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30 Pieces of Advice for the New Wife

30 Pieces of Advice for the New Wife

I’ve been married to a wonderful man for over three months now. That’s no thirty years, but still, I know more about marriage today than I did three months ago.

Every man is different, so you may not relate to all thirty pieces of advice. But I pray something here will bless you in your new role. Here’s a taste of what I’ve learned over the last ninety days:

  1. Read that recipe slowly, carefully, and all the way through before you begin cooking. Otherwise your special Thanksgiving breakfast will be served a day late because you’ll learn as you’re whipping it up that it has to sit overnight in the fridge.
  2. He means what he says. It’s as simple as that. “I’d do this,” doesn’t mean, “You should do this, too.” It simply means, “That’s what I’d do.” Don’t read into his words or actions.
  3. When he treats you better than you deserve, don’t think you have to slowly earn your way back into his graces. Receive his grace gratefully and keep on truckin’.
  4. It won’t all be like you imagined. Let your expectations go.
  5. Kindness is the new romance.
  6. It will take longer than you think it should to get into a routine. That’s normal. You’ll get there!
  7. Don’t nag, but also don’t “stuff” your feelings. Share your thoughts graciously once, and then be quiet and pray for him.
  8. Don’t take it personally if he’s on his phone for a bit. It’s not your competition; it’s a way for him to relax.
  9. You need good girlfriends. It will take awhile to develop those, so get to work now. Ask a woman over for tea once a week if you can (Prov. 18:24).
  10. In the meantime, no friend compares to God. Cultivate this friendship each morning (Ps. 16:2).
  11. Continue that premarital counseling post-marriage if possible. We still meet with a couple once a month, and it’s been so helpful as we’ve made this transition.
  12. Celebrate your monthly anniversary.
  13. Schedule a date night once a week.
  14. You don’t have to solve everyone’s problems. This is a unique, important season for you and your new spouse. Be slow to say, “Oh, I can help with that!”
  15. Care for your soul before you care for your home. If your soul is not at rest, no matter how clean your home is, its environment will not be restful.
  16. Spend time together. It doesn’t matter if you’d get more done if you stayed behind and he went to the store; go together.
  17. Don’t defend yourself every single time.
  18. You will see a lot of ugliness in your life that you never saw before. Don’t run from it or deny it; embrace the gift of being able to see your sin more clearly as well as the love of God through your spouse.
  19. Give your husband space when he’s frustrated. You don’t have to talk through everything immediately.
  20. At the same time, don’t let too much time pass before you talk through an argument. Seek to understand. What was he thinking and feeling when this happened? What were you thinking and feeling?
  21. Get on the same budget. It’s fun to work together toward a common goal.
  22. Spend those wedding gift cards together. It’s fun to shop together, as long as it’s not clothes shopping. That’s a bad attitude waiting to happen.
  23. Buy a chalkboard, and leave each other sweet messages.
  24. Pack his lunch, and occasionally leave kind notes in it.
  25. Don’t be easily offended. Assume the best (Prov. 19:11).
  26. Leave your insecurities at the marriage altar. He chose you. You’re enough. Don’t try to impress him. He probably won’t be impressed by the things you’re impressed with about yourself. He chose you. You’re enough.
  27. Don’t keep score of who’s doing more around the house. You’re a team. If you need help—rather than resenting him for not doing more—ask him for help.
  28. Communicate, communicate, communicate—in and out of the bedroom.
  29. Regularly ask him how you can serve him that day.
  30. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Marriage may mean a smaller, more isolated world. Remember that life is made up of many seasons. Thank God for this one—He sets your boundaries (1 Tim. 6:6, Acts 17:26–28).

What have I missed? What would you add to this list?

30 Pieces of Advice for the New Wife was originally published on ReviveOurHearts.com. 

The Story Behind My Wedding Vows

The Story Behind My Wedding Vows

Trevor and I chose to write our own wedding vows. Listen in as we share them with each other (he goes first, and then I do my best not to bawl my way through mine).

Now that you’ve watched them, I thought you might like to hear the “story behind the vows.” Why’d I choose these words rather than others?

I’m glad you asked. Let’s take it line by line:

Trevor Jon, I can’t imagine another imperfect man more perfect for me.

