Wednesday, June 6, 2007

True love waits?

Ladies, those of you who are married, how long was your engagement? Did any of you have to delay your marriage for an extended period because of some reason? How did you deal with the insecurity, frustration, the feeling your life isn't really going anywhere?

Those of you who waited, what was the hardest part for you, and today, are you glad you waited?

I understand this is a personal question to ask, but I need strength and I feel I could be very much encouraged by a testimony of someone who had been through this.

PS: When I say the marriage is delayed for some reason, I mean a really valid reason. Not just because of wanting a fancy wedding or something like that. More like, for example, the man serves in the army.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I met my husband after 'not dating' and waiting on God. I made that decision at 16 (parents unsaved). I met hubby in a church I began attending at 20. Within a group of single girls and guys, we struck up a friendship. I met him in March. By October we both 'knew' without ever having dated but prayed much the other was whom God planned for our lives! We courted. We were in a church that supported that. By May of the following year we became engaged and married the January after THAT. We did not amass a wonderful amount of financial security. However, we did not wish to sin nor did we feel rushed about the timing of anything. We simply let the Spirit lead. We paid for our own wedding. That was over 22 years ago. Waiting a long time from engagement to altar has caused many to 'break the chastity vow' as we witnessed that (sadly). Also, those who do not consider Christ to be first in their conversations and don't bring Him along on the 'dates' (i.e. prayer time) seem to fall either 'apart' or into some sin. All in all; it is of my opinion that it isn't important how 'grand' a wedding is; it is far better not to burn for one another. Long engagements are unwise (one to one and a half year wait is usually best). The ardor for one another builds quite rapidly!! (wink!). Hope this helps. Mrs. K

PandaBean said...

Foe me it was very quick, once it "finally" happened. I met my husband on Feburary 7, a Wednesday night, at a play, and we spent the next 36 (or so) hours together, awake and talking. I brought him home with me that weekend and moved out with him at the end of April from West Michigan to Columbus, OH. We got engaged in May, I couldn't tell you what the date was, it was rather informal! We then got married that September 15, 2001. We have been very happily married ever since, tho' it almost didn't happen with tragedy 9/11 ( :~( ), because they closed the state borders not even an hour after my husband drove over to Michigan, where I was already, for the wedding.
I wouldn't recommend this for everyone. Looking back on it, it's obvious that God had a very large hand in us, even tho' we rejected Him and everything about Him at the time. God is wonderful that he can do such wonderous things even with non-believers.
Keep up hope, Anna. God works in His own time and His own way. You may have to wait 5 more years before Mr. Right shows up, but then it could be today! And don't forget, being single is also a vocation that God calls some people to, even if it's not what they want. I pray that you are able to set up your own house with a wonderful husband very soon.
God Bless!

Tracy said...

Anna,
I was married at 18, but we were engaged for 16 months. Why did we wait so long? I really don't know. Perhaps we needed time to plan a large wedding. In any case, we both wish that we would have gotten married sooner. I do not want my children to have long engagements. Temptation is too great.

I hate to make you discontent with this statement, but here goes: I love being married. My husband is my best friend, and understands me better than anyone else in the world, besides God. I feel like we deprived ourselves of knowing this joy sooner by waiting.

Mrs. Brigham said...

I was engaged for four months, but we moved our wedding up by seven months when my husband decided to enlist in the Army as active duty. He was previously just a reservist, though activated to the Middle East for quite awhile.

Although we never had a long engagement, I have been through several military deployments with him and those were frustrating to deal with. Life stood in one place for awhile and was not as exciting as it was when he was not overseas. It was took a lot of effort to communicate effectively when your sole communications might be a weekly phone call and/or email. A tough situation like this can also breed feelings of insecurity, as well as frustration. I did find the best way to deal with such feelings to be finding ways to plan for the future. I did an intense Bible study. I mastered some new cooking & housekeeping skills why he was away. I spent time learning some new crafting skills, doing some minor redecorating, searching for new activities to do in the area we lived in, read a lot of books about subjects pertinent to home life, and so on. I also met some older ladies who lived near and spent time with them. They enjoyed my visits and had so many stories to tell me about their early marriages and children. I even learned some new recipes and craft skills from them.

