Wedding Planning | Father Jacques Phillipe and Detachment from Wedding Planning Desires

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

The wedding planning process can be a stressful one. A bride-to-be not only yearns for the fulfillment of her visions of beauty, but often faces the expectations from her fiance, bridesmaids, mother, sisters, mothers-in-law, and friends. Even more, the wide world of Pinterest and Google introduce infinite vendors, budgets, designs, and decisions.

In the face of overwhelming options, it can be easy for a couple to forget God’s providential role in their wedding planning process.

Father Jacques Phillippe offers encouragement to acquire a steadfast peace of heart in his book, Searching for and Maintaining Peace. Though his wisdom is not written in relation to wedding planning, his words speak truth into the decisions—and holy detachment—involved in planning a wedding with God. 

“Very frequently… the Lord asks only an attitude of detachment at the level of the heart, a disposition to give Him everything. But He doesn’t necessarily “take” everything… This detachment, even though it is painful at the moment, will be followed by a profound peace. The proper attitude then is simply to be disposed to give everything to God, without panic, and to allow Him to do things His way, in total confidence.”

Is the Lord asking you for a spirit of detachment in the midst of your wedding planning desires? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of decisions and pressures in this process, take your worries and your desires to him in prayer. With a desire to give it all to him, release your desires into his providence and trust that he will fill your heart—and your wedding day—with joy and peace. 

“Abandonment is not natural; it is a grace to be asked of God. He will give it to us, if we pray with perseverance.”

This abandonment of desire is not easy to our human nature. But your efforts to collaborate with God in this process and to glorify him through your sacrament are acts of trust and love. He is with you throughout this journey. 

“Obviously we do not want to say that it is a bad thing to be able to anticipate things, to develop a budget or prepare one’s homilies. Our natural abilities are also instruments in the hands of Providence! But everything depends on the spirit in which we do things.”

You can leave the homily preparations to your priest. In the meantime, detachment does not mean you stop doing the necessary work. Fulfilling a call means you receive an opportunity from God’s providence and you work in collaboration with him. Continue utilizing your strengths, trusting your intuition, and remaining in a posture of receptivity for the next grace. 

“Once could even say that the surest way to lose one’s peace is precisely to try to assure one’s own life solely with the aid of human industry, with personal projects and decisions or by relying on someone else… To preserve peace in the midst of the hazards of human existence, we have only one solution: We must rely on God alone, with total trust in Him, as your heavenly Father (Matthew 6:32).”

Offering your wedding planning desires to God is counter-cultural and, quite frankly, it’s not popular. Friends and family may not understand your peace which follows detachment. But, as Father Jacques Phillippe warns us, relying more heavily on human will rather than on God alone is the surest way to lose peace. Keep you heart on your heavenly Father and trust, with confidence, that your wedding day desires will be fulfilled. 

“The heart does not awaken to confidence until it awakens to love; we need to feel the gentleness and the tenderness of the heart of Jesus.” 

“To grow or to enrich one’s spiritual life is to learn to love.”

What’s the point of detaching ourselves from our desires and abandoning them to God? Love. As we grow in virtue, we grow in holiness and love. This season of preparation for your wedding day is about planning a beautiful day. More importantly, however, this is a season to prepare your heart to love and be loved by your groom and to grow in holiness through your sacrament of marriage. 


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Newlywed Life | Ora et Labora, Prayer and Work

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

As I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, I was relatively aware how “everything” was going to change. In one day, I acquired a new roommate, an abundance of new household appliances and a new last name. Simultaneously, my husband and I were preparing for an international move—transitioning out of our jobs and community and into a new world of people, places, and norms. 

PHOTOGRAPHY:   MEL WATSON PHOTOGRAPHY

I did not have the same awareness of the resulting changes to my spiritual life and prayer routine. 

Following our wedding day, early mornings at an adoration chapel were replaced with making breakfast and enjoying coffee with my new husband. The spontaneous decision to attend daily Mass disappeared due to a lack of access to daily Mass in our new community. The experiences that once nourished my soul and my heart gave way to the new gifts and specific circumstances of married life. 

