager. Not only did he breach proper male bathroom etiquette, but his last words before walking out stunned me:

“There’s still time to get out.”

No smile here. He was dead serious.

Not a month earlier, I was eating a piece of cake celebrating his wedding.

Turning It Around

There are few decisions in my life that I have been absolutely sure about. I can’t even say that I was absolutely sure about accepting Jesus Christ as my personal savior when I was 9 years old. But I can say that I was absolutely sure about marrying Katie.

There are so many marriages that are broken or hanging on by a thread. There is an incredible amount of disillusionment about the current state of matrimony in our society. It clearly is not held with the same esteem that it once was.

But I see my marriage as so much bigger than living happily ever after with the woman of my dreams. I see my marriage as a beacon of hope for others. I see what God is doing in us as something that will bring life to a single waiting for love to be awakened and restoration to the brokenhearted trying to pick up the pieces.

I don’t say this arrogantly. I say this because I believe God would do it through two people who have been broken enough in relationships that they KNOW that only He can sustain them. Two humble hearts that know they can do nothing apart from Christ’s love and redemption.

I know there are a lot of people who may think we’re naïve to think that our marriage is going to be so amazing. Some doubt it outright while others smile at us while thinking more realistic thoughts. They may say to themselves, “I really hope that’s true, but once you face the reality of how hard marriage is, you might not be singing the same tune.”

The good news is that we don’t have anything to prove other than God’s faithfulness. Even more than we want it, He wants it. It was His idea, after all.

As he perfects that work in us, my heart is to see hope restored to the holy covenant of marriage. My heart is to see a generation of lovers that raise children in two parent homes. My prayer is that a new wave of marriages will be strong and healthy as they encourage those coming after them to believe that marriage is one of most precious gifts God has given us.

Call me naïve but I’m expectant for a day when new marriages aren’t made fun of, they are celebrated. When sentiments go from condolences to congratulations.

Tony & Katie Wedding

Comments

  1. Parabéns pelo Casamento!!!! I’m very happy for you!!! Specially because I haven’t been here for a long time and when I saw the pic of your marriege, I got tears…I know and believe that God does much more than we can think! Be happy until heaven!

  2. I have been married three wonderful years, and although there are some challenging parts, I can attest that healthy communication and dedication from both makes for an amazing experience. I hope the same for you and your marriage! It’s an awesome thing.

  3. I’m late to the game, so I apologize if I’m just repeating what others have said.

    My wife and I have been married for a little over a year now, and marrying that woman was the best decision I’ve made in my 31 years of life. I know what you mean, Tony, when you talk about how sure you were about marrying Katie. I felt the same way about marrying my wife. No jitters. No nervousness. No second thoughts. I was ready to light that candle and start our life together. I know that there are people who think my wife and I were (and ARE) naive, but I try not worry about those people. Perhaps we are naive. Perhaps Kari and I will get blindsided by bad times in the not-too-distant future. Who knows. All I can do is keep praying that the good times I’m experiencing right now will have such a profound impact on me that they’ll carry me through the bad times.

    It’s funny that you talk about the “condolences” you received leading up to your marriage, because Kari and I experienced the same phenomena. I’m a pretty easy-going guy who doesn’t get offended by much, but even I grew tired of the sarcasm. That’s why I go out of my way to encourage newly-engaged couples on their impending nuptials. Recently we learned of a couple at our church who just got engaged, and Kari and I spent a few minutes in the lobby after service telling them how awesome marriage is and what a great decision they were making. They appreciated the pep talk, and I felt good that I may have balanced out the “condolences” they’re receiving.

    SIDENOTE: My favorite sarcastic comment about marriage is this one: “Marriage is a wonderful institution if you like being institutionalized.” I had one co-worker tell me this on almost a daily basis leading up to my wedding. It was funny the first five times he said it.
    Wes Molebash recently posted..Ten Down, One-Fiddy-Five To Go!

