The Sweet Christian Bride

Letting a Bridesmaid Go: Part II

by admin on September 16, 2011 in Bridal Party, Communication with No Comments

WHAT DO YOU DO?

One of the hardest lessons of faith you and I will ever have to learn is how to let something go, especially if we care deeply about that person or goal or if it seems like injustice and confusion are the culprits of the loss.  But God is still good, God is still in control, and God is still big enough to continue working even after (and sometimes especially after) we release it to Him.

If you are in a position to let a bridesmaid go (a position not come to lightly by any means), you never have to give up hope that your friendship might be restored and that your bridesmaid might be healed, but you do need to have a difficult conversation with her to address the issue.

For issues of offense, my advice would be to act closely in line with the Matthew 18 principle of reproof.  1) Have a one-on-one conversation with your bridesmaid about the offense she has committed.  This conversation should be sensitive in timing, location, and approach, but it should address the offense, the consequences of the offense, the request for correction in behavior, and the offer for help (if appropriate).  2) If your bridesmaid is resistant to your reproof, bring a legitimate third party who can gently corroborateyour claims.  3) Under the unfortunate occurrence that your bridesmaid is unwilling to acknowledge or correct her offense, consider taking the matter to the church, which could mean talking with her to a pastor or a Christian counselor or whatever is most appropriate.

If your bridesmaid will not or cannot correct her behavior in a way that is fitting for her commitment to you and your marriage, then you must ask her to step down from duty as a bridesmaid.  Not only will her presence be a thorn in your wedding experience, but she will have already violated what it means to be one of your bridesmaids.  It’s a broken vow even before the wedding has even occurred.  As painful as it is, you and your fiancé need to create boundaries that protect your marriage from those who are actively or passively acting against it.

The conversation won’t be easy, and she will probably walk away deeply wounded, but if you have already sought restoration by the Matthew 18 principles of reproof, then asking her to step down is most likely the next step in releasing your wounded friendship to the Lord.  If you have deeply prayed through your part in this conversation, have kept a delicate tone and have used sensitive wording, and have clearly communicated your conviction in a way that still expresses love (tough love is one of the most valubale dimensions of love), then you can have peace in releasing the outcome to God unless He burdens you otherwise. 

This conversation will naturally take different forms depending on the root of the division.  If you are the culprit and your bridesmaid is the one reproving you, hear her out, thank her for her boldness and concern, and then immediately submit her accusation to the Lord.  Let His Spirit confirm or deny her claim.  See if there is a way to resolve the conflict and restore the relationship without her walking away from being a bridesmaid or your asking her to do so.

Hopefully, if you ever have to let a bridesmaid go, it won’t be a result of an unresolved offense, but rather the result of your sacrifice for her benefit.  Your bridesmaids will have to juggle the events in their own lives with the bridal duties for your wedding and relationship.  For most, this won’t be a problem.  For some, however, they might truly be overwhelmed with tragedy or stress in their own lives and cannot offer you as much as you are asking, no matter how much they love you.

If there is a way that you can relieve her from pre-wedding duty (or expense) while still allowing her to stand as your bridesmaid, I highly encourage you to accept that sacrifice for her benefit.  A friend of mine did that for me.  All I had to do was show up at her wedding.  God knew that I desperately needed to handle my own life and was struggling to do that while participating as her bridesmaid.  Her permission for me to care for myself in a time of need brought incredible freedom for healing as well as demonstrated how much her desire for me to be her bridesmaid was a desire for me,  not for what I could do for her.  She let me go from everything but the wedding itself for my benefit.

No matter what kind of conversation you have, pray diligently over it.  Really ask God to show you your fault in the matter so that you can speak humbly.  Pray that He reveals to you her heart behind her words so that you can listen compassionately.  And definitely petition God for guidance in whether to let the offense go or, if your marriage is coming under attack by the unresolved offense, to let your bridesmaid go.  Always speak in love.

By Lindsay

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