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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ethel Chiles

Going to the Chapel: The Altar is Not the Place to Alter

Going to the Chapel

The Altar is Not the Place to Alter

It took you several months to find that right dress and those shoes that matched perfectly. The men selected the perfect colors to blend with the decorations. You walked down the aisle to that man and all you could focus on was simply how blessed you both were to find each other. Now that the dress is put away, the decorations are removed, the last out of town guests have returned to their homes, the reality of two different people living together begins. Please pick up your clothes, why is your make up all over the bathroom, you want to hang out but I want to stay home, and you snore so loud. The journey of loving, giving, sacrificing, and enduring will be met with those times of “this is not what you promised me at the altar”. Now comes the unknown. There is no amount of preparation, premarital counseling, and romantic dinners followed by unforgettable evenings that will prepare you for a journey that you have yet to travel. Just make sure that you are prepared with an abundance of patience to allow God to complete the changes. The altar did not equip you so that you can now begin the surgical process of changing your spouse. No, it is more a time for you both to learn to grow in love together.

The altar is not the place to alter. Somehow the altar changed from a sacred place to make a covenant with God to a place of merely “repeat after me” ceremony. Altar is a place at which religious ceremonies may be enacted or upon which sacrifices may be offered. Alter is to make something different or cause to change in character. However, the altar has become a place known as “I now have permission to expect you to change” until that person conforms to look exactly just like you. If you absolutely succeed in creating a duplicate of you, boredom is coming. It was the difference in that person that attracted you to them in the first place – so don’t ever forget that. Having things in common is absolutely wonderful; however, the beauty of giving is saying I will do this simply because it is the thing you like to do. So, you see change will never begin with the other person, change has to begin with you.

We want a change but we don’t want to be changed. But here’s the thing, people do not come preordered. We can easily go to a car lot and tell the salesman every feature we want on our car. We can’t do the same thing with people. We accept their differences in the same manner that we want our differences to be accepted. Compromise is the glue that propels the journey of love to keep moving forward. Going to the Chapel is not the end in which you can breathe a sigh of relief and finally say “I finally found some”. Quite the contrary, Going to the Chapel is the beginning of finding the kind of unconditional love that allows you to be committed yet free. The love will last longer when you don't focus so hard on altering that person but more on loving that person that you married at the Altar, you know that sacred place, not a changing place. Instead, allow the commitment and the vows that you made at the altar to become your foundation to propel this journey of love to a place of no return and to a place of knowing the feeling of unconditional love. Unconditional love in a marriage is like

Excerpt from Chapter 12: Going to the Chapel……

You Marry What You Date: Understanding Your Value to God

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