Some vows I’ve heard set a man so high he’s bound to crash and fall. I wanted to begin by remembering that no one—other than God—is perfect. Down with too-high expectations for Trevor; and, at the same time, up with appreciation for him! I’m amazed at how beautifully he complements me. Only God could have arranged such a match.

Thank you, thank you for choosing me. It will be my greatest honor to seek to bless you every day for the rest of our short lives this side of eternity.

Some vows I’ve heard set a man so high he’s bound to crash and fall. I wanted to begin by remembering that no one—other than God—is perfect.

It’s not every day a guy asks you to marry him. May I never get over the wonder that he chose me.

I want to find fresh ways to bless him each day, remembering that life here is short, eternity is long, and the greatest in God’s kingdom are those who stoop low to serve.

With God’s help, I will seek to be satisfied in His love each day before I seek comfort in your love. After Him, I will prioritize our relationship above all other relationships.

As the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, I know full well that my default position is to fashion Trevor
into a “little g” god. The only way I will keep from doing this is by keeping the “Big G” God first. I need to prioritize Trevor without idolizing Trevor.

By God’s power, I will have eyes for you and you alone, and I will do whatever it takes to remain exclusively faithful to you—both physically and emotionally.

Like I said, this has been a problem area for me in the past, and I’m not naïve enough to think I’ll never struggle with wandering eyes and a wandering heart again. Over a decade of working in women’s ministry has taught me that emotional affairs are just as wrong and dangerous as physical affairs. I am committed to guarding my eyes, which will help me guard my heart ( Prov. 4:23–25).

By God’s power, I will joyfully submit to your leadership—as unto Him—in all areas of life.

I purposefully paired “joyfully” and “submit” together as most people (including myself for many years!) have a prickly, incorrect view of submission. If Jesus—”for the joy set before him“—submitted to His Father when it meant humiliating, excruciating death, how can I not joyfully submit to the Father’s beautiful design for a husband and his wife?

By God’s grace, I will always seek to outdo you in showing honor . . .

This comes from Romans 12:10, which was our theme verse while we were dating. In fact, I wrote a post about it here (though at the time I didn’t let readers know I was the girl I was writing about).

. . . and I will respect you in the way I talk about you with others.

Far too often my words have torn down rather than built up. I especially need to be on guard while hanging out with other women, as we so easily fall into this subtle, slippery sin.

With God’s help, I will daily choose contentment and gratitude over complaining and bitterness, and I will do everything in my power to never take you for granted.

Godliness with contentment” isn’t natural for me, but I am setting out to make it mine.

With God’s help, I will hold no part of myself back from you—and at the same time, I will do everything I can not to overwhelm you.

Brutally open, honest communication is amazingly hard for me. Trevor has been helping me grow in this area. At the same time, I want to be wise about what and when and how much I share with him. I could easily overwhelm anyone!

And because of His immense grace toward me, I promise to never, ever divorce you, regardless of the circumstances.

By God’s power, I intend to do everything I can to give the world a right impression of God’s faithful, steadfast love toward His people.

Divorce has become so “normal” in our world, but it flies in the face of everything marriage ultimately points to. Marriage is a “great mystery” that gives the world a tiny picture of God’s never-giving up, covenant love for His bride. By God’s power, I intend to do everything I can to give the world a right impression of God’s faithful, steadfast love toward His people.

How about you? If you were getting married soon, what would be important for you to include in your vows?

PS: At our second wedding reception, we were asked why we chose the vows we chose. This is what we had to say:

The Story Behind My Wedding Vows was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

Wedding Videos & More: Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Wolgemuth!

Wedding Videos & More: Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Wolgemuth!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss was in a groove. She’d never been healthier—emotionally, physically, or spiritually. She was thriving, her ministry was thriving, and then one day—out of the clear blue—she received an email from widower Robert Wolgemuth.

Most single women would have jumped right into a relationship with a man of this caliber, but not Nancy. She’d always had a very strong sense of being set apart for the Lord, and He had never “awakened love” in her heart before.

So as Robert began to pursue her, Nancy told him 1) she had to know if the Lord was redirecting her life, and 2) the Lord would then have to put love in her heart for him.

Watch this fifteen-minute video, “Unexpected Grace,” to learn how God did just that.