    • Thanks for sharing this, Wes. It definitely gives you a different perspective coming into marriage in your 30s. Honestly, I don’t even think I knew myself until I was about 30 anyways!

      My heart is the same as yours in wanting to encourage newly-engaged couples along with those married for years and those in tough places.

      It’s crazy how many people are jaded towards marriage. I hope to see that turn around, even if it’s just one couple at a time!

  4. Oh, this is so sweet!

    Spouses aren’t a ball-and-chain. Marriage is an establishment of freedom!
    I mean, who else would laugh and rate my farts with me and still think I’m a hottie?
    Answer: No one who isn’t legally bound to me.

    Congratulations to you both!
    Jessica recently posted..The Doughnut War of the Ages

  5. Marriage needs to be built upon the Rock of Christ Jesus, that’s the only way that it will have a firm foundation from the beginning.
    And I believe yours has that firm foundation.
    Tony, may God bless you and Katie on this new journey that has just begun. May He use you both in His ministry. And may the same people that said those sarcastic comments see that you guys have what it takes to make it work: Jesus. So they may want Him too.
    Cris Ferreira recently posted..What must I do to inherit eternal life?

  6. I agree that the sarcasm is inappropriate, but as someone whose marriage has been through the ringer–and emerged out the other side stronger–I have to say that behind the sarcasm is either a sad or a stern undertone or subtle subtext that says, “No matter what you’re imagining, this is going to be far, far harder than anything else you’ve ever done.”

    It doesn’t say anything about whether or not you should do it. It just says that you Have. No. Clue. what you’re getting yourself into. I think that’s probably true. Of anyone. No matter how prepared you are for it.

    Marriage is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And no matter how much people told me it would be, I couldn’t possibly comprehend what they were talking about. Also, especially because I almost lost mine, I have to say that working on it is the most rewarding accomplishment of my life. I wouldn’t want to be married to anyone other than my wife. I didn’t feel that way a few years ago, but I do now.

    So, yes, there was still time to get out the day or two before it. And some people were letting you know as a final warning: “Do this if you REALLY understand how bad it will be at its worst.” But, knowing what I know about you, you’ll stick around through its worst and you and your wife will be in excellent joy on the other side for the best.

    Marriage is hard. But you know what my view is of the difference is between couples who last and couples who don’t? Pretty simple: The couples who last are the ones who don’t split up.

    Told you it was simple.
    Jeff Holton recently posted..How I became a Web 1.0 Internet sensation

    • Great thoughts, Jeff. I’m not sure if you know my story but I’ve been there with marriage. I’ve learned a LOT and I know I have SO much more to learn. But I’m making sure that my past wasn’t for nothing and taking measures to do things better.

      I know it’s hard. Anything that causes you to face your greatest fears and ugliest weaknesses HAS to be. But I know it will be a perfecting work in both of us.

      Like you said, the key is pretty simple! Not necessarily easy, but very simple. :)

    • “The good news is that we don’t have anything to prove other than God’s faithfulness. Even more than we want it, He wants it. It was His idea, after all.” This phrase is SO true and liberating. Great insight, my friend!
      Amandalea Rodriguez-Soon to be Mrs. Noel :) recently posted..The Dream

  7. I’m with you, Tony. Congratulations!
    Larry Hehn recently posted..So what if I don’t like Coldplay?

  8. Amazing that people actually make those snippy comments. Unbelievable – but then I know that anything joyful and happy that happens to me – there is usually one person (or two) that try to “rain on my parade” and “bring me down a notch or two”. I have to believe it is because misery loves company and sad and hurting people cannot STAND it when others are truly happy. That being said – marriage IS hard work. I know from 30 years personal experience. I went into it thinking it wasn’t – so I didn’t work at it. About 3 years ago – things came crashing down around me – and if we had not had our faith and foundation in a solid friendship – I don’t know if we would have made it through. The best advice I have is this: remain and build a strong friendship in each other – so that when the hard times come (and they will) you will be able to cling to that and each other – and your strong faith in God. Congratulations – you deserve EVERY happiness :)
    Cindy Holman recently posted..Do You Have The God-Factor?

