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We are Matthew and Brittany! A husband and wife photography team based in Knoxville, Tennessee! We love photographing weddings, educating other creatives, and eating Chick-fil-A!

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March 6, 2019

We’re Wedding Photographers and We Don’t Want You to Get Married

FILED IN: Advice

Bride and groom walking down the road in Downtown Knoxville, TN.

Say what? What do you mean you don’t want us to get married? Doesn’t that kind of put a damper on our business considering we’re wedding photographers…in the business of documenting people getting married. When you put it that way, it sounds completely absurd, right? The thing is…our society today has unfortunately trained us more for a divorce than it has for a marriage.

So many times throughout our lives, we see the same scenario over and over. What happens when you don’t like something in a relationship or in a person? Well, more times than not, you simply grab your toothbrush, your broken heart and “practice” divorce. You just chalk it up to “well that must not have been ‘THE ONE’ for me” and leave. Now, we’re not saying that the actual aspect of leaving isn’t hard because it is so many times. But what happens is so many people have this mindset of…

“What I’m missing is better than what I have right now!”

They trade the 80% of things that are going really good in their relationship or marriage, for the 20% of what they think they are missing and they can obtain elsewhere. With this mindset, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. Your spouse/future spouse is never going to meet 100% of your needs. It’s just not possible. Both you and your spouse are going to be continually trying to ‘be better’ or ‘do better’ and it just puts unnecessary stress on your relationship!

Whether you’re about to begin your journey of marriage, you’ve been married for just a short time, or you’ve been married for years, it’s important to realize that our world when it comes to romance is so very confused. So many people try and build a marriage on the external aspects only (think attraction, money, status, etc) and forget that it is really the INTERNAL aspects of a relationship that makes a relationship work!

Bride walks down the aisle at a church in Knoxville, TN

We’re not claiming to be experts in this matter. Honestly, we’re far from it. You see, Matthew and I went on a marriage retreat with our church the last weekend in February. It’s something that our church does every two years to just give couples the time to get away and invest in each other while hearing spiritual truths and just have Godly fellowship with each other. While this was the 4th Biennial Marriage Retreat in Gatlinburg  with our church, this is the first one that Matthew and I have actually gone on. If I’m being totally honest, we let excuse after excuse be our reason for not going. This year, something was different and we just felt that we needed to be on this trip. Y’all, we weren’t wrong. I cannot tell you how much each of the sessions we attended really spoke to and convicted us in different ways.  

Matthew and I got married in July of 2011, so as I write this, we’re coming up on almost EIGHT years of marriage (and 10 years of being together) which is totally crazy! It’s been a ride for sure. We’ve had our ups and downs like everyone else. Our mindset going into this marriage retreat was more of a “this time will be good for us to get away and reconnect with each other.” I don’t think either of us were remotely aware of what God had in store for us to realize on this marriage retreat. Matthew and I have a good marriage! We really do. However, this weekend really made us realize that our definition of “good” and the true, Biblical definition of a “good marriage” are nowhere near each other!

newly wed couple prayer over their marriage in Knoxville, TN.

God is THE ONE. Your spouse is second.

One of the things that stood out to both of us was this statement from our Pastor, Donny Wadley. He said to us, “God is always THE ONE. Your spouse is second. Everything else comes after that!” How many times do you hear the statement “Oh! I cannot wait until I find THE ONE?” Don’t get me wrong. That is an exciting thing. To find the one person you are to be with the rest of your life in marriage. The one who is going to love you here on this Earth more than anything else. The one who makes you smile and laugh even when you think you cannot. The one who knows how to hold you when everything seems to be crumbling down around you. The one who just understands you. Y’all those are all super important things! Seriously! We want you to find someone who does all of that for you. But if we’re being honest…we want SO MUCH MORE for you!

We don’t want you to get married for the wrong reasons. We don’t want you to think that marriage is the answer to ______ (insert your problem here). We don’t want you to get married to be complete, to feel secure, to feel wanted, to get the house you’ve always wanted, to have the car you’ve always wanted, to finally get to see what everyone else is talking about and join the “married group” of friends. No, my friends. Your marriage is not going to do that if you’re marriage is not centered around THE ONE true God. He is who completes you. He is who makes you secure. He is who makes you feel wanted and loved. He does all of these things for us, regardless of if we’re married.

Groom kisses his bride at an intimate Knoxville, TN wedding.

So what happens when you think marriage is the answer? Well, a few problems arise!

When you place so much importance on getting married, for the wrong reasons, many times you end up compromising more than you should. In Genesis 29:18, we see how Jacob promises Laban that he will do ANYTHING to have Rachel as his wife. In the Old Testament times, it was common culture to ‘purchase’ your bride, with a dowry of sorts. During this time, many would offer to work for their future father-in-law as dowry for their bride. At the time of Jacob, a couple years of work would be the normal. Y’all, Jacob says he will work for seven years for Rachel. Not only is that insane, he ends up working almost 14 years total to get Rachel.

