Cloud Thoughts


On June 10th, 2012, I married my best friend.  It sounds so typical, but really, he is.  Nobody else knows me on a level like that.  He has seen me at my best and seen my ugliness right up in his face.  He has made me cry more tears of joy than tears of pain.  I am most vulnerable to him, but I trust him to care for my unpredictable heart.  Sharing this video about our wedding is not just about the big day itself, but the 1,503 that came before it to get there, and the uncountable things that God has done to get us ready.  Ready to not be husband and wife, but to begin to learn how to be a husband and a wife.

Anyone who has experienced being in love knows that it’s just beautiful.  Time slows down, minutes swell with meaning, yet you blink an eye and a year has passed.  Romantic love is an intoxicating place to be.  But if you’ve experienced it, you also know that it can be messy, difficult, and hurtful.  Though tides come, if it’s worth it, it’s worth it.  Big battles, small fires, one time troubles, or ongoing pathological mountains; we signed up for this.  Adversity is an obstacle to climb over together.  Calluses are built over time.  Strength is earned.

From the beginning, Keone and I always knew we wanted to marry each other.  It was after a month of being together, sitting on the floor in my Oakland apartment where we confessed to a shared dream of marriage and having a family.  This was something I never even thought about until I met him.  Dance had nothing to do with it, we just wanted to be together forever.  Of course we knew we weren’t ready for any of it, our lives were in different places, but we knew.  Even the night we officially became a couple, we cried through beaming smiles because we were so overwhelmed with this super-natural relief that we had finally found that one person we’d been looking for.  No way to explain it or analyze it.  We just knew.  God drew us together at that sublime moment.  And that’s us.  Everyone’s different, but that’s us.

Now when I say we were in different places in our lives we were and weren’t.  We were both beginning to get opportunities to dance for work, in that way we were traveling parallel paths, but Keone was Christian and I was pretty much borderline Atheist.  Especially when it came to Jesus.  No thanks.  I’d had trauma in the past with people trying to convert me.  When I was nine I had a girl cry over me, telling me that I would go to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus.  I was terrified of a Christian God and so skeptical about, “His people.”  Over time it became something I delighted in mocking.  Any other religion I could accept, but not Christians.

Then Keone came along.  I knew right away he was different (I also liked him A TON.)  I knew I’d have to put my sarcasm about God aside and respect his faith.  So I agreed to go to church.  No I didn’t immediately burst into flames, nor did I collapse in the aisle as demons were eradicated from my body with a choir of people fanning me and singing, “praise Je-sus.”  But I did see that people weren’t pointing fingers at me and calling me “sinner,” as I half expected.  They were at church to learn and celebrate something that made them happy.  It was so much more simple than all misconceptions I had built in my mind.

I went a few more times, and I remember distinctly, there was one service that caught me off guard.  I hadn’t sang with everyone at the beginning of service because I didn’t know the song and I felt super uncomfortable.  I was relieved to sit and just listen to the pastor.  I don’t even remember what he talked about, but I can still vividly see myself, feeling like I was the only person in the room.  Like there was only a spotlight on me in my cushioned chair and this booming voice filling every other inch of the place.  The strangest thing though was that I had this overwhelming surge of inspiration to create.  It was so uplifting, motivating, and artistic, and I NEVER expected to get that from a church, let alone one that followed Jesus.  From then on I got bitten by a bug; I wanted to learn.  I read books, I listened to sermons, and about 2 months later I decided to follow Jesus.  I don’t remember the moment, but I found my journal at the time and on one page I’m quoting Descartes, the philosopher who famously said, “I can’t doubt that I’m doubting,” and the next page I’m talking about Jesus as the most important thing in my life.  And this whole time Keone, never pressuring me, never pushing me, only talking about God when I wanted to, or when I would bring it up.

That was a huge turning point for us.  From there our relationship changed and God slowly became number one.  It was so gentle, so natural, and we both wanted to do right and live right on His terms.  After about 4 months we knew that God was asking us to take our sex life out of the picture.  We knew in our hearts that it was the right thing to do, though it seemed so rigid and old fashioned.  We just knew it.  For me it was strange because every other relationship had begun with the sex life and the rest came later.  Sex wasn’t the only thing, but it was really important to me to feel connected and intimately involved with the other person.  But Keone and I knew we had to give our intimacy up if we wanted to be walking with God.  So we did.  It was hard at times, but also astonishingly easy because God was helping us and we both were willing.  I’m not going to lie, it took a few months to figure it out, and we made mistakes along the way, but by the time we got to our one year anniversary we were only kissing.  No tongue, just Disney kisses.

From then on Keone and I had a few difficult moments, but God would quickly swoop in, strengthen at least one of us, and we would stop before falling in on a promise we had made.  It’s crazy to think, you’re sharing so much time with your favorite person in the world, traveling with them, getting to know them so well, but also knowing that you can’t have that physically romantic part yet.  We stayed in so many hotel rooms alone, but kissed each other good night without going any further, and could sleep knowing that we were saving something beautiful for the right time.  Keone and I waited about 3 and a half years with holding hands and pecks, but while still building ourselves to get ready to be married.