And if you’d like the longer version, listen to or read the Revive Our Hearts transcripts all this week to hear how Nancy grappled with issues of God’s calling for her life, knowing His will, and more; and how God led her one step at a time.

There’s more.

If you didn’t get a chance to tune in to the LIVE stream of the wedding this past weekend, you can watch the wedding here. (Yes, she’s now Mrs. Nancy Wolgemuth!)

Finally, if you’re still in the mood for more scoop on this story, watch some or all of these fifteen video clips. My personal favorites:

Wedding Videos & More: Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Wolgemuth! was originally posted on TrueWoman.com. 

We Went to Church on Our Honeymoon

We Went to Church on Our Honeymoon

Trevor Marsteller and I joined hands in the stately building of Missio Church on October 3 and covenanted before God and man to love each other ’til death do us part. We returned the following morning and held hands in a pew near the front as we listened to the Word of God preached to the people of God.

Many of these people were incredulous: “You’re on your honeymoon, and you’re at church?!” We might as well have sprouted horns on our heads.

“You’re on your honeymoon, and you’re at church?!”

If it had been up to me, I probably would’ve opted to pull the covers over my head and dozed as long as possible after the stress of pulling off an event of that size. Missing a Sunday here or there hasn’t seemed like a big deal to me, especially after such a life-altering event.

But Trevor is the leader in this relationship—not me—and when he explained why he didn’t want to skip church the day after our wedding, I was so grateful.

“If marriage is an earthly picture of a heavenly reality,” he asked, “why would we miss out on being pointed to that heavenly reality?”

And so we participated in our local church service the morning after our wedding—as we do every Sunday, even when we’re traveling. We showed up not because we believe church attendance merits God’s favor (hardly!) or sets us apart as more righteous than others (as if!), but because we love God, His Word, and His people.

Caring for the Bride of Christ

In a congregational meeting a few weeks later, one of our elders reminded us of how passionately Jesus identifies with His bride, the Church.

It was amazing to see this truth so clearly in Acts 9. In this passage, Jesus asks Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?”

When Saul asks who Jesus is, He again reiterates, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (emphasis added).

How could Jesus say Saul was persecuting Him when He was safe at His Father’s side in heaven by this time (see Acts 1:9)? Because as we treat Christ’s people, so we treat Christ.

As we treat Christ’s people, so we treat Christ.

Christ’s very Spirit dwells in His bride, and His bride is in Christ. We’re one now. He loved His bride enough to give His life for her.

So how can we claim to love Jesus without caring for His bride, the Church?

After hearing God’s Word preached on October 4, Trevor and I leaned over to each other and agreed, “We’re so glad we didn’t miss this.”

It might not always be convenient, but this new bride is grateful for a husband who so highly values Christ’s bride.

How about you? Do you have a careless or a careful disposition toward faithfully and eagerly attending your local church? If you don’t regularly attend, what’s your excuse for not prioritizing Christ’s bride?

We Went to Church on Our Honeymoon was originally published on TrueWoman.com. 

 

8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Name (and 6 Reasons I Did)

8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Name (and 6 Reasons I Did)

Just over three weeks ago, it really happened. I got married!

Now that I’m back from my honeymoon, it’s time to adjust to a whole lotta change—a new address, a new roommate . . . and a new name. One item on my to-do list is:

Go to the social security office and officially change my last name.

I thought you might be interested in why I chose to change my name. So first, here are the reasons that are not motivating me:

  1. I’m not changing my last name because my husband defines me or because he’s my whole world. He’s not.
  2. I’m not changing my last name because I don’t like it. I love the name “Hendricks.” I’ve been a Hendricks—and proud of it—for thirty-two whole years.
  3. I’m not changing my last name because it’s fun or easy. From what I hear, it will be “a marathon, not a sprint” and will include a lot of trips and phone calls to a whole lot of different places.
  4. I’m not changing my last name because it’ll be a good move for my writing career. (FYI: I think I’ll use “Paula Hendricks Marsteller” online for now until people get used to my new name.)
  5. I’m not changing my last name because Trevor coerced me—or even asked me—to change it; this is all me.
  6. I’m not changing my last name for tradition’s sake. (Who cares if “that’s the way it’s always been done”?)
  7. I’m not changing my last name because I think Trevor and I aren’t equal. We have equal value because we both bear God’s image (Gen. 1:27).
  8. I’m not changing my last name because my identity is changing. I am still dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. I am still a sinner-turned-saint-by-the-grace-of-God.

