Jessica Loague is a long-time friend of mine who was one of the first people I knew to get married younger than the world might encourage. Little did I know that as I watched her and her soon-to-be husband prepare for this journey, God was teaching me the kind of wisdom and maturity that I would need to embark on the same journey just over a year later.
In this passage, I asked her to dig into her journey before marriage, yet I believe that her words can ring true for all of us who are in any kind of relationship—especially engagement. God’s word has got to be number one. Period. I am so excited for you to read her words of wisdom. I am so excited for you to hear a morsel of the wisdom The Lord has given her.
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I need to express how wicked of a sinner I am. More than you know, are the number of my failures and struggles—especially as I was gearing up for marriage. Though this is true, we will all have our own obstacles, so there’s no need in giving ear to what you shouldn’t copy. Instead, I’d much rather have this space be occupied with the nourishment and comfort you should grasp to. I have been consumed with thankfulness by Lauren’s gracious request to look back on the Lord’s faithfulness to me as I prepped for marriage.
Knowing and cherishing the Bible is the richest way to prepare for marriage.
Separately, we did our own Bible reading. [This is so important!] Trying hard to be consistent in my morning readings, I often faltered. Yet during some point of the day, I would make my way to Ephesians 5.
At first I only read verse 22-33. Thankfully, about a month before the wedding, I began reading the entire chapter each day, gleaning more and more from the passage each time I perused it.
It is such a beautiful way to daily learn what it looks like to walk in love in a way known to be unquestionably God-honoring.
Together, Ryan and I decided to read and meditate on several Psalms a day. I didn’t see how our idea would help us prepare for marriage, per say, but I did want to prepare to accept his leadership and faithfully walk through Psalms. Looking back to those days, I cannot express the foresight I received for marriage, by not focusing on my future husband necessarily, but rather, my relationship with the Lord.
The intensity of the expression of David’s feelings gives him a way of connecting with us, not to mention his devotion for our Heavenly Father. Rather than being disquieted by any part of the world, culture, or tradition, reading the Psalms during engagement taught me to deeply rejoice in His love for me over any other love—including Ryan’s—I could ever dream to receive.
“Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.”
Passages like this engage all my senses and relax the tautest of muscles. My being is soothed with confidence in my Lord. He is the harmonious meeting place of steadfast love and faithfulness, as He is reliable to keep his promises. He can guarantee the kiss of righteousness and peace.
Take this journey seriously.
“Do you still not understand?”
In Mark 8:21, God is asking his disciples this question in regards to having faith in Him. I believe this question can be applied here too. Marriage, is to be taken seriously. Both parties are to be on their best behavior at every moment. Conviction cries out, “do you still not understand” that how you prep for marriage, how you treat others in the process, how you show flexibility verses resilience in fighting for your way, and how you carry yourself in every precursor for marriage is far more than incredibly important. The unsaved world is watching, don’t you want the picture you and your future spouse to depict to be one that inspires the hearts of the lost to seek Him, to trust in the Lord, and to live in every accordance possible that will bring Him glory and praise?
Hundreds of books have been written on engagement and as a woman who has only ‘broken-into’ marriage, this morsel of experience may only be helpful to few, but here are some closing life applications. Wherever frustration arises along your path to marriage, remind yourself in these ways:
“I will hopefully only have one time to enjoy engagement.”
And whether it is enduring difficult family, fighting for purity, evangelizing to those who do not understand your desire for marriage, or even the planning process itself, say: “I GET to represent Christ and the church as I do this.” What a completely undeserved honor.
Above all, see that this institution of marriage was made by Him and made to glorify Him. Therefore, say to yourself, “all that I do and choose should foremost be to glorify my King, the one who created a purposeful miracle of death and resurrection to save…me.”