I’ve gained encouragement in my new role as a wife through the Benedictine saying, “Ora et labora,” or “pray and work.” This philosophy intertwines the responsibilities of vocation with our hearts’ longing for God. 

In this season of life, my “work,” my vocation as a wife, looks like cleaning the house and preparing meals, washing the dishes and doing laundry, planning a vacation and keeping in touch with extended family. 

In accordance with the Benedictine philosophy, the household chores, fulfilled as acts of service and love, can become a form of prayer. The active doing with my hands is a tangible form of prayer, of becoming a longing for God.

As we purify the intentions of our hearts and bring God to the front of our minds, every action—both at home and in our communities—becomes prayer. Waking up early enough to make a cup of coffee for your spouse is a prayer for his goodwill. Keeping in touch with extended family is a prayer of thanksgiving for your origins and support system. Upholding an orderly house as a practice of discipline is prayerful preparation to model a virtue of self-control to future children.  

If you, like me, are wrestling with the tension of incorporating old habits into new circumstances, take peace in knowing God is right where you are. Molding our prayer life according to our new vocational life does not mean surrendering spiritual practices altogether. Our hearts yearn for intimacy with both our spouse and God in a personal, trinitarian relationship. Lean into the ache to see how loving your spouse and God are united in the same action.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Reflections in a Chalice

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

There are several moments from our wedding day frozen in my mind as a still life memory. These memories become as clear as a picture when I tell a story from that day. Sometimes, an external trigger causes one of those freeze frame moments to captivate my full attention like a daydream.

Recently, as I participated in the Liturgy of the Mass on a routine Sunday morning, I was transported to a vivid memory, but relieved the moment with entirely new perspective.

During the Eucharistic prayers, the literal surroundings faded out of my periphery and I was transported to the Eucharistic prayers during our wedding Mass. On our wedding day, I noticed a reflection in the chalice; the image fused itself to my mind as a picture I will never forget. It wasn’t until the most recent trigger of that moment when a rush of the Holy Spirit brought meaning to my grace-filled memory.

I felt my husband kneeling by my side at the foot of the altar. Our beloved priest lifted the chalice high above our heads, as he stood with power and grace in persona Christi. As I looked up in wonder and awe and complete surrender to the beauty of that moment, I was captivated by mirror image of myself and my husband, dressed in white, on our knees in prayer and thanksgiving. Our picture was the image in the shimmering gold of the chalice.

The chalice is the cup which holds the red wine: the juice of the fruit of the vine. Through the Eucharistic prayers and the Liturgy of the Mass, the wine becomes the Blood of Christ.

The contents of that chalice become a mingling of water and wine, humanity and divinity, mercy and love, death and new life.

As we knelt far below the greatness of that chalice, my husband and I were the visible reflection in its surface. This image is a metaphor of a powerful truth: on our wedding day, we became the visible reflection of Christ’s sacrifice, physical bodies to share sacrifice as love.

This is the call of the vocation to marriage.

In marriage, a bridegroom and his bride become the image of Christ and the Church. The two become one reflection of Christ’s love. Like the blood turned wine, acts of sacrifice are transformed into acts of love. Like the intoxicating effects of wine, the fruits of love are intoxicating in the most holy, joyful, and abundant ways through marriage and family life.

In the sacrament of marriage, God offers brides and grooms a gift. He offers men and women the glory of the Passion, so husbands and wives may both receive God’s love and become co-creaters of new love—new life—to share Love within in their homes and communities.

Where did the wine, the blood, in that chalice come from? Jesus carried a wooden cross on his back then he died upon that cross. The pain and agony of that experience is real. In the same way, there will be pain and agony in our marriages. But this is not the end. As we see a foreshadow of our vocation in Christ’s story, we too can have constant hope in the joy of the resurrection: the infinite pouring and sharing of love for ages to come.

