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The wedding proceeded without a wrinkle, and Jacob did his best to be the doting groom, allowing Bilhah to drag him around and introduce him to everyone from her hometown.
He had the perfect excuse why his family and friends weren’t in attendance because everyone lived so far away. He kept telling people, “Today is not about me; it’s about my beautiful bride.” Then he would wrap his arm around Bilhah’s waist, kiss her temple, and turn the focus back onto her.
Most people immediately went back to gushing over her fancy princess gown, and her perfect hair and makeup, and the perfect ceremony, and the delectable catered meal.
He and Bilhah stayed at the wedding reception much longer than he had during Leah’s wedding because Jacob wasn’t that excited about heading upstairs to their hotel suite. After the spiritual evening he’d had the night before with Rachel, his suite almost felt too sacred to invite another woman into his bed, even if she was his wife.
Jacob worried that his wedding night with Bilhah would be the first time in his life he had any difficulty allowing his body to take over and give pleasure to his wife. He and Rachel had prayed about that as well, as strange as that seemed. He had confided his concerns to her, and she gave him some pointers on how he could best focus on Bilhah, and the rest should happen naturally. As he’d mentioned many times before, God made a man and woman’s body to come together and create babies, and that’s what tonight was about. The only reason Jacob was marrying Bilhah was because God was encouraging him to increase his flock.
Bilhah was easy to make happy. She almost had a checklist of what she wanted for her wedding day, right down to the wedding night. She asked her bridesmaids, led particularly by Zilpah, to go to their room a little while before the end of the reception and decorate Jacob’s suite with pink rose petals on the bed, and a lacy negligee, and lit candles and chocolates, so that when Jacob carried her over the threshold into their suite, the ambiance was just right.
He provided the proper superficial actions of feeding her chocolates and of kissing her neck and of telling her she looked beautiful in that pink lingerie and of saying sweet things to her about how soft her hair was and how her eyes gleamed in the candlelight and how elegant she had been at the altar. All the words he said were true, but Jacob almost felt as though he were lying because everything was so staged.
Still, he wanted to give her a wedding night she would remember as the best day of her life, and he kept reminding himself the words he’d spoken to others all evening. This was not about him; it was about his beautiful bride.
Bilhah fell asleep beside him with a dreamy smile on her face, and Jacob lay awake staring at the ceiling, wishing he could sneak across the hall to spend the night in Rachel’s arms.
After twenty minutes of Bilhah’s even breathing, he was certain she was fully asleep, and he slipped out of her bed and spent time on his knees on the bathroom floor, praying and crying, silently pouring out his heart to God, asking over and over if he was making the right decision. He wondered if God got sick of Jacob questioning his direction, but God patiently spoke peace to his heart. Jacob stopped feeling sorry for himself and started talking to God about each of the people he’d met that evening, calling them by name and blessing Bilhah’s family and friends with prosperity and health and comfort and that they would feel God’s love all around them.
Eventually, Jacob realized he was half asleep and had run out of names of people he’d met at the wedding. He snuck back into bed beside Bilhah, and when she rolled over to snuggle into his arms, he pulled her close, allowing God’s Spirit to rest upon their little marriage and give him comfort about his decisions.
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