Just because I eloped doesn't mean I'm broke or pregnant!
Some misconceptions about eloping are that the couple can't afford a "real" wedding or that the bride is pregnant. While those certainly could be reasons, Edward and I do not fall into either category.
Our elopement was spur of the moment. Having just lost my mother, planning a wedding had become increasingly depressing. Edward saw my anguish and came up with a solution! He said "let's get married tomorrow!" I didn't hesitate.
Here are my 5 reasons to Dope Elope
1. It's fun!
Eloping was the most spontaneous, thrilling thing I have ever done! Rushing to find a dress, booking a venue all under 4 hours was exhilarating! To top it off, the immediate gratification of seeing the end result was the next day not months away.
2. It's on your terms
Our elopement was all about US! We wore what we wanted, ate what we wanted (Edward had a burger and wings for his first married meal) and we LOVED every second of it!
3. It makes for a great story
Now that we are married, I find myself retelling the story of our elopement very often. People always have so many questions. It's a great icebreaker with couples since someone usually asks about our love story. I'm happy we don't have the cookie cutter engagement/wedding story.
4. It's romantic
Nothing is more romantic to me than the fact that my husband only wanted me. He wanted to marry me ANYWHERE he could. Edward didn't care if I had a dress or sweats he just wanted his bride. We actually tried to elope while we were on vacation in Houston. We got the marriage license but there was not one, single judge on 12 floors of the courthouse that day. So we kept the license as a souvenir. I had no clue we would actually be married a few weeks later.
5. It's just DOPE
Proverbs 18:22 - He who finds a wife finds a good thing (and a spokesperson). At least I did. Now you won’t find ERAC quoting scripture too often but these words ring true everyday. She’s better in a crowd than I am. She’s better at making friends out of strangers than I am. Actually, I don’t think she even uses the word stranger. Not that I can’t hold my own, but it wasn’t until after I let my guard down did I learn that I wasn’t as awesome as I thought I was. This probably speaks to my last blog post on vulnerability, so let’s just call this part of a series. A series where I let go of me and embrace “we” even more. Something that is particularly difficult for men, even married men.
Even though it’s a “deadIy sin”, I am a PROUD dude! Even when I shouldn’t be. I can think of at least 50 times (in the last year) when humility would have gotten me out of a tough spot. But nah, I’ve always liked to go the route where I bang on my chest like a caveman in order to solidify my rightness. I consider myself an intelligent, well researched fella and when I’m settled on a reason or decision I am not easily swayed. This is the single man way of thinking. 38 days into marriage and I’m realizing that sometimes, maybe, probably that I could possibly be wrong…Ok! I'm wrong a lot - but a lot less now.
For instance, I realized that I am a total amateur when it comes to doctor visits. I always come out having not asked pertinent questions which, in turn, leave me without pertinent answers. Now I have a wife with the right of mind to accompany me to the doctor’s office (who does that?). But I come out with answers and results that I would not have on my own. Thanks wife.
For the last 20 years I’ve have very little input on my decisions. For the good decisions, I’ve always held my head high knowing that it was by my composure and intellect, and mine alone, that I made the best decision. For the bad decisions I would often look around (like a kid looking both ways before crossing a street) to find someone to blame. But at all times, it was only me. And even when I did make the right decision, i hoped that there would be someone there to hold me up in the case that I fell. Releasing fear in my young marriage has enabled me to look to my wife for guidance. I mean, I chose well but I couldn't have known she would balance me in such a way. She's an educated woman with a sound mind and kind spirit. Seeking her counsel in my personal decisions and family decisions have made all of the difference.
My new wife has even made me a better father. Because…guess what???? I have no idea what teenage girls need. When I was a teenager all I thought girls needed was me. Wrong again. I haven’t the slightest idea about how to address and adapt to their emotions. I know now that I won’t feel so helpless when there’s some kind of lady emergency when the girls visit. Even though we are both trying to understand the world that these millennials live in (as our parents tried to understand ours) doing it together has made it that much better.
Advice from a novice: Despite how long you’ve been in you relationship, make sure all paths lead to ONENESS
Stay Dope, ERAC
I'm an entrepreneur who has been making six figures for many years. So the idea of sharing my hard earned dollars wasn't very appealing at first. I wanted a prenuptial agreement. I had already advised my lawyer of my intent to protect my assets. However, one night in marriage counseling, I had a come to Jesus moment. See, the idea of potentially losing everything if we were to get divorced was petrifying! Growing up I was taught to keep a stash! You know, just in case! I was taught that the stash ministry kept you safe. Our marriage counselor said "Well, don't get married!" It was my Eureka moment!