I’ve done my part, now you do yours.

Many times when we place so much emphasis on getting married for the wrong reasons, we tend to become very demanding. Let’s follow the story of Jacob and Rachel even further. We see that in Genesis 29:23, Jacob works his seven years for his bride Rachel. Once that seventh year hit, he walked to Laban and basically says “alright, I did my part of working, now its your turn to do your part…give me my bride!” I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that if Matthew had come to my parents with that mindset, he probably would have gotten a very different response than he did when he asked my parents if he could marry me! Jacob didn’t come to Laban and gracefully and have the “talk” with the parents of the future bride. He basically walked up and demanded that he get his wife. That’s so not how it works!

Though funny story, Matthew actually DIDN’T ask my parents if he could marry me! He talked all around it and it was definitely obvious that is why he was meeting my parents at Starbucks to talk about me and marriage. I still laugh every time I think about it though! But I digress..

Another thing that happens when you get married for the wrong reasons is you almost always end up dissatisfied. On Jacob’s wedding night, Laban (Rachel’s father) decides that he cannot marry off his younger daughter before he marries off his younger. So Laban and the older sister Leah, deceive Jacob by having Leah take the place of Rachel on the wedding night in their wedding bed. Jacob went to bed with Rachel and woke up with Leah. He was furious! Now don’t get me wrong. I would have been too. That wasn’t who I thought I was marrying! So what does Jacob do? He works for ANOTHER seven years for Rachel. He’s worked 14 years of his life to get the girl he wanted. He does everything in HIS OWN power to make this work. Not once does he turn to God for guidance or help. Not one single, solitary time! Jacob seems to just know that if he marries Rachel, his life will be perfect.

Bride and groom share an intimate moment just after getting married outside their church in downtown Knoxville.

You’re not getting married to have all your desire and needs met…

You’re getting married to meet the needs and desires of your spouse. That is where your mind should be. If you are stuck thinking that this marriage with your spouse is going to be make everything perfect. If you’re thinking that it’s going to make each and every one of your deepest desire come to fruition, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Our Pastor gave us this illustration talking about how the shape of a triangle represents how a marriage grows and deepens. Starting at the base of the triangle and going upwards, represents each person growing closer to God. With two people, growing towards God, what happens to those arrows of the triangle? Well, they are growing closer together too! So as each person seeks to realign their lives with the real “THE ONE” in their lives, their relationship with their spouse is going to grow closer too!

Joyful newlywed couple smile for photos in Knoxville,TN.

So back to the beginning…yes, we are wedding photographers and we don’t want you to get married…for the wrong reasons. Ephesians 5:22-33 tells us that marriage is a representation of how Christ loves and leads His church. Husbands are to lead and love their wives as Christ loved the church. That’s a pretty high calling guys. Lead and love like Christ. Wives, we are called to respect and submit to our husbands in their leadership. The world today balks at this phrase so much. “We’re supposed to respect and submit to our husbands…oh heck no!” I get it. In this day and time, we as women place so much emphasis on being independent of a man and not needing them to do anything for us. Women and men should both be independent and strong. But guys, it’s not about that. Ephesians is talking about how a husband leads and loves his wife as CHRIST loved the church and his people. Can you grasp that with me? Do you see how much love and leadership is freely given to us by Christ? It’s indescribable. When your husband leads and loves you, modeling that leadership and love after that of Christ, wouldn’t you want to respect and submit to that?

Knowing that my husband is striving to lead and love me as Christ loves his church, that he is spending time in the Word and in the presence of the Lord, that he is running his decisions and guidance for our family and marriage through the guidelines of Scripture and feeling the call of the Holy Spirit in his life, respecting and submitting to him is easy. I want to respect and submit to him. I know that he is helping to keep us in the center of God’s will and that he is doing it as he is walking daily with the Lord.

Bride and groom share a kiss in front of an iconic Knoxville, TN building.

Pretty awesome stuff right?

Matthew and I want the marriages of our Matthew and Brittany couples, of our family, of our friends, of anyone and everyone we meet to be strong and steady. We also want you to know that you cannot do it in your own strength. You cannot do it thinking only of yourself. You are entering into the sacred bond of marriage to meet the needs of the other person, not the other way around. Don’t compromise just to get married. Don’t become demanding in your marriage or your relationship because you feel that you’ve done your part and they should do theirs now. No one person on this earth is going to meet 100% of your needs. It’s just not possible. Don’t let yourself become dissatisfied because you’ve let your own personal and selfish reasons and desires be the foundation of your marriage.

Bride and Groom walking out of their Knoxville, TN Wedding Reception happy as they head to Disney.

God is THE ONE. Your spouse is number 2. Everything else comes after that.

Matthew and I are here for you guys. If you’re one of our couples, past, present or future, know that we are covering each of you, individually and together as a couple. Even if you’re not one of our couples and just happen to come across this post and need us to cover you in prayer, please email us. It would be our honor to go to God on your behalf and pray for you individually and together.

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