Five Things I Wish I’d Done Before Getting Engaged
I’m twenty-two, and I’m engaged to a man I have only known for six months. Some of you reading this might call me crazy – and I don’t know if I could bring myself to argue with you. But, when I sit back and look at how I’ve changed and grown in my relatively short time since meeting and falling in love with Justin, it’s hard for me to argue with God’s leading and his perfect Will.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Was I ready to say yes to Justin? I don’t know.
Am I going to be an awesome wife? By the Grace of God, hopefully!
Do I regret it already? No way.
Are people already judging us? You bet!
Am I confident in my choice? Absolutely.
Are there things I wish I’d done differently? Oh, yeah. Big time.
I come to you today, young women, older women, and every woman in between, to be frank and honest about my walk. I want to encourage self-examination so that we may realize that our past failures do not have to be past regrets. That through God’s grace, we can reap his gifts to us and see the light, even in the darkness of our past mistakes.
1. I wish that I had prayed for my husband.
I think most, if not every, Christian girl grows up praying for an amazing husband to come along for her. I remember writing lists in youth group of everything we wanted in a man. Darn, I guess God shafted me on the ice-blue eyes, dark black hair and muscular shoulders I was set on! 😉
But what I didn’t do, and what I was not taught to do, was to pray for my husband before knowing who he would be. If I had, I wonder what might have changed. I know one big thing would have, though.
2. I wish that I hadn’t dated so many men who were not right to be my husband.
Even though I grew up as a Christian, I had a period in my teens (like many of us do) where I was not living a Christian life at all. This went on, at least somewhat, until a couple of years ago – even when I became a Christian again by name, it is relatively recent that I’ve truly been living for God.
I let my heart be taken in by several different guys. Non-Christians. Some of them who actively mocked the faith I’d grown up with. Guys who didn’t respect me, didn’t work hard, didn’t want a family… Did I really think that I would ever end up marrying one of them? On some level, I’m sure I knew I wouldn’t. But on another, my heart was set on changing them!
3. I wish that I hadn’t tried to change men instead of changing myself
Even with Justin, the man I will marry, I still focus too much on changing him than changing me. It was certainly worse in my past. I was so convinced that if I kept trying, kept following the typical secular relationship advice, that the man I was with would become the man who wanted to marry me.
Instead of looking to God and praying for my partner that he would turn to him and try to be better, or trying to make myself the best partner I could be, I pushed and pushed to change him.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:4 (NIV)
It obviously did not work, and I gave away a lot of myself that I can never, ever get back. I should have focused on knowing myself and serving God – which would have saved me from dating these men in the first place. Which brings me to…
4. I wish that I hadn’t been so ashamed of my needs
I remember the crushing emotional pain I experienced when, at eighteen, my first boyfriend of two years (who, besides being a non-Christian, was by far the most decent person I’d been with) replied to my comment about how I couldn’t wait to get engaged. “Get engaged? Stef, we’re eighteen. That’s going to be years and years from now.”
My heart ached. Not just because I was impatient to get married (thank goodness we didn’t!), but more so because I felt ashamed of wanting something the world would not understand.
Why are we so ashamed to have needs? Why are we so ashamed to want to be wives, mothers, to work from home, to make our homes sanctuaries for our men?
If I hadn’t been so ashamed, perhaps my youth group list of man attributes might have been a bit more extensive and a lot more exclusive. And, yes, more inclusive on my ridiculous desires for looks!
5. I wish that I had stood up for myself.
This ties into everything else on this list. I was in an abusive relationship. Actually, I was in two. I knew that it was wrong and sinful and despicable how I was treated. My family was desperate to get me out of the situations I was in, but I didn’t listen.
I lived with these men, I let them control my life, I let them tell me who I could talk to, where I could go, what I could spend money on, etc. But eventually, both of them managed to tell me what I could believe.
I was not, and am not, a stupid or weak person. I am human, and unless I am walking in God and letting Him lead my life, I am very susceptible to manipulation and the lies of the world. I wish I had not only stood up for myself, but taken five minutes to call on God and let him help me. To stand up and defend what is truth, no matter what people think or how we’ve been taught.
I’m planning a 2015 wedding, something small, with our friends and family in attendance. Praying and studying has been a daily thing as I take this time of engagement to prepare for our marriage and all it will bring.
But I’m not naïve enough to promise that I won’t be writing the same list about ‘Before I Was Married”.
Perhaps I will.
God has taken every experience and every hurt and turned it into something incredible. I hope that someone somewhere might read this and realize that if marriage is to be a happily ever after, we need to be honest with ourselves in how we prepare for it.
And for those of you who are already married, what might you have changed? What advice do you have for us Christ-following brides to be?
Stefanie owns CalledHis.com, a Christian lifestyle blog for women where she shares her journey of “Perfectly Imperfect Christianity”. She also likes to discuss books & writing from a Christian perspective. Stefanie is a published poet & short story author, who dreams of publishing a full-length book! She loves meeting & encouraging other women on their journeys.
Connect with her: Bloglovin | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Blog
Latest posts by Guest (see all)
- Stars and Distractions: 3 Ways to Let Your Light Shine - January 7, 2015
- Thanksgiving Recipes You Don’t Want to Miss - November 6, 2014
- Win a Bible Giveaway - October 23, 2014