I'm all for pooling resources but what happens when one person income surpasses their spouse? How should we divide the bills, should we join our bank accounts or keep them separate? So many questions to consider!
We couldn't have figured out the answers to these questions on our own. We were lucky. Our marriage counselors walked us though this topic. Here's what's we learned about finances within marriage:
1. Stashing hurts your marriage
Great marriages are built on trust. Having secret accounts or hiding money in a shoebox will erode trust because your spouse will find out! Why would you want to share a bed with someone you don't feel comfortable sharing your money? How would you feel if your spouse withheld money from you?
Ultimately, we decided to join our money together and pay all of our bills from that account. However, I have a business account, brokerage account and investments that he is aware of but is not on the accounts because they were acquired prior to our marriage. But it's not a secret. I'm not saving money in case we don't make it. Stashing is deception. If you lay everything on the table before the marriage that is not operating in dishonesty. If you are keeping a stash you can expect you will eventually use it .
2. Sharing finances fosters communication
Having a joint account means we have to communicate with each other. Our rule is any purchases over $1,000 must be discussed. Sharing money requires a level of trust on both sides. It tells the other person you have faith in their judgement and that you trust they will not put you into financial ruin.
3. It makes you vulnerable
If you read this blog regularly, you have read both my husband and myself speak about the power of vulnerability within our marriage. Financial transparency is truly an exercise in being vulnerable. When I got engaged to Edward, he gave me his social security number and I ran a background check and credit check (we got engaged on our first date so I needed to know he wasn't an ax murderer with a 400 credit score). I did not ask him for his social. He freely gave it to me. It showed me he wanted to give me all the knowledge I needed in order to trust that he was who he presented himself to be. It established a level of trust that I had never experienced with a man. It made me more comfortable disclosing my finances because he had already modeled the way.
At the end of of the day, there isn't one way to handle marital finances. You have to find what is comfortable for both parties. I don't believe in 50/50 relationships in general. I could have a roommate for that! We have decided that we will both give 100% in our marriage and finances. He pays our bills from the joint account. He contributes. I contribute. It's what works for us. The key is communication. Discuss your fears around money. I had to uncover some deep notions I was holding onto from past programming. With respect, love and honest communication you will settle on how to manage your finances as a couple.
What does it really mean to submit to my husband? I didn't quite know until I went through Christian marriage counseling.
I am a bossy, assertive, know-it-all type of chick. In my mind, submission is a curse word! Immediately, I start getting hot and sweaty at the mere thought of giving up control to....a man! To submit goes against everything I have been programmed to do!
Many women especially alpha women can identify with the above-referenced anxiety. I won't take it to deep into religion but I want to explain the basis for how I am able to submit to my husband even though it is not my natural response.
Husbands are charged with loving their wives like Christ loved the church. Wives are to submit to their husbands because the church is under the authority of Christ. Don't take my word for it, this is Bible (Ephesians 5:22-33). Wives are judged based on submission. Husbands are judged based on headship. God has given men the position of leader in the household. Why? Cuz, He said so. Now, if you do not want to be "under" a man that's fine, don't get married!
The selection process is crucial. Your mate will find you but you still get to choose him as well. Does he know Jesus? This is really important! If your future husband can not hear from God for himself, how can he go to God on matters that concern you? He is supposed to be praying for guidance and direction not making decisions because he felt like it. You do not submit to a man until you are married!
Submission is a requirement for wives only! If you are not married you are not under any obligation to submit to a boyfriend or even a fiancé. You should ask yourself if you are with a man you would be able to submit to in the future. If your answer is no, ADIOS HOMBRE!
Submission doesn't mean you are to be seen and not heard.
Many people mistake submission for weakness when in fact it takes a tremendous amount of strength to show restraint especially when you KNOW your husband is DEAD WRONG! Being a wife is giving up the right to be "right." It doesn't mean you aren't right, it means you are not fighting your husband for bragging rights or the last word (I'm working on this).
Ultimately, learning to submit to your husband is true submission to God. If you believe that you are with the person God chose for you it should give you comfort to know God already knew the kind of man he needs to be for you to submit. I know. It's deep. We will definitely keep this conversation going.
It's something we men don't do well. It's not even an allowable conversation amongst groups of men. Our exterior is fortified and illustrious when we speak (or don't speak) about being vulnerable. What does it even mean anyway...
*Checks definition via google*
That definition, is the polar opposite of what a man is to feel or be (traditionally). Even after you've convinced yourself that you're totally free and unencumbered. At the end of that story you'll find that are as guarded as you ever were. I learned in premarital counseling (our 4th day together) that you have to reach the very depths of your emotional reservoir.