The next time you attend Mass, pray for the eyes to see your own vocation on the altar, being broken and shared as a visible sign of love. God desires to share these graces with us. This is the joy we are called to live on this side of heaven.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Communication in a Long-Distance Relationship

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

My husband and I are currently in the midst of a season of work-inflicted separation. His professional travel will keep him away from home for about five months, though we will be able to communicate and visit each other periodically during that time.

These circumstances, though frequent, are never ideal. And they are certainly not easy. The distance and separation have challenged our methods and means of communication and have stretched our hearts’ capacity to desire union with one another.

Communication is key in any relationship. Honest dialogue serves as a building block to any kind of intimacy: spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative, or emotional. Though if you and someone you love are in a long-distance relationship, effective communication is the primary building block to maintaining and building a foundation of trust, honesty, intimacy, and unity.

Successful communication requires honest reflection, both of the circumstances and of your heart’s desire. If you and your partner—whether in a dating, engaged, or married relationship—are in a season of separation, I encourage you to be intentional about planning your communication in a proactive way.

The logistics of current circumstances must be taken into account. First, determining the best time of day to communicate is vital; considerations for conflicting schedules or time changes are significant variables. Second, discuss the best method for communication: an online messaging provider (such as Facebook messenger), text messages, phone calls, or emails each offer various benefits and obstacles. Each method can be an intentional means to a specific, desired end.

For example, for a quick check in, online messengers are simple and efficient. Oftentimes, the response rate is rapid. In contrast, an email platform offers greater length and depth for sharing, though the wait time between responses is generally slower.

Beyond the logistics of the situation, both parties must be honest about their personal needs for communication over time and distance.

In many ways, men and women differ in their need for communication. Where women generally engage in conversation as a means to build emotional intimacy, men often engage in conversation to accomplish a productive end. Being realistic about your partner’s predisposition to communication will create an environment for trust, collaboration and fruitful compromise.

Differences in communication are also specific to each individual’s mind and heart. In order for both individuals to be satisfied, each must introspectively recognize their needs, then clearly admit what they desire.

For example, my husband is content with a brief message to check-in, confirm we are alive, and to catch up on the generic happenings of the day. Meanwhile, I desire a thorough email thread to share the intimate thoughts and reactions of what happened over the previous days.

Neither of our preferences are inherently “good” or “bad,” but they are drastically different. Sharing a dialogue about how we are willing and able to compromise has enhanced our long-distance communication with greater understanding, peace, and intimacy—though our journey to creating long-distance intimacy is ongoing.

In authentic, loving relationships, both individuals are called to surrender some of their own desires for the fulfillment of the other’s needs. This kind of daily dying-to-self for the good of another has the potential to eliminate frustration or fear and enhance intimacy and love in a relationship. What are your needs for communication in relationship? If they differ from your partner, where are you willing to collaborate to achieve a greater good?

Have you ever experienced challenges or success in building intimacy through communication in a long-distance relationship? Please share your experiences, advice, and questions with our Spoken Bride community on Facebook or Instagram.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Cultivating the Spirit of Newlyweds Across Time

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

Just weeks after our wedding, my husband and I were introduced as “the newlyweds” to a visiting priest at our local church. To our surprise, he turned his attention back to us during his homily that morning. By emphasizing the qualities of newlywed life, he encouraged us—and every married couple in the sanctuary—to embody the spirit of newlyweds through every stage of married life.

Oftentimes, the first weeks of marriage are defined as a “honeymoon phase,” when the innocent novelty of married life outweighs the demanding responsibilities of daily life.

As time passes beyond the wedding day, small transformations begin to unfold:

The honeymoon pictures collect dust in an album.

The groom’s ring acquires its first scratch.

New friends only know you by your married name.

You notice the idiosyncrasies of your spouse for the first time.

The laundry piles up, bills come in the mail, and careers gain momentum.

