Why in the world would you expect God to give you a man to love you, cherish you, compliment you, help you with your stuff, enjoy time with you, and tell you you’re beautiful when you won’t, or don’t do that for yourself?!?!
God is a God of order, something which took me a while to realize, particularly while dating. He does things decently and in ORDER. What that means is that He’s not going to bypass you getting it from Him just so you can get it from a man. So go ahead get it for yourself. Tell yourself you love you and mean every single syllable of it. Value your time, your worth and your whole being (even those wiggly and jiggly parts you may not like). Whisper sweet nothings of candid compliments in your own ear. Take your own self out for dinner and a movie. Get your business all the way together from the spiritual, financial, physical, mental, social and emotional points of view. (Pause for the Cause….please don’t feed into the age-old fairytale of a man being your savior. You already have a Savior who knows you and knows what’s best for you. So, just in case this applies, no more waiting around for a man to come in and pay your bills or buy you $30 steak dinner. Pay our own bills. Buy your own steak (or make it yourself). No more waiting around for a man to love you like your father did or love you like your father didn’t. Your Father God loves you WAY more than that, and I dare you to do the same for yourself.) No more thinking a man is going to elevate you in the game. Oh, contraire, homegirl. We actually elevate them. Don’t believe me. Read Proverbs 18:22. So go ahead now and step your game up so you can catapult his.
Preparation for the future is the best way to make good of the past and make the most out of the present. Wanna be boo’d up, tied down, married off, lawfully wed, in wedded bliss, or wifeyed? Good! I want you to want too. Listen, I know the Single Sister Struggle can be real. I just got married again less than two months ago and had many years before my first marriage, and many years between my first marriage and my final marriage of wanting to be married. Marriage is WONDERFUL, but it’s also the hardest job in the whole wide world. It’s hard as the dickens! What helps is when the two parties coming together have been getting themselves together under the watchful eye and loving hands of God. So sisters, while you wait you might as well handle you before God hands you to him. Capiche?
The above video of our wedding day was such a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us, our love for each other and the journey of over 19 years (not including knowing each other since 10th grade when we would talk on three-way until his dad made him hang up). When I tell you that NEVER in a million and a half years did I imagine that my forever would include Aquil. I am sure he would say the same, and for similar reasons (that’s a book waiting to be written), but I am so glad God knew we needed each other.
We had a lot of people ask for the who, what, where, when and how of our secret marriage we held on December 30, 2016, surprising a few of our family and friends who thought they were coming to a holiday party.
In my first blog post The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 1 I shared special nuggets on how our plot to plan a surprise wedding took root and the unusual circumstances which led us there. Check it out here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-1
In the second installment The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 2 it was all about the food, fashion and unbelievable frugalness of it all. Check it out here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-2/
Now, in the final offering I have to shout out my peeps who so generously shared their gifts to make our moment simply magical. We are so very grateful to be able to hire such gifted friends to join in this journey of what God allowed in our lives. I’m not saying you should book them for your next “whatever”, but that would be a wise thing to do.
First up is the preacher. Yep, for those of you who know my sister/friend Charmel Taylor, some of you might have been shocked to know that this sassy, southern belle who works so very hard helping take care of our country’s veterans, is so generous and supportive, raises an amazing son, cooks like nobody’s business, is uber-insightful about the goings on of this world and is as funny as funny can be is also a licensed and ordained minister. So there was no other choice for us to help make this special day spiritual and, again, special. In true Char fashion she plotted along the way to help me plan the surprise and offered us the most meaningful marriage vow exchange I’d heard in a long time, and she did it in time for the beef short ribs, grilled salmon and pork chops to arrive. She is simply the best!
Can we talk about the pictures??? Oh! My! Goodness! Our pictures were perfect! Birmingham-based Taneisha Tucker Photography is stellar. There are no other words sufficient. Her vision and work are incomparable, offering a high end photography experience with a unique, personable touch. I’m always in awe of her professionalism and ability to capture a moment and make it an undeniable memory. She is simply the best!
Our videographer WOWd the crowd, and I don’t just say that because he’s also a talented musician. However, Patrick Johnson of Blaq Angel Media is the BUSINESS!!! He’s like the real deal when it comes to taking a single event and making it last forever. He works with such poise and humility, often maneuvering through the space with his keen, creative eye capturing shots, actions, reactions, and sound that mere mortals might miss. He is simply the best!
