June 14, 2016, was one of the best days of my life. On that day, under twinkling lights, soothed by the sweet hum of J.J. Heller’s “Boat Song,” my high school sweetheart of 4 ½ years (at the time) asked me to be his wife. And oh did I say yes.
Being proposed to was even more exciting than I had hoped it would be (and I had high expectations, let me tell you) but I didn’t realize just how unique the whole season of engagement would be. In the last several months, as my fiance, Lucas, and I await our big day on May 6, 2017, I have already learned so much. Here are 5 major things I’ve tried to do during this season to prepare to become a wife:
#1 Praying for Lucas, myself, our families, and wisdom to know how to build a wedding and marriage that show people the love of Jesus. His redeeming love has transformed my heart, mind, actions, and dreams. He’s freed Lucas and me to live out His purpose for our lives, and He enables us to love and serve each other. We want people to see that in us, to see that the Good News about Jesus is this: His life, death, and resurrection offer a new life filled with the sweetest freedom and the deepest love, no matter who you are or where you’ve been.
#2 Listening to wise people. It’s kind of funny how eager people are to provide advice when they learn you’re engaged, whether that’s how many place settings to register for, what to do or not to do at your wedding, or resources to use leading up to or during your marriage. This was a little surprising to me, but I’m grateful for it. I love getting to learn from my pastors, parents, family members, and friends, and I pray our marriage will be stronger because of it. One helpful experience we shared was going through premarital counseling sessions with my home church pastor, who will be officiating our wedding. In this process, Lucas and I got to fill out long questionnaires about ourselves, our faith journeys, and our expectations for marriage. Even just filling this out and talking about it together afterward was a valuable step in growing closer together and becoming better at communicating. Plus, we got to receive encouragement and guidance from my pastor, who will always be special to us.
#3 Reading a lot of books. Okay, so this one is kind of embarrassing because it shows how much of a book nerd I am and how crazy I am about trying to learn as much as we can before marriage (I know we will still have so much to learn from actually living it) - but I am pretty sure that, between the two of us, Lucas and I have at least 12 books about marriage. These are ranging from general “marriage books” to “wife books” and “husband books,” as I like to call them. Just for fun, I’ll list the wife and marriage books I own that I either have read or hope to read:
Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey
The Fruitful Wife by Hayley Dimarco
The Pastor’s Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love by Gloria Furman (Lucas is preparing for pastoral ministry)
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler
You and Me Forever by Francis & Lisa Chan
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund
...my story and my excitement with others. So many people apologize when they ask me about wedding planning, about the proposal, about my ring, or about Lucas, but I am not lying when I tell them it never gets old. It is an awesome opportunity to talk about how God has worked and continues to work in my life.
...more and more of my life with Lucas as we prepare to live as one. It seems like since the first day we were engaged, God has been knitting our hearts together as we’ve talked more about our hopes, dreams, fears, and plans for our time of engagement and the rest of our lives. It is such a funny limbo state where we are more than excited to start our life together, but we aren’t quite there yet practically, spiritually, or legally. But even that limbo state has been an awesome place to grow. In the midst of figuring things out together, reading books, learning how to communicate better, and spending as much time with each other as we can while missing each other so much when we can’t, my heart grows more and more excited to finally call Lucas my husband.
#5 Planning...a lot of planning. It would just be wrong if I failed to mention that planning has consumed a lot of my time while being engaged. It would also be wrong if I didn’t explain that I’ve shed my fair share of tears along the way (dress shopping, venue deciding, and guest-list narrowing can be stressful, especially when you have a set vision mixed with a people-pleasing heart). BUT I will say that this part, overall, has been a blast. Disclaimer: that’s partially because I’ve sort of been “planning” my wedding for like 10 years now and I enjoy planning things in general, but it’s also because I’ve gotten to work with some of the most special people in my life - my mom, my sister, the rest of my family, my best friends, my fiance - to prepare for our wedding. It’s been an actual dream come true to sign contracts and make selections for details of our big day with the support and advice of so many people I love.
On that note, perhaps one of the biggest lessons I am learning during this season of engagement is that I am loved. First, loved by God in His graciousness in giving me a fiance and giving us a chance to paint a picture of the Good News of Jesus with our future marriage. Second, loved by Lucas; it has been such a blessing to see how he is growing, how excited he is to serve alongside me, and how he cares so deeply for me. And last, loved by so many sweet people: my family, my church, my friends. Even this past week my heart has been so warmed by the love and care some amazing women in my home church put into planning a special, beautiful bridal shower. I am so grateful that, in every step of the way, I am able to see love lived out. My prayer is that God grows and strengthens me to do the same in my last few months as an engaged woman, then for the rest of my life as a married woman.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. -Ephesians 3:20