2016 has been a huge year in my world. I entered as a Sledge and am leaving as a Groves. I was engaged, planned a wedding, and am now in the fifth month of marriage. To say I know everything would be foolish, but I have definitely been taught some major lessons about relationships, engagement, and marriage–not only within my own, but by learning from others as well.
This is a huge misconception that Austin and I definitely fell into at first. Because of our soon-to-be marriage, we tended to prematurely assume marriage roles: he was to lead. God created that design for the marriage and family relationship. Period. Once we realized that we were to just hold our own relationships with The Lord for the remainder of our dating relationship, we were able to freely prepare for the new roles we would be assuming on August 6th.
2. Engagement is fun: If you are in or entering that season, enjoy it!
(Hopefully) This is the only time you will ever be engaged. You have been single all your life and you will be married from this point forward. You could easily sit in these months in anxious anticipation, ready for nothing more than to be married. But use the time to love on your friends. Use this time to spend with your mom or whoever is helping you with wedding planning.
3. You’re not ready for marriage.
No one is. Go to pre-marital counseling, spend time learning and talking about how you plan to coexist in your marriage, but don’t stress out if you don’t feel a magical change or preparedness. You learn as you go. If you’re not yet in a relationship because of a fear that you’re not ready for seriousness, listen to your Father. Is He beckoning you change your fear of commitment into a love for Him? If so, and if He is calling you to pursue relationship with one of His children, do it. Trust Him. He will prepare you in His timing.
4. The night before the wedding will be stressful. Breathe.
The night before my wedding I thought I lost my marriage license, misplaced the key to my apartment, and had at least three freak outs. My sweet best friend held my hand, told me to breathe, and loved on me through it. It was easily the worst hour of my entire engagement. There are going to be moments like that. It’s all good.
5. The marriage is soooo much more fun than the wedding.
Seriously. I loved my engagement period, but you could not pay me any amount of money to go back. Not because it was bad, but because marriage is so much better. I spend every moment of my day with or thinking about my best friend and how we are spending life together.
6. Which is cool cause the wedding is pretty freaking awesome.
Best. Day. Ever. And every one since gets even better.
7. My relationship cannot be based on my personal happiness.
And if it were, I would be let down every day. Think about it. Did Jesus come live and die for His own happiness. Heck no. He did it because God so loved the world. If my marriage is going to exemplify Him, my goals need to as well. Our actions and commitment to one another stems from loving God, then loving one another, then making each other happy. If I do those things, I am more than joyful in the relationship.
Especially when it gets hard. Some of my favorite moments with Austin have been when our song comes on and we stop whatever we are doing and dance. Yes, its silly. But it is a break from all the other craziness going on the world.
9. I don’t ‘like’ everything about the man I love.
And he doesn’t like everything about me. We are still being sanctified. If I were completely content with everything about Him, I would be completely content with sin. The cool thing is that God is using Austin to sanctify me and me to sanctify him by lovingly calling out one another’s weakness. Don’t allow yourself to grow resentful of a relationship because everything is not perfect, but realize that we have the ability to be used by God to build one another up in Him.
10. Household chores aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be.
Mainly because my man is so good about helping when I need it. Men, if you are reading this, ask your wife when she needs help. Sometimes just the recognition is all we need to feel appreciated and valued.
11. Crock pots are the bomb… Have I mentioned that already?
I’m pretty sure that I mention this in every “what I’ve learned” post, but seriously. Married, dating, single and ready to mingle, whatever you are, get one. My newest favorite thing to make is crockpot candy. Thanks Grandma.
12. God’s timing is perfect.
When Austin first mentioned that He felt called to get married the summer before I graduated college, I was terrified. That went against every plan I had created for myself. But we chose to trust in His timing. It wasn’t easy. We even lost some really cherished relationships because of it. Yet here we are, seeing the fruits of that timing.
- My Grandfather got to see me get married before passing away this fall.
- Austin got a job in another city, meaning that if we were dating and could not be together at night time, we would rarely see each other.
- We are able to minister as a couple to friends we might not be able to otherwise.
These are just some of the many areas where we are seeing His perfect timing manifest. Friend, if you are entering 2017 in a serious relationship, trust His timing. If you are entering 2017 single, trust His timing. If you are entering 2017 married, trust His timing. It is always perfect. It is always better than our own. We will rarely understand it.