This has been a blog post I have waited and waited to write. I have wanted to click publish on this 1,000 times. It's a topic that I think many couples who have been dating a while can completely understand.
“Why are you guys waiting to get married?”
“So where is the ring?”
“Why do you guys just not live together,”
“How long have you been together again?”
Wyatt and I get these questions all of the time. I’m not going to lie to you either, I ask myself similar questions as well. Being in a dating relationship for almost 7 years has its ups and downs. We have walked through times in our relationship that were amazing and others that pushed us to really decide if we wanted to be together. We have both had the opportunity to give up, but we haven’t. Over the (almost) 7 years of dating, of course have discussed marriage and of course we both love each other enough to get married tomorrow if we wanted. BUT. God has turned and changed both of our plans many times to where marriage hasn’t been possible for us just yet. Long story short: Wyatt is a full-time college athlete. And I applaud those who are athletes that get married in college because you are super humans. However, that just isn’t feasible for us right now. I am in school full time while also working part time at the moment. In simple terms we are both ~broke~ college students! Marriage is something Wyatt and I both take very seriously. Honestly, we don’t want to self-sabotage it by rushing into it before we are stable enough to provide for what would be our family. Let me also say I know many people who got married in college. They have marriages that are amazing. It is hard though. You are trying to navigate a new season, in a new life, with classes, work and bills etc. It is not for the faint of heart. Marriage is also something you do not want to rush into unless you are prepared for it. I have discussed this with so many of my spiritual mentors and trustworthy people in my life. We have talked for hours on marriage, getting married young and what that look like. Personally and spiritually, I take marriage so seriously. I have seen first hand how hard and challenging it can be. In the same way, I have seen how rewarding and amazing it can be too. God created marriage. And what God created I consider highly valuable.
Don't let me fool you though. I have days I wish we could rush along past this college season, have our own house and life together and not have to worry about college. There are so many couples in the same situation as us. They want to be married but life hasn’t allowed that to work out just yet.
I remember dating Wyatt in high school and in my head I just knew we would both go to the same college, graduate early or even get married in college. That wasn’t how it worked. If you told me in high school that Wyatt and I would date over 7 years before we would get married I would have laughed and said “that’s so dumb.” Honestly, I thought people who dated forever and waited to get married were crazy. Lol, I am now those “people.” By age 21, I just knew I would really have my life together. I am thankful that God slowed my timeline down. Wyatt and I needed years of long distance to grow as individuals. We needed trial and error to allow us to really question why we wanted to stay together. After a few years, you don’t always have butterflies and rainbows. You have to have real conversations about life and your expectations of life. We know each other better because we have allowed our relationship to grow from codependency to independent people who chose to love each other. Dating sucks sometimes. It has its limits, boundaries, and wearing the title “girlfriend” is sometimes annoying. Wife sounds a lot more official and real. I mean I wasn't one of those girls but I know of many who their dream is to hold that status "wife". And where that isn't a bad thing, I think it is important to consider an even more important calling. Being a "daughter of God" is a title I treasure over all of the other ones I want in my life. Anyways, that's another blog for another time.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told us “you guys aren’t going to make it” or “dating doesn't mean anything," I would be very rich. I don’t see a dating relationship as casual. Most people do, but if you are looking for partner for life, you may want to get little more serious with who you decide to date (Read my blog over Do's and Don't's of Dating) Wyatt and I have practiced intentional dating for a very long time. Our relationship is very similar to courtship actually. If you hear the word “courtship”, you may immediately think of literally the 1800’s where women mostly wore dresses and bonnets. Trust me, I understand lol. Let me share the definition of courtship with you, it is “a period during which a couple develop a romantic relationship, especially with a view to marriage.” We have complete expectations to get married in the next few years. Both of us are ready for that, trust me. This season of dating has challenged me and pushed me to grow spiritually. In my opinion, being in a long term relationship can either show you that you are both meant to be together or that you absolutely shouldn’t be. Each year we have dated, I have dated someone new. A different, better version of Wyatt. However, just because years go by doesn’t mean someone grows into a better version of themselves. They could easily become worse. Don’t settle for someone just because you have dated them for a long time. Find a partner that pushes you to be better in every area of your life. They will not be perfect. But find someone who strives to be the best version of themself everyday.