I do not know if any of what I wrote below might help you any. but finding ways to remain hopeful and plan for the future has always been so very helpful for me during may difficult and frustrating life moments. It offers me something to concentrate on and look forward to, rather than dwelling on my bad feelings or worrying about everything and anything.

Ways of Zion said...

I think it also has to do with how long you have known or dated the person.

We had been friends for years and dated for 1 yr and then were engaged for 7 mths. I have a cousin who is only going to be engaged for 4 mths, but it feels right, they have known each other forever and dated for a few years. On the other hand we had friend who were friends forever and then dated for years and THEN were engaged for 5 years just so that she could get a degree (another topic completely) and that was rediculous!

I think the longer that you are engaged the more difficult it is to fight off the temptations of our nature and stay pure.

I know some have alonger engagement so that they can plan a huge fancy wedding, but remember the wedding day shouldn't be the focus, the rest of your lives together should be.

Sorry for the rambling on. Hope that answered your question.

Anonymous said...

Well, here goes. I was 25 when I got married. My husband had just turned 27. Our engagement period was just under a year.

In the years following High School, I worked & lived at home. At the age of 21 I entered post-secondary (non-traditional student!), for a 2 year degree in a field that interested me very much. Upon graduation, I accepted a position out of my home state. It was a good job, & I worked with children, which I loved. One of the first things I did when I settled in my new town was to find a church. It was very important to me to find like-minded people, & become part of the fabric of the community. This is where I met my future husband. He was also a newer member, of a little over a year. I do believe we were both attracted to each other very early on, but beyond that, I could tell that he had a solidity that I respected, ie he wasn't only looking to have a "good time". Our first date was coffee at a small-town cafe down the road from the school where I worked.

That's it in a nutshell, I guess. As to the hardest part of waiting until my mid-twenties, well I suppose you touched on that yourself, when you mentioned "insecurity, frustration, the feeling your life isn't really going anywhere". Those are hard emotions to deal with, & receiving a couple wedding invitations each year from girlfriends doesn't help. Some days felt quite lonely, in fact. But I do have to say, I wouldn't have been ready for marriage any sooner. It helped me to stay interested in others, throw myself into my work, & wait. I remember even praying to God that if I shouldn't find anyone (I knew that I did desire marriage & children), that He would help me to live singleness gracefully.

Hope this helps, Anna. I am thinking of you,

Brenda

Bethanie said...

I'll post something about the topic.
Question-did I miss something? Are you engaged now?

Anna S said...

Thanks, everyone! This has been a great help!

Perhaps I should have been more clearer - when I say the marriage is delayed, I mean that it has to be delayed for a valid reason... not for having a fancy wedding or anything of that sort. Those who know how much I desire marriage and children wouldn't doubt I'd get married in a denim skirt and t-shirt and without any sort of party at all. The wedding doesn't matter one bit to me, really. I just want to be married.

Tracy: I do agree with you about temptations. Long engagements are not desirable. This is why I'm in doubt.

I think I feel closest to what Mrs. Brigham describd. Thank you! That was very helpful.

Brenda: I've also been praying for living gracefully as a single if marriage is not in His plans for me. The last thing I want is to be discontent and frustrated, and ungrateful for the countless blessings I do have.

Bethanie: I'm not engaged yet, I'm considering it. I asked this because I'm in doubt - if I get engaged right now, it will be a very long engagement, with potential for frustration, temptation and so on. If I say no, I will miss a wonderful man.

Kyla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyla said...

Anna,

I just read your response to the other comments. We must have been writing at the same time.

I wanted to add that the engagement time should be a time for figuring out your relationship. You can't put a timeline on that. It might take 1 day or 1 year or even longer. If you feel that you love this mand and eventually would like to be his wife use your engagment however long it is to prepare for your marriage ( not wedding). I really wasn't ready to get married when Brian proposed. We could have easily gotten engaged and started our life right away. I just felt there was more to learn before I took the next step. You are in my prayers!!

Anna S said...

Kyla,

We have known each other for a long time already. I feel I'm ready for marriage. But if it happens, it won't happen soon. So... right now it's either saying 'yes' and committing to years of waiting, or saying no and moving on.