    • Because of my experience, I’m coming in with eyes wide open. I don’t think it will be a walk in the park, but nothing has been since I’ve really started living my life for Jesus. However, every perfecting work has been absolutely worth every struggle!

      Thank you for the advice and the encouragement, Cindy. It means so much!

  9. Love the thoughts, Tony. It’s funny how people make those comments (I got the same ones 6 years ago), and in the end, it reveals a part of their heart in the process. I, too, want marriages to be celebrated and it’s heartbreaking to see how lightly our culture values it at times.
    dustin recently posted..God Never Left Me

  10. I, too, look forward to the day when marriages are celebrated! They are a gift from God. Thank you for this great post and congratulations on getting married!
    Kim Wilson recently posted..What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

  11. CONGRATULATIONS!!

    How sad it is that somebody would joke about the gift of marriage.

    I have been married 7+ years to my best friend and each year our marriage keeps getting better!

    Our marriage is not only for us but it is a ministry to others. I truly feel bad for those who don’t have a godly marriage.

    I’m here to tell you Tony, that your marriage will only get better. Sure it’s difficult work but anything worth having is. I bet I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know.

    Again, congratulations!
    David Knapp recently posted..Prof. Horner Bible Reading System Bookmarks in German!

  12. I echo the congratulations, Tony! I really loved the passion in this post. Marriage is a wonderful thing and it’s encouraging to see someone like yourself committed to making it great.
    David Santistevan recently posted..7 Tips For Engaging Youth In Worship

  13. First off, congrats on getting married. Your going to have a blast!!!

    Before I got married, I also heard some of the same comments. But just ignored them because I knew it was ordained by God.
    Dan Black recently posted..5 Pitfalls Christian Leaders Need To Avoid

  14. I thought I had posted a reply to this but apparently my computer ate it. That’s what I get for multitasking at work.

    I have never understood why people make negative comments, even in jest, about marriage. I often ask “If you’re so miserable, why did you get married?” The response is usually a blank stare.

    I love being married. I love sharing my life with someone, I love knowing that someone loves me for all of my ridiculousness, and I love it even more when people I love get to experience the joy of commitment.

    Perhaps the naysayers never got the memo that if you can’t say anything nice then you should just sit down and shut up and let everyone else be happy.

    And in case I hadn’t said it yet, CONGRATULATIONS! I saw the photos on facebook, how gorgeous!!!!
    Cam recently posted..Tis the Season to be Scary!

    • Thanks Cam!

      And seriously, you encourage me more than you probably know. I LOVE the way you talk about your husband. Every time you tweet about how amazing he is or how much you love him, it makes me happy. I love how you honor him. It’s beautiful. You guys are awesome!

  15. Let me say congrats. Marriage is a joy and my wife is the most precious treasure. Marriage is all about two people giving 100%. It is sad when people degrade marriage and the beautiful picture that it is – it is the picture that God uses for his church.
    Jim F recently posted..What a week!

    • Every time I think about the mystery of marriage and how it relates to us being the bride of Christ, it blows me away. God is so brilliant in His plans. I think I’m going to spend the rest of my life getting more and more of a revelation of what it means.

  16. I hate it when I hear people joke and talk bad about marriage. I think people think that I will agree because I’m divorced, but I don’t. Marriage is a huge commitment to me. I see so many bad marriages every day (not to mention having some horrible experiences in my own) but I also see a few good ones and those are enough to remind me that marriage is a blessing. Is it hard work? Absolutely, but so worth it. I still have hope (on my good days) that I will have the chance to marry again. That’s how much I still believe in it.

    Congrats to you both.
    jenn recently posted..Suffering

    • I felt the same way after my first marriage ended. I know you might think that joke would make me feel better, but no thanks. I never wanted to take the cynical route.

      I’m believing in another chance for you too, Jenn. I’m living proof that it can happen.

