“Luke, when do you think we should get married?” I asked him right after I turned 19 as I am staring at him with expectation. The look Luke gave me appeared as if his top eyelids were glued to his brows.
I got a little ahead of myself because of girl friends who said, “Oh when is he going to put a ring on it since you’ve been dating for three years?” I don’t even think I truly had thought about what it meant to get married, finances, where either of us were spiritually…I just thought “what’s the next step?”
I remember this led to many more conversations between Luke and I, and at one point Luke said to me, “Taylor I am not ready to talk about marriage. To be transparent, I think I am too selfish to be married right now. I am thinking about my own dreams and goals and where I want to be career wise before I can talk about that next step.” (Remember we were 19, and Freshman in college) He then said, “I think that if I were to say realistically when we could get married it will probably be after 10 years of dating.”
TEN?! Are you kidding? When I heard this I was shocked, sad, and questioned everything. Did I know that when I was 16 years old that I was basically jumping into a relationship that was going to be a decade long before marriage? Would I have still dated him? All these questions filled my head. I called my mom and dad and cried on the phone. My dad said, “Tay…He doesn’t know the time line. Most likely he is panicking and just trying to tell you to pump the breaks.” And then he said, “And what he said about being too selfish for marriage at the moment was actually very wise. He knows where he is, and he doesn’t want to lead either of you into something that he is not emotionally or spiritually prepared for. Some people don’t acknowledge that.”
I pumped the breaks. I decided to wait for when Luke wanted to bring up marriage instead of me. It took two years before Luke brought it up. But I remember it began with very tough conversations. The type of conversations that were painful. I didn’t know why suddenly we were going through so much pain when usually we had so much fun and everything was great. But these conversations made us both feel hurt, confused, and spark insecurities. Little did we know that it was God’s way of stretching us, and showing us what the gospel meant on a personal level. These tough conversations and questions led to a point where Luke said, “Let’s go for a little drive to just talk.” I was ready to be silent the entire car ride. Frustrated and feeling alone. But then I remember him saying, “Tay, I have never asked you this before and it pains me to realize that this is the first time I have thought to ask you, but I need to know. What are your dreams?” My first thoughts were anger, like-” yeah, why haven’t you asked me that before?” But then it dawned on me. He’s seeking to get to know my heart and he is being intentional. I then realized I had no clue what my dreams were. But he responded with, “Can I tell you how I see you?” And he went on about all the qualities, gifts, talents, and quirks he loved about me. He said, “Tay, I want you to know that my heart is in a place now where I would like to start talking about marriage.” I was like, “WHAT?”
I saw before my eyes as Luke’s questions, heart, mind and everything became so intentional, and I noticed how with every personal choice he had to make about his future he first asked me my thoughts. I never told him my thoughts until after he would make the decision so it wasn’t made by me, but I saw how his intent was to include me in his future, and he wanted to be a part of all my dreams.
Some things to consider before getting engaged (Know that every relationship is different):
1. Does this person love Jesus more than me? Do they strive to live for Him and glorify Him?
2. Do I rely on this person for my faith in God? (Dangerous- because if this person fails you, which they will because they’re human, it can cause you to question God…when it wasn’t God.)
3. Have you figured out how to work through problems and not just identify them?
4. Communication: Is there maturity in communication? Do you seek to listen to your significant other before you seek to be heard?
5. Am I willing to be with this person forever no matter what they do in life?
6. Are there ultimatums within your relationship? Almost every relationship has them and almost every relationship brushes up against their “ultimatums.”
7. Can you love and accept one another’s families as your own?
8. You can’t change your significant other. So are you willing to accept them as they are? You don’t marry someone for who you hope they will be but for who they are, and if there is growth then that is a bonus.
9. Do you have dreams together?
10. Are there any difficult conversations that have not been brought up out of fear of rejection?
Before going deeper with your boyfriend or girlfriend be cautious to protect your heart and your future spouse’s heart. For example, Luke and I were not in a place to consider the above questions when we were 19 and acknowledged marriage was not realistic for us yet. This depth of relationship can be difficult but also it can be the very thing that grows you both to be stronger.
There are many other important questions to ask and thoughts to consider before getting engaged but this can help you ponder some ideas. Also- if you both are coming to a place where God is placing marriage on your hearts but you’re beginning the tough conversations, truly go to God and ask for grace, forgiveness, and a heart that reflects Jesus’ as you approach each other in love and kindness.
Thanks for reading,