Last year at this time, I asked Stephanie to marry me. After a day filled with a scavenger hunt (Check out the video below), great food, and memories that will always be with us, we started planning excitedly for the next step and what our future may hold.
What we didn’t plan for? The trying year that awaited us.
Little did we know being engaged was not about to be a blissful, carefree experience. In fact, it would end up far from that.
One year later, we have the battle scars to prove it.
The elation of talking about the prospects of a future wedding and life together was abruptly interrupted when I was hit with a season of sickness, sleep deprivation, and physical discomfort that left me confined to bed for nearly the entire past year.
I didn’t realize how out of it I was until a friend checked in with me; genuinely concerned about my well-being. Suddenly feeling as if I was missing something, I checked in with Stephanie.
“You have seemed like a shell,” she said. She had been missing me and feeling lonely, regardless of the fact that we spent hours together each day.
I would slur my words and zone out mid-conversation. Once I even recall jerking awake in the middle of dinner while chewing my food. (I did not even think this was possible.)
However, in the midst of all of that, Stephanie and I have tried to remain intentional about focusing on the fact that the year was packed with growth that will serve us well in marriage.
Here are 5 things we’ve learned as a team:
God is never in a hurry
The past year has been defined by waiting. Waiting for marriage. Waiting for storms to pass. Waiting for the fulfillment of promises from God we still believe are on the way. God is in no rush. While our patience has unquestionably been tested, we can be sure it will be used for good: Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31).
Marriage is not going to be perfect
I’m sure any married couple would’ve been happy to point this out, but having grasped that reality up front may save us some shock later. While our unconventional relationship makes Stephanie and I no stranger to trials, the past year has served in further developing our ability to weather storms as a couple- an invaluable lesson going forward in marriage.
Perseverance is a powerful part of the process
James 1:4 implores us to “Let perseverance finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” It’s never pleasant at the time, but being forced on life’s molding block is something we can be sure develops traits that enhance our resiliency, strength, and ultimately, where we find our hope.
Rocky times result in relationships rich in reliance
Zipping through the past year unscathed may have been more pleasant, but circumstances forced us to lean on God like never before. Being reminded of our desperate need for him is always worth the temporary pain.
Hope always remains
We are constantly reminded that we are part of a bigger story and trust that God has a better purpose for this time period than our own personal comfort and convenience.
That being said, we continue to live by faith, believing that greater things are in store and we excitedly await what lies ahead.
Combining scavenger hunt materials from the day I proposed, Stephanie put together this video:
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