I know by now you’ve seen our décor. Yep, it was cute. I know. And I can say that because I didn’t do it. Jasmine Pickett of Jazzi B’s Custom Creations heard my thoughts, took it and ran with it turning a restaurant space into an elegant atmosphere. She thoughtfully created a feel of warmth, luxury and love that captured hearts and eyes as soon as they entered the space. She is simply the best!
The path to our lives together was not perfect, but it couldn’t have been written by a greater Author. God deserves all the glory. We are grateful. We are grateful. We are grateful. Signed, #theAteam
I’m approaching the ripe old benchmark of one month as a wife to my fabulous final husband, Aquil. I’m still tickled, delighted, a bit taken aback and in awe of the come up God provided us and the coup we pulled off…also known as The Secret Marriage. If you want to know the beginnings take a gander here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-1
One of the frequent questions I’ve received is “how did you do it”. Not how did we do it as in how did we invite 55 of dear family and friends to a restaurant under the guise of a holiday soiree, prompting them all to be SHARP, then sending out a fake “secret” message from Aquil saying he was going to propose, only to have a faux holiday soiree, a fake proposal and a real wedding all in one night. No, the question I’ve received from those who know me well is how did we manage to coordinate it all in a month in a half, while I recovered from major surgery and pull off what looked like a million bucks for what probably equaled the monthly salary of some.
From the beginning we didn’t want and couldn’t afford, at this time, a big wedding, and wanted to position ourselves to focus more on a beautiful marriage. That fact made things simultaneously easy and complicated. The easy part was, whatever we had was what we had. Period. The complicated part was the daily dwindling list of guests knowing some wouldn’t understand their omission from the invite and still finding ways to express our sentiments toward them void of a little list. So with the fact of the matter at hand, we busied our hands and feet searching for deals.
The Rings: Let me just say I *heart* JC Penney’s. Say what you will and think what you might but they are alright with me. A black Friday deal with extra online coupons was a blessing. They’re not traditional rings, and we’re not a traditional couple so that made the deal even sweeter. I would tell you how much we paid, but you may not believe me if I did.
The Attire: My boo was fresh to def! Yep, I took it back to the old school because that’s how long we’ve known each other. His paisley inlaid, Cranberry-colored, velvet sports coat and our little or not so little guy Jordan’s tailored, designer suit jumped off the rack at Belk with, you guessed it, coupons and cost savings that would blow your mind. Would you believe it if I told you a pair of slacks was $6?
My dress, well, let’s just say that Mr. Lauren, Ralph, that is, must have made that gorgeous gown with me in mind. The fashion fairies at Macy’s, with yet another sale on top of a sale, must have hidden that jewel just for me after weeks of disappointment trying to find something which whispered holiday party, but would end up screaming wedding, while masking my swollen, post-surgery tummy at the same time. My hair, not to be forgotten in this post, was Vivica Fox’s finest purchased from and styled by my girl Leslie at my fav Alabaster beauty supply store. I wanted lights, camera, action locks and Ms. Fox did not disappoint. Altogether, our digs were the perfect picks for about the cost of a fru-fru steak dinner for two, a few grown man beverages for the grown man, a hot appetizer and a warm chocolate dessert on the side.
The Food: And speaking of food. Wow! Tormeika and the staff at Grille 29 worked so professionally and patiently with us on the menu, honoring our budget and desire to celebrate those who had continually celebrated our love and individual lives. If you’ve not been to Grille 29 in Birmingham please do yourself a favor and skedaddle. They were Heaven sent after days of calling and emailing for quotes from hotels, event spaces, conference rooms and other restaurants. In fact, Grille 29’s total tab on EVERYTHING was the cost of what one small, Shelby County location wanted to simply rent the space. And the cake. Oh Baby! That three-layer Caramel-Pecan top, Lemon center, and Chocolate bottom cake from K&J’s Elegant Pastries in Alabaster, which mirrored one I found on Pinterest, without the price was perfect. Perfect, I tell ya.
I was hesitant to write this post because I didn’t want to paint of picture of lack because the truth of the matter is that we’re firmly placed in a beautiful season of financial resurrection and that’s a great place to be. Before embarrassment creeped in about the temporary state of things my spirit screamed, “Girl, if you don’t tell these people what God allowed and encourage them to NEVER give up their dreams even on the strictest of budgets, you betta!” I could go on and on about how God reminded me of how much He loved us by showing that He truly is our Provider. In the words of a famous songstress and reality star, “He Did That!”. I could go on and on about my friends with gifts who stepped up to the call and wowed us with their talents to bring it all together…and I will in another post…coming soon.
December 30, 2016 is a day I’ll never forget. It’s the day I said “I Do” to my best friend, my answered prayer and prayer partner wrapped up in one, my laughing buddy, my vision stretcher, my comfort-zone challenger, my cheerleader who needs no pom-poms, my personal couch pillow, my fellow foodie (whether he admits it or not), my proper “do over”, my own private kitchen and car dancer, my defender, my dude from way back in the days of Big Pun and Bun B, and my resuscitated heart’s cause for celebration and acceleration.
Having both been married to others before, and with weddings far too big in hindsight, we opted to go “less” is more for this marriage. I specifically remember the pain of the lingering expenses which can come from a large wedding, and we both are undergoing financial reconstruction (do it Jesus!) so we decided the less we spent the more special the wedding would have to be. With thoughts of the marriage taking top billing to the wedding, in early October of 2016 we decided to get married soon. Fast-forward to November 1, 2016 and I awaken from major surgery feeling really “lovely” from my heavy meds and not so “lovely” from major pain to hear excitement in my mama’s voice as she said, “Aquil asked your daddy if he could marry you. He said yes!!!! I’m so excited!” With blessings from our parents we set in motion a plan which morphed into one of the most wonderful days in my life.
Thoughts of the living room, backyard, Courtyard (our favorite spot for hot wings) or courthouse had been tossed around for this simple ceremony. Now, let me be truthfully shallow. I was on a budget. True. But I must have a little bling even in on a budget and none of those first options defined the miracle from a MESS which transpired over the course of 19 years to get us to this point. So with a little praying and a lot of planning we chose to host our wedding at Grille 29, one of my favorite restaurants. The prices were amazing. The food is amazing. The location is amazing. The staff is amazing and again the prices were amazing when compared to the $25,000 spent the first go ground way back in the early 2000s. Yet still, something was missing.
What was missing was the element of surprise. Literally. The wedding needed to be a surprise. I don’t prefer surprises, but boy, oh boy, do I love surprising. So the idea of keeping the wedding a surprise for our guests shimmied its way into our plans and found itself smack dab at the center of attention. My husband Aquil and I have been through a great deal collectively and individually. But by the grace of God and the wonderful people He surrounded us with we made it through. So we wanted the wedding to be our gift to some of our closest loved ones for them being such a tremendous gift to us. Being that I was in the midst of my 6-8 weeks of surgery recovery with no driving and no working, cringing while walking, sleeping a whole lot and on powerful pain pills, my physical capabilities were limited. Thank sweet Jesus from on high for internet shopping, a great mom, a super secretive sister, a wonderful boo who was as excited as I was and a fake theme of A&A Holiday Soiree to kick the ulimate plan of the sneakiest proportion in motion. How did we do it??? Great question.
Part two is coming soon…
I’ve been married for almost three years and before you say that’s hardly any time served, just finish reading okay. I love being a wife…..most days out of the week any way. I recently just went on a #wiveslivesmatter strike, because my sweet, loving, and handsome husband would not help me with the household chores. It should be noted, that I didn’t ask him for help. I just expected him to read my mind. During my strike, I didn’t cook, wash his laundry, or pick up after him. It should also be noted that my strike quite possibly affected me and my need for cleanliness and organization far more than it affected him. Eventually, I had a conversation with him about helping with the chores and when he is home, he attempts to assist, which I still complain about…pretty sure I’m the only one that does this….
After my conversation with him God had a conversation with me. The Holy Spirit gently reminded me that I’m called to be my husband’s helper. Husband’s Helper, help him. I’m not his servant. I’m his helper, and that just may consist of consecutive laundry days, several days of cooking, picking up items he leaves out, folding and refolding blankets….that is some of my responsibility – to help. This little reminder made so much sense to me and it gave me a bit of peace as well. We wives are called to help, and that is very spouse specific, you know what your husband needs. WIFEING is hard and CHEERS to the women that do it effortlessly and can still post some social media worthy photos, ha!
I don’t know how else to say what I’m about to say without just saying it. Do yourself a favor and don’t date someone right after divorce. Yes, I know they may seem nice. I know they may say it’s their former spouse or almost former spouses fault (that’s a WHOLE ‘nother post about NOT dating people who are separated because separated people are still married and with that comes a bunch of guck and stuff you do not want to deal with. I know.) Anywho, I know this newly “free” male or female may seem to have it all together. I know they may appear to be an answered prayer. I know they may be so caring and kind and fun to hang out with. I even know they may be lonely, and you may be too, but I know that they are NOT ready for a new relationship right out of an old one.
A conversation recently with a counterpart who is dating a man with ink still wet on his divorce decree reminded me of the year and a half I spent in a Church of the Highlands Restoration Small Group for men and women who had experienced divorce and separation. Hearing her gush about how nice he was, how mean the ex-wife was, how they’d known each other for just a little while but bonded so beautifully and how she really wanted to be with someone took me back to that chilly, Autumn Sunday where we discussed dating and marriage after divorce in my small group. It took me back to the moment when the hosts of the small group read the writing on the papers we were discussing and the words about how much time we should take and wait before dating and definitely before marriage rang in my ear like a whistle from an overzealous, courtside referee. I remember shock and awe sitting next to my friend who was going through the same trial. (Hey, girl, hey! Thanks for helping me get through that stage with my lipgloss and high heels on point.) Speaking of lips…I remember “exercising my eyes in the upper part of my head” and sucking my lips like a defeated school girl thinking there was NO WAY IN THE WORLD I was going to wait one year for every two years I was formerly married to get re-married like the wise couple recommended. I had been married nine years so you do the math to see how my mind calculated that to=TOO LONG TO WAIT!
I’m so glad God saw fit to thwart my fast plans. I felt like I deserved a real, and good marriage. And I did/do. I’d gone through the extended small group. I had personal counseling with an amazing Christian counselor. I’d gone to counseling with my former spouse when I was begging him to reconcile. (yep, you read correctly.) I’d prayed. I didn’t have anybody beat anybody up when all of this was unfolding. I didn’t succumb to pressures attempt at depression. I kept eating and in fact, didn’t lose a single pound through the trying ordeal. I didn’t fall out with God, the church or church people. All of this, and you mean to tell me I STILL wasn’t ready regardless of how many times I tried to prove otherwise? I was a hot mess being made better and simply wasn’t ready to come right back out of the gate trying to stroll down the aisle with the first man who spelled my middle name correctly. Neither is anyone else right out of a covenant union stitched, snatched, weaved, orchestrated and ordained by God regardless of what happened to tear it apart. Healing of this nature takes time…lots of time.
So, as I sat and listened to my associate I thought:
- I wonder how she’s going to handle navigating through the imminent ex-wife and the children situations…also known as drama.
- I wonder how she’ll feel on holidays, if she’s alone as the man and his former spouse figure out how to do what’s best for the children (and the children deserve the best.)
- I wonder what will happen if he decides to go back to his ex-wife.
- I wonder what would happen if he shuts down communication with her because of the pressures of his new and reduced financial arrangements.
- I wonder if she’s even asked him if he’s gone to counseling and still going.
- I wonder how she’ll respond if she gets the side eye from friends or his family members who prefer the former wife.
- I wonder what’s going to happen the first time he accidentally calls her the ex-wife’s name or makes an unfair comparison of her macaroni and how she folds clothes.
In all my wondering regarding her I remembered that I used to wonder why God would dislike divorce so much, and have in place all of these “rules” for the extended restoration process. The truth is, divorce stings like a MOTHER…pinching her child in church after he/she smacked on a Jolly Rancher too loudly. So I wonder no more. I know that He loves us and has a unique process of healing for His children, especially those who have endured this kind of loss. His timing may not seem fair, but God is doing us a favor. There are some messes He simply doesn’t want us messing with. So, with that I will say again…don’t date someone right after divorce.