Posted tagged ‘waiting for marriage’

Which Shelf Are You On?

February 25, 2014

At some point during the last year, my husband told me a story very similar to the one I told in my last post, and told me that he was the little boy who had let his father choose.  I was the wife off the top shelf.  Of course, I countered that he was on the top shelf himself, so how come he hadn’t seen me!

As a follow up to that post, here’s the flip side.  Which shelf are you on?

Are you a person worth putting on the top shelf?  One of my most viewed posts is Are You a Woman Worth Waiting For? which I wrote back in 2011.  I talked then about focus and preparation, focusing on God’s plan for you right now and preparing for the future He’s planning for you later.  Those things are valid for both men and women as we wait for the spouse God has planned for us.  Whether you’re 15, 25, or 45, you can be focused on God and preparing for the future He is bringing you.

I value the fact that my husband didn’t go wife-hunting, dating every girl who came along.  He’d been out of college for three years before he met me – plenty of time to have given up on God ever bringing someone along and have gone looking himself.  But he didn’t.  He just kept doing the work that God put in front of him, and in His time, God brought me to that church and introduced us.

And because Sir K had waited patiently while preparing for having a wife and family, he already had a steady job, had bought a house, and had paid off his student loans before asking me to marry him.  Many young couples do not have this opportunity, some because God wanted them to take another path, others because they rushed ahead with their own plans before they were ready.

Are you willing to wait?  To be “on the shelf” for a few years?  To focus on God’s plan instead of your own?  To prepare for the future instead of just wishing it would get here sooner?  If you want a “top shelf” spouse, then start thinking how to be worthy of that person first, and let God take care of getting them to you.  Then when God brings that “top shelf” person along, they will also see something “top shelf” about you.

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Waiting for Happily Ever After

January 10, 2014

I’m beginning to wonder if “happily ever after” doesn’t strike a discordant note with some children, since so many families do not have a happily ever after as I’ve described.  The parents do not stay together or if they do they fight.  On the other hand, those children may find their only ray of hope for their own future in the fact that stories and movies usually have a happily ever after, and in the few examples they can find in real life.  If someone can write about it, then happily ever after must be possible even if it doesn’t happen all the time.

Happily ever after is not something you find laying in the street.  It’s not something you can dig up with a treasure map.  It has to do with waiting for the right person to come along at the right time.  Many unhappily ever afters seem to be started with the wrong person or at the wrong time.  Sometimes people are in a hurry to get married because they think that will solve all their problems.  In those cases, they don’t always evaluate whether the person is a good fit, whether they have similar beliefs or hobbies, whether they like doing things with the person and whether it is the right time to get married.  Hence, sometimes couples find that their happily ever after dissolves quickly upon returning from the honeymoon, or even several years into their marriage, after the feelings of being “in love” have worn off.

I say this because I want to encourage any young readers who find my blog that it’s okay to wait for your happily ever after.  My mother met my father in college, and they were married just weeks after she graduated.  I had always hoped that would be my story too, because I didn’t want to have to go job hunting, and all that.  That’s not what God had in mind.

Although I also met my husband while I was in college, I wasn’t ready to think about marriage while carrying on with my studies, so we were just friends.  He was perfectly content to wait on God’s timing as well.  I had been out of college for 18 months and working for a year before he asked me to prayerfully consider whether God had marriage in mind for us.  I was nearly 24 at the time, and he was 28.

Because neither of us rushed into relationship with the first person we met, we were able to wait until God gave us the signal that it was the right time and the right person.  We have been blessed wonderfully these past five months, and we are very much in love.  Why do I think it will last?  Because we took the time beforehand to do our homework and make sure we saw each other clearly.  Because we were already very good friends, and enjoyed talking together, playing games together, and doing ministry together. But most importantly because we are both committed to God first, and then to each other.

You might find your happily ever after at 18, or it might be 28.  Whichever is God’s plan, are you prepared to wait for happiness?  Understand, people can make things work, even in less than ideal circumstances, and be “happy enough,” but the point is, are you willing to wait until God puts all the details in place?  Please don’t rush headlong into your future.  Just because the movies get to happily ever after in an hour or two, doesn’t mean you will, and you have a long ever after to think of.  Wait for the one you can see yourself spending the rest of your life beside.  Because that’s when you will live Happily Ever After.

Waiting for … Eleazer?

