It seems to me that this year has seen a boom of engagements and weddings among the people that I know. And really, who can blame them, 2010 is a great year to get married 🙂 Not that I’m biased or anything. And of course, I wish them all the best– though most are acquaintances, it is impossible not to be happy for people as they begin the next and best chapter in their lives.
In the last couple months I have had some time to talk to friends about relationships and love and it really gets me thinking about how beautiful it is to have found the person God intended for me. I feel truly blessed and can only wish the same happiness for all of my friends.
I recently spoke with Chris and Stephen about how we have these amazing single friends looking to find a quality person. And not to say that I did everything right in my dating history, but we talked a lot about how the most crucial part of dating is to present yourself in a way that shows the core of who you are. Instead of focusing on the external things that make you attractive or “exciting,” to find a person you could spend the rest of your life with you have to focus on what are the non-negotiables of who you are and what you believe and showcase those. And if there is one true blessing of having a long distance relationship, it’s that Stephen and I were able to talk about all of the truly important things VERY early on in our relationship. And that’s how I knew within months that I could spend the rest of my life with Stephen. We talked about our faith, our families and what we wanted from the future. We talked about how we both want kids and how we want to raise them in a Godly home with love… and discipline. We talked about the roles we see in a relationship and how Stephen and I are both very traditional in that regard. He is the leader of our home and that’s exactly how we both want it (and how God intended it). He wants to be the provider and I want to be a wife and mother first and foremost. We talked for hours on the phone every night— he heard me at my best and at my worst. We had a family situation within the first month we were dating and I called him in tears and he took care of me in just the way I needed from 1200 miles away. I knew from that moment I could count on him to always take care of me, come what may.
Another time, another conversation: a group of friends was discussing what it means to love someone. Most said that when you can truly put the other person before yourself and strive to do so, you love the other person. And that is such a beautiful and crucial part of relationships. I try really hard to keep in mind what is important to my husband and how I can make him happy. Being mindful and thoughtful of this really helps me to put him first. And he does the same for me. I know he does things I want to do that he isn’t crazy about (watching Glee with me, for instance) and I really appreciate that selflessness.
There are a lot of things that we both enjoy and that helps too. But being willing to try things the other is interested in or supporting each other in what we choose to pursue strengthens our relationship. I just love Stephen’s writing. He is very talented and very witty. And I try at every occasion to encourage him because he really enjoys it. From Fantasy Football posts as our league commissioner to his Tebow editorial on Facebook, I just LOVE when he writes. And I feel like he is always encouraging me with my photography. I’m not trained in any way, never took a class or anything, but I just really enjoy it. And he encourages me, doesn’t get annoyed when I stop every 5 seconds to take a picture of something and on day 18 of my Photo A Day project when I was already in bed and hadn’t taken a photo, he helped me to think of one to take and made sure that I didn’t miss a day of my commitment.
We are blessed to be surrounded by married couples– family and friends– who we can look up to as examples of a Godly relationship. We’re still new to this whole thing, but we have people around us to give us inspiration to keep Christ at the center, love each other unconditionally, respect each other, always work on communication, and strive to serve each other in the ways God intended. And I hope that for those friends we have navigating the dating scene that we can be that for them some day.
I am blessed and I am grateful.
For those wondering, the title is French for “My Whole Heart for My Whole Life.” 🙂