And just like that, it’s all over.
For a long time Joe and I prayed, talked, and waited on God to speak to us about marriage. It seemed like there was never a light at the end of the tunnel, but as the years flew by, we realized that waiting was doing us so much more good than we ever imagined.
Three years after I said yes to dating, I said yes to marrying the love of my life. And then, fourteen months after that, we FINALLY got to say “I Do”.
Let me let you in on a little secret: waiting was the best decision we ever made.
As Joe and I reflect on our dating relationship and engagement now that we are married, one of the biggest themes that we saw that blessed us was the idea of waiting. We believe personally that God has blessed our marriage and continues to do so every day, but He is also being gracious to us by showing us just how detrimental NOT waiting could have been! The decisions we made that involved taking time to reflect ultimately led us back to Christ, His strength, and His blessings as He molded us into better people for each other.
So what were these decisions, you may ask? Check out our top three biggest tips below!
1) Take a Step Back During Conflict
At the beginning of our relationship, Joe and I found ourselves in a tough situation: we had been raised in very different family dynamics, including financially, emotionally, and spiritually. After many discussions it came to our attention that we were at a road-block. We needed to consult the Lord in order to decide if we were really right for each other.
So, because of this, we decided to take a step back and pray continually for one week about where God was calling us in our lives individually. I was very passionate about my church on Ohio State’s campus, H2O, but Joe had always pictured himself raising children and getting married in the Catholic Church. While this may not be a conflict for some, it was a major one for us. We weren’t finding any common ground and we didn’t know what else to do, so we decided to pray about it.
During this week, we also made the decision to cut all lines of communication with one another in order to be fully focused on what God had for us. We didn’t want to feel like our prayers were being influenced by one another and we wanted to be 100% open to whatever path the Lord wanted to lead us down.
After our one week was up, we came back together and shared what God had put on our hearts. And let me tell you, some of the answers were absolutely shocking; God was beginning the process of molding our hearts.
Today, we attend Linworth Road Church, a congregation devoted to serving God loving one another. We observe many holidays from both denominations and plan on implementing this with our children one day too!
2) Actually Go to Church Together (Regularly)
If you met your significant other through college ministry or your parents’ church, this point may not apply to you. However, Joe and I met in high school during our freshman year, so we met in an environment filled with temptations, pressures, and Christ-absent opinions.
Due to the fact that we didn’t meet in church, one of the biggest steps we had to make to determine if we could get married was to find a church to attend together.
Growing up Baptist, I was raised in a church full of contemporary music, youth groups, and missions trips. Growing up Catholic, Joe was raised in a church full of traditional music, Sunday School, and private personal faith relationships. Because of our slight differences, we wanted to find a church that could accommodate both of our desires while still sticking to preaching straight from the Bible.
For a long time Joe and I didn’t go to church together. We tried to pursue our relationships with God separately but we knew something was missing. We didn’t have a church group of friends we could invest in, and often times we fell into temptation because we didn’t have accountability partners to help steer us in the right direction. Noticing that this was something we were lacking, we eventually made the decision to try a church that was connected to a bible study Joe had attended in high school.
Less than six months later we got connected in a small group bible study, we were meeting every week, actively praying for one another, and pursuing Christ together. Our relationship made a complete 180 degree switch and became healthier than it had ever been because we decided to put Christ at the center once and for all.
To this day, we both believe this was the biggest life-changing decision we made as a couple. We began to hear from God more and more and we could physically see how much better we were communicating, loving one another, and supporting each other through all circumstances. Nothing has impacted our relationship more heavily than dedicating it to the Lord.
3) Seek Counsel Before Engagement
About a year after we started attending Linworth Road Church, we both were faced with the realization that marriage wasn’t the craziest idea anymore. However, because of some heavy conflict in our past, we wanted to make sure God was truly calling us to marriage and we weren’t being blinded by love. Therefore, we decided to seek counsel about it both individually and together.
Friends, family, and spiritual advisers from church were all involved in our discussions. We wanted opinions from all perspectives because we wanted to be aware of any red flags we might not have been seeing.
The more we talked with others, the more God showed us His path for us. Doors closed and others opened, and sooner or later Joe felt a calling that it was finally the right time to ask.
And just like that, we were engaged.
And just like that, we were married.
Friends, it is TOTALLY OKAY to wait on God in all areas of your life! It took Joe and I TEN YEARS to tie the knot, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! It brought our marriage so much life because we depended on God to tell us what to do and when, not our peers.
Just because you’ve been dating a while or have been waiting for what seems like forever for that perfect person, doesn’t mean God doesn’t hear you. He’s writing your story; you just have to be patient enough to read it.
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
~ Psalms 27:14 (KJV)
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
~ James 3:17 (ESV)