Monday, March 2, 2015

When God Showed Up to My Wedding Part III: 4 Ways to Keep God in the Center of Your Engagement

So the Hubbs and I met on Christian Mingle.

I don't necessarily recommend dating websites. 
      A) In my experience, most people are on dating websites for a reason.
      B) It's a little weird when you run into friends of friends, and co-workers, and church family members that you've been "matched" with....
      C) It kind of bothers me that people can't be "normal" in "real life" and just ask someone out on a            date without a "long term" commitment in fear of ruining a relationship
      D) Refer to A

I'm not going to belabor the process that I had worked on while online dating, but basically this is what happened. 

I moved back to St. Louis and was a host mother to 6 girls in a home that I lived. I basically saw 6 teenaged girls, and the other woman I lived with 24/7. I didn't really have any friends left in St. Louis, and I REALLY needed to get out of my house. So I got on Christian Mingle to go out on non-committal dates.....
                             ......and then I met the Hubs.

He was actually the first "long term"  longer than a 5 month relationship I had ever had. AND I wasn't begging God to help me get out of the relationship by the first month.

When we met online, we talked about God's grace and forgiveness.

I prayed constantly about our dating relationship. I prayed about my fears. The things that bothered me, the things that I fell in love with. Every "red flag" that popped up, I prayed about, and without me even asking, the hubs (then boyfriend) brought it up on his own, and the answer was ALWAYS better than I could accept. I prayed that God would not let me fall in love with someone who was not intended for me. I prayed that the Hubbs would not take the place of God in my life. 

When he started talking about getting married, I asked him to go to a Christian pre-marital counselor with me. He humored me.

It just so happened that our church offered pre-engagement counseling. I didn't trust my own feelings. I wanted someone to hear our story, and witness our relationship, and be honest enough to say, "This does not look godly." To pray over us. 

The Hubs attended church with me and got to know my friends and family. 

We rarely prayed together except for over meals and at church. (I think praying is a deeply personal matter, and should be kept within the confines of family and girlfriend-ships until you are engaged.)

I hesitate to make the comment of "unless led by the Holy Spirit" because we can so often kid ourselves into believing that we are "Led" when really, we are led by ourselves because we want something that God hasn't intended for us. 

There were maybe two or three occasions before the Hubbs and I were engaged where I felt led to pray for him with my hands wrapped around him. They were times when I sensed repressed pain, and it was actually LESS vulnerable for me to pray OVER him than to try to talk with him about secrets that were not, at the time, meant for me to hear. 

Once we got engaged, we continued pre-marital counseling and started pre-marital class with our church. We attended mini-devotionals with the pastor who was going to officiate our wedding.

I think it's important to have someone ask you questions that do not come up in "normal conversation."

People should be discussing things like Finances, Conflict, Sex, Personality Differences, and Communication styles with you.

You should be discussing your hopes and dreams for the future.

You should be discussing your relationship with the Lord. Look for devotionals or Bible studies your can do together.

A book The Hubs and I found extreamly helpful was "101 Questions to Ask Before you Get Engaged" We started going through the book as a kind of devotional about a month into our dating relationship. I have recommended it to everyone I know who is in a semi-serious relationship. Basically, by the 20th question, you will know if you should part ways or not.

Engagement is the time to begin praying with your significant other, and to be very careful about the parts of your heart that you expose to other non-family males in your life.

Once I was committed to The Hubs, certain conversations did not seem appropriate to have with other males anymore. Not that they were inappropriate in and of themselves, but my relationships with males in my life started to change. I became acutely aware of how close certain conversations brought me to other people. This is a time to grow closer to the man you are going to spend the rest of your life with.

The Engagement and Wedding planning period is the beginning of the time that you start to become one, emotionally and spiritually and on your wedding night, physically.

In a nutshell:

1. Keep Praying, Pray for each other and together, Pray for your future marriage.

2. Have others (who are not afraid of alienating you) observe and subjectively examine your relationship.

3. Attend Christian Pre-marital classes and/or counseling

4. Begin to save your personal conversations for your future husband.

The night The Hubs proposed. 

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1 comment:

  1. I appreciate you for your honesty and your daring to post such a personal experience that will benefit others. You are a blessing to my son and to our family. Love you.