In Beginning your Marriage, a ‘Catholic marriage manual,’ the author observes, “Familiarity between wife and husband can dampen enthusiasm. Daily routine can clog lines of communication.”

Although familiarity and daily routine can pull couples out of newlywed enthusiasm, building deeper intimacy through a growing familiarity over time can be an invitation for infinite joy.

Establishing an attitude grounded in prayer, gratitude, and a sense of humor can help create a foundation to maintain the spirit of newlyweds throughout the monotony of routine and the emotional ups and downs of family life.

Prayer

Every detail of your vocation is a gift to you from God. Prayer is a means for God to speak into those details of your life, showing you the beauty he has in store in every cup of coffee, speck of dust, idiosyncrasy or load of laundry. If routine has clogged intimacy in your marriage, turn your heart to prayer and ask for renewed enthusiasm and connection through the gift of vocation.

Gratitude

Adopting an attitude of gratitude turns our hearts to receptivity. When we can look at our lives and say, “thank you,” we receive all life’s circumstances with hope. The virtue of hope renews our strength, trust, and joy. Whether you bring gratitudes to mind independently or in conversation with your spouse, a grateful perspective has the power to reignite the newlywed spirit of joyful surrender in your marriage.

Sense of Humor

A sense of humor and the ability to laugh with your partner is a gift, a skill, and a tool for authentic joy. We most easily laugh at ourselves when we don’t take life too seriously because we surrender our hearts to trust in God’s providence. Of course, this does not include decisions or circumstances which must be discerned with prayer and thoughtfulness. Create opportunities to be playful with your spouse, give yourself permission to laugh at the little surprises of daily life, and celebrate the many transformations of your shared lives with a light-hearted joy.

To embody the spirit of newlyweds beyond the honeymoon phase is an outlier is our communities. Where many couples become bogged down by life circumstances, husbands and wives united through the sacrament of marriage are called to faithfully participate in and receive the mysteries and fruits of vocation.

In what ways do you and your beloved cultivate the spirit of newlyweds as a living testimony to the joy of marriage? We hope you will share your experience with our community on Facebook or Instagram.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Wedding Planning | Creating a Moment of Pause on your Wedding Day

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

It is not uncommon for a bride and groom to reflect how their wedding day “flew by.”

Despite the nonstop timeline for your wedding day, there are opportunities to intentionally plan alone time for you and your beloved. Creating these moments of pause to connect, make eye contact, catch your breath, and be together can help slow down the pace of the day so you can soak in each detail of the people and once-in-a-lifetime events.

Before your wedding planning is complete, note the moments of transition or create points of pause to allocate special times to truly cherish the day.

Early Morning Coffee Date

Depending on when hair and makeup begin for you and your bridal party, this option may mean an earlier-than-normal wake-up. But if you and your groom-to-be are eager to see each other, exchange gifts, and say “I love you” before the day begins, waking up with the sun may be a great option. Sneak away with your fiance for a cup of coffee to start your wedding day. This is a time to share complete privacy, authenticity, and emotional preparation.

First Look or First Touch

We have previously published several pieces discussing “Reasons to Have a First Look” and perspectives from a photographer including “Recommendations for a First Look” and “5 Things to Know.” In consideration of the time together, a first look or first touch is a moment not only to capture significant photographs, but to also savor a moment of solitude together.  

The Getaway Car

You say I do, share a kiss as husband and wife, walk down the aisle to the applause of family and friends, then… are swallowed into the demands of photographers and guests. Rather than waiting at the back of the church for the next order of business, consider enlisting a getaway car for a quick spin around the block. A five-minute drive offers a private moment to catch your breath and soak in the reality of your new rings and your new vocation. If a car is not an appropriate option for your venue, plan to step into a side room of the church while guests process out.

A Private Meal Before the Reception

Being intentional about eating a meal between the wedding and reception is recommended to maintain your energy and blood sugar. If possible, consider the option of enjoying a private meal as newlyweds. Regardless of what you eat—whether a plate prepared by the caterer or a take out meal on your way to the venue—the most important aspect is creating time to slow down and be together throughout your wedding day.