So why on earth am I changing my last name?

  1. I am changing my last name because we’re no longer two, but one flesh (Matt. 19:6).
  2. I am changing my last name because my authority structure has changed. Now instead of obeying my dad, I will obey Trevor Marsteller. Yes, we are equal, but God has given us different roles in our relationship, and I joyfully choose to submit to this man.
  3. I am changing my last name because I belong to another now. When I began to follow Jesus Christ, I was given His name: “in Christ.” Now that I belong to Trevor Marsteller, I will carry his name as well.
  4. I am changing my last name because we will never, ever divorce, and I don’t have to worry about what might happen in the future with my last name. (Just to be clear, I’m not naïve enough to believe that Trevor and I will always feel love for each other. But we are both wholeheartedly committed to loving each other with Christ’s love for this lifetime, as marriage is not ultimately about us but serves as a visible picture of God’s never-giving-up love for His bride, the Church.)
  5. I am changing my last name because I believe this choice shows honor and respect to Trevor. And that is what I am committed to—showing him honor and reverence for as long as we both shall live, whether I feel like he’s acting in a manner worthy of respect at all times or not (Eph. 5:33).
  6. I am changing my last name because I no longer have to fight for “my rights.” Jesus temporarily laid aside His name (“King of kings and Lord of lords”), His position (Ruler of the Universe), and His rights (to be worshiped and adored by all His creatures). He did this so I might take His name and live with and belong to Him forever. Because of His humility, God the Father has given Jesus the name that is above every name. For this reason, it is my joy to bow my knee and submit my life to King Jesus—and to the man He has given me for this short period before eternity (Phil. 2:5–11).

How about you? Have you thought about whether or not you’ll take your future husband’s last name? Why or why not?

8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Name (and 6 Reasons I Did) was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses

The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses

One of you recently asked, “How do you live 1 Peter 3:3–4? I have an idea, but I’m not sure.”

You’ve probably heard these verses before, but here’s a refresher:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

How do you live these verses?

Not without 1 Peter 3:1–2 or 1 Peter 3:5–6. Context is critical to understanding what the Bible means. So let’s check out the surrounding verses. The chapter begins:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

Ah! So Peter is writing to married women.

Sweet! So I don’t have to listen to and apply this passage yet because I’m not married, right?

Hardly!

But before we apply it to ourselves, let’s make sure we understand the original meaning of this text.

First Peter 3:3–4 is followed by these verses:

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Yowza. This passage is all about . . . submission! Before you start sending me hate mail, let me point out some good news:

  1. In the context of marriage, we are only commanded to submit to one man, our own husband. You don’t have to submit to other women’s husbands (re-read the first part of verse 1 to see this for yourself), although part of being a Christian is respecting and considering the needs of all people.
  2. God isn’t asking us to do anything He hasn’t already done. Did you notice the way 1 Peter 3 started with the word “Likewise”? Peter is comparing our submission to someone else’s. But whose? Flip the page in your Bible to the end of chapter two for the answer.

We are all called to submit to the authorities over us. Not only to those who are “good and gentle,” but also to those who are “unjust.”

Why?

Because Christ, our Lord, did so for you and me:

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:21–23).

Obviously there’s a whole lot more to get out of this text, but let me stop and try to answer this girl’s question about how to live out 1 Peter 3:3–4 as a single. I’d suggest starting with this:

  1. Submit to the authorities who are currently in your life while ultimately entrusting yourself to your heavenly Father. Make your dad and mom’s job easy. Seek to be easy to lead.
  2. Remember that your beautiful face will eventually go, but your character will remain. Don’t trust in your outer beauty to capture and keep a man.
  3. Ask God to help you not fear anything that’s frightening. Seek to grow your trust in Him so you don’t have to trust in yourself during frightening times, but can throw yourself on Him.

Now that you know a bit more of the context of 1 Peter 3:3–4, how else do you think you can begin to become this kind of reverent, fearless, God-trusting woman?

The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

Married Woman: Sex Is a Weapon You Should Wield

Married Woman: Sex Is a Weapon You Should Wield

As a thirty-two-year-old virgin, I haven’t used sex as a weapon. Yet.