  17. I believe that a marriage that is submitted to the Lordship of Jesus produces a picture of the perfect love our savior has for this world. A marriage like this is an incredible evangelism tool, a wonderful ministry. Everyone wants a happy marriage, but deeper than that we all crave acceptance and unconditional love — we all need Jesus. A great marriage facilitates spiritual growth for the couple, their kids and anyone else who may be influenced by you – blessings on your new adventure together.

  18. I. Love. This.

    Excellent thoughts, Tony.

    This is one of the best areas of your life that you can ‘let your light shine’.

    Jana and I have been approached by many friends struggling in their marriages who want to know how ‘we’ do it.

    You can talk theology with people all day long, but when they see their marriage is broken and yours isn’t, that’s a powerful testimony that’s hard to argue with.
    Ricky Anderson recently posted..The World Serious

    • YES! The power of testimony is something I’ve learned by actually “having” a testimony. I wanted to argue theology all day when it was all about theory. But living it out carries so much more weight.

      Thanks Ricky!

  19. There’s really not much I can add to this awesome post or the conversation in the comments.

    What has amazed me about your story as individuals is that {from what I’ve read} God did a lot of heart work with each of you to bring you to a point where marriage was an option, even a desirable option. He has already done so much in each of your lives. I can’t wait to see what He does with you as “one flesh”! Many blessings to Mr. and Mrs. Alicea! <3
    Keri recently posted..Haters Gonna Hate

  20. Congratulations on getting married and glad to see your posting again!!! You are going to have a blast being married.

    Before I got married I had a few people do the same thing. I knew God had ordained it so I shrugged those comments off.
    Dan Black recently posted..5 Pitfalls Christian Leaders Need To Avoid

  21. You know, I feel the same way about my marriage. That we can give hope to folks who are in interfaith marriages. Not just to get by, but have a happy marriage.

    Yeah, it’s work. But it’s a little bit every day. And I get to do it with my very best friend. That’s a pretty good gig.

    Huge, gigantic congratulations to you & Katie, my friend. Love you both!
    Alise recently posted..Guest Post at GoinsWriter.com

    • I love your testimony Alise! And I love your perspective on it. It’s beautiful. And I agree, there are few things more awesome than having your best friend by your side for life!

  22. Tony, from the bottom of my heart CONGRATULATIONS! I’ve been married for 9 years to my wife. My first wife passed away of cancer and my wife was divorced from an abusive husband. It has not been easy, and we went through some rough times because were both dealing with hurts. But the key was to get closer to Jesus and the outcome has been that our marriage had flourished and everyday we get closer and closer. God Bless you my brother!
    Juan Cruz Jr recently posted..What standards are you following?

    • Thank you for sharing some of your story! That’s powerful and I know God has done (and is doing) something special with you and your wife. You’ve already encouraged me greatly!

  23. Oh, Tony…
    You sure struck a chord with me, today…
    When my husband and I were coming up on our 12th anniversary, I actually had a good friend (a christian friend, even!) say, “have you really been married to the same man for 12 years? Wow! It clearly was not a congratulatory statement. She seems amazed that I would “stick around” that long.
    My mother, who’s marriage to my father ended after just a few years (she’s is a retired Presbyterian minister, btw) seems to see our marriage as doomed to failure.
    We met in November of 1996, started doing things together as friends in January of 1997, dating that April, and we were married July 26, 1997. Coming up on 15 years, & the devil ain’t won yet- oh he’s tried, he’s still trying- but he ain’t gonna win!
    I love my husband with all my heart, and though we have our problems, I can’t imagine my life without him.
    As long as we cling to God and to each other- we are invincible.
    I hope that we are also a beacon to those around us, single, married, divorced, “shacked-up”, etc…
    Don’t let the devil have any room in your marriage- Look those naysayers straight in the eye and say: “My life has a higher purpose, my heart a stronger commitment, and my soul a level of contentment that few will ever reach, because I know The Truth, and It indeed has set me free. Free of negativity and aspersion.”
    Blessings in truckloads to you and your beautiful bride, my friend.
    Sarah
    Sarah recently posted..Carrying A Name- Following a Path

    • Thank you, Sarah!