Freeze Frame the Reception  

Some of the greatest advice my husband and I received before our wedding was to step away from the reception before the day comes to an end. In taking this advice, we found a chance to laugh together and share how full our hearts felt—then go back inside to continue celebrating with family and friends. Creating this kind of intentional pause helps to break the day into compartmentalized segments, allowing you to remember specific details of each “chapter” as opposed to recollecting the day in one big blur.

We would love to hear: when did you and your beloved create a moment of pause on your wedding day? Share your experiences with our community on Facebook or Instagram.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Editors Share | First Dance Songs

The first dance as husband and wife is often the most awaited part of a wedding reception. It is a special and romantic moment between the newlyweds and it highlights the unique personality of the couple.

In this month’s Editors Share, our team remembers their first dance and explains why they chose their song.

PHOTOGRAPHY :  MEL WATSON PHOTOGRAPHY
 

Stephanie Calis, Co-founder & Editor in Chief

My husband and I danced to the song “You are the One” by Matt Hires, which had come on my iPod as we drove to a holy hour one night during our engagement. It’s a sweet, simple song that still brings back precious memories, but the truth is, we were too shy to set our first dance to the one we truly felt defined us! The ideal selection, for us, was “In My Arms” by Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot. Despite our love for it we ultimately felt too shy to use such a quiet song, with such intimate lyrics, in front of all our guests. For any couples like us hesitating to choose particular reception music because of self-consciousness, I’d encourage you to communicate and discern what you’re comfortable with and to pray for a sense of freedom with the necessary attention your wedding day brings!

 

Andi Compton, Business Director

We chose Matt Maher’s version of “Set Me As A Seal” because we simply liked the song. I wish I had a deeper explanation, but we both just felt like it was the right song. We ended up having a dance choreographed. If you know my husband, you know that we’re complete opposites. I love to dance, he likes to not dance. But for me he was willing to take ballroom dancing lessons and perform in front of our families..

 

Jiza Zito, Co-Founder and Creative Director

My husband and I chose “Accidentally in Love” by Counting Crows. Mark and I had a stressful engagement since he was serving overseas with his military command, all up until a few days before the wedding, so we wanted something fun and upbeat. Mark was also an avid swing dancer during his college years at the United States Naval Academy, which we got to enjoy together a few times during our courtship, so we wanted to share that part of our relationship with our friends and family on our wedding day as well.

 

Stephanie Fries, Associate Editor

For our first dance, we moved in sync with Michale Buble’s “Hold On.” My husband suggested many ideas for our first dance song, but many focused on the beauty of the bride or the groom’s love for his bride; I was uncomfortable choosing a wedding song about the bride. This song was a great fit because it captures the essence of the mutual and reciprocal love of a married couple. The lyrics also serve as a reminder to grow in affirming physical touch in the midst of stress, frustration, sadness, and joy. Although physical touch is not my number one love language, a good hug often breaks through heavy emotional tension. As this song builds up to its finale, it reinforces the power of holding onto love in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, ‘till death do us part.

Though we both enjoy jumping around during spontaneous dance parties, neither of us are organized dancers. With that in mind, we invested in dance classes at a local studio—and loved every second. Beyond the benefits of feeling confident in our plan for our first dance, lessons were also a special opportunity to learn something new, be challenged, move our bodies and laugh together in preparation for our wedding day.

 

Mariah Maza, Features Editor

Our first dance song was “God Gave Me You,” the version performed by Blake Shelton. My husband and I first met when we were 14 and high school sweethearts, and we were a country couple. On our first date he drove me to dinner in his white Chevy pickup truck in blue jeans, boots, and all. Many, many years and a wedding later, we still own that truck!

When we decided to pick “our song” for our relationship (which was definitely inspired by Taylor Swift’s 2009 single by the same name — released only the year before!), we decided on two requirements: the melody needed to mention God and needed to be a country song. I suggested “God Gave Me You,” and it became the song we grew up with together, from the age of 14 to (now) 23.

