Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always been swept up by the notions of love at first sight and happily ever after. Whether it’s Cinderella and Prince Charming, Iron Man and Pepper Potts, or my own friends, I can’t help but gush while watching their relationships grow. I love love.
This has made this summer such an amazing season of life as I was blessed to celebrate with so many of my close friends on their wedding days. It seemed like every weekend I had a bridal shower, bachelorette party, or other wedding-related event to attend, and I absolutely loved every second of it.
While many people would assume my love of weddings stems from the free meal, dancing, and cake, the aspect that has been the most meaningful to me has been seeing the love of God reflected in each of these amazing couples. I’ve grown immensely and wanted to share a list of everything I’ve learned.
#1: The Beauty of a Marriage Orchestrated by God
Each couple compliments one another so uniquely and I couldn’t imagine them with anyone else. Their personalities perfectly align, their senses of humor are well-matched, but most importantly, they are all striving after the Lord together.
It is so easy to see that God paired each couple, planned out each detail, and has a purpose for them as they walk together with Him. He is already fulfilling His purpose in using their love as a reflection of His perfect love for us.
Getting to hear the stories of each couple, hearing how they met, and listening to all of the wonderful little details of their first dates has shown me that God orchestrates beautiful relationships and has the power to exceed all of our expectations.
I’ve always worried about completely giving God control over my love life, thinking that if I allowed Him to be in charge then I was destined to a boring, unsentimental relationship. But seeing the work God has done in the lives of my friends has proven to me that He writes love stories better than anything Nicholas Sparks could ever come up with.
God cares about every detail of our lives. He knows our hearts better than anyone. God will place you exactly where He wants you and eventually, with whom He wants you. Just leave it in His hands.
#2: The Wedding is Just One Day, Marriage is Forever
Each of the six weddings I attended were beautiful. All well planned, romantic ceremonies centered around their love for one another and for Christ.
But it wasn’t the gorgeous dresses, decorated venues, or sparkler send-offs that made these weddings stand out. They were uniquely special because the couples weren’t just planning for that one day, but for all of the days that followed.
They treated dating as a time for discernment, getting to know one another and treating one another’s hearts with care. During their engagement, they prepared for a life together. They prayed over their future, surrounded by family, friends, and a community full of people all praying for that same thing.
#3: You Can’t Leave Your Baggage at the Door
One of my favorite speakers, Jonathon Pokluda, always says that there is no such thing as married-people problems, they’re just single-people problems that you bring into marriage.
This means that the problems you have as a single person, you will still have as a married person. You can’t simply flip a switch and stop all of your bad habits.
One of my friends once confided in me that her boyfriend was doing heroin but said he would stop when he got married and had children. I don’t know much about drugs, but I know that stopping isn’t quite that simple. Stopping all of the other bad habits in our life from taking over can be just as complicated.
I think a lot of people fall under the impression that they need to spend their single years sowing their wild oats; drinking, sleeping around, and doing whatever they want before they have to settle down.
I don’t think this is how it should be. I think instead, we should spend our singleness working on ourselves, growing closer to God, and practicing good habits.
Regardless of whether you want to or not, each day you are becoming something. You’re either moving closer to the person God created you to be or farther. The things you do today, become your habits tomorrow, and eventually your lifestyle.
So start working on yourself now and striving towards becoming the type of person you want to one day attract. Run hard after the Lord and then one day you’ll look up and see who’s running next to you.
#4: Marriage Doesn’t Complete You or Make Your Life Perfect
This has by far been the biggest learning curve for me. Perhaps it’s due to my love for cheesy Hallmark movies, but I’ve always thought that finding my future husband meant finding my other half. What I’ve come to find is that I was never half of a person to begin with.
I am complete. I do not need someone else to make me complete. My contentment and joy in life come purely from the Lord, He is the only one I need to feel complete. And I know if I’m not married with two and a half kids ten years from now, that I will still be complete.
This has been such an important lesson because I always thought once you got married your life would just be perfect from there on out. Happily ever after.
I am beyond grateful that God has shown me the lack of truth in that statement, because what an awful ideal to go into marriage with. Thinking that another person can complete your life and make it perfect, puts so much pressure on them. It places your spouse on a pedestal.
Instead, I am learning that in relationships it is vital that you recognize that you are both broken, sinful people and that God is the only one who will never fail you. People will always disappoint you, no matter how hard they may try otherwise it’s simply in our nature, but God will always be there unfailingly.
#5: Importance of Waiting For Who God Has For You
I think sometimes, we want a relationship so badly we try to take the control from God. We get desperate and try to write our own story and force it to happen. What we have to realize is if God wants it to happen He will work it all out for Your good. His plans will blow You away and be beyond Your wildest dreams.
So hold out for His plan. Don’t just jump at the first guy who slides into your DM’s or sends you a creepy Snapchat. And when you do choose to enter a relationship, discern if their habits are what you want your future to look like.
Do you want the man who will sit planted in front of the TV with a beer while you leave to go to church alone or do you want to wait for the man that will pray with your children as they tuck them into bed.
In the past people have accused me of being too picky because of my decision to wait. Truthfully, I’m not holding out for Prince Charming, but simply a Godly man who will encourage me in my walk with the Lord and push me to grow and be a better person each day. And if that guy never comes along, then I’m better off being single.
A big reason I believe we should avoid growing desperate and entering into dead-end relationships is because in each relationship you give away pieces of yourself. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to give all of those pieces to one boy, to your future husband, and no one else, and I think that is definitely worth holding out for.
#6: Enjoy the Wait
Almost every situation that requires small talk I can expect the same question. It doesn’t matter if I’m getting my hair cut, checking out my groceries at the market, or sitting next to a stranger on the airplane – they always ask the same thing. “So, are you dating anyone?”
And each time when I say no, I see their smile dim a little. It’s as though they feel sorry for me, like I need a man in my life to be happy.
I just want to explain to them that I have been single for the last 21 years of my life and I’m not lying when I say that I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I have loved my independence, getting to spend all of my free time with my family and friends, and never having to have cried over a boy.
I will admit, sometimes I look around and see all of my friends in relationships, having babies, and getting married and think “I want that.” And it’s ok to have that desire, but I don’t allow it to take over my life.
Because one day if it is His will, the Lord will bless me with all of those things. But for now, I am enjoying each moment He places me in. I refuse to rush my life away waiting for the next chapter.
So until then, I will enjoy girls nights, getting to fly solo at dances, and going to weddings with all my friends. Because one day, I know I will look back and miss all of those things.
I strive to enjoy every moment of the wait, to leave it all up to God’s timing, and to know that despite what others may think or what society may tell me, I am not JV because I am single. God is working out my future, so I am focusing on enjoying my present.
#7: Cord of Three Strands is not Easily Broken
You and your spouse should constantly have a love triangle going. No, I don’t mean a love triangle like Twilight, none of the vampire and werewolf drama is needed. What I mean is God should always be included in your relationship. And just like any perfect triangle, the closer you are with God, the closer you are to one another.
I am so thankful for my friends for teaching me these things by example and for allowing me to celebrate with them during such a beautiful time in their lives. I pray for anyone reading this, that their marriage (either now or in the future) can reflect the love that God has for each and every one of us.