In past relationships, whenever I had the slightest inkling that there was a ceiling I no longer showed vulnerability. And, in my opinion, that's where the relationship ended. That was normal behavior and I don't recommend it.
I'm not giving advice AT ALL. I AM NOT experienced!!! But I see the benefits of leaving yourself totally naked for your spouse. Mikki and I have already had some moments that have attempted to shake our foundation and when they fail either one of releases a victorious mumble of "we in this" to an affirmed reply.
Get vulnerable brothers, and stay dope!
My daughters turn 14 today. They were born right at the dawn of the digital era so I've been able to document their lives on earth far better than my parents (as many of you know). What I haven't documented as aggressively is the women that I've brought into their lives since their mother and I called it quits.
Most of my male friends are progressive but are generally lax when it comes to "stepmom" introductions. Opinions vary on when it's ok bring the children in for the big meeting. Some variables include:
While on a stroll to the neighborhood Whole Foods, the topic of marriage came up. Both girls casually told me that they weren't too keen on making another introduction. This was one of the first times they've shared a hard nosed opinion with me. I realized then that my girls were really growing up and that our conversations would get more and more complex, even contentious. I wasn't ready.
I took a long hard look at myself after that conversation. Their words resonated. I knew that I couldn't commit to never having a significant other while they are around. However, I would commit to taking their feelings into consideration when I got into a new relationship. I had to be sure (as sure as I could be) on the next run.
Although I've never experienced catastrophe when bringing someone into their lives, I've seen it happen. Parents get waaaaaay into their feelings and it can cause friction. Introducing the wrong person into your kids lives reflects solely on you. There are no environmental or societal forces influencing these decisions.
When my daughters "chin checked" me with their opinions on my relationship status I instantly wanted to repent. It created the urgent need for me to model a healthy and loving relationship. Before we were married Mikki made sure that I told the girls we were engaged and that we weren't just "shacking up". I'm happy that the girls will see me in a peaceful, honest place with a great woman. It is my goal to show Mia & Hailey what a good husband is by allowing them to witness my love for my wife.
If you find yourselves in this situation, make the introduction with care. Remember that it will have a profound effect on your children.
Please join me in wishing Mia & Hailey Crawford a wonderful 14th birthday...and as always, stay dope.
I will concede that I am all of the following:
But as the saying goes: “when you know, you know.” If you’ve read any of our Dope Elope story, you know that we moved super fast (by most standards). Or maybe that's solely a new age of thinking. Or just a new aged, American, privileged, tons of options way of thinking.
In Egypt, India, Japan, Afghanistan, China, and South Korea arranged marriages are still all the rage. Why do I mention arranged marriages, you say? In some Indian cultures marrying for love (as opposed to arranged) is frowned upon. Could you imagine? Seriously, can you even fathom being in an arranged marriage? I couldn’t, but it works. Eastern countries that partake in arranged marriages have some of the lowest divorce rates in the world. Of course it helps that these countries make it incredibly difficult to get a divorce.
The western culture is different, as you know. We grow up knowing that even those lowest on the socioeconomic scale have options. Some times it takes a bit of luck, sometimes money but all in all we can choose, and if we feel that we chose wrong, we can choose again.
Mikki and I were married exactly 90 days from the day we were engaged, which was one week after we first spoke to each other (make it 97 days). We didn’t plan to get married so quickly, but it happened. Most people would say that that isn’t enough time… for anything. Including a senior pastor at the church where we did our premarital counseling. But we say it’s plenty. We have the ability choose and we chose each other. So we aren’t traditional and we never claimed to be. When you think about it, how “traditional” are any of us anymore? I’d probably frown if one of my daughters took the same route as us however, it would be a short lived frown. I will only be in one marriage in this lifetime.
The funniest part is that there was a time when I didn’t believe in marriage. I’ve actually had conversations with friends where we’ve discussed how the idea is flawed and worthless. Even though I was engaged once before, I was never really sold on the idea of it all. After several failed relationships (mostly my fault) I had to do some inner eracionalization (by myself meeting) and reexamine my own life trajectory. It just so happened that I met Mikki during that period and guess what I'm singin' now...
Follow your heart and stay dope,
Since we eloped we didn't have a honeymoon planned. We decided to go somewhere close and reasonable right after we got married. We settled on San Francisco.
I was born in San Francisco and it was my mother's favorite city. It felt like the perfect place to kick-off our marital bliss. I quickly got checked by my husband when I casually referred to our honeymoon as a "mini-moon" to a couple in the airport.
