As the clock winds down before the wedding, I can’t help but ponder on all the wonderful things that have come of this engagement process. These last 9 months of marriage preparation have stretched me personally to a level of growth that I’ve never experienced before.
I’ve come to learn that nothing will require you to transparently shine light on the dark corners of your heart quite in the same fashion as devoting your life to another. There are so many revelations and lessons that have been acquired through this engagement that it would take pages upon pages to write out. For the sake of time and my childlike attention span, I just want to highlight a few of the biggest things I’ve learned and taken away from this time of preparation, in hopes that you might be able to connect and/or apply in your own relational endeavor.
1.) There’s No “I” In “You” To our own customized and varying degrees, we all possess a level of selfishness as imperfect human beings. Sometimes blatant, sometimes benign. Sometimes intentional, sometimes unintentional. As a single, we have no one else to answer to with things like spending habits, time consumption, or even food preferences. Once in a relationship, we are then expected to consider one another out of sheer respect but still are not exactly obligated to do so. However, once the “question” is asked, a “yes” is given, and a ring is worn, that companion and their happiness becomes a responsibility.
As a strong willed first-born child who tends to take the dictator role, this was a hard adjustment and is still a work in progress.
Surrendering selfish desires, opinions, and habits for the sake of another’s happiness and validation is by far one of the toughest disciplines that I’ve ever had to fully embrace. In his comedic tone, Raavi Zacharias states,“It is probably easier to just die than to die to self.” Marriage is the perfect platform for servanthood.
Selfish ambition can only ever feed itself, but a servant’s heart allows another to love selflessly in a beautiful exchange.
2.) Fake It Till You Break it This is a concept that spoke little to no volume in my life until this last year. I grew up with the mentality that if I conveyed anything other than what I was truly thinking or feeling, then I was being artificial. The problem with that thinking is that sometimes we feel and think things that shouldn’t be followed by action. The area I’ve found this to be the most challenging is communication. If I may be transparent, communication is often a daunting task for me. I didn’t grow up sharpening that skill, so I grew up avoiding it. By nature, I would rather just have a good time and sweep matters “under the rug” than dissect them verbally with my fiancée. This is something that we’ve had to chisel at during our engagement. Having done so, I’ve learned one very important truth: If your significant other is anything like mine, they are less concerned about if you feel like doing something and much more with you actually doing it. Putting that into practice, I’ve seen the difference it makes in the standing of our relationship.
My fiancée doesn’t need me to feel like loving her, protecting her, or providing for her. She simply needs me to do it whether I feel like it or not. This is where we learn sacrificial love.
3.) Forever Times Infinity There’s a song quote that I’ve learned to live by, and I love it so much that I had it permanently engraved on the inside of my wedding band. The quote reads, “Love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for the moment.” Never have I heard another song prioritize the permanence of commitment. It takes me back to being a child again and telling little white lies to my friends. They would ask if I was serious and I would promise that I was and as long as I had crossed fingers behind my back, I was doing no wrong. However, the older we got, we learned a new, even deeper and more potent weapon of dissection, the oath. I could cross my fingers and tell a white lie but there was a silent understanding that if you claimed, “I swear” and still lied, the guilty conscience would extend admonishment.
Learning love to be a “loyalty sworn” means that it is perpetual, true, and important. It is equally important that we make a habit of vocalizing that loyalty and commitment to our spouses daily and living it out to prove our love “forever times infinity.”