Editor's Note: This is the second of a three-part series. Part one is here and part three is here.
I admit it. I was a skeptic. I didn't believe that there was a guy out there for me. I felt like Micky Dolenz of the Monkees: "I thought love was only true in fairytales, meant for someone else but not for me … "
It was a blissful experience. David was everything I had ever dreamed of. We had the same personality, the same quirky sense of humor, the same taste and style. I was in awe that my loving Father had molded us so uniquely to complete a whole.
We started out our relationship right; we knew we wanted Christ to be the center of everything. We studied the Bible together each week, and we even helped each other memorize Scripture. We were well on our way to a healthy relationship between the three of us—David, me, and the Father.
"A nine month engagement will be perfect," I thought as I gazed at my new diamond glistening in the sun, "not at all the confused, mindless calendar-crunch that everyone else experiences. We have plenty of time."
Boy, was I wrong!
A few months into the engagement, I found myself running errands during every available moment—find a dress, find another dress and compare prices, schedule a time to meet with bridesmaids, book the church, book the caterer, book the florist, sign up for pre-marital classes…the list never ended!
It wasn't long before I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into frustration, sadness, and heaviness. The smallest mishaps became annoyances. I began to be more self-conscious and self-centered. I felt the stress and the emotional strain stronger and stronger until I asked myself one day, "What's wrong with me?"
After all, I was in the middle of seemingly perfect circumstances. Life was good. Why did I feel so empty? I had never been so blessed in all of life, yet I found myself discontent like Solomon, who in all his wealth said, "I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
Was this what wedding planning was like? What was the purpose of it all? Looking up to heaven, I asked again, "What's wrong with me, Jesus?"
Jesus? Jesus. It had been such a long time since I had sincerely talked to Him. I had become so wrapped up in the planning of a wedding that I had allowed the blessings to overcome the One who had given them to me.
The emotional strain had become unbearable, but it wasn't because of circumstances—stress is to be expected while planning a wedding. It was unbearable because I had left behind the One who is my purpose. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:36).
As little time as I had to plan and prepare for a new life, I realized that I had not included the Father, so some changes had to be made.
The first step David and I took was to begin praying together on a daily basis. Each morning at 6:30, David calls me and we pray over the phone together. We thank the Lord for each other and for the blessings that he has given us, reminding ourselves that He is the One who has blessed us with these things, not ourselves. Just as God told the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 6:10-12:
Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers … to give you great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, … vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Second, we have learned the importance of making time for Bible study once a week. I have a calendar that we use for all of our appointments. Each week, I pencil in one night for us to have Bible study together, and I treat it like any other appointment. If something comes up to interfere with that time, we find a way to reschedule the new appointment or work around our Bible study.
These times are not only important for spiritual growth, but they are also an important part of connection for us as a couple. I learn more about David during our times of Bible study than during any other conversation, especially since most of our conversations these days have to do with wedding plans or other planning details. Studying the Scripture and going through a Bible study spur deeper conversation and help us to open up to each other on a deeper level.
Finally, we put more emphasis on personal growth. It is good to grow spiritually as a couple, but in order to experience that personal relationship with Jesus, it must be just that—personal. Even though my desire is to spend hours in Bible study and in prayer, my responsibilities at this time do not permit me that luxury, so I have to find ways to remain in communion with the Father, despite the madness of planning a wedding and combining two lives.
One thing I found helpful is to turn off the radio on the way to work and sing worship songs instead. Prayer is another activity I often do while driving. At work, I whisper a little prayer here and there, and I keep a box of Scriptures on my desk where I can read and reflect on a "verse of the day." At times, I get up 15 minutes early and read the Bible or write in a journal.
Making God a priority in the midst of a busy life is important for survival. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." If you feel like your life is unraveling from the stress, then perhaps one of your cords is missing. With Christ in the center, it's a lot easier to keep things all tied together.
In part three, "Sabrina's Wedding: The Covenant," the big day finally arrives.
© 2003 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Each year thousands of couples learn about God’s plan for marriage in FamilyLife’s popular Preparing for Marriage curriculum. Click here to purchase a copy.
Learn to build a lasting marriage at the Weekend to Remember® getaway. And get $100 off the regular price by entering the group code ‘Articles’ when you register.