I think where it starts is respecting what marriage is.  Just at a base level, it’s sharing your life with someone.  Every day, every moment; a promise to sacrifice whatever is needed for the commitment you made to them.  Not when you feel like it.  Always.  And you keep your word, not just for your sake, but for everyone else who wants to believe in marriage.  Who wants to believe that people can love each other on that level for a lifetime.  Love starts in a blur of bright colors and huge paint stokes, but as it deepens, it layers into details.  As you keep going you can see more and more of this masterpiece you’ve made together; one with your family, your friends, and countless moments spent side by side.  And you enjoy that.  I see that from my parents who are still going strong for almost 30 years.   From my grandparents who are still going strong for over 55 years.

Looking at that huge arc of change still floors me.  It’s something very personal, but something that we both knew God was responsible for.  He did it so we could articulate how those divine hands have grown us through love.  He brought us together to build in this life, side by side.  We’re just starting.  We can’t wait to have this adventure together and share it with the people around us.  So as you watch this video from this one day, remember it’s one day.  It took so many others to get here.  It took so many people supporting us, raising us, and teaching us individually to get to THAT day.  And for Keone and I, God has been preparing us for our marriage; for what we’re living now.  He’s going to continue to do that as we learn marriage.  As we continue to learn life together.  It’s not going to be perfect, we don’t expect it to be, but we know it’ll be so much better than our dreams because it’s real.

Our Wedding

This entry was published on February 26, 2013 at 7:50 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

92 thoughts on “Wait.

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  1. thank you for sharing this and what God has done in your life. the dance industry needs more dancers who can stand for what is right and truly live by example. I pray that people see and exprience the love of Christ more and more through you and Keone. wow wow wow. what an inspiration! will be praying for your marriage! Been married for almost 8 years now and we were the opposite of you guys… i love Jesus but when I met my (now)husband, he claimed to be a hardcore atheist. Now he is a lover of Jesus and it is amazing to see his life changed by the love of God. 🙂 and yes, it is possible to wait!!! there’s a sweetness that cannot be explained when we wait for God’s right timing. 🙂

    • esther tang on said:

      Hi, I just saw this. How did you influence him to know God? I am currently in a relationship where my boyfriend is an agnostic/atheist. I really don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know if God is telling me to end it or continue to pursue my boyfriend to become a christian. I don’t know anymore.

  2. mereeaudreytua on said:

    OMG just beautiful.. totally speechless 🙂 i wish you both nothing but HAPPINESS

  3. Shamiso on said:

    I am still single and waiting on God.Your story is beautiful and it encouraged me to make a fresh heart’s commitment of faithfulness. to God and my future spouse.

  4. sharon on said:

    It’s a beautiful story.It has encouraged me to keep waiting on God ,till i find true love.I have been inspired to make a fresh commitment of faithfulness to God and to my future spouse!


  5. I’m not Christian, but my fiancé is. We are in a very long distance relationship while I finish school. I find a lot of inspiration in your story and I thank you for sharing it. I can’t wait to finally Marry my best friend and it made me very happy to hear that you have.

  6. Joleene on said:

    Hi Mari,
    I’m just here to thank you for sharing this post. I know I may have been a bit late finding you and Keone’s wedding video and thus finding this post, but I think what you said here inspired me even more to follow God and His plan for us individuals. Thank you for that. I admit, I may have teared up at some point watching your wedding video. It was beautiful watching you and Keone whilst also thinking about what you’ve written here. Your story has struck me hard with the reality of things; in a good way, of course. Anyways, thanks again for sharing this with us and I wish Keone and you a happy marriage and everlasting life loving each other. 🙂

  7. Cameron on said:

    I’m so grateful for you posting this! It’s so encouraging for me having just started a relationship almost two months ago and both of us wanting to get married and knowing that it’s not the right time. It’s hard to wait on God. But your story is helping me to have faith in God’s timing and to believe His timing is better than my own. Thank you!

  8. amazing amazing!!! i was so inspired by your dancing at first- but this has made me love you both even more!!! thank you soo very much for sharing this beautiful story – you both are a blessing in the dance industry !!! God Bless you both – Mahalo!

  9. Junela on said:

    I have not read tons of books and novels but one thing for sure I was deeply touched by what you shared. It is definitely from your heart. It makes me realize more how great and wonderful to have Jesus in a person’s life. Please continue to inspire others through Jesus. -from Germany

  10. Thank you so much for this. My boyfriend and I are both Christian and we have also decided to wait til marriage. Your story is a huge inspiration. 🙂

  11. abbygelleangcay on said:

    Reblogged this on abbygelleangcay and commented:
    This is so romantic.

  12. Its very inspiring to see that the both of you were strong until the end. Things happen, people change, but so long as the love keeps burning and your faith does too, it’s all worth it in the end. I cannot wait for my adventure.

  13. Words In Worship on said:

    So awesome! God is so good! it’s beautiful to see how He strengthened you two. The beginning where you talk about just knowing, I totally identify with that my now husband and I just knew. we just knew. we got married 4 months after the LORD opened our eyes to the truth that it was us. I stayed pure all my life till marriage and its so beautiful to engage in sex now with my husband and worship God through it, for HE created it. so beautiful! thank you so much for sharing I know this will touch so many.

