Five Things I Wish I’d Done Before Getting Engaged

Five Things I Wish I’d Done Before Getting Engaged

5 Things I Wish I'd Done Before Getting Engaged | Satisfaction Through Christ | One young woman's regrets on the things she should have 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?

In Christ,
Stefanie

stef1 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.
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Comments

  1. says

    Though not yet engaged, I also think about these things. Well, everything happens for a reason. So at the end of the day, I still am grateful for those experiences I regretted doing and not doing.

    🙂

  2. says

    I love this Stefanie! And I can relate to everything on here. I think back often to those times when I gave my heart away to guys who were not worth it, misused it and stomped on it! My biggest regret is not keeping my heart pure. I envy those Duggar girls and how their Daddy is so protective of their hearts! What a beautiful thing that they will always cherish!

    • says

      Kelly – It’s hard not to regret sometimes. I definitely feel the regret but I try to keep the struggles as a positive lesson. I want my children to feel more confident than I did as a teen. However, I don’t blame my parents for this. I think I was very selfish – and my heart was damaged forever.

  3. says

    So glad you came over to STC to share your thoughts today Stefanie! I met and married my husband in a what you would call “whirlwind romance” and I think we endured a lot of the “it’s too soon” judgements, but here we are six+ years later more in love than ever. The main thing I’ve learned is to pray for my husband morning noon and night!
    Be encouraged!

    • says

      So glad you commented, Shirley! And that’s so sweet. It always makes me so happy to see other successful couples doing well, despite the doubters! I definitely have been praying for Justin every single day, and it’s something I need to be better with 🙂

  4. says

    Stefanie, Rev and I have been married 42 years and you spoke so much truth here. I’m praying many young women read and take your words to heart. I’m sharing it to help get the word out there.

  5. says

    This is an awesome post. The moment I found out I was pregnant with my children I started praying for their spouses among other things. Next week I’ll be celebrating my 25th anniversary and marriage is always work, but always worth it!

    Keep trusting Christ to lead you!

    @spreadingJOY

  6. says

    Awesome job!! What an encouragement and testimony to others. In the beginning of my dating relationship I wish I had prayed more about my relationships. I started dating to fill a void only God could fill, rather than praying for a man that loved God. I didn’t do it in the right order, but when I started dating the man I would marry I fervently poured out my heart to God daily. And although he didn’t start out saved, God had mercy on our relationship and he was saved two years after we started dating. However, I have other friends that are still praying for their relationships. Bottom line, so much better to pray before the relationship begins.

  7. Emily says

    Though I’ve never had a boyfriend (though I’m 24!), I definitely regret all of the time I’ve spent thinking about boys over the years. Depending on who my crush was at the time, I’d find myself changing my values to match theirs, and worrying over what I should wear to catch their eye. I wasted so much time wanting them, when I could have used that precious time pursuing Christ. I’m working so hard at learning how to be a woman whose worth is far above rubies, and find I’m no longer attracted to men who aren’t in love with Jesus. I love this quote, “A man who isn’t after God’s heart shouldn’t be after mine.” This is a great post, Stefanie, thank you for sharing!

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