Monday, June 25

Making Plans

Seems like I haven't updated in ages! So much going on, apologies to everyone.

In the hectic period of December 2004, when I had all the coursework deadlines, exam revision and things to do, I felt God was telling us that His plan was for us to get married in summer 2005. I was trying to push the thought out of my mind, thinking this was absolutely impossible. I was facing an even more hectic 2nd semester as my course workload was going to increase, plus I had a dissertation to write that summer. I was worrying about how to tell our family that we were planning to get married in the next year. I was worrying that there wasn't enough time to plan a successful wedding.
Eventually we had our Christmas break from uni. I remember that holiday clearly. In the middle of Christmas celebrations, revising for January exams and what not, I was worrying and worrying. Mr and I came back to London and started talking seriously about it. We put all our concerns and worries into prayers. In the end we decided to go ahead with it, that we will do as much as we could and then let God take control of the rest. We tentatively chose a date in July 2005 (I remembered we had jokingly mentioned the date as a possibility in the past, see here) and so we began the planning process.
First thing to do was to inform our families so that they could start making their own plans. On New Year's day in 2005, myself, Mr and my two sisters went to spend the day with his older brothers and their families. From there, we called my parents and told them of our plans. I was dreading the call because I expected my dad to hit the roof. Surprisingly, he didn't. He asked us a few questions. Some stuff about me having to finish my degree and make sure I pass my exams. I promised that the wedding won't affect my studies in any way. And then he said it was okay! (That's some faith). He said he and my mum would start putting things in place. That went well, I thought. Then we called Mr's parents. They sounded pleased too, and said they would start putting things in place at their own end. When we hung up, Mr and I looked at each other and said something like "so we are really going to do it this year!" and went to announce the happy news to the rest of the family. It was like "Hey everyone, we are getting married in July!" If anybody was worried or surprised, they didn't show it. Everyone started talking at once. His older brothers started asking Mr about plans to bring their parents over because we said we wanted the wedding to be in England. My sister-in-law started discussing about planning every detail, asking about my bridal train and offering to help. All the kids were jumping up and down and telling me they wanted to be my flowergirl or pageboy and were already asking what they would wear. My sisters started planning their summer holidays around the wedding as they were going to be bridesmaids, naturally. It was a bit surreal, I was in a daze, my mind was swirling with so many questions and ideas and it was just beginning to sink in that I was getting married soon. Mr on the other hand was already talking and then I realised, right Favoured Girl, snap out of it, there's so much to do and so little time. By the time we left his brother's house, I was already dreading how busy I was going to be over the next few months.
Over the next few days, we informed other members of our families, our pastors and our friends. I remember telling my good friend on the same course as me, and she sounded excited. But she expressed concern over how I was going to cope at uni with the added stress of planning a wedding. I must have sounded more confident than I felt, cos I told her I don't know, with God all things are possible (while agreeing with her and wondering what I had gotten myself into!).
Soon the holidays were over and I had to go back to Nottingham. Mr and I agreed that we would meet up once a month in London, aside from the marriage classes, so that we could deal with issues that we couldn't sort out over the phone, visit the necessary people, meet vendors, look at venues and so on. You can just imagine us trying to squeeze everything we had to do in 2 weeks into a single day everytime we met in London lol. After many calm (not!) conversations, we drew up a budget for the wedding and got the ball rolling.
I got back to Nottingham, resumed lectures and started revising for exams. Some of the lecturers were already talking about the summer dissertation. During one class, the lecturer was giving us advice on how to manage our time mroe effectively over the summer. He gave us this sage advice: "Don't be like one of my students last year who finished her exams in June, went home and got married over the summer, and then failed her dissertation because she didn't have enough time to research and write it properly". I could have laughed but I couldn't because I was in the same situation. My two friends in the class turned to look at me with funny looks on their faces. After the lecture, they teased me saying "Did you hear what the lecturer said? One student did what you are planning to do and she failed!" I knew at once that I was going to have to be much more organised with my work and with the wedding plans. And boy did I become organised. I made very good use of my diary, appointment book and the academic year planner on my wall. I made a time-able for everything I was doing every hour of the day. It meant I was constantly busy, because if I wasn't studying, then I was planning. If I got tired of studying, I would do some wedding planning. And if I got tired with all the planning, I would take a breather and go and study! I can definitely say that during those months between January and July 2005, I was never bored.
During those months, I also really learnt to trust God more. There were some things that could not have happened without God's divine help, but I'll talk about them in the next few posts.

Wednesday, June 6

Marriage Classes

Just as I was settling back into life on campus, lectures and coursework assignments, I got a call from Mr one day. He told me that he had gotten a call from my aunt, who had gotten a call from one of the coordinators in our church. Apparently, my name and Mr's name had been put down to attend the marriage preparatory classes without our knowledge. They were calling to check up on us to ask why we hadn't attended the first two meetings! Well we had no idea! Who wrote our names down on the list of people getting married? Till today we don't know. Anyway, my aunt had called Mr and persuaded him that we were ready to start attending these classes, as we had been engaged for over a year and we were serious about getting married in the near future. Mr was now telling me that he had agreed to the classes. We were to attend them once a month. They were being organised by my church in London. At first I was fuming. What? In the middle of my busy schedule already, you want me to be travelling to London every month for marriage preparation classes? Do they know that I am reading my books here? How am I going to fit this class into my time-table now?
Anyway Mr calmed me down and explained it to me that it was a requirement by the church if we were planning to get married soon. Plus he would have to attend as well, and that way we could meet up every month and hang out, since the classes were only about two hours or so. I asked him if he would foot my travelling bill and he said yes. Eventually, I agreed to attend the marriage preparation classes.

The plan was this: I would leave Nottingham very early, around 7.00am and get to London for 9.30, meet Mr at the station and we would attend the preparation class. Then we would hang out for the rest of the day. Around 8.00pm he would drop me back at the station and head for his town and I would jump back on my coach or train and head back to my town. Since he was paying for my tickets, it wasn't a big deal after all! So for the next seven months, once a month we both left out respective towns and headed to London on a Saturday morning. I remember telling my flatmate the first month that I was going to London the next day. She asked me when I would be coming back and I said - tomorrow. She must have been amused.

The first time we turned up for the class, we were asked if we had set a wedding date and we said no, we were just going with the flow. The classes were quite interesting actually. There were four other couples attending at the same time as us. Our tutors were a pastor and his wife, and sometimes the Senior Pastor and his wife came in to add to the discussions. They covered every topic about marriages, (such as: commitment, the marriage vows, dealing with in-laws, handling finances, forgiveness, sex, submission, handling conflict, love languages etc) and we had a question and answer session as well. As the classes were taught from a christian point of view, the teachings were a mixture of biblical references, practical applications and the personal experience of the writers of the course. Mr and I learnt a lot and it was interesting when we were asked practical questions of how we will apply the principles we were learning to our relationships.
While we were attending the classes, Mr and I started praying about the timing of our wedding. By the end of 2004, we were sure that God wanted us to get married in 2005. Looking at it from a human stand point, it seemed like such a crazy idea and almost impossible. I was in the middle of a challenging Masters course. We were in two separate towns far away from each other. My dad was still unaware of what was going on. And since I wanted a summer wedding, it meant we had less than 8 months to plan it all! Plus I had to write a 20,000-word dissertation about the same time as we were planning to get married. How was it all going to happen?
Let's just say that with God, all things are possible.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...