I left my seasonal employment stint in Montana this past September and bumped into a tall, handsome man on my way through Utah.
We share the same last name now.
And while I was unsure how I’d ever see him again as I drove the couple thousand miles back to Georgia, I certainly never expected I’d become his girlfriend for a month, fiancée for three, and partner for life.
It was dizzying, unexpected, comfortable.
And while most of my friends who’ve been engaged for almost a year are just now arriving at the altar, I’m suddenly approaching my fourth month of marriage.
I wasn’t even looking for someone when he and I met, and now I’ll never look again.
“Why so fast?”
“Was it rushed?”
“Is this right?”
“What the heck am I doing?”
I wrestled with each of these as I packed to move back across the country the day after we engaged, just forty-four days after our first encounter.
I thought my life as a nomad for the last year had been crazy and unexpected, but this?
This was a whole new level of spontaneity and surprise.
I think for the people watching my life- the ones on my Home Team, my family, or even the people who spied through the lens of social media from afar, there may have been the same set of questions as I uprooted and left the Southeast again.
I don’t know that I owe anyone those answers, but I do need you to know the goal was never, is never, should never be marriage.
The goal is Christ.
And so while I could sit here and stretch for answers to those questions, there’s really just a couple of things I need you to know that I wish someone had told me in my singleness and in former relationships.
Life is not about searching for someone to marry.
And periods of dating or engagement are not about planning a flawless wedding.
Pinterest and Instagram would love to tell you otherwise, but as someone who moved her wedding date up three months to forgo the unnecessary stressors of planning “the perfect day,” let me tell you: your marriage will not thrive because your flowers, your hair, and your makeup were pristine on your big day.
Your color scheme and name-brand dress will not determine your ability to live peacefully with your spouse after your wedding day is done.
And the sizes of the stones on your wedding band do not determine your ability to love your husband when he’s rushed to the hospital at 3am.
Friend, you’re largely missing the point if you’re blowing the budget on a huge soirée.
Sure, pictures of that day matter, but that’s all they’ll ever be if your marriage isn’t prepared for more than your wedding day was.
The commercialized version of what we call “the church” and society like to tell us that we should be making the most of our singleness/dating/engagement by planning and prepping for that big day, because life is about finding a special someone to create a happily ever after with.
I call shenanigans.
Because my dress was $50, my flowers were $12, and both ceremony and reception venues were free.
I don’t have a diamond at the middle of my ring, and our first house has two rooms (including the bathroom).
Am I happy?
My goal is not to shame couples for putting on large parties to celebrate a joining of lives. Nor do I hate the traditional formats for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
My goal is to gut-check all of us on why we glorify the idea of marriage and why engaged couples seem to spend more and more each year on the details of a wedding day.
What would it look like, instead, if our aim became to know Christ most instead of searching for a Mister or Missus?
And what would it look like, when privileged with a Mr. or Mrs., if we saved our thousands of dollars and prepared for a healthy future together instead?
Because life is not a race to the finish line of marriage.
Life is an ultra marathon, a process, of becoming more like Christ.
And when your eyes are fully fixed on Him, and your thoughts are consumed with His goodness, you’ll find the pressure to find a partner or plan a perfect ceremony will deflate and your joy will begin to swell instead.
God loved us to such a great extent that he bankrupted Heaven and gave his only son to give us life abundant.
Friend, stop looking for love.
Love has already found you.