Inspired by countless requests we have received about our engagement season, I hope that this post speaks to you whatever your relationship status is. Most frequently we’re asked, “What did you guys focus on as an engaged couple leading up to the BIG day?” My candid replies usually include the sentiment that our engagement season was not a walk in the park. Exciting and beautiful, yes; but it was also a unique season filled with challenges, tears, and hours of prayer.
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
Maybe that’s not what you were expecting to hear, and you wouldn’t be the first. But because of the growth endured throughout our engagement, we can tell you that our first year of marriage was extraordinarily blissful. In fact, I’d venture to say that it was by far the best year of our lives. We greatly enjoyed the fruit of our labor and experienced a deep sense of satisfaction! Nothing compares to that feeling of a job well done.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness’!” Matthew 25:23
My personal belief is that the engagement season should be marked by hard work, brokenness, incredible intentionality, transparency, vulnerability, and diligence. You’ll need pure devotion to Jesus Christ and to your future mate as you seek His direction on your future together. All of us are broken individuals, and you’re also dealing with learning communication between male and female. That alone would be enough to create chaos and discord.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12
“All hard work brings a profit,but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23
Don’t be deceived, beloved. A good marriage will come at a cost, and you’ll have to face it either before or after your wedding day. What you must decide is this: Do you wait till you’re married to hammer out all of this stuff? After you’re yolked together and sharing a home, a bank account, and a bed? Or do you do the work now, so you can fully enjoy the marriage and have the time of your life?
Consider this: marrying someone does not make any preexisting problems disappear. In fact, if anything, marriage will further complicate them because you’re now joined together before the Living God. Their baggage has become your baggage, and their problems your problems.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31
What’s one frequent statement you hear regarding the first year of marriage? For us, from premarital counseling and other sources, we heard, “The first year is really hard.” Some even told us it was the worst year of their lives, in contrast to the joy and fun of the engagement season. Through the engagement celebrations, excitement of wedding planning, and dreaming about what your future beholds together, it’s easy to build a kingdom of expectations of how great life will be as a married couple – sleeping in together, making love, sharing life, traveling, etc. If the celebrations of engagement are not tempered with some deep reality checks, you may find yourself gravely disappointed after the wedding day, which unfortunately happens to many of His beloved.
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:8-12
Another question then to consider is this: Why do so many couples (Christian and non-Christian alike) share this same negative sentiment about the first year of marriage, when it has the potential to be their best year yet? Based on my own personal experiences and observations of others, couples are simply focusing on the wrong things when the season is right (engagement), and then are not able to address the right things until later (marriage), when the cost is higher.
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