better together than apart
This marriage thing rocks, but I am definitely continuing to learn more every day. I love my husband so much, but there was a moment when we were on our honeymoon in Cozumel, Mexico where I looked at Rob and said "I guess I imagined myself feeling differently. I imagined walking off the altar evolving into some wiser-different-feeling-married-woman." It just wasn't the case. I walked off the altar, looked at my now-husband and saw the same person with the same immense love for him that I had the day before. I honestly thought something may be wrong with me. I grew up and had imagined that marriage brings a new capacity of love towards the person I married, and looking back, I love him with the same wonderful love that I did last week. A few things did change though -- one being how I view marriage. Stepping into marriage is a LOT different than talking about engagement, being engaged, wedding planning, etc. etc...being married has an eternal weight. Marriage is holy. Marriage is pure. Marriage is the most beautiful thing I have ever done. Ephesians 5:25 says that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church. It is absolutely unbelievable to imagine that we are to love as Christ did towards anything, sometimes. Can we even begin to fathom how deep that love is? Can we even understand?
When I begin to think about marriage with the true weight that it carries -- it makes me think about engagment and even dating in a completely different light. I think it was really easy for me to look forward to engagment like it was just something fun to do with the person I loved the most. Wedding planning, regrettably, even made a marriage covenant look like a giant party with twinkle lights and chiffon dresses. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVED our wedding.)
As weird as it is to admit and I may not be alone, it is very easy as a young, southern gal to lose sight of what a marriage actually is. I have seen marriage to be glorified to things that it is not and many women in my life enter serious relationships where they are tricked to care more about the wedding day than who is at the end of the aisle.
If you're even considering engagement or are already engaged, I encourage you to sit down with your partner and break down what marriage actually means. In our pre-marital counseling, we had to come up with 20 different reasons WHY we were getting married. Also, make it a priority be in prayer at every step. Robert and I would not be where we are today without down-on-our-knees prayer. Can you see yourself praying with your significant other? How can you make it a part of your relationship? It SAVED ours.
The way we handle dating in our modern world is insane; and I have been the victim and the source of it. It has been really heavy on my heart to write someone about dating with intent -- being genuine, honest, and up front.
Proverbs 4:23 says to guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. A means of guarding your heart can be dating carefully; taking dating seriously. I know I'm not the majority, but I made efforts to date like I was looking for the man I was going to marry. Even before we started seriously dating, Rob and I sat down and talked through what we wanted, and it eliminated a lot of confusion and blurred lines.
So much of modern dating revolves around uncertainity, and I've only seen it lead to heart break. If you are crying more than you are smiling in a relationship -- these are things to pay attention to. A person that you should be dating should be a help in repairing your soul, not breaking it.
A really wise friend of mine (shout out to Frances De La O) sat down across the table at a coffee shop from me and said, "Allison, do you serve the Lord better together than apart?" And it changed my life forever.
So ask yourself hard questions, find a mentor you can be truly honest with, and remember that as much as a relationship takes hard work, it should be fun!!