      12 year marriages like yours are a testimony and encouragement to me. I have way too many friends who have divorced within 5 years and it breaks my heart every time I hear about it.

  24. That t-shirt that has the bride and groom pictured on it with GAME OVER below it really irks me. Marriage works when the two people involve work. I am so happy for you two! I was just dying to see a picture of you both, so thanks for posting one. Happy days ahead!
    Sandy Sandmeyer recently posted..Never Beyond: Mr Jaws

    • Thank you so much, Sandy!

      I don’t like those kinds of jokes either. I don’t even like when a husband and wife tease each other in front of other people. It seems like a small thing but it can be symptomatic of a larger issue.

  25. Marriage is *always* gonna have rough patches…but different people come to it with different levels of preparedness and maturity!

    When you get married very young (18 for me), or come from a bad family background (again – me), you walk in with 40 strikes against you from the get-go! We had some horrible patches, and came thisclose to divorcing at around year 7…but now we’re 22 years in. We still have some baggage and bad habits, but it can work, even when it’s a pretty messed-up marriage.

    You and Katie are starting out from a MUCH better position than I did (or than many of the people who pooh-pooh marriage did.) You have more spiritual maturity, etc. etc. You’re not perfect, but you’ve got a fantastic foundation, and I believe that you’ll have a wonderful marriage, truly.

    Love what K said in her comment, above. You guys are going to do great, and have SO many people cheering you on (NOT waiting for you to fail), and ready to hold your arms up when you need it.

    Love you guys!
    Cathy recently posted..Don’t Forget the Knox

  26. Dauna Hawkins says:

    Joy…bliss…wonderful!!

  27. Kim Quinn says:

    Comments like you got just illustrate how the things of God are foolishness to the world. If you do not understand the things of God you are focused on your own happiness and comfort, and not willing to wait for satisfaction. I am convinced that people who say these things, if they mean any of it, should not marry. If that is really what you think of marriage don’t do it.

    I have been married for 20 years. My husband has suffered with MS for 5 years of that. We also have twins with disabilites. So the pressure is there. I would be lying if I said there weren’t times when I have thought about giving up. But then I think about it, singles have problems too, maybe different ones, but problems none the less. So what would I gain by leaving? Lonlyness? In our hard times I have someone, besides God who always walks with us, who knows what I’m going through and has pledged his life to wilk in oneness with me. Why would I give that up?
    Yes it’s hard, but you two have started out with the right perspective, a clear understanding of God’s design for marriage and for your lives as a couple and as individuals. Find mentor couples who can help you in those hard times and celebrate you in those good times, find couples that are at the same stage and commit to supporting one another, and remember God has put you together He will see you through the hard times. Yes marriage is hard, but our God is mighty enough to bring victory in any situation.
    So I say CONGRATULATIONS!!!! and I can’t wait to see what God’s gonna do through the two of you.

    • Wow, thank you so much for sharing a glimpse of your story. Your faithfulness is a huge encouragement!

      I definitely will be looking for couples to mentor us. That’s a big deal for me. I don’t want to try to isolate ourselves and do it alone. If we’re isolated when things are good, we’ll be even more isolated during the tough times.

      Thanks again, Kim!

  28. Sweet words Tony. I echo other statements here and I pray that you and Katie bring joy to each other and glory to our King through your marriage. What a wonderful journey you guys are on!

    Have you guys read Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge? One of the most realistic and encouraging books on marriage that I’ve read. Love how they break it down like this:

    1. Find life in God (alone and together)
    2. Deal with your brokenness (take it to God first, your spouse has their own brokenness to deal with)
    3. Learn to shut down the spiritual attacks that come against your marriage.

    • I haven’t read that one. Honestly, I’ve read a handful of marriage books and none of them have necessarily blown me away.

      I’ve never read an Eldredge book so this might be a great place to start.

