Asking for advice, a reader wrote:
“It gets a little frustrating sometimes, knowing that he is the man I am supposed to marry, yet we can’t move forward with our lives and get married because we are both still in college.”
Or because he doesn’t have a job. Or because my parents want us to wait. Or because…
Few relationships move from the first timid “hello” to the soft-whispered “I do” in the space of a year. And even those that do seem to think they had a long time to wait. Sometimes, God does seem to work with the speed of an arrow flying from Cupid’s bow. And I couldn’t be happier for my friends who met and got married so quickly. I wish them a lifetime of becoming closer friends.
But such couples are few and far between. Most, it seems, find the road to the altar long, filled with so many bumps, twists, and turns that they despair of ever reaching the state of matrimony. But in the end, they sing with the Country song, “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”
As an old married woman of a whole year, let me tell you a little secret. Once you are married, all those long years of waiting seem so short. And so worth it.
It may have felt like the longest years of your life when you were apart. But as soon as you are married, you will pray that the longest years of your life are ahead: together.
I am thankful that God took His time bringing Merritt and me together. All the tears, the frustrated journal entries, the long lonely nights, the phone calls I never wanted to hang up from, the goodbyes I didn’t want to say…they all served to make me appreciate every moment I have now with my husband so much more. Like Elisabeth Elliot I claim, “There’s one thing I can give you that no woman on earth can outdo me in and that’s appreciation.”
Not that couples who meet and get married within the space of a few months can’t appreciate each other. But each time my husband introduces me as “my wife” (oh what precious words!), I remember all the years of the embarrassed introductions of “my friend Gretchen.” Each birthday with my love, I remember all the birthdays I spent thinking of him, waiting for the card I knew wouldn’t come but couldn’t help wishing for. Each time I play with my husband’s hair, I remember the years of longing to run my hands through those very same brown curls.
When you have loved one person so long, there is no denying that you will appreciate them so much more when they are finally all yours.
And that’s all well and good, you say–but what about now?
Well, another secret I might as well tell you is that a wedding band on your finger does not make you any more patient, any more loving, any more unselfish than you already were. And instead of just spending your best waking hours with the one you love, you get to spend all of them–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Plus, you get to pick up their dirty clothes that always end up on the floor, and they will probably complain once or twice that you haven’t done the dishes yet.
So if you can say with Nancy Reagan that your “greatest ambition is to have a successful, happy marriage,” then start right now.
If you put all the energy you’ve spent being frustrated with the delays into practicing to be a good wife, I promise you, it might not speed up the approach of your wedding date, but you will have a happier marriage.
During this time of waiting, you are laying the foundation of your future marriage.
Do not mix impatience and frustration into the building blocks.
Remember, the longer you have to build the foundation, the stronger it can be.
Photography: JenniMarie Photography