Guest Post: Hannah Stovall (To the Bride, From the Bridesmaid)

Oh I'm so happy to have my (pretend) little sister, Hannah Stovall, finally get on here and write herself. You've heard me gush over her here and here. I have known her since she was this sweet, just starting her own journey freshmen in college. It has been one of the sweetest things to watch her grow up and continue to grow into her calling. She is one of those people that if you didn't love her so much, you'd really (honestly) hate her. Because there is nothing that she can't do and no one that doesn't love her. She is simply a giant ray of sunshine. But not in the trying to be joyful Christian attempt at sunshine. The can't help but burst from her because she knows who she is and is so firmly rooted in Jesus it challenges me like crazy sunshine. On top of all that Hannah is one of my favorite writers of all time. So honored that this some time in her future New York Time's best seller, has made the time to write on this blog. I know you will love her and be challenged and encouraged too. As I read it the first time I found myself choked up with tears and then laughing and then both! Enjoy!

Dear Blissfully Wed BFF,

It’s always been a little ridiculous how happy your happy makes me.
Or how angry your angry makes me.
Or how you just think about crying and I cry for you.
We share. We tell. We feel together.

When you met him, we swooned. We Facebook creeped. We overanalyzed. We giggled over his first text messages. We squealed when he called. We went through every detail of your first date while watching old Friends reruns and eating cold pizza. We pouted about your hurt feelings. We celebrated arguments turned into funny stories. And when you called, half-crying/half-laughing, to tell me he asked and you said yes, I could have absolutely burst with joy. Your joy.

Because we share. We tell. We feel together.

My tears today aren’t because I’m jealous.
Although you can be certain, I am.
They aren’t because this dress I’m wearing—the one you just LOVE—is hideous.
When (Will you listen to me, please?) it is.
It’s not because I forgot to break in my heels like you told me to and my feet are killing me.
Though I really did. And they really are.

My tears are because, from here…
We won’t share. We won’t tell. We won’t feel together.
Not honestly anyway.
We’ll light the sparklers, the two of you will drive away, and it’s never going to be the same.

And my heart is broken over it.

I keep reminding myself that this is normal. This is good. This is right. After today, you’re married. He’s your best friend. He’s your priority. The two of you will grow together and learn and serve the Lord and it will be beautiful. I’m trying to pound that into my head.

But I go back and forth. Back and forth between willingly handing you over and throwing a mental fit in which I fain an allergic reaction to the flowers or the carpet or the minister and, with my head magically swelled up like a hot air balloon, everyone forgets the wedding entirely. But then you’d never get your happy. And I so desperately want you to have your happy. Plus, I can’t figure out how to get my head swelled up like that.

My fears and, let’s be honest, shall we, my insecurities are backed by the countless examples I’ve seen in the women around us. I’ve tried and tried to think of married women I know who still have genuine, intimate friendships. The list is short. Very short. It’s hardly a list at all. Instead, I see two main groups. There are the ladies who get together to discuss their creative writing ventures, seeing who can make up the best story about a robot husband who does his own laundry, brings home flowers every day, and hates football. And then, of course, there are the ladies who put Regina George’s burn book to shame. They rip their husbands to shreds for even the slightest faults. Let’s get one thing clear: I’d rather part company with you right now than have either one of those conversations with you. Ever.

We’ve always been honest. I’m taking the risk of being honest now, hoping you’ll be honest in the future. Why does that second band on the ring finger make women think they have to hide the truth? The good or the bad? If things are rough, you can tell me that. If it’s not as easy or as fun as you thought it would be, you can tell me that. If you’re still really nervous and a little uncomfortable when it comes to sex—for crying out loud—you can tell me that! You don’t have to lie to me. Hearing that you both wake up with fresh breath every morning, never argue about anything, and swing from chandeliers every time you have sex won’t do either one of us any good. Tell me the truth. That’s all I’m asking.

There’s this other thing I’ve seen. You’ve seen it too. I hope you won’t forget it. It’s the look. The tone of voice. The “someday you’ll get here” attitude that it seems married women so often take with us single girls. As if our occasional loneliness weren’t enough of a downer. I know that our stories are different. We have our moments when we could be the same person, but we’re not. The Lord’s plans for us could hardly be expected to look the same. I’m so aware of that. In my single years, I know that the time I have is valuable. I know you mean well, but I don’t need you to remind me of that. I also don’t need you to consider what my life would be like with every single guy you know. Again, I know you mean well, but you don’t have to play matchmaker either. So in that moment when I’m in tears and threatening to try speed dating or hire a skywriter to plaster my number across the Houston skyline during rush hour, just listen (and stop me, please). Just hug me. Just pass the ice cream. Just do what you’ve always done. Treat me like your friend, like your sister—not like your project.

What’s happening today, you’ve wanted for so long. And I don’t just mean the posies on the tables or the ruching on your dress. I mean the man that loves you. I mean the way his eyes get misty when you’re walking down the aisle. I mean the promises you’re making. The decision the two of you have made to trust the Lord as He directs your steps. You’ve wanted this. We’ve prayed for this. Don’t forget, dearest. Please don’t. He’s a gift to be grateful for. It’s a love to hold onto.

Our worlds are about to be vastly different. When I go home on Friday nights, it’ll be to that cat that my inner spinster just had to have. When you go home, your man will be waiting—ready for a night in or a dinner out with those people you met at couples’ aerobics. See what I mean? Different worlds, doll. Different indeed.

I simply hope that you’ll be honest. That you’ll be grateful. And ultimately, that you’ll still be you: a blissfully beautiful bride who still laughs at my severely lacking jokes and hopelessly loves her husband. I’m guessing we couldn’t get rid of your snort-laugh even if we tried.

Grin.

Happy honeymooning,
Hannah

Hannah is a lover of family and a collector of sweet friends. She writes amateur Christian fiction with hopes of someday finding a place on a bookshelf. Hannah loves teaching littles the truths of Jesus and is excited to see how the Lord continues to navigate her steps. Connect with Hannah on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.