  29. so happy for y’all – totally enjoyed seeing the pix come up by folks on FB :)

    You are right, marriage IS hard. Daily it is hard. But hard doesn’t have to mean unhappy.

    I would add something else to your being a light… you will not only be a light to singles or the broken, but also to marriages that may not be where they could be :) Shine brother, shine!
    Jenny recently posted..Let Them Be Little

    • If it is ALWAYS easy, you’re probably doing it wrong! :) It’s definitely a perfecting work but a necessary one.

      I love your addition and that is definitely my prayer as well!

  30. As another groom who had no second thoughts in marrying his bride, CONGRATULATIONS! I pray for the day when every marriage is celebrated and every divorce is mourned, when we seek to live together, not apart. I look forward to Christian divorce rates not mirroring the secular world’s. Laura an I, you and Katie, and countless other believers who live our lives in obedience are only a small start, but we are a start. Keep it strong and growing in His love!
    Paul S recently posted..When the rough days come

  31. Condolences on being surrounded by so many people who don’t filter their words. Ignore them. A new marriage is something to celebrate!

    Congratulations to you and Katie!!! God has a huge future for the both of you, embrace it!
    Jakz recently posted..innocence and saul

  32. Awesome post, Tony! I had similar experiences from people that barely knew me. It seemed the people that knew me the best would have never dreamed of joking with me about our marriage. They know the rough road I’ve traveled to get here. They know how much you love, honor, and respect me. They know my desire to honor Jesus with my marriage is real and true.

    I feel like the more we proclaim publicly our lovey-doveyness for each other and wave the banner of godly marriages, the more people are out there reading our words thinking “That sounds nice and all, but just wait until reality sets in. I bet we won’t be hearing about how awesome marriage is then, will we!?” People are watching us. Like a soap opera. Waiting for the drama. It’s not that people want us to fail. Not at all. The exact opposite actually. They want more than anything for what we are going for to be possible. Because if two regular folks like us can stumble upon the right way, then that means they can do it too. That’s both scary and exciting. Scary because that would mean change. Exciting because that would mean peace and joy.

    We entered into marriage soberly, understanding the gravity and meaning of our decision. We know it’s going to be hard. It should be hard. Two people being refined by each other. Iron sharpening iron and all that. Doesn’t sound like puppies and kittens to me. If you enter marriage thinking you get to stay the same, then you will most definitely feel unhappy. My relationship with Jesus is a rocky road sometimes, so I can’t expect my marriage to be any different. Jesus tries to make me more like Him. I fight it. He wins. The pattern continues. The same with marriage. Tony and I aren’t going to “fix” each other. We are going to love the hell out of each other. Literally. :)
    Katie M recently posted..A Rose By Any Other Name…

  33. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard from married couples how lucky I am to still be single. While I try to be content in whatever situation I find myself, I can’t help but think that they have somehow given up too early on their marriage, and view singleness as some utopia away from married life. They must not remember the lonely nights, the struggles to find love, feeling that you will never share your life with someone.

    I tend to smack those people back to reality.

    Congrats again Tony! Here’s hoping I will join the ranks of the new marriages you described above!
    Jason Vana recently posted..As Far as the East is from the West

    • I heard Bill Johnson say “the grass is always greener where you water it”. That’s a good word right there!

      And I’m confident that you will be joining the ranks dude. Fo’ sho!

  34. I’ve seen some of the worst that marriage can be… but I’ve also seen some of the best that marriage can be. Your marriage gives me great hope that loves stories aren’t dead.

    Marriage blessed by God, marriage that represents a commitment to toughing out the bad times and dancing in the good times — and even dancing in the tough times… that’s special, and possibly rare, but I want to think it’s possible and probable.
    kristinherdy recently posted..Kristin Herdy’s Quest for the Holy Landfill

  35. Marriage is both: The best thing to happen to me, and the hardest thing to happen to me.

    Marriage is like a rose. It’s beautiful, demands attention, but also has thorns. In my life, marriage is an adventure that you get to live everyday. Some days you make mistakes, others you celebrate successes.