Shannon said...

I grew up in a family that expected dating (just to say that I didn't even know what 'courting' was) I met my dh when I was 14 and we started dating. I was allowed to go places(like the movies or school dances) with him so long as my mom drove me or to be at his house or our house as long as parents where present. He asked me to marry him when I was a few months shy of being 16 (he was 18). We knew we'd wait until I was at least out of high school. Well, when I got out of high school, he was in college, so we waited longer. We ended up being engaged for 4 years (having been dating for a year before that). It worked out fine for us, though I can't say we stayed completely pure.

It sounds to me like you've already been asked (or know you will be sometime soon). So the question really is... Is he worth waiting for? Is this who GOD has planned for you. The time may not be ideal, but that is not really the issue. The issue is... will you wait on him?

By the way, I really love your blog. Thanks
Shannon

Tracy said...

Oh, Anna. What a hard decision you must make. If you REALLY love this man, is there not a way to be married quickly, even if it does mean separation for a time?

My mother married when she was 15. My dad was going into the Marines. They were together for a short time before he was sent to Vietnam. He was gone for about 2 years. She moved back in with her parents for that time.

Then again, you must be sure that he is the right one and that he is not just wanting someone to wait for him. May the Lord give you wisdom & peace in your decision.

Anna S said...

Shannon,

Thank you very much! Immersed in doubts and fears and calculations, I tend to forget the most simple and obvious thing - to PRAY about it. Of course. This is what I'm going to do - ask God to turn my heart towards the right decision.

Tracy,

I only gave the army situation as an example :) If I tried to explain what's really going on, it would be WAY too long. Maybe, if everything works out, I'll write about it someday. There's absolutely no way we can get married right now.

I will pray and pray about it.

AnneK said...

I was engaged 10 months and then we got married and after that we were apart for another 7 months. (Lots of circumstances) That was really tough, but it was a time of growth for me.

I don't have much words of wisdom, but wanted to let you know that I will pray for you.

Annie

Anna S said...

Thank you, Annie!

PandaBean said...

I think the key to any good relationship, especially marriage, is good communication. If you're having questions and doubts first pray about it by yourself. Then disscuss all, and I mean all, your thoughts, even the "bad" and "touchy" ones, with your potential spouse. Make sure you have the same values and goals in mind and that he is now the wonderful guy you think he is and not the wonderful guy you hope he can become. The next step would be to pray about all this together.

I have cousin who just got married last year. Neither of them were looking for marriage and neither of them really wanted to get married, at least no yet. But God kept putting it in their minds and hearts and they both struggled with it and disscussed it with each other and prayed /a lot/. They finally decided that it was indeed God's will for them and who were they to object, so they submitted to God's will.

Anna, I pray for you almost every day. I know first hand what it is like to be yearning for the fullfillment of God's call on your heart. I pray that this man is the man God wants for you and that you both will be very happy with what ever life throws your way.

God bless you and help you with your situation.

Sheri said...

I am praying for you dear Anna. You have already received a lot of great advice... I guess if I knew more about the situation, I may be able to better give my insight too.

Tony and I had a 6 month engagement. Our attitude, as well as our parents, was that a long engagement isn't wise for temptation, etc. Looking back, I'm very thankful we got married so quickly. I have always thought that if you "know" it's the right person, there is no need to wait unless God specifically puts a road block in your path... again, I'm praying for you.

Emily said...

Wow, what a decision to make Anna.... I really don't have much wisdom, except the obvious - to seek God and test whether this is truly right. You are in my prayers dear sister! Blessings :)

Christie Belle said...

Anna, I was engaged for a very short period of time, so I'm not very much help on this topic. Jason was about to leave for more training and if we didn't get married between boot camp and the next training course, we would have had to wait for almost another year with him living in California and me in NC. We decided before he ever left for bootcamp that we were going to get married when he graduated, we knew it was what we both wanted and that we loved each other without a doubt. We knew each other and that we couldn't live apart not knowing the next time we would get to see each other. I'm sorry I can't be of more help, but I do pray that you come to have a peace about this and make the right decision. Congratulations on being asked!

Anna S said...