There are many couples I know personally that are either considering marriage, have been dating for a long time, maybe even engaged now. I wanted to shed some light on why we aren’t in a hurry to get married:
God’s timing is a LOT better than ours. We both trust he has already worked out our lives and where we are right now is exactly where he planned for us to be. So often I see couples who push engagement and get married before they are spiritually ready to take on the roles that God designed for them to step into in marriage. If you are a guy and you aren’t preparing yourself to be the spiritual leader of a household, your future family is going to struggle because of that. Sis, if you are having to drag your boyfriend or fiancé to church now, how do you think marriage is going to change that? Again, I am no marriage expert. I have, however, spent many hours reading and receiving advice over what a godly marriage should look like. Trust God’s timing for your life. If you are pushing your boyfriend for a proposal and he isn’t ready, you are pushing God’s timing. Personally for me, it took me a while to understand that Wyatt and I will only have this season to have our own (kinda separate) lives and be able to take weekends to hang out with our friends. We don’t have to worry about all the adult things just yet. This doesn't mean I haven't ever looked at Wyatt and said "okay, can we just be married already," because I absolutely have. God has walked me through appreciating this season of waiting.
Just because you thought your life would look a certain way doesn’t mean it actually will. When truly trusting in God’s promises and provision we have to trust his process. That looks different for every relationship. We aren’t stressed about marriage or when we will get married because we trust in God’s provision. (That is easy to say and hard to live, it is something I have to remember and trust in each day.)
You don’t have to rush your life. Really. This lesson took me a long time to learn and honestly I am still learning it. I don’t have to be a ~certain~ age to get married. Rushing Wyatt into engagement isn’t going to make him any more excited about marriage, it honestly causes stress. Does my heart hurt a little bit every time I see another engagement on facebook (literally I swear someone gets engaged every single day), yes it does. But I have to remember that God’s timing is A WHOLE LOT better than mine. He is working all things out according to his plan (Romans 8:28).
There is a lot to marriage. There is a lot of responsibility on both parties biblically. If you are interested in reading more about that Ben Stuart’s book “Single. Dating. Engaged. Married.” mentions so many good things about the role of husband and wife. After reading that book, my idea of marriage really shifted because of how important this official relationship is. If you are wanting to marry someone, it is crucial you prepare yourself spiritually for that marriage. If you are a christian, NEWS FLASH. A marriage isn’t just the wedding, living together, rainbows and butterflies and sex etc. It is an actual covenant with God. (Matt. 19:16) So in simple terms a very, very big promise between both husband, wife, and God. I believe that too many people see marriage as just a legal binding of two lives. But it is so much more than that. I encourage you to 1) go read that book I mentioned and 2) really do your bible research on how serious marriage is to God.
Not one human is perfect, your relationship will not be perfect. But, when you make sure to place your foundation in Jesus (individually and together), you will be stronger. Wyatt and I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together. Right now, however, is just a season with less stress and more time to prepare for the next chapter of our lives.
In the same breath, if you deep down are both ready for marriage (in college or not) and you believe that God’s timing is right, don’t let others' opinions hold you back. Seek wise counsel and speak with people who are going to guide you in the right direction. Everyone’s story and relationship is different. I just wanted to shed some light on my life and a question I get asked often. I truly believe there are other couples out there riding in the same boat as me too, and to those I pray you continue to trust God’s timing and provision in your life. Keep trusting him with your relationship too. If 2020 has taught us ANYTHING, is that we really don't have much control. Stop stressing and rushing your life, trust God with the process.
With lots of love,