Being proposed to is sometimes unexplainable. Within just a matter of minutes your life is never the same. I know this because I have been engaged for five months and it hasn’t been anything like I expected or planned for. And truthfully, if it weren’t for the Lord’s constant presence and faithfulness, I don’t know if we would have ever made it to month five.
The first month was spent on cloud 9. Work, school, and sleep quickly went out the window as the only thing I seemed to have time for was telling my proposal story 500 times a day.
The second month was spent researching, touring, emailing, and meeting up with various venues, vendors, and wedding professionals of every kind. This was also the month I realized that my “going to the chapel…” Pinterest board was a big fat waste of time. Shocker!
Then came month three, when I was smacked in the face with how unrealistic my idea of engagement was AND it finally hit me that I was getting married and not just having a wedding. Wait… WHAT? But… didn’t I just get my license yesterday? I don’t even know how to cook and my dad still does my laundry. Insert panic and doubt.
Month four, William and I started pre-marital counseling and he got to witness a girl going through a box of tissues for the first time. Although we have no regrets about what our counseling sessions exposed and poked at, it definitely wasn’t our idea of a fun way to spend an evening together. Counseling was so valuable to us and something we have decided to make a routine part of our future marriage. This was also the month I started reading book after book on this thing called marriage. It’s amazing at how much peace yet anxiety words on a page can bring.
[Must reads: The 5 Love Languages; The Meaning of Marriage; His Needs, Her Needs; Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together]
And finally here I am in month five. Randomly starting a blog on a Friday night… because the child I’m babysitting is asleep and I have nothing better to do, but more importantly, because I want the lies of engagement to end. Yes, I want couples to enter their season of engagement with joy and thanksgiving but also with realistic expectations and the armor of the God.
I’m passionate about this because some days I feel like this world tricked me into believing engagement was going to be nothing but rainbows and cake tasting. When more often than not, it’s been quite the opposite. I’m not here to blame anyone for my foolishness or to scare anyone away from pursuing the awesomeness of marriage… I’ve just made a promise to myself to be honest and open during my short time as a fiancé. Who knows, maybe I can save someone from the harsh reality check I so unexpectedly received and shine some light into areas that people [including myself] are so afraid to truthful about.
Lie #1: Engagement is easy.
We can thank social media for this one. Of course being engaged looks easy when you’re only reading about a couple’s extravagant proposal story or seeing their beautifully posed engagement photos. [Yes, I am guilty of this too]. But what social media rarely shows you are the crazy emotions that suddenly swoop in and attack…
For example: Imagine someone asking you if you would like a new car. You instantly give a joyful and possibly tearful… “YES!” Then you find out you have to wait [in my case] 9 months to actually get it. Womp womp.
Yes, I know this is a silly comparison because a husband is far better than a new car [I hope], but this is often how this season of engagement feels.
It’s a waiting game. [A very emotional waiting game when you’re 600 miles apart. Sigh.]
There are many days when we question why we are even having a wedding and there are others when we wonder if we even know what the heck we are getting ourselves into. [Insert trusting the Lord with our fears of the unknown].
Unfortunately, Satan knows this season of waiting and questioning is the best time to drown us in fear and insecurity. For he wants nothing more than to pull us a part. And if I’m being honest, sometimes it feels like he is. Therefore, William and I have to be intentional about our relationship [daily]… and it’s definitely not easy.
Although waiting for something you desire feels so hard most days, I’m confident that it is part of the plan. These five months have been challenging in the best way and have been a small glimpse of what Tim Keller describes as being fully known and truly loved…
“But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” – Tim Keller
I’m thankful for precious friends who speak truth during this season and for my sweet fiancé, who is constantly teaching me that being the first to say you’re sorry might damage a stubborn ego but it definitely won’t kill you 😉
Lie #2: Wedding planning is fun.
Wedding planning is stressful.
Today, it is absolutely impossible to plan a wedding without the very large influence of Pinterest and others. I’m continuously amazed at the amount of [harmless] questions I’m asked that insinuate an expectation… “What are y’all going to give as a favor?”, “When are you sending out save-the-dates?”, “Are y’all giving each other presents the day of?”, “Band or DJ?”, “There’s going to be alcohol, right?”. It’s hard to not walk away from these conversations and wonder how I can make our wedding day better or better fit that person’s needs… Which is where “fun” gets taken out of the equation.
Don’t get me wrong; I am a true planner at heart. Let’s just say, I was confident that I would really enjoy planning a wedding and then… I was quickly surprised to find out that trying to meet the high standards of 250+ people is an extremely overwhelming task. Especially where you’re a people pleaser.
Yes, people say “it’s YOUR day” but in reality it doesn’t feel like it. And THAT is the fight I find myself fighting everyday. How can this wedding meet my needs, my fiancé’s needs, my parent’s needs, all the wedding guest’s needs, oh.. and then ALL fit into the dreaded budget?! It can’t. It won’t. And before you know it you are feeling depressed about this so called “best day of your life”.
Therefore, [although it’s not always easy] I’m striving to focus on the Lord’s simple yet important needs for our wedding day. After all… He is THE mastermind behind this thing called marriage and His opinion is the only one that truly matters.
Once again I’m thankful for encouraging friends [who have gone before me] that know just what to say in these moments of pressure and for my easy-going fiancé, who is so quick to remind me of the bigger picture.
I’ll let you know in April if it was all worth the pain 🙂
Lie #3: Love is a magical feeling.
Love is not a feeling. It’s a choice. It’s not a present feeling. It’s a future promise.
This has never felt truer as I quickly approach marriage. All the romantic comedies I grew up watching were lies. Yes, I treasure the gift I have in William but that doesn’t mean it is always easy for me to love him. There are days he deeply hurts my feelings and others where I just want to scream out of frustration. [And I know there are just as many days where he feels the same way]. Dating long distance has brought a number of difficult days for our relationship and loving each other certainly doesn’t feel magical or natural during these hard conversations and arguments. BUT it’s a choice we continue to make because we know this is the way Jesus selflessly loves us. And the way He has called us to love one another.
With more than half of marriages ending in divorce these days, it’s obvious that our world believes the lie that love is a feeling that you can fall in and out of. We know from Jesus that this is just simply not true. Love doesn’t just “happen” to you… it’s a commitment. A commitment that we are going to vow to make until the Lord calls us home, knowing good and well that our marriage will not always feel magical.
With that being said, the constant truth I HAVE found in this season of life is that the Lord is at work. And every day I am reminded of how sovereign yet personal He is. I’m thankful for my fiancé and this hard season because I know our hearts will be stronger for our Savior [and each other] because of it. My prayer is that we would continue to seek His guidance as we learn to better love one another and survive the craziness of wedding planning.
Would you please join us in praying that our season of engagement and our marriage would reflect the heart of Christ, that we would seek His word above this world, and that we would strive to be open and vulnerable about this season of life?
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:2-5