Thank you for your support, everyone! You are all so wonderful!

PandaBean, thank you for your prayers! As a matter of fact, we know each other very well already, and my doubts are only because we can't get married right now.

I'm praying about it all the time. I think the next step should be praying together and discussing it.

Alexandra said...

Okay, not recommended, but I got married after only two months of dating. I was 27(I'm 41 now), and had a previous failed engagement with another man. I knew what I did not want, which is half the battle. Dh seemed like a kind man, we shared common values, and he was responsible.

I was a probation and parole officer, so I felt I knew people. I was accustomed to getting to know people quickly....meaning not totally naive. I trusted my judgement.

I had been friends with his sister for a while. So at least I knew the family a bit. He wasn't a total stranger, still I'd recommend dating someone longer...I just got blessed. :)

Buffy said...

What a quandary!

Do you love him enough to wait for him?

Anna S said...

Alexandra,

I've said a couple of times, and I still think so, that the intention, purpose and serious direction of the courtship are more important than the actual length of the relationship. After all, it's a fact that many people are blessed with wonderful, stable marriages after a very short courtship.

Buffy,

I'm still praying about it. Once the final decision is made, I will write an update.

Mrs. U said...

Anna, I was going to share one answer then I read all the posts and your other comments so my answer will change. :)

A gentleman has asked you to marry him? Congratulations! He obviously has very good taste! :) What kind of man is he? A good man? Or a godly man? Is he the absolute BEST man God has for you? How do you know? Seek the Lord. If you have ANY reservations AT ALL, DO NOT MARRY HIM!!! I have a sweet friend with reservations right now and it pains me to see her settling. Do not settle. DO NOT SETTLE. If you are 1000000% sure that this is the man that God has chosen for you, then the waiting time during the engagement is irrelevant. God will definitely give you the grace and peace to wait during the engagement.

The question is not "Is it okay to have a long engagement?"... it is "Does God desire for me to marry this man?"

Seek the Lord. Get in His Word. Pray. Fast. Just get His answer on the man. He will give you His peace with His answer.

His,
Mrs. U

Anna S said...

Dear Mrs. U,

Thank you! This is just the sort of thing I need to hear right now. I've been praying a lot in the last couple of days, and by God's grace, what I have in my heart right now is a lot like what you said. The reservations are not about him. Just about how long the engagement would last.

I will write an update soon.

Mrs. U said...

Anna, I look forward to your update. I will most definitely be praying for you.

His,
Mrs. U

Jess said...

We dated for five months, got engaged, and then were engaged for eight. If I had it all to do over again, I would have gotten married within 3 months of getting engaged. Maybe even sooner than that. The temptation was SO huge. And once you know that you know that this is the one God has for you, the way I see it, WHY wait? Unless there's a specific reason, and God gives the grace, why wait?

We stupidly waited until the "Fall Break" at our school, thinking that more of our college friends would be able to come, rather than doing it during the summer. That was SO not a good reason to delay marrying the man I loved.

I will encourage my children to -first off- be SURE that they want to marry this person, and that this is who GOD has given them. But once they have that, I will counsel them to marry quickly. A couple months or weeks would be great! Who needs all that physical temptation?! And not many people can endure it... knowing that this is the person you'll be sleeping next to and waking up next to for the rest of your life plays all kinds of tricks on your mind, emotions, and heart. It becomes so easy to let things slide here and there.

Anna, I don't know your situation, but from my experience and those people I know, the longer the engagement is, the more difficult it becomes. Patience is a virtue, but we don't have to set ourselves up for temptation unnecessarily.

Just my thoughts. Others may vary. :)

Blessings!
Jess

Anna S said...

Jess,

I totally agree with you. The temptation can be great, and this is precisely why we follow VERY strict guidelines (like I described in my Purity During Courtship post).

We have known each other for 5 years. We wouldn't wait a minute if it weren't absolutely necessary.

For a certain reason which I can't reveal yet, we can't get married right now. When this obstacle is removed, we won't wait a moment. If we can get married a day earlier by giving up on a party, wedding dress, presents, guests etc, I'll go for it. My heart is aching for marriage. We would not put ourselves through this if there was any other way.