It’s been a little over two months since I entered into an entirely new, uncharted, slightly scary and altogether wonderful season of life: courtship. My best friend and I entered into our relationship, eyes wide with excitement, stomachs full of butterflies and hearts full of faith. The past nine weeks have been the most incredible of my life. I have been stretched, challenged and grown. I have been blessed beyond belief and encouraged in ways I never expected.
So I figured it was high time I blogged about it!
The Lord has used this season of life to draw me closer to Him than ever before. Although I’ve failed to do so more times than I care to count, He patiently reminds me day after day to keep my eyes fixed on Him. He has taught me that true love is not a matter of emotion but of self-sacrifice, commitment and putting the other’s needs ahead of your own. He has shown me that the purpose of marriage is not to be comfortable or secure, to never be annoyed and to never get hurt. The purpose of marriage is to reflect Christ’s love for His Church, to bring God glory and to help one another on the road toward godliness. The Lord has gently pried open my white-knuckled fists, taken away my anxiety and taught me to rest in Him. He has revealed just how powerful He is, and reminded me that He is big enough to take care of any problem we may face. He has proven Himself faithful over and over, becoming more real with every step we take down this road. It may be new and uncharted territory to us, but not to Him. He is the one spreading the road before our feet.
In addition to gleaning wisdom from the married couples in my life (most notably my parents), I’ve really benefited from books on the subject of relationships and marriage. Three books in particular have been helpful to me during this journey. I highly recommend each of them:
The awesome book by John Piper, Preparing for Marriage, is a free e-book download on Piper’s website. It’s very short – almost pamphlet size – but contains some incredible biblical truths that I found very helpful. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis is an old favorite of mine, which I re-read recently. It was encouraging as always, and was especially pertinent for me at this season of life. But by far the most helpful book on this subject has been Emmerson Eggerichs’s Cracking the Communication Code. It has helped me tremendously in understanding the differences between the way men and women think and talk, and in grasping a truly biblical view of marriage.
More than ever before, I have truly relied on the Bible during this season of life. Books on relationships and marriage advice from parents are wonderful. Without them, I would not not be where I am today. But on their own, they’re not enough. Instead of trying to struggle through things on my own in this relationship, I’m learning to open God’s Word and ask Him to teach me. It’s incredible how God will speak to me in His Word every single time that I ask Him to. I know that I shouldn’t be amazed when God’s promises prove true, but I have been blown away at how the Lord has spoken directly to me through the Scriptures so much recently. Every time I realize that I can’t do this on my own, when I feel overwhelmed or anxious or inadequate, it’s an opportunity to let go of the illusion of control and surrender to Christ. He has promised to uphold us no matter what comes our way:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore. (Psalm 121)
Some of you may be thinking, “This is all very good and encouraging, but what is your beau actually like? What are his tastes? His passions? His pursuits?” So here’s a very small glimpse into his character:
He has taught me that every situation has a bright side and that a person should learn something new every day. He’s shown me that words like ‘honesty’, ‘hard work’, ‘courage’ and ‘honor’ can be lived out to levels I never dreamed of. He constantly reminds me that any job can be enjoyed with the proper mindset. He has opened my eyes to the pure joy of everyday things like hats, good jokes, Christmas music, card tricks and tomato sandwiches. We share many quirks and enjoy loads of mutual weirdness together. For him, life is an adventure. A privilege. Something to be received one day at a time, with a soul surrendered to Christ and a heart full of true gratitude. To make things even better, he and I share enthusiasm for all the important stuff, like The Lord of the Rings, British culture, the countryside, laughter and mayonnaise. And any guy who will quote Little Women to me when I feel awkward in my big hat, is beyond awesome in my book. (Brownie points to whoever knows what quote I’m talking about!)
He’s also got Mr. Knightley’s honesty, sincerity and loyal friendship.
He’s got Flynn Ryder’s sense of humor.
He’s got Frank Sinatra’s fashion sense.
He’s got Colonel Brandon’s heart.
He’s got Benedict Cumberbatch’s mannerisms.
He’s got Steve Roger’s moral integrity and courage.
He’s got Dym Ingleford’s remarkable Christlikeness, servant’s heart and World’s-Best-Brother status.
Does it sound like I’m the luckiest girl in the entire world? That’s because I am. Although, for the record, I’ve always preferred the word blessed. 😉