In my mind, we would do a "real" honeymoon later, somewhere exotic when we had time to plan it. But my new husband of only a few hours stomped that out with the quickness! He said that would just be a vacation but not a honeymoon. We would only have that weekend to honeymoon because we would never get that time back or the newness and excitement of just getting married.
I stood corrected. I realized that he was telling me not to diminish our special moment simply because it had not been planned. By the time we checked into the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, I had corrected my terminology.
For our first meal as a married couple we ordered room service: bone in ribeye and fries for me, burger and chicken wings for him with chocolate chip cookies for dessert! It was delicious and exactly what we wanted. We spent entirely too much money on room service that weekend but it was a worth every penny.
We had a magical weekend exploring the city of my birth. Edward's college friend, Jon owns a restaurant (RICH TABLE - SAN FRANSISCO) that is impossible to get a table without reservations a month in advance. We were able to go with just a moments notice and we were treated like celebrities when we got there! It was the best dining experience I have ever had! We enjoyed six courses of exquisite, artistic food that delighted our palettes! It was absolutely incredible.
Even though I lived in the Bay area a combined total of 15 years, I never explored it. Edward and I were sure to hit all the major sites and even took a fairy boat tour (it was freezing but beautiful).
I wouldn't change anything about our honeymoon! It was everything I didn't know I wanted kindof like my husband. Fun, adventure and food were the perfect endings to our wedding weekend. Now back to real life and planning our first vacation as a married couple.
Not everyone was excited for us once we announced we had literally run off and gotten married. Some of our friends and family members expressed sadness over not being able to see Edward and I get married. It's not that we didn't care, it's just not about them. It's about us.
My husband and I had a whirlwind courtship that is by any standard quick. We met and got engaged on the first date, moved in on the second date and married all inside of 90 days! However, the part most people miss is that both my husband and I heard directly from God concerning the other person even before we physically met (see her story for details). So miss me with your judgements! Nevertheless, we have even had pastors attempt to discourage us from moving "fast."
I want to be very clear, I'm aware this is a far out story. If I was on the other side of the fence I would be grabbing popcorn to watch the train wreck. However, I have the benefit of being one of two people who know what is happening inside my marriage.
Here's my advice for handling breaking the news.
Fuck 'em! Not everyone will be able to be apart of your beautiful next chapter. I loss a friend who was like a sister to me in the process of meeting and marrying Edward. But as much as I loved her, I love him more. There are going to be many instances that require you to "decide" who to choose. I can only side with the only person on this Earth who has promised to be with me until the end of our natural days. The choice is no choice at all.
Our story was a true elopement. We decided at 4pm the previous day to get married at 11am the next day. We knew people would be shocked but we were sure this is how we wanted to do it. Both Edward and I decided to hold off on announcing our elopement until we could notify all people who should not have to find out something so important on social media. We decided to create this blog not only to serve as our announcement to the masses but also to answer many of the questions we would be forced to answer over and over. My husband built the site in a few hours on our honeymoon. Nothing was done ahead of time.
Decide how you want to tell those people who are close to you. We opted to tell 99% of people after we were already married to protect our decision from those who would seek to try to talk us out of it. This is a very personal decision. Who you decide to tell is entirely up to you.
Learn from my Mistakes!
I didn't notify two people who are extremely important to me because I was afraid their reactions. I regret that now. I wish I would have told them before the news hit the internet. I was so happy on the day of our elopement I just wanted to preserve that moment and without knowing how they would receive the news I just opted for the passive approach. In retrospect, I would have handled it differently. It was very hurtful to people I love. Take that into account if you decide to let the internet or other people disseminate news of your life event to people who should have heard first hand.
Our situation is unique. We both come from smaller families. Both of my parents are deceased. However, I did have to break the news to my Nigerian step-dad who is very traditional. I was petrified to tell him! I made the call and was so shocked at his reaction. He was OVERJOYED! Even though he was very accepting of our elopement, I had already decided if he didn't react the way I wanted him to I would be ok with it.
Parents are especially delicate because many of them have fantasies of their children's wedding day. If you have parents who will be disappointed they were not a part of your day try to do something special to include them in your celebration. Maybe a special dinner or weekend will make them feel included. You could also send them a keepsake box with mementos from your special day.
You may want to opt for live streaming options available at many venues. Investing in photography and videography is always a plus. Put together a slide show or video to show to your parents or plan a reception/viewing party for all of your loved ones to enjoy. Whatever you decide just know that you don't owe anyone an explanation but be ok with taking the heat that will surely come as a result of your decisions.
We want you to share your stories! Send us pictures of your elopement and why you and your love decided to dope elope! We look forward to sharing in your love. Email us your stories, comments or congratulatory messages to firstname.lastname@example.org