But I soon will.

Sex is not a weapon to use against your spouse; sex is a weapon to use against Satan.

I’m not talking about denying my soon-to-be husband sex because he hasn’t lifted a finger around the house or complimented me often enough. I don’t intend to use sex as a weapon against my husband; I intend to wield the weapon of sex against Satan.

Where’d I get a crazy idea like that?

As an engaged woman preparing for marriage, I’m reading This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. In this book, Piper suggests that “faith makes use of sexual intercourse as a means of grace.”

Wait. Whaaaaaat? Where’d he come up with that?

You’ve probably read 1 Corinthians 7:3–5 before, but pay particular attention to the last line:

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (emphasis added).

When a husband and wife are not coming together often, Satan is given a wide-open door for temptation.

John Piper continues:

A married couple gives a severe blow to the head of that ancient serpent when they aim to give as much sexual satisfaction to each other as possible. Is it not a mark of amazing grace that on top of all the pleasure that the sexual side of marriage brings, it also proves to be a fearsome weapon against our ancient foe?

This should not surprise us. Marriage at its exquisite peak of pleasure speaks powerfully the truth of covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. And that love is the most powerful force in the world. It is not surprising then that Satan’s defeat, Christ’s glory, and our pleasure should come together in this undefiled marriage bed.

Sex is not a weapon to use against your spouse; sex is a weapon to use against Satan.

I don’t know how often my future husband and I will have sex after we marry, but I hope it is the exception, and not the norm, to not “play” together. Why not glorify God, fight Satan, and delight in each other as often as possible? Sounds like a win-win to me.

(I realize that not every woman’s husband is all that interested in having sex. In that case, I would encourage you to keep praying for desire on his part and for protection for your marriage. Make sure you are making yourself attractive to him—not just physically—but relationally. Finally, if he’s open to it, seek medical and/or spiritual help.)

How about you? If you’re married, are you using sex as a weapon against your husband . . . or against Satan?

Married Woman: Sex Is a Weapon You Should Wield was originally posted on TrueWoman.com. 

 

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl Book Review

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl Book Review

All this week on the blog I’ve been sharing my story from “boy-craziness to my man.” If you missed the details, ironically God used my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, to kick off my friendship with my future hubby.

So now that I’m getting married, will I be leaving the message of this book far behind?

Not on your life.

The message of Confessions will be just as relevant for me as a married woman as it was for me as a single woman.

How so?

Because married or single, my hope is still in God, not in a man. After all, as Jani Ortlund says, “Marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.” Only God is perfect and will never disappoint me.

If I look to my future hubby (or you look to a potential boyfriend) for our worth, identity, or happiness . . . we will end up bitter, angry women. As one pastor often said, “What you idolize you will eventually demonize.”

But if we continually pursue and are satisfied in the far-surpassing treasure that Jesus Christ is, we will be able to love our guy when he’s acting wonderful . . . and when he’s being a pill.

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl is ultimately a book about the “little g” gods (idols) we worship—and how we can move from worshiping worthless gods to worshiping the one true, living God.

Married or single, you’ll benefit from the message of this book.

Freebie Friday: Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

3 Reasons I Said “Yes!” to Marrying Him

3 Reasons I Said “Yes!” to Marrying Him

All week I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey from “boy-crazy to my man” with you. Thanks for being interested in the love story God scripted for us! If you’ve missed the first three parts to this story, you can read them here:

It wasn’t always easy, getting to where we are today. There were lots of ups and downs; many times I wondered if we’d make it. But my doubts never lasted long. I think this journal entry will explain why:

It seems our relationship is characterized by the most important things: Christ; communication that’s open, humble, loving, and excellent; and community. I couldn’t move forward without a single one of these.

1. Relationship Secret #1: Christ

Trevor and I are fairly different, but Jesus Christ truly is the foundation of our relationship, which is more than enough common ground. Here are two entries from my journal to give you a taste of how Trevor has consistently pointed me to Christ rather than away from Him:

Trevor prayed last night, thanking God for bringing us together from so far apart, asking that in some small way we could reflect the gospel to those around us. I realized that when I asked friends to pray that I’d enjoy God and I’d enjoy Trevor, I didn’t see those two as intersecting at all. To me, romance has always been something to hide