    Marriage has become a big joke in today’s society. Mostly because we have allowed culture to define what men and women should be. If we base our live, our marriages on how the Bible describes them and the commitment, attention and devotion that it must be given, marriage is the roller coaster of a lifetime. I like to raise my hands and scream on the top of my lungs. Love the thrill!

    Tony the married man. Holla!
    Moe recently posted..I’m Sorry, But Your Savior is In Another Castle

  36. I’ve never understood why people make those awful jokes about marriage. I have friends that complain about being married all the time. I like to ask them why they are still married and if their mother ever taught them the rule of keeping their mouth shut if they can’t say anything nice.

    I love marriage, I love weddings, I love when two people are in love. I love it even more when they are realistic about marriage. It’s a team effort, that requires tending and nurturing and lots of hard work, but every great reward comes from great effort.

    Congratulations!!
    Cam recently posted..Monday Mash-Up

  37. Marriage is work, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it or something to be celebrated. People tend to speak from where they are, while forgetting all of where they’ve been. We all know what that absolute high of love feels like, then we feel the slam of major disillusionment when we find that the high doesn’t last. Not enough married couples talk about the deep appreciative love that develops after that because too many get stuck in their disillusionment. The best part of marriage isn’t the first rush of love, it’s the deep love of commitment. I think it’s committed love that isn’t celebrated enough. Knowing that each of you is pledging to be there for each other through thick and thin. It’s in the vows that too many don’t fully understand at the time.
    Veronica Monique recently posted..Writing Marathon with NaNoWritMo

  38. I am always amazed at what people will say to those who are getting married and who are happy to be getting married. You have nothing but congrats from me! I am so happy for you guys and I know that as long as you keep God at the center of your relationship, it will be AMAZING!
    April recently posted..In God’s Heart, I am________

  39. Hey Tony,
    i use to be one of the nay sayers about marriages. after seeing so many people hating there life being with “the ball and chain or the wife or the husban,
    seeing you and so many others at church so happy has started to change my out look. first sundays when we honor couples that have been married has been a big help in changing that.
    i have often asked God why have you put coulpes in my life and not singles, and im begining to see. i dont see myself getting married, for you know where i came from. but i am so honored to have been place in a church that respects and honors marrage.
    you and Katie inspire me and give me hope that if i do ever get married i want it to be like what i see in you and the other great couples God has placed in my life..
    yor a blessing. thank you for all you do…

    • Our community has made a huge different in my life as well, Paul. It wasn’t until I was around healthy marriages on a regular basis that I even believed that it was possible.

      That’s why what God is doing in us is such a big deal for me. It’s bigger than us.

  40. Jeremy Walker says:

    Hey bro,

    I’m so happy for you guys and proud of the desires of your heart…having a vision for awesome marriages is not a bad thing, no matter if people are joking about it or not. In the past men have cracked the same jokes at me and I always felt uncomfortable about it…I’m sure this uncomfortable state was easily seen by my flushed cheeks and nervous laugh…like you, I never really said anything in response…but maybe that’s not such a bad thing…in SOME cases people are more impacted by our actions rather than our words.

    The sad thing is I feel like most people (especially men) say these negative things about marriage because others are…they are trying to find some kind of way to fit in…or they might just be jealous of you, bro :o) Just being honest!

    Stay strong my friend…I’m confident your desire will be accomplished.

    Jeremy

    • I know what you mean. I feel that in some of those comments, they didn’t ring true. Almost like they felt like it was the kind of joke that you’re “supposed” to make, even if you don’t feel good about it.

      It isn’t until someone takes the lead and talks about what a gift marriage can be and how there is hope, that things will begin to change. Every movement started with one action.

  41. Jonathan B says:

    Only congratulations from here as well!

    I can’t say I expect the overall world view of marriage to change to the positive, though. Unless God has one last Great Awakening in store for us, we’re pretty much in moral freefall at the moment and you can’t truly comprehend what marriage was meant to be without godly morality.