  14. I am so encouraged from this!!! I love how you are so honest and inspiring. Thank you for sharing! May God continue to bless your marriage! 🙂

    P.S. Not only are you an amazing dancer, but you are a great writer!

  15. You don’t know me. I watch your videos on Facebook like thousands of other people. However, there was something in the way you danced together that told me you both were special. You are both special. I believe it is Jesus but I also believe you exemplify “what God so joins together” – that indescribable thing that is bigger than our choices and our wills. And our ways. Thank you for dancing and radiating such joy. Thank you for letting me, a stranger, receive as a witness your testimony. I’m a better follower because of it.

  16. azom on said:

    YOU ARE THE CUTEST!!!!! such a beautiful story! GOD is SO AMAZING! you started so strong, there’s no way your joys and blessings wont pile higher than anything taller than the burj khalifa. you should be so honored to have God use you to touch Millions of lives out here. People would kill for this opportunity. Stay blessed, beautiful, and as Amazing as our Father.

  17. undeniablyandi on said:

    Reblogged this on Undeniably Andi and commented:
    Aww.. amazes me more that you two got married and will be dancing your way to a life together. Kilig. :’)

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  18. wow! so I am a Christian and am waiting on God to bring my prince into my life. Your story has encouraged me as at times I do get impatient and wonder if that right guy will ever come along but God is in control of all things and He does all things in His time and I know I need to wait on Him and waiting will be worth it. Another reason I find this so encouraging is because I am also a dancer but do not dance anymore as I now live in the United Arab Emirates for work. I am a Cabin crew so I do a lot of traveling and have a hectic schedule so unfortunately have no time for dance anymore though I do session in my apartment now and then on my days off but I miss being around other dancers who inspire me with creativity… I really hope you will continue posting on your blog. God bless xxx

  19. Antonia on said:

    Hello Mari 🙂 I have admired you as a dancer for a long time and reading some of your pieces here on your blog now for the first time has just made me love you even more! You are such an inspiration to us all and thankyou for sharing your talents with us, you are an amazing dancer and choreographer, and not to mention an awesome writer! I cannot wait to see what else you’re coming up with on here, reading some of your writings are what I definitely needed to read and has actually saved me from feeling low and worthless and a failure. I hope I get to meet you and Keone one day! Thankyou so much once again, from a big fan. Xo

  20. Lakiesha on said:

    This is beautiful! I started watching your video’s with my 11 year old son. Needless to say watching a video of the two of you dancing has brought on more than just entertainment, but an inspiration. I am proud that there are role models who my son can follow that represent’s our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and how we should honor him and the one that he calls us to share our life with. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your journey. God bless you two!

  21. Wow…thank you for sharing your testimony. My eyes are becoming teary and my heart is warming up even after I read this. Through you guys, God has made me understand more at heart, not at mind, that sharing is so powerful filled with love, warmth, and everything so good that it melts everything away. I see that I have been keeping too many of the good things that God has done for me; I was being selfish. I need to share because it is SO GOOD. You guys are inspirational, leaders of God that the young generation look up to. I wish to go to one of your workshops and learn to dance from you. I thank God for you guys, that you are such a bright light that cannot be avoided or questioned, just as if you were on a lamp on a stand. You are such a beautiful couple.

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  24. Reblogged this on messymindss and commented:
    Mariel Madrid has made me believe in true love whole heartedly

  25. Erin McCann on said:

    I don’t think I’ve read something this beautiful in a long time. It’s proof, of the power of authentic love. It changes people, makes them want to be better and want to lift up their husband/wife with love and support. Thank you for sharing something so close to you.

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  27. Reblogged this on Love, Lorraine. and commented:
    I love this. So beautiful.

  28. You two are such an inspiration. I am a relatively new to Christ, transformed from hinduism to find our true God. God bless you two! Can’t wait to share this with my wife.
    -From a physician out in Tx!

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  33. Courtney on said:

    I’ve been watching your amazing dancing on WOD and started searching for your dance videos. I ended up stumbling across your beautifully raw story…no…more like… testimony to God’s story. Your honesty about the journey, the struggles, and the challenges of waiting and loving God’s way speaks volumes of encouragement and hope into my soul.
    I look forward to seeing glimpses into the rest of God’s story for you two! Blessings in the Name of our Good Good Father!

  34. Such a beautiful and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. You guys are a beautiful couple.

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  36. I realize this comment is being left a few years later, but having being recently introduced to it, this post has made me realize something that I’ve always been missing but seeking for. I’ve been a Christian all my life, and dated many Christians, and just this year dated my first non-Christian boyfriend. But while I don’t know the things that have gone on from his end, I can relate to many of the things that you have felt on yours. It is so inspiring and humbling and yet motivating to read about your journey with Keone, to see how beautiful God is with His action and perfect timing. It renews my faith to see these words, to be reminded of how good He is to us, and no matter how crazy the journey may be or may have been, it is worth it because of Him. Thank you so much for your post, for your beautiful dancing, and sharing something so intimate. Blessings to you and Keone, Vera

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