As your season of planning comes to a peak, as the stress of family expectations mounts, as your patience with your beloved wears thin, I will be praying for you.
It’s in these small moments and long days that grace really shines. It’s in these stressful situations that you need encouragement to let faith, hope, and love overcome the challenges you face daily.
That said, I pray this letter slows you down, inviting you to think through what it means to look more like Jesus during this season of transition into marriage.
During our own engagement, my husband and I were often distracted by family members' opinions and negotiating costs with vendors. Our hearts were often more turned to take on the world, than to each other or to Christ.
I know you've already heard this, but it's the truth: Your engagement will not last forever. So while you are waiting anxiously for your day, I encourage you to take hold of the excitement and anticipation you and your beloved are experiencing and turn back to Christ, together.
To really see what it looks like to be the new creation he’s called you to be in this season, faith, hope, and love will be your stronghold; will help you balance the load and focus on Christ during this time of purification.
When my husband Alan and I first got into the thick of wedding planning, our minds were perpetually wrapped in budgets and expectations. One evening, Excel spreadsheets open and calculators in hand, again, I sat contemplating the idea of building our florist a website in exchange for his services, while my husband-to-be relentlessly clicked in search of affordable hotels for our post-reception stay.
Brows furrowed, we barely spoke. After we finally booked a hotel and decided we could spend a bit more for flowers, we stood up. I realized it had been hours since we last did even that! It sunk in that wedding planning had us doing things we hardly cared about, in the only time we had together. My beloved pulled me in for an embrace that almost entirely erased every angry moment, confused look, and hard conversation we'd shared about money that evening. We just were, and in that moment Alan’s love was Christ's; scooping me into his arms, reminding me that I am fully loved and fully enough. Reminding me I can lean into him when things get hard.
Alan and I spent much of our engagement job hunting. The plan was to graduate, wed, and start working immediately after college. The pressure was on. Alan had a job, but I didn't, which was critical since his opportunity wouldn’t start for 6 months after graduation. So while we planned, I hunted.
In my heart of hearts, I wasn’t sure I'd be able to get a job with the income we needed.
What we did know, though, was that God was trustworthy and that even in all of our efforts, our hearts could rest in the hope that the Lord was the one with the plans. We were just seeing them through.
It was hope in his providence that got me through multiple job applications, wedding planning trips, and networking meetings, to the one company who was ready to hire me immediately and value my potential.
Okay, you say. We know about love. Christ is love. He’s shown us love. It’s both a feeling and an action. We get it.
I know that. But here’s what I hope you'll remember: even when you have the right answers, it doesn’t mean your heart is yet convinced.
The first time we walked into our mentor couple’s house, my fiancé and I held our chins high. I mean, why not? By the standards of our pre-Cana program, our marriage inventory results matched well enough, so we felt good to go. With our walls up, though, our mentors weren't able to see between the lines we were keeping hidden. We didn’t want to get vulnerable or talk about the selfishness both of us knew would be a massive obstacle in our first months of marriage (and it was the hardest obstacle we faced as newlyweds).
Love is so beautiful, and so embodies Christ, yet it’s hard to reflect his love when you’re tired. It’s hard to reflect it when the dishes still aren’t done, when you start to learn each other's' bad habits, and when you both encounter the struggle of self-discipline for the sake of another.
Throughout that first hard year of growth, the Lord saved and mended our hearts time and again. Because of Christ’s love, my husband and I finally started opening our hearts to change together, allowing ourselves to identify what triggers in the world turn our hearts to selfishness.
In this mess of our humanness, my beloved and I have had multiple opportunities to show Christ’s mercy and compassion to each other, and the healing we’ve sought since is starting to make its impact on our selfish hearts.
Love is starting to flow more freely, but not because of us. It's because of Christ in us. It’s Jesus who loves even when we don’t want to. It's his love that sees the goodness, the beauty and the person.
Let your guard down in mentor meetings. Let your planning dates slip just a bit. Let your heart be molded to enjoy your engagement, instead of to see it as drudgery.
Your day is not about you. Your day is bigger than you. Just as we, the Church, are Christ’s bride, I pray your day glorifies him, reminding all who attend of his great love, great presence, and great grace. I pray your capacity to embody his love increases day by day, that you and your beloved may find solace in the One True King that brought you both together, and that you may have peace in the waiting.
May the Lord give you the grace to allow his perfect faith, hope and love to continue through your engagement, so that the world may see His Face evermore through yours.
Sinikka Rohrer is a daughter of the King, wife of a man she'd only imagined, and lover of waking up quietly. She is the owner of Soul Creations Photography, a business on mission to capture testimonies, encourage hearts, and inspire marriages, and is a Spoken Bride Vendor.