A couple years before we got married, I taught my husband how to country dance, and it is now one of our favorite things to do together. So when our wedding day finally arrived, seven years after we met, we country danced to the song we fell in love to as high school freshmen.

 

Carissa Pluta, Editor at Large

My husband and I chose the song “God Moves Through You” by Jason Mraz for our first dance. My husband has been a Mraz fan for a long time, which is how he first heard this song; Jason Mraz actually wrote it for his sister’s wedding so it’s not on any of his albums. It’s a really beautiful song, and was adapted from a collection of poems by Kahlil Gibran.

One of my favorite lines from the song is: “Let the wind of heaven dance between you too/Allow the space and time to bring you closer to everlasting love.” The song speaks of the love between a husband and a wife being a movement of God, a grace working in your life. We also loved that it also speaks of children as a gift.

Since it isn’t on an album, our friend Steve the Missionary offered to play it on his ukulele and sing it live during our reception. It was such a memorable moment from that day.

 

Mary Wilmot, Social Media Manager

In the last couple weeks before our wedding, Patrick and I decided we really needed to sit down and make a decision on our first dance song. We never really had a song in the five years of our friendship/dating relationship, so we didn’t have too many ideas. One afternoon, while hanging out in my parents’ kitchen, we ended up Googling “First Dance Song Ideas” and decided to just go through the list until something resonated with us. We stumbled across “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding and both really liked it.

I love that it’s soulful and with a beat, but still a slow song that makes it easy to dance and sing along to. We actually ended up taking a couple of dance classes at Fred Astaire with a Groupon I had purchased. In the end, I think we just decided to sway to the music, not worrying about counting steps, but it was still fun!

I have no regrets about our choice, but funnily enough, we were just talking a couple weeks ago about our first dance. We said we probably would have picked the 1998 classic “All My Life” by K-Ci and JoJo if we had thought of it at the time!

 

Danielle Rother, Pinterest Manager

Our first dance was inspired by the waltz in Disney’s live-action Cinderella, where Ella greets the Prince on the dance floor in her beautiful blue ballgown for the first time. Since we wanted to dance a traditional waltz we looked through a variety of instrumental songs that had the right ¾ time signature we needed for the dance. As I was searching for songs I came across, "The Princess Diaries Waltz," by John Debney from the score of The Princess Diaries. After listening to it I knew, in my heart, it was the right song for us.

The Princess Diaries is a favorite childhood movie I watched growing up with my maternal grandmother, who passed away in 2012. One of her biggest dreams was to see me get married. While I wish she had lived longer to see me take my marriage vows, this song made me feel close to her on our special day.

Dancing a waltz at our wedding was an incredible experience and it was everything I had hoped for. Jeff and I had practiced dancing for many hours during our engagement and it certainly paid off! During the dance, I felt like I was flying and it was truly magical.

Now that we are married, I am still practicing the art of dance through life as a married couple. It may not always be as graceful as it was on our wedding day. Occasionally we may stumble. But it’s good to know that as long as we have each other we can make it through anything together.

 

Tasha Johnson, Administrative Assistant

A couple of years ago, I got to fly across the country to attend the wedding of two former missionary teammates of mine. I served with the husband my first year and the wife my second, so I had really gotten to know them separately, and it was such a joy to finally see them together.

Their choice of Matt Maher’s “Hold Us Together” was a perfect fit for their small, intimate wedding, because it was so evident that their love for each other was already something fruitful; it really spoke to the care they had taken to welcome all of us to share life with them throughout their courtship, and even especially in the days leading up to the wedding! It was definitely a fun song to watch them twirl and dip to, but it was even more so a reminder of the ways their relationship had already served as a shelter, both for them and for those of us who had the honor of walking through life’s storms with them. It was an absolutely beautiful theme for the first day of the rest of their lives!