It's been a while since I've written a very personal post so I hope ya'll don't mind something completely different than my usual period drama posts.
"Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony."
- Lizzy Bennet, Pride & Prejudice (2005)
In April of 2009 I wrote a post with some Musings On Marrying - my 21-year-old self's thoughts on courting and marrying. Recently I received a comment (thanks Hamlette!) on that old post that got me thinking about what I have learned and believe now, especially how it differs (if at all) from what I wrote then.
That Was Me Then: "I was provoked to thought when responding to a Christian girlfriend's e-mail in which she mentioned her relationship with a young man. A proposal is expected and she intended to accept even though she knows her Christian parents have a "problem" with him. I don't know her young man (he is a Christian) but I do know that my friend has a pretty good head on her shoulders and has been really taking it slow and getting to know him before this point. I've been in prayer for her and am going to encourage her to really pray and talk to her parents before becoming engaged.
This scenario saddens me a bit because my first thought is "I could never marry someone my parents didn't like". It really started me thinking about honoring my parents and I know that one of my requirements in finding a mate is that my parents love the man I'm going to marry. I know part of my personality is a desire to please others but I also really trust and value my parent's opinion to the point where I'd trust them with picking a husband for me. Is this a really warped and old-fashioned view or am I at least sort of on the right path? I mean I wouldn't want to marry without love but is an "arranged" marriage such a bad idea?" - quoted from original Musings On Marrying post
"...you're right it's very different when families face life decisions with prayer, unity and looking always for God's will. Moving cautiously is certainly one of those things the world looks at strangely. Probably one reason why so many marriages end in divorce today is because couples move fast relying on their feelings alone and don't take the time to really get to know each other building a strong friendship first. And certainly most couples don't take the time to work at their marriage or pray over it.
Romance is something that our society holds on to, it's what gives them a sort of 'high' feeling. While romance is important it's not as important as knowing the person you're vowing to spend the rest of your life with.
As far as arranged marriages I'm not sure I'd advocate marrying someone your parents chose and then getting to know him, but I think it is very important to have your parent's approval - that would help with the 'horrid in-laws' image too.For myself I guess I just feel confidant that my parents have taken these past 21 years to learn and mold who I am and know me so very well that they could be trusted with going out and finding a suitable match. For one, I know they love me very much and I'm close to their heart so they would look for someone who'd fit me perfectly. Secondly, we just don't have that many secrets from each other, they know what I like in a guy (I'm very opinionated, or should I say my standards are high). And thirdly I know they'd bathe their decision in prayer. My wish is sometimes that when the right man comes along my parents and friends will recognize him before I do. Wouldn't that be something!" - quoted from my response to comments, Musings On Marrying
This Is Me Now: First of all that Christian girlfriend married her young man in April 2011 and I had the privilege of being a bridesmaid at her wedding (read my post with Wedding Photos). The Lord was in every detail of the special day and I feel so incredibly blessed that I got to share in it. There was still a bit of tension on that day and I was sorry to see that the couple's parents really didn't know each other very well. I was also quite surprised to see that her family had very little time allotted to offer help in decorating or even for the rehearsal.
What are my thoughts and prayers about dating / courtship and marriage today? Well, in most ways my thoughts are not much changed from what they were four years ago. I still am living at home and in many ways my parents are very much involved in my life - I see them every day and consult them often before making decisions and with spiritual matters. I still feel that if my parents weren't supportive of my relationship with a guy that would be a strong indicator that the guy wasn't right for me. It's also still very important to me that a relationship starts with a strong friendship before it turns to thoughts of romance. It still doesn't seem right to just run around dating new people every other thing - there's so much heartache and emotional baggage in those kinds of relationships that's just not worth it. Emotional as well as physical purity is so important to strive for. These are the things I want for myself and what I encourage younger ladies (like my own dear sister) to strive for - God's best.
Would I still feel comfortable letting my parents choose my future husband? Actually I would! Mom and dad still know me really well, better than my friends at this point. My father works for a ministry now and he's mentioned a few times about keeping an eye out for future spouses for me and my siblings (mostly joking now but there is always that possibility!). I've also let myself be surrounded by lots of other Christians that look out for my best interest in many areas and I wouldn't be adverse to meeting a young man they might suggest. (As a neat side note a guy friend at Bible study mentioned recently that his girlfriend's family has some concerns about him and he's already told her that if there's serious issues they should probably stop seeing each other. I just thought it was neat to see a guy saying "I love you but we shouldn't go against your parents.")
Have I met anyone yet? There's that age-old question that all singles hate! My answer? a big resounding "NO!" Not even any close calls yet. And you know what? that's okay. My continued prayer is still that the Lord will one day bring the right guy into my life BUT if that's not God's will then that's okay. Oh yes, it's hard to say "being single is okay", especially since I'm a hopeless romantic and probably always will be! But in the last couple years I've been realizing that the desire to be married is like any desire that we have in life, God always supplies our needs but the wishes aren't always necessary
Here's some things God has been showing me:
'Let not those fear starving that are at God's finding and have him for their feeder. More is implied than is expressed, not only, I shall not want, but,"I shall be supplied with whatever I need; and, if I have not everything I desire, I may conclude it is either not fit for me, or I shall have it in due time." '
- Matthew Henry (from his commentary on Psalm 23:1)
This is one of my all time favorites quotes because it sums up quite nicely what I've learned through reading on this subject of desires. God will supply what we need and He delights in blessing us by giving over and above what we ask and think, BUT He knows what is best for us and only gives us what is good for us when it is good for us.
So here I am at 25-years-old. I'm older than most of the literary heroines I read about. I'm not too far away from reaching the age of Anne Elliot from Persuasion or Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice and they were almost considered spinsters! *gasp* Age 30 has begun to loom darkly ahead in the unknown future and I certainly don't have "all the answers" like I thought I would by this time in my life. (Ha! But then nobody has "all the answers"!) Is God still good? Does He still know what is best? Absolutely!
It would be nice to marry some day and I'm still praying for that friendship that will one day turn into a romance. But right now I can only keep doing whatever work God brings to me - whether housework, writing/blogging, ministry work, helping friends, a "real job" or studying and learning more.
|Paalm 19:14 (the whole chapter is really good!)|
So now I want to hear from you! What is your story?
Are you waiting patiently for the "right guy" or depressed to spend another Valentine's Day alone?
If you are engaged or married how did God work in your life story?
What has God been teaching you lately?
Very Truly Yours,