"There is certainly passion. But the passion we share now differs from the thrill we had then like a noisy but shallow brook differs from a quieter but much deeper river." (Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage)
Rebecca and I aren’t a perfect couple. Far from it. In Christian dating culture/circles, there’s a general progression that looks something like this:
Friends—> DTR —-> Courtship —-> Blossoming relationship—-> Talks of marriage —-> Pre-engagement Counseling etc etc….——> BAM MARRIAGE
I’m quite sure Rebecca and I skipped quite a few steps. And in between this Christian dating progression there are a lot of factors that go into getting into a relationship. There’s a period of waiting upon God, prayerfully seeking His will for you individually and your potential girlfriend/boyfriend. There’s a priority of protecting the other person (guarding their heart) so that if the relationship doesn’t end in marriage, the couple’s friendship hopefully stays intact.
I missed that as well. I asked Rebecca to be my girlfriend about a month removed from our electrifying experience of being each other’s homecoming date (lol @ electrifying). Actually I messed that up as well. I wanted to say “do you want to go out with me?”. We were at Knotts Berry Farm and when I was thinking about going into the entrance I said “Do you want to go in with me?” HAH
But you see my point of how our relationship started out as a headfirst (or heartfirst I should say), no safety net, diving straight into the ocean sort of thing. And that was a mistake. I imagine we would’ve greatly benefited from learning to wait and be patient until we were both mature enough to handle a relationship and seeking other Christians’ counsel. But, as it turned out, this was to be the course of our relationship.
Since then, we’ve grown from being two young, immature teenagers to two slightly more mature adults. One incredibly encouraging sign to me that a marriage was in the cards for us was that Rebecca and I always came back to one another willing to work out issues. And we presented our issues and disagreements to God, trusting that His provision for our relationship was enough. This is easier said than done, to have a desire to “bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ” or to look at the other person and say, “I’m sorry, let’s work on this together.” There is nothing more exciting than to challenge the other person to grow in a certain area and to see that fruit manifest in their lives. I know that circumstances will change, we will go through dry seasons where we don’t seek growth, or even forgiveness but there this is underlying desire to always “approach the throne of God with confidence to find mercy and grace”. This, I find, will be the foundation that we strive to build our future marriage on.
When I hold Rebecca’s hand now, there isn’t that “tingling” sensation I had when we first dated or the desire to stay up until 6 a.m. talking about whatever it was teenagers talked about. There’s this quiet, constant understanding that our relationship is a journey and that the road ahead will be wrought with difficulties, disagreements and other issues endemic to young, married couples. But growing in adulthood and this future marriage relationship is something I look forward to. I can see that the years ahead are really the “meat” of any relationship matriculated in marriage, the years that our prevailing dating culture fails to show us. Because really, my relationship with Rebecca started out as stuff Hollywood’s made movies out of. Young, ridiculously good looking man-boy finds the girl of his dreams during high school and they eventually marry. But hopefully, it’ll end as a long-lasting marriage completely enveloped in God’s grace, passionate, but devoid of self-seeking desires.
"yo, you see dat bling on her hand? daaaaanggg #mrceo"