July 27, 2012

I’ve been struck lately by the whole “prince charming” phenomenon.  Disney probably hasn’t helped girls in their preparation for young womanhood by giving them a plethora of pictures where the prince comes along, meets a girl, falls in love, and marries the princess or the beauty (nor is Disney the only culprit, lest you think I’m anti-Disney or something).  I know, I know, there’s usually a catch, like a dragon or a wicked witch, or some such obstacle, but fairy tales resolve themselves in short order.  In real life there is more to it than that.

~*~

So let’s think about some old love stories.  One of the first recorded love stories is of a girl who went to a well.  This was something she did every night, and she probably had no warning that tonight was going to be any different.  Tonight she met a traveler.  Perhaps she saw the caravan first, and looked to see if this rich train was led by a handsome young man.  When she saw that he was middle-aged or more, definitely no dashing young prince charming, she was not deterred, and she offered to give him drink, and then to water his camels.  Her servant’s heart was evident, and she thought of no reward.  Imagine her wonder when the man gives her gold bracelets and asks her questions about her family, and whether he can lodge with them!

We usually read Rebekah’s story from Eleazar’s standpoint, of how he prayed for guidance and then met her at the well.  But think, girls, she was there doing her daily chores.  She wasn’t off on some mission’s trip, nor was she flirting at youth group.  She was living in the light God had given and doing good to others!  And apparently she wasn’t afraid to work, either, because watering ten thirsty camels until they’ve finished drinking is a lot of work.  And she was hospitable; she invited Eleazar and his camels home before she knew that he was of her great-uncle’s household.

Then, Eleazar asks her to travel with him to become the bride of his master’s son, Isaac.  I’m guessing he told her about Isaac, probably in fairly general terms, and about what kind of inheritance Isaac would have.  The last part was probably for her family’s benefit, because if I know a woman, she could have cared less if his father had had only a few sheep instead of many flocks.  The adventure probably sparked her interest all by itself, but it would also have been cause for some deep thought and prayer.  Whether she had misgivings or no, she could not help but see God’s hand in leading Eleazar to her, and when her brother and father would have kept them there some weeks in preparation, she told them simply “I will go.”  And she went with Eleazar to meet a bridegroom she did not know.

~*~

Okay, here’s another old story with another well.  This time the girl was a shepherd.  She kept her father’s sheep.  Every day she had to bring her sheep to a well which had a stone covering it.  That stone took many men to lift, so she probably did not hurry to get there early.  But one day, as she came to the well, a stranger was standing there talking to some of the other shepherds.  Surely she was mistaken, but it seemed as if he was only waiting until he saw her coming, and then he rolled the stone away singlehandedly.  If he was going for the impressive factor, he succeeded!  This stranger proceeded to water her flocks, and then he told her that he was her father’s nephew, and she ran home to bring her father out to greet Jacob.

Yep, we generally read this one from Jacob’s perspective.  It’s very easy to get tangled up in the Laban vs. Jacob bargaining and the daughter swap that lands Jacob with two wives, but the beginning of this romance was that Jacob saw Rachel about her father’s business.  And he helped her water her flock.  Later he would take over her job of caring for Laban’s flock.  Come to think of it, Laban apparently had sons too, because later on, they get worried about how Jacob is making off with the lion’s share of Laban’s flocks (fairly worked for, of course).  Makes me wonder what they were up to while Rachel watched the flocks, but I will resist the temptation to digress here.

~*~

So, two love stories.  Two plot lines.  And which will your romance look more like?  We tend to imagine something more along the lines of Jacob, rolling the stone off the well.  I’ll admit, he made a big first impression.  But girls, don’t take it for granted that you’re looking for a Jacob and therefore miss Eleazar when he rides into town.  A train of ten camels is not to be sneezed at, so don’t !

What do we do in the meantime?  What were Rachel and Rebekah doing?  Living in their fathers’ houses, doing the work laid out for them.  Whether you have a job outside the home or in, you can be pursuing God’s plan for your life as part of the family He has placed you within right now.  Don’t fret about the future, but prepare yourself for it.  When your future comes knocking, don’t be caught saying “wait, I’m not ready for this.”   I wouldn’t even worry about the hows, wherefores and whys.  What is important is to live as God leads you, whether the guy at the well is Jacob or Eleazar.

