Hey, I’m back! I have been busy with very important summer things lately (tanning, swimming, eating fresh guacamole, enjoying an occasional drink and taking long naps).
I know it may not seem like a valid excuse for taking a break from blogging, but it just kind of happened. But I’m back…for now. This week I am heading up North with my Husband on a little fishing get away, so you might not hear from me for another week or so. I promise we won’t have such a long distance relationship in the future. Just for now :).
Today I want to talk about Marriage again. I know that many people are interested in my story of how I met Thomas and what it’s like being married at a younger age. I get asked a lot about our married life and how I knew Thomas was the one, so I thought today we could have a little heart to heart. Today I don’t want to talk about me. Today I want to talk about you.
How do you know when is the right time to get married? What sort of questions should you ask yourself before getting married? How soon should you get married after you are engaged?
These are all important questions, and questions that I have asked myself before. The advice I’m going to give is non-judgmental of what other people do or believe. I simply am sharing what has worked for Thomas and I. Marriage is not a ‘one size fits all’ formula. No one is the same, which is why no relationship should be treated the same.
Thomas and I have approached our relationship leaning on God’s direction, which is what I encourage you to do when making such a big decision about marriage. I know it sounds a bit weird, but it has been the best thing for our relationship. It’s not about religion and following rules…It’s ultimately about loving each other the way God loves us. Simple as that! Marriage ain’t no little thing, and it should not be taken lightly. If you get the big Guy upstairs involved, you won’t believe how beautiful your marriage can be. Remember, it is more than just a beautiful wedding day, or having babies together one day. You will both be joined and made as one when you get married…
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
Sounds a little weird – I know. It wasn’t until I was married that I realize the truth in the Bible’s explanation of marriage. You don’t have your own life anymore when you get married. WAIT. Don’t get freaked out. It’s awesome. What an amazing thing it is to be joined with someone, live with someone, share a home and life together. This leads me to the first point I want to make when we talk about preparing for Marriage:
Turn selfishness to selflessness
Growing up, you are nurtured, cared for, provided for and given many things. We are selfish little babies, for good reason. But people often carry this thought pattern well into adulthood. They maintain the idea that it’s all about “me me me.” I’ll admit, I still have this in me too sometimes…
Once you are married, it’s time to take everything you have been given as a child/teenager, and give it to your spouse. It’s not about YOU anymore, it’s about the other person. Of course you are important, but if you are more focused on yourself than your partner, you will not be happy for long. For instance, I don’t always want to iron Thomas’s shirts. Why can’t he iron his own?! If I only iron his shirts because I feel that I have to, I am going to be very miserable doing it. It’s so easy for me to be selfish and think, Thomas wears the shirts, so he should do it! Then I remember how hard he works everyday. I stop thinking about me and start thinking about him. It’s about doing it for Him in love and gratefulness. It’s a little way to show him how much I appreciate him. See the difference? Either way his shirts are getting ironed, I just need to focus on him and not me and we both will be happier and more appreciative for the other person.
I would highly recommend paying attention to your thoughts and motives now before marriage. Get a head start! Try to focus on doing things out of love for your partner or others in your life. You will be surprised how a simple thought change can affect your relationships. It’s just like going to the gym – the more you do it, the easier it gets. Train your thought muscles to start working harder for other people in your life. Think about others first and you will prepare yourself for a beautiful “selfless” marriage.
I often see friends in a group setting, and all of the girls in relationships are dying to have a ring on their finger. They talk about how long it is taking their significant other to propose, and wonder why it’s taking so long. There is a lot of pressure for people to get married, especially when all of your friends are getting hitched. I’ve noticed for many it has become more about doing what everyone else is doing, rather than focusing on marriage. Everyone wants a wedding and that beautiful perfect day, and it isn’t wrong to think about it! The problem is when the focus is more on the wedding than the marriage itself.
Once I was engaged, there was a lot of planning for the wedding that took place in a short period of time. It was easy to get caught up in the plans and stress of it all. I had to actually remind myself that it doesn’t matter what happens on the wedding day as much as afterwards. The only thing that really matters is saying “I do”, the rest is just details. Sounds obvious, but I’m telling you, it is easy to put WAY more thought into the day, than the rest of your lives together. You can diet, write your vows, plan you speech, have perfect hair…the list goes on. But remember after the wedding day, your Husband is the one you will wake up to everyday to with no makeup, bed-head and terrible morning breath. You better be prepared for that ;).
Before you get married, or before you are even engaged, remember that as wonderful as your wedding day will be, it’s even more beautiful for the people who attend your wedding to watch you spend the rest of your lives together. Don’t put all of your thought into the details of your wedding day. Everything falls into place! Remember to spend time together one on one, just you two, and talk about more than your wedding plans. Especially once you are engaged, you should be kind to your fiancé and talk about more than centerpieces and bouquets. Talk about the things you want to do together as a married couple, how many kids you want to have, what part of the world you want to see together, what traditions you want to start together…etc.
I could go on and on about marriage. I LOVE being married. I love my Husband. I am truly blessed and grateful for each day I have been given. I want you to feel the same about your marriage one day! So how do you know when the right time to get married is? For me, I had a unique experience. You can read about it on my other posts. I knew right away Thomas was the one for me. But I can understand that everyone’s story is different, and sometimes you need time with someone to really know. My only advice would be to really pray about it. Ask for clarity, direction and peace. God doesn’t want you to be confused, and it doesn’t need to be confusing!! If you are confused, unsure or have an ounce of doubt – WAIT. Don’t get married. Otherwise, pray about it. If it is meant to be, I believe it will fall into place in the perfect timing. Don’t force it, just enjoy your time together knowing it will come at the right time (not always your time).
How soon after the engagement should you tie the knot? Thomas and I planned our wedding in 3 months. I picked a date and said, that’s it, we’re doing it! We really did not want to wait. We decided not to live together before getting married as a personal choice, so it was way too exciting for us to wait longer. I know it can be expensive or difficult to put together a wedding in a short period of time, but you can do it! My Mom planned hers in one week, so anything is possible! I think short engagements are wonderful. It’s also a pretty cool story to tell your kids one day. Plan a buck and doe to raise some money, get friends to help you plan, make your center pieces for cheap and cut back on eating out to save some extra cash. Many people will give you monetary gifts on the wedding day which will cover most of the cost of the wedding (if not all). Don’t expect gifts from your guests – then you will be pleasantly surprised and more grateful for people’s generosity. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with waiting longer if you feel more comfortable having a longer engagement too! This is YOUR choice. I’m only sharing my experience :).
I think I have covered most of the points I wanted to talk about. I could probably go on forever, but I wouldn’t do that to you 🙂 hehe. If you made it to the bottom of this post and found it helpful, please share it with your friends or comment below with your thoughts. I love to hear from you!
P.s. Enjoy your single life and look forward to marriage one day. It’s all a unique and beautiful experience.