July 23, 2020

How to get married during a global pandemic

Tim Painter

The date is March Twenty, 2020. The time is approximately 9:00 pm, and I am standing in front of all my friends and family. My best man to my left and my beautiful bride to my right. It’s our wedding night, we made it, and I’m about to deliver my speech. 

So here’s the speech I would delivered prior to COVID-19. So…“I want to start by thanking you all for coming tonight.”

Instead, it was: “Well, here we are. One in one hundred years chance of planning a wedding during an international pandemic – and we nailed it. To think that a week ago, our greatest concern was simply the weather.”

This was not how I originally intended on starting my wedding speech. But this intro pretty much summed up that week which had preceded it.

It’s probably safe to say that this is not the year anyone was expecting. To be honest, if you had told me that in March 2020, we’d be  entering a state of emergency. – a nationwide lockdown from a virus that has impacted the entire world – I probably would have picked a different month to plan our wedding. 

As we entered the week of the 20th of March, we still didn’t fully know the extent of what was about to unfold. 

It was the week that changed everything for so many. The government were racing to announce new restrictions, while deciding on the best course of action. We, as a church, were also deciding on what actions needed to take place. And amongst all this, Arze and I were trying to still plan – and proceed – with our wedding.

Keep Focussed, Keep Faith

It wasn’t an easy road to get there. For example, several times we had discussed what it would look like if we had no guests, and what it would look like to socially distance. We asked, “do we postpone” or “do we downsize?”  

These were all the stressful – yet very real – questions we were asking ourselves. 

But in the end, there was one thing we knew for sure. We knew that, regardless of what was thrown at us, on the 20th of March, 2020 at 1:45ish (she was late), we were getting married. 

Practically speaking, the idea of proceeding with a wedding on the cusp of COVID-19 seems ridiculous. It seems completely overwhelming, near impossible.

But that’s the funny thing, even when things appear ridiculous and overwhelming, and even when something looks impossible, our God is so much greater. I could stand confident in the fact that we were getting married because God had brought us this far. There was no way he would abandon us at the altar!

Put God First, At the Centre

God has been the centre of this marriage since the very beginning. When we were just friends toying with the idea of dating, God was at the centre.

When we went on our first date, God was at the centre.

When we stood at the harbour, and I dropped to one knee, God was – and will always be – at the centre. 

I know this year has been hard for many. I know that for each of us we have all been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another.

For us, this came in the form of the stresses of our wedding. And others:

  • Hearing that our dog had been in an accident only six days into our marriage
  • Learning that someone had hit my car.
  • My wife Arze and I both being stood down from work and navigating life without any income.
  • And to top it off, the stress that came just this past week of being tested for COVID-19.

Irrespective of all of this, we have always put God first. Despite what challenges come, we completely trust in God and rely on Him daily. 

Stay Close to God – And Each Other

  • The good news: I don’t have COVID-19.
  • We both kept our jobs and were supported by Job Keeper the whole way through.
  • It was only my car mirror which fell off my car – and it just popped back on.
  • Our dog survived her accident. She did have to lose a leg, but she got to keep her life… and she absolutely loves it. 

To to top it all off, Arze, and I have been married for three months, living in a tiny house and loving every single moment.

We’ve built a flat pack, planted a veggie patch, laid a path. We’ve also constructed a fence, a shed, a breakfast bar and a barbecue area. We’ve installed shelves, hung some lights, a mirror (and then hung some more lights.)

 And through all, of it, we have drawn closer to each other and closer to God.

So how to get married during a global pandemic? … Or really, how to do life during a global pandemic?

In my wedding speech I went on to say;

“But we are here. We are married. And at this moment, that is the only thing that matters.”

Trust God. Put him first in every area of your life. When you put God first, He takes the lead. It’s so much easier than blindly stumbling through the dark. Seek God, spend time with him, and he will guide you through every season.

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