Do you trust God to bring you your Jacob? Remember girls, when he met Laban’s daughters, he was nowhere near the man who became called Israel. Can you wait for His timing for Eleazar to bring you to your Isaac? We don’t know what Rebekah thought when she watered those camels, but she probably wasn’t thinking “oh, here’s someone who can introduce me to a nice young man, I’ll water his camels too.”  Don’t be shocked if your story takes some faith-deepening twists.

And how did each of these love stories end?  Each man loved his wife, and they went about their Father’s will together, for both couples were links in the chain that would eventually set the world free.

Are You a Woman Worth Waiting For?

April 16, 2011

While we wait for one of those Few Good Men, we young women can be preparing ourselves such that our good man will not be disappointed when God tells him we’re the one.  If we want a Christ-centered man for a husband, we’ll be much more attractive to him (as well as more willing to wait) if we are Christ-centered ourselves.  Now, I can hear you saying to yourselves, sure, that sounds wonderful/makes sense/is great, but what does it look like?

Good question!  I’ll try to answer it, but I’ll warn you that I am still working through this myself, and am therefore not able to give you advice from the sage perspective of someone who has moved beyond to a new stage of life and is able to reflect on their mistakes and successes.  Actually, the best people to ask for advice are probably those who have children who are in their late twenties and thirties!

The first aspect of Christ-centered singlehood I’ll mention is Focus. In I Corinthians 7, Paul encourages singles to stay single because those that are unmarried are able to focus on the things of the Lord and pleasing Him, while married men and women care about how to please their spouses (which is also God honoring, by the way, but in a different way).  I wonder if what Paul was getting at was less that Christians should be celibate, and more that they should not rush into marriage.  In that culture, women had virtually no other prospects than getting married, so they and their parents tended to push for marriage as soon as possible.

Today, we face a different trend.  People are getting married later.  On the other hand, they’re not waiting for marriage patiently.  I can’t believe the ages at which girls start having boyfriends.  Since I believe that people shouldn’t enter a courtship or dating relationship until they are prepared and ready for marriage, seeing 13-year-olds walking around holding hands is ridiculous as well as saddening.  There are plenty of resources out there which talk about the reasons why teenagers are not ready to choose a spouse, and I won’t repeat them all here.  Suffice it to say that I fly in the face of the trends, being twenty-two and never having had a boyfriend or gone on a date!

Because I do not have the distraction of a boyfriend, I am able to give much more attention to my schooling, work, and volunteering.  Because I am not constantly going out or having a boyfriend over, I am able to spend quality time with my family.  Because I do not have a boyfriend monopolizing my attention, I am able to be friends with a variety of people, young, old, guys, girls, married, and single, and spend time getting to know them.  Christ is able to use me in all these arenas to further the kingdom, and because I am focused on Him, He can use me more fully than if half my brain was thinking about a boyfriend.

And honestly, I’m betting most Godly young men will find this appealing.  Might they wish it was easier to get you to pay attention to them?  Perhaps, but only till they realize that your ability to focus is a good recommendation for a faithful wife.  Also, many of them will probably feel more comfortable being friends if they know that you aren’t sitting there wondering how long it will take them to ask you out!

Secondly, Christ-centered singlehood is a time for Preparation.  I mentioned earlier that girls and guys should be prepared for actual marriage before they tackle anything more than friendship.  For us girls, that means being ready to run a household.  Can you cook?  I mean more than pulling packaged meals out of the freezer.  Having at least a week’s worth of meals that you can cook without help on short notice would go a long way toward making those first few months of marriage smooth!  How about cleaning?  Do you know how to do a complete spring cleaning?  Are you prepared to manage your money?  This one may not become necessary because in some families the husband takes responsibility for budgeting, but I think it’s a good idea for us girls to know how.  Other skills like sewing, mending, and baby-tending are also good to have (although they might be considered extras in some families), and I’m sure there are more things some parents would recommend that young women know before marriage.   I encourage all young women to go to their parents and ask them what things they should be learning in order to be prepared for marriage.

A woman who is focused on Christ and preparing herself to be a good wife will exhibit many other characteristics, but these two things are a good start.  What other things do you consider characteristic of a Woman Worth Waiting For?

Guys’ and girls’ input welcome!

The Few, the Godly, the Good Men

April 13, 2011

Following on the heels of my Singlehood post, I found this article at Latitude 821.  One of my future posts will have to address my efforts to be one of those women worth waiting for.  Girls, are you prepared to wait for your Isaac, or are you in such a hurry even the Canaanites look good enough?


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