Hey Sweet Bride-to-Be!
I’m over here doing a little happy dance for YOU and all the friends I’ve seen get engaged this winter!
Obviously, you said yes because you want to marry this man. And now that puts you in the tricky spot of waiting. You’ve given up the boyfriend/girlfriend titles, and are happily taking on fiancé/fiancée. But man, you feel the impatience creeping in and you really just want to be husband and wife already. It feels a little cruel that you have to go through the administrative nightmare of wedding planning (if you need some help on where to start click here) and be patient enough to wait for that final “I do.”
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but if we’re honest, that’s how it can feel!
Sometimes it helps to have a little perspective.
So from one friend to another, just a reminder that the season you’re in matters. It’s not just some holding cell or purgatory before you’re official like so many people treat it to be. You’re not stuck on the runway until takeoff. This is a season to build and invest and dream and grow. It gives opportunity to affirm those in your life who have invested in you, and space to honor them well. It teaches you to get practical, to ask hard questions, to sort through finances and timelines and messy family dynamics-together. It gives ground to inquire into people’s lives and ask about their marriages, to seek advice and counsel and to form a team of friends and family who will pray for you and care for you for years to come…I could go on and on but the beauty of engagement is that it’s training ground for marriage on so many fronts (I mean you basically just signed up for a wedding planning group project with your fiancé- talk about training for marriage!).
I wanted to share with you 5 things Alvin and I found key to making the most of engagement:
1. Read those premarital books!
There are so many wonderful books to help you as you prepare for marriage! Of course all the books in the world won’t make you an expert or fully prepare you for the nuances of your specific marriage, but they will help guide your thinking and expectations about marriage and open up good conversations for you and your fiancé. Here’s a blog post of my favorite premarital books!
2. Ask hard questions
Take those books, and use them to fuel your conversations together. Ask questions, even ones you might be nervous to hear the answers to. What are your expectations for sex? How did gender roles look in your family growing up? What are your fears about the first year of marriage? … BE HONEST with each other and take your answers to the Lord in prayer!
3. Go on double dates!
Grab those married couples you’ve always looked up to and go out to dinner. Ask them to share about their engagement and first few years of marriage. Share with them your fears and concerns and let them encourage you and pray for you. This was one of my favorite parts of engagement; it gave an excuse to ask about people’s marriages and spend time with couples we loved. Whether it’s your parents, mentors, or a couple that just got married a year ago, be humble and ask questions and you’ll be so blessed by what you learn and the relationships you deepen. Need ideas on what to ask? I wrote this blog post just for that!
4. Love on others
You’re in a super unique season. Our culture builds up to marriage like it’s some sort of ‘graduation’ into the ‘real world’ (I think that mentality is wack, but hey, you can probably agree that that’s what it feels like!). Your parents will get sentimental cause “our baby is all grown up” and your friends will be eager to celebrate you. This is a super awesome time to flip the tables and tell others what they mean to you. Honor them by including them in the planning, be intentional to say WHY you chose her to be your bridesmaid, affirm how much your parents’ love and support has meant to you all these years. Take advantage of being in the spotlight to shine that spotlight on those you love too.
No number of premarital books, heart-to-hearts, or double-dates can fully prepare your heart for marriage. Only God can. So together, as a couple, commit to praying regularly not just over the craziness of wedding details, but over your marriage. Ask Him to be the glue that holds you together over the years and years to come. And bring others in on this! Ask your bridal party, parents, mentors and friends to pray with you.
Let me throw in an awesome Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote here that helped ground me during our engagement:
“Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting — that is, of hopefully doing without — will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.”
What you’re waiting for? It’s worth it.
Is it hard to wait? Sure! Long? Painfully! But worth it? Heck yes. You only get the title fiancée for this little blip, and there are so many sweet blessings that come with this season. Don’t wish it all away!
PS- Let me know if there’s a wedding planning or engagement related topic you want to see a blog post on!