    Which is not to say we shouldn’t still fight for it! The Scripture tells us to occupy till He comes, and i take that to mean we should be fighting for what ought to be in spiritual, political, and personal levels. And even if the overall world doesn’t change, we can still change individual lives for the better by our model and our witness. If even one couple learns from your example, you’re making a difference.

    • I’m ready and willing to fight for it, Jonathan. In my family first and then to stand with others. Like you said, even if it’s only one other couple.

      • Jonathan B says:

        And taking that thought a step further. Even if not one life is changed around you, what you do right before the Lord is still victory and still will bring blessing in your own marriage.

        Sometimes God has to remind me in various areas of life that results are not my part of the deal; obedience is my part, results are His.

  42. I love and appreciate your perspective toward marriage, Tony. It is disturbing to see people almost try to talk an engaged couple out of getting married. Yes, you should enter a marriage with eyes wide open but it seems it would be helpful to expect and hope for the best. At the root of it all, marriage should be about displaying God’s faithfulness. That is definitely my hope if Mr. Right ever comes my way.
    HopefulLeigh recently posted..Spotlight: The Work of Visiting Orphans

  43. “I see my marriage as a beacon of hope for others. I see what God is doing in us as something that will bring life to a single waiting for love to be awakened and restoration to the brokenhearted trying to pick up the pieces.”

    I’m right with you on this Tony!

    I’ve been happily married for 8 years and it has been amazing. HARD! But Blessed Amazing! I love my wife…she is my best friend…and I can’t even imagine 1 second with out her…I really do love her more every single day!
    Arny recently posted..The iPhone Cross

  44. I’m with you in the fight to change attitudes about marriage. People need to realize that with God first and unselfishness in the hearts of those getting married, marriage is a powerful testament of God & His awesome work in us. Congrats!

  45. Congrats bro!

    And I’m with you. I’m a hopeless romantic that hates those types of jokes.

    PS. Glad we didn’t have to have that talk.
    Michael Perkins recently posted..The Ditch Swallows

  46. Wish you a blessed married life!

    It’s so important for the world to see positive marriages in action!

  47. Only congrats my friends, only congrats. Praying God will bless you and Katie with a phenomenal marriage, one that is a testimony to His grace.
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  48. Congratulations. The commitment you’ve made is one of the strongest bonds and the most important one you’ll ever make. You’ve got the right attitude…
    Dave H recently posted..5 Ways of Equipping the Church

  49. Congratulations, Tony! And don’t give the naysayers any thought. God brought you and Katie together and He’ll keep you together.
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  50. Well, let me defend some of the “jokers” here…I usually make a crack or two about discount airfare to Tijuana but I only do it to someone that I know A) wouldn’t want to do it and B) is landing a totally cool spousal unit. A joke like that could be done out of endearment toward you and not meant to degrade marriage as an institution.

    Believe me, if I thought someone was actually making a mistake I wouldn’t crack a joke about it. It’s no laughing matter at all.
    Jason recently posted..Day 297: If you had one day left…

    • I hear you Jason. I just find it difficult to see where the line is. I mean, when that guy told me “my condolences” I was speechless. The smile and the wink told me he wasn’t completely serious, but I’ve found that almost all sarcasm is rooted in some truth (even if just perceived truth).

      That’s why Katie and I have even talked a lot about how we joke with each other. I don’t want to get in the habit of making fun of her even in private because when I do it in public, too often it is done out of passive aggression.

  51. I’m with you. Seems I am somewhat surrounded at work by people with a terribly low view of marriage. It’s somewhat heartbreaking.
    seekingpastor recently posted..Caption Contest Monday: Clean-Shaven Matt

    • That’s exactly how I felt, Matt. Heartbroken. I wasn’t offended just sad. I know my marriage is brand new and I’m still in the honeymoon phase (if there is such a thing) but I’ve never been more joyful in my life.

      I just wish other could experience the same thing.

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