I guarantee you’ll never hear more unsolicited opinions in your life than when you get engaged. This goes for both men and women. I’ve been engaged for less than 2 weeks and the amount of unwarranted opinionated advice I’ve received is absolutely overwhelming–
“Isn’t it a bit soon to be engaged?” “Are you eloping? You should elope. I eloped. You’ll regret having a wedding.” “You’ll regret not having a wedding. You should experience the full package.” “Buy a wedding dress.” “Don’t buy a wedding dress.” “It’s all about you.” “It’s not about you.” “6 months will fly by!” “Six months is a long time, you’ll regret not doing it sooner.”
On and on and on and on. And that’s not even half of what I’ve heard. Dozens of women, family members, friends, mentors, even complete strangers suddenly feel like they have a claim on my life, some stake in our wedding, our marriage from the moment we got engaged. It’s all well intentioned, but the greatest harm can result from the best intentions (if you know where that quote is from, you get an A in geek).
I was at a craft night when I found myself being bombarded by group of women, all singing the same chorus of elopement. Women, who didn’t even know me, or Robert, or my family, and certainly did not know my circumstances and the context of my situation, we’re almost forcibly attempting to persuade me that their opinions, their life experiences were right, and true, and the only advice I ever needed. I left feeling overwhelmed, confused, and not sure where God was in the midst of it all.
The fact of the matter is opinions are just that, opinions. They’re not the Word of God. They’re usually spurned out of experience. Good, bad, and ugly life experiences, and the desires of others to protect and direct. But when you’re bombarded with a sudden flood of outside opinions, it can quickly drown out the still small voice of God. You begin to miss His promptings because you literally cannot hear yourself think let alone the quiet little whisper of the Spirit over the loud chattering chorus of a room full of opinionated people.
We’re each entitled to our own opinions too. In a sweeping generality, and for the sake of a peaceable discussion, not one opinion is greater than another.
We really do need to share our life experiences with others. But sharing stories from your life, and forcing your opinion down someone else’s throat are two very separate things. So before you go sharing your opinion, think things through. Ask yourself if it’s uplifting, encouraging, and hopeful. Examine the situation, are there other people in their life that are more fit to speak into their situation than you? Did they specifically ask for you opinion? Will it create peace or stir up chaos? Is it meant to inspire thought or rock the boat?
It’s a delicate place to be in when you’re teetering on the line of uncertainty. To elope or not, to take the job or not, to move or not– but at the end of the day, you’re the one that needs to make a decision, forge your path, and live your life. Everyone else with opinions has already done that. They made a decision, they made a choice, which directly influences how they think and feel, and now they have an opinion and they’re living with it, their very own microcosm of an opinion.
So if you find yourself in the crossfire of the opinionated, seek God first. Get council second. Protect your heart, your mind, and your life. Don’t be afraid to tell people off, politely of course. And in return, be gracious with your own opinions towards others. I’m all about ending the cycle these days.
And to all those women who so colorfully shared their opinions with me: Robert and I have decided, we’re not going to elope. And that’s a decision we made together, with the Lord, taking our family, the mothers that bore us and raised us, into consideration– more on that later.
Just as a disclaimer, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and I am aware of the irony that the contents of this post have in conjunction with the topic. Consider this sharing a life experience of my own that you can do with as you please. This opinion is not meant to be the final destination. May it be the planting of a seed for healthy and open conversation and discussion.
Thoughts, questions, concerns? Tell me what you think! Let’s discuss! Leave a comment below. Get a little heated. Agree. Disagree. Throw your opinion out there. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. It doesn’t really matter, it’s my opinion anyway. I’m just glad you decided to join the conversation.