I met my husband on an online website. It sounds crazy to say this out loud. I know many people don’t have the best experience with online dating and I’m well aware of the dangers of the internet. I was also extra careful about who I was letting have access to my heart and a long distance online relationship sounded like the best way to protect my heart and still see what was out there. I was hoping that I would find a good guy, but my expectations were so low that I didn’t really think that I could actually have a serious relationship with someone I never met in person.
I was in Brazil and David was in The U.S. and we developed the best relationship I could have ever dreamed. After we finally met in person, we managed to survive the distance and challenges that come with a long distance relationship. We got engaged after a year and scheduled the big day for a year later. We used this time to research about visa, immigration status, how to get married with someone from a different country, and all the logistics that it would take to bring his family to Brazil and my family to the U.S.; that way we could celebrate with both sets of families.
After almost a year preparing THE PERFECT plan, including a pre-wedding celebration in Brazil, two different wedding dresses, two different groom suits, hotels booked, all tickets bought… the coronavirus came.
I watched plan after plan get frustrated, trying to hold on to the hope of still having the wedding day we originally planned.
Long story short, we did get married. Not the way we planned but it was beautiful and special. Our journey together was just starting as we learned some meaningful lessons about what wedding and marriage is and is not.
1- Marriage is not about us, it is about God
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32
Marriage is a beautiful institution created by God with the purpose to resemble Christ and His relationship with the Church. We see in the very beginning that God designed us for marriage.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ “Genesis 1:27-28
With some exceptions that Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:8, most people in the world desire to be married. I find it so interesting that even non-Christians who have no Biblical parameters, still desire to get married. They have premarital intercourse, they live together for years as a married couple would, but many still want to get married. And when we understand that God created us with this specific purpose and design, we understand why that is.
The Bible also talks about the beauty and benefits of being married.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”Ecclesiastes 4:9
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”Proverbs 31:10
“There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.”Proverbs 30:18-19
What the world can’t understand, but believers can, is that God is the Creator, Designer and ultimately the one we glorify in marriage. That is why marriage is a sacred institution, because it is supposed to reflect God.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …”Ephesians 5:25-33
Can you imagine having a marriage that looks like Christ and the Church? Faithful, un-failable, just, perfect, loving… that is the goal.
2- Because Marriage is about God, the Wedding is also about God
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9
The wedding day is a big deal, and the bride and groom are the glue that brings everything together. Without them it would be just a party, not a wedding. So we try our best to make this day the most perfect day, specially for the two love birds. And I don’t want to give you the impression that it is not supposed to be like that. Despite all the limitations we had on our wedding day, the one thing I requested was a good photographer because I wanted to remember that day and keep it forever. I made a big photobook and I love looking at it from time to time. Making that day special is important. But the most important thing is to remember that God is the one who makes it official.
So marriage is about God and of course the wedding is also about God! The wedding is about celebrating God’s faithfulness, love, care and grace with us as we start a relationship that resembles Christ’s.
I think about how God took care of me through unhealthy relationships and a failed engagement. God prepared me every step of the way, growing me and maturing me so I could be ready for when I met David. He protected me from relationships that could never come close to what David and I have. I still can’t believe the amazing husband God gave me. He is so much better than what I could ever imagine. Every day I discover new things that I love about him, he never stops surprising me. He supports me, he loves me, he makes me feel special, he makes me feel beautiful even before we go to bed and I have acne products all over my face. And even though I know he is not God and therefore he is not perfect, I know he is the one who can pursue a relationship that resembles Christ and the Church with me. So I wanted to celebrate that!
In the middle of so many broken marriages, having a relationship with someone that understands the real purpose of marriage is a huge blessing! And we should celebrate God for that. I wanted to celebrate God for his perfect and beautiful purpose of marriage and also for allowing me to fulfill this purpose.
3- A Wedding is a Covenant, not a Party
“Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers flood over it” Song of Solomon 8:7
The celebration of the wedding is important, and again I don’t want to give you the impression that we shouldn’t celebrate. Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding celebration (John 2:1-12), He sure helped the celebration continue by turning water into wine. But the wedding doesn´t depend on the event because it will happen if both bride and groom want the covenant.
Many couples are now opting for eloping instead of having the traditional wedding celebration, and although that can be tricky and even selfish sometimes, weddings do not depend on big party events. Weddings depend only on the bride and groom and God, and that is such a beautiful thing! That means every single plan can go wrong but the wedding will happen despite of all that. It also means that we don’t have to break the bank and get into a lot of debt for it to happen.
Remember, the wedding is not about us, much less about other people. The wedding is about God and the covenant with the soon-to-be husband and wife, which is for the rest of their lives. We don’t have to give into the pressure of throwing the biggest party of the century and end up having a stressful wedding day. Many times God’s more glorified in the simplicity of things. The biggest party was never in our plans anyways, so we didn’t have to worry much about it. But with all the limitations the pandemic brought into our plates, even a small wedding was complicated to pull off.
I had the dream of the perfect wedding, and even though I’m not able to completely understand why God kept it from me, I can rely on God to make His perfect will for my life.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”Proverbs 16:9
David and I decided to have a very small wedding on the original date we planned. It wasn’t what we planned a year before but it was what God planned for us from all eternity. We learned really soon that our love was enough and with God our marriage would succeed. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” and in the end, that is the only thing that matters.
Ana Luiza Lupinetti is passionate about helping and serving people. As a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife, she loves using her gifts and talents to help ministries succeed.