While living in the US, I only once got to attend a baby shower, which I really enjoyed. On Sunday, I attended my first bridal shower. There is a young couple getting married in our church; she is from the Philippines, and he is from Madagascar (what a mixture), and they are going to exchange vows on September 11 (what a date). It was the very first bridal shower ever held within the English speaking church in Brussels. A sister, who is originally from Chile, organized this event. Her husband is American and works for the NATO, and that's why they are currently in Brussels. She obviously got to appreciate the American traditions while living over there - like I have.
We still had a church board meeting in the morning, which turned out quite long (by the way, we have a new pastor, but this is a different story!). Arrived at home, I needed to eat and take care of some other things, so I was late for the bridal shower. They were just about doing the part when individuals had to give advice to the wife to be. It was almost finished, but they also wanted me to contribute (from my rich experience, haha). So I had to destroy a balloon, in which was a slip of paper. On it, the question was asked whether I agree that respect is important in a good marriage. This somehow reminded me of a saying that I shared with them: "A man wants to be admired - a woman wants to be loved.", and I told them that it implied to me that a man also would like to be respected by his wife. Some of the married women immediately agreed with me - to some others it was a new thought. Most of the about 15 women present at the event were married by the way - some of them divorced and remarried, one widowed, and besides me, only two were never married.
After supper, it was time for the bride to open the gifts. About 50% of the attendees where from the Philippines. Bridal showers are also a tradition over there, so many of the attendees already had lots of experience with these kind of events. In fact, Rona told me it's a custom there (amongst secular people) to present a box with a naked man who is then supposed to seduce the wife to be. How terrible!
Anyway, Rona started opening the gifts, and it turned out that at least ten of the sisters had bought her some kind of lingerie. In my innocence, I hadn't even thought about the option to give her something like this (well, at least now she doesn't have to invest in such items anymore!). We were just asked to bring something special for her. In fact, I was the only one who gave her a "spiritual" gift, i. e. a beautiful CD with German and English Christian songs that I had acquired at our camp meeting. But when she held up the CD, they all assumed it was something for the wedding night! So I needed to clarify that this was definitely not meant for this occasion! I told them how much blessed I had been with these songs, and I emphasized in particular one German song on that CD, of which I shared the translation of the chorus:
From Your mouth, I can hear the most beautiful love song,
At your ear, I can say what the soul touches,
At your hand, I can fall and You lift me up,
At Your table, my hunger shall be satisfied.
Isn't that beautiful? I even found it on YouTube. Unfortunately, the recordings there are all with drums. This is the softest one I found: Click here.
Another question was whether a husband should be perfect. All the ladies said: "Nobody is perfect", but I vetoed that he should at least strive to be perfect. Well, the next question was: "Perfect in what way?" So another lady said: For example spiritually, or physically. Then another sister said: "Ok, spiritually, I understand - but how can he become perfect physically?" I suggested by exercising and eating a good diet. I think this is a challenge for most of the husbands of the ladies who were present at the shower.
|The bride to be opening presents|
|The CD which is not for the wedding night|
|One of the African sisters was very thoughtful to give Rona this modest apparel,|
as the bride is going to meet her African father-in-law very soon!
|Food is ready. A wide variety of dishes: from vegetarian spring rolls|
to burned chicken wings
|This is the only piece of lingerie that I dared taking a picture of ... Cute, isn't it?|
To be continued...