A Transforming Engagement

Engagements can be such a time of growth for a couple. You’re in love, you’ve made an enormous commitment- now it’s the waiting time. The planning time.

I know many couples who had short engagements- anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of days. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve known a couple who were engaged for five years. Trevor and I fell somewhere in the middle of this range, and were engaged for a year and a half.

Our engagement was a transforming time for our relationship.

Because it was a transforming time for me.

Which ... yeah. It wasn't necessarily what I wanted to do.

I started my engagement by buying three bridal magazines that promised to help me Plan the Perfect Wedding! and make my Arms Look Great in That Strapless Dress! Which both sounded like fun and also like the things I needed to spend all my time on.

After the initial wave of overwhelming excitement, I realized that maybe I should focus on making my relationship stronger (since I had two entire years to do triceps dips and think about cake flavors).

So of course, I read articles about the "100 Ways to Have a Great Engagement"… and realized that many of these so-called Ways included intimacies that went against my beliefs, or were really just more information about narrowing down guest lists.

Instead, God was calling me to figure out what needed be narrowed down in me.

Spend your engagement connecting with God first. To have a grace-filled marriage, you must first be living out a life of grace.

The newlywed stage of marriage can be challenging and humbling.

I know that I became ever so conscious of flaws that went unnoticed before- things I could ignore or push down deep into the Someday I’ll Deal with It bin.

And then I went ahead and joined myself to someone else for better or worse. Getting married brings all those flaws to the surface.

If you take the time to start working on those issues now, on fostering positive qualities now rather than realizing you’ve got so many weaknesses later, you definitely won’t regret it.

The first step toward an intentional engagement is an intentional lifestyle- the change starts with you.

**This post contains affiliate links**

Take some time to think. 

Where is your relationship with God lacking?

Think about how the big commitment to planning a wedding and all that entails is changing your schedule.

Notice how you are reacting to things. (Setback on the invitations? Did you freak out? And what does that mean about where your heart is?)

If your Bible study time has been overrun by wedding planning, stop. Go back. Start spending time really listening to Him. 
If you feel like you haven't taken time to just be with God, stop. Take a half hour today and just sit with Him in prayer and in silence. 
Confess the things in your heart that aren't right, that you've started to take for granted. Give thanks for your blessings, and pray that you learn to not sweat the small stuff. 

Focus on spiritual growth for at least a little while each day, instead of spending every waking moment focused on your wedding. It's hard to do, I know (I've been there!), but it's so worth it.

Consider a daily devotional, an online Bible study (or even better- in person!), or simply get together with a friend and commit to pray for each other.

I would also like to recommend this book to you- The Bride's Handbook: A Spiritual & Practical Guide for Planning Your Wedding.

It's wonderful. Truly.

Not only does it have lovely tips for wedding planning, but the devotional aspect is great. The writing is so peaceful... it got me through some stressful times, and began the change in my attitude toward my own engagement.

Your wedding is just a day. An important day, but just a day. Don't spend so much time on something fleeting that you neglect what truly lasts- your spirit.

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