Ann was unable to stop herself from crying and I could honestly say, I was feeling pretty awkward. Sitting in a restaurant with a crying woman is very unsettling. I was encouraged though by the presence of Steve, Ann’s husband but his indifference to her crying made us look mean and unconcerned. Steve was fuming and my spending an hour talking with the two had not helped him to cool of in any way. Their marriage had collapsed simply because of an evening of fun and “advice” that Ann had just before their marriage. It looked as though it was just an enjoyable evening of fun and indulgence as a single girl before she gets married but now, three years later, regret was the only thing she had about the night. Her friends, those that had encouraged her on were nowhere to be seen and the only shoulder close enough to cry on was Steve’s but he was too hurt to offer one.
Three months earlier, Joel, a long time friend of Ann had walked into their home with an envelope which she had given to Steve and then left. In the envelope were pictures of Ann and Joel partying and having fun on her bridal shower evening. They had danced together, drunk together and even gotten into bed together as a way of bidding single hood a bye. The encouragement given to Ann was, “do everything you fantasize about and then go get married” and she took the advice of her friends and did it all but now all that had come to haunt her. One of Ann’s friends had actually triggered this whole thing while they were at a party, she had tried to seduce Steve and when he could not accept her advances, she ridiculed him for being faithful to a woman who was not faithful to him. It turned out that Joel had been using photos from her bridal shower to blackmail and get Ann to bed whenever he wanted. Now the cat was out of the bag, Ann was in pain, heart broken, betrayed and deserted by the same friends who had egged her on.
As I sat there with this couple, I thought about the many other ladies and even guys that are replaying this same scenario or similar just because of wrong advice, a wrong act or choosing the wrong road all together. Stag nights and bridal showers do not make a marriage and from the many couples I have dealt with and stories I hear, these parties are destroying relationships at a pace that is quite alarming. It was supposed to be a night of excitement and fun but it had turned out to be one of shame, pain, betrayal and broken hearts. Was it worth it? Was that evening worth the pain and shame? Ann’s tears indicated otherwise. To avoid ending up where Ann did, you need to be careful regarding the following:
1. What road are you on – You may never end up in a situation like Ann’s, but I have come to discover that in life, it is the road you take and not the intentions you had that determine where you will end up. Ann’s intentions were for a great marriage with the love of her life but she took a road that went elsewhere. When you take a bus or a plane to go to a destination, you will arrive at that destination for sure not unless you get off the bus. Ann took the wrong bus and many people are taking the same bus and will definitely end up at the wrong destinations. What you sow, you will reap, what you do today affects your tomorrow and that includes dirty dancing and fooling around on a bridal shower or stag night. Have you realized it is called fooling around? Why accept to be a fool?
Choose to change course and begin rebuilding you relationship before destruction. If you have fooled around, check out this article that has pointers on how to rebuild after you have messed up, click here
2. Who is your driver – Many people in life allow themselves to be driven by others. They comfortably sit back and let their friends determine how they will dress, where they will go and even what they will pursue in life. If you are allowing yourself to be driven by others then I am sorry to tell you, you might end up where Ann did. Her friends organized everything, called Joel and other men, bought the beer and all and egged her on. She gave them the keys to her life and they drove her life fast and furiously to a place called pain and regret.
3. Where do you want to go – I have a simple approach to life, if you are not going where I want to go, I do not trust you to help me get there. The problem with many people is not that they get side tracked in life, the problem with many people is that they do not know where they want to go. Ann had no clear goal for her marriage, in fact, she had heard many stories of infidelity in marriage and broken promises and all (unfortunately the stories were from her friends, the same friends who she had trusted to organize her shower) and all these stories left her with images of broken promises and infidelity in marriage and it was therefore easy for her to end up on the same road. I know many marriages that are working, many that are guarding against infidelity and they couples are growing and excited about the years ahead, I hang out with these couples and together we dream of where we want to go. When I close my eyes and dream of the next thirty, forty and fifty years, I dream of being with my wife, retiring, walking on the beach together hand in hand and laughing over the past years. I know where I want to go and I am not trading that off for anything.
Ann and Steve are working on where they want to go, they are taking charge of driving their lives and are slowing working on ensuring they are on the right road, I pray that Ann and Steve will be able to work through their mess but the damage done already will forever hang over their marriage. I believe they will pull through but you do not need to get where they have gotten, take the right road today and choose to go where you need to go, not where friends want you to go. In fact, choose to go where God wants you to go.
“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” Romans 6:21