“When are y’all gonna get married?”
That’s obviously the most frequently asked question to me and my boyfriend of 8 1/2 years. I can understand why though. In today’s day and age, it’s not typical to have a non-marital relationship that lasts longer than the average marriage in the United States (which is 7.5-8 years). However, those that are in the same boat usually are because they feel their dynamic is better that way.
That’s not the case for us.
We definitely want to get married, no offense to them. Marriage is just very important to Ryan and I. We believe in the whole “first comes love, then comes marriage, then….”, well ya know the rest. Call us old fashioned, or pin it on “religion”, but you’ll understand our perspective by the end of this post.
I won’t lie and say I’ve never had a moment where I thought… It’s never going to happen for us or what’s wrong with me? 8 and a half years can make a girl question herself. And I’ve definitely been impatient sometimes. There’s been moments were I thought I should just give up on my dreams, or quit living for the future. But time and time again, God has revealed His plan for us and confirmed that our future is beautiful.
Society puts so much pressure on marrying quickly. And while some short-term dating marriages can last forever, that doesn’t mean it will for everyone. As the popular statement goes, “How you gonna tell me what’s best for me?”.
But, just to clarify, we’re not withholding marriage to prove a point. Honestly, we just don’t have a timeline planned out for when we will take that next step. Yes, I WANT to be married. So does Ryan. But our relationship doesn’t hang in the balance of WHEN.
NO THERE’S NOT A “RING ON IT”
But I respect him as if there were. It’s almost as if we have a hybrid dating/courtship relationship. Most dating couples are together for companionship, but aren’t prepared to marry eachother until they are engaged. Ryan and I have a totally different dynamic… In fact, I think the only thing a ring will do is give me a “wedding planning” card. We believe in marriage as God united two people together, but we don’t wait for God to be a part of our relationship until then. We date each other in preparation FOR marriage. We consult with eachother, make decisions together, serve God together, and so much more. No we didn’t save our first kiss for marriage, but we do refrain from you-know-what (Yes, I’m a dork and can’t say it.. hee hee).
I truly believe that Ryan and I met when we did for a reason. It was not God’s intention for us to marry right away, after all, we were YOUNG and had a LOT to learn before jumping into something blindly. But, the small window of opportunity when we met could have passed so quickly, and I can’t think of any other way we would have been brought together years later. I honestly think we may have went two totally directions in life, had we not crossed paths at that time. But God’s plan was for us to grow together physically, mentally, and spiritually.
DATING TO ME
My outlook on a lot of things has changed tremendously in my 20’s, but my vision of marriage has been the most drastic. Five years ago, I could not have understood nor appreciated what promising myself to a husband through God meant. And while, I’m the LAST person on earth capable of giving marriage advice (being so ill experienced and all), I may be an expert at dating- for girls at least! Heck, maybe God is leading me to mentor women in dating relationships.
Anyway, here are a few truths I have found about dating a man spiritually. I believe these are things I had to learn before I could commit my life to Ryan. A lot of them are painful realizations, but they’ve given me a better vision of a Godly marriage (what we’re working towards, NOT just a wedding) and for that, I am grateful.
- Un-equally yoked mates will never work out. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I DON’T CARE HOW CUTE HE IS! Yes, he can “become” saved, and you might even win him to Christ. But how can you follow him if he is following you?
- Pray daily for and about them. It’s not a bad idea to do that BEFORE you are in a relationship. Anytime you think of something you hope for in your future spouse, pray about it. “God, help him be more patient”, “Help him to humble himself”. Here’s a tip: Sometimes prayer works better than nagging. 😉
- I believe in only dating someone with the intention of marriage. Period. No reason to divulge further.
- I am a believer in the husband being the spiritual leader. I think part of why women are advocating independance and equal rights is because there are not enough strong spiritual men in the world. I don’t have ONE fear of getting behind a man who is led by God. Not one. You’re probably wondering why this last one is about a husband instead of boyfriend. Well, in my opinion, which is just that-MY opinion, I feel that you have to have some idea of HOW he is going to lead your relationship and family. I would have a hard time marrying someone without first discovering his approach through “pre-requisite” marrital leadership. However, I will add that this suggestion should be taken with caution and should be discussed openly with eachother. You should both agree on responsibilities and delegations before marrying one another. hat do you expect from him? What does he expect from you?
Ok, I’m going to wrap it up before I step on any more toes. I hope this post enlightened you to our unique situation. And for goodness sake, stop asking when we’re getting married! 😛
j/k it’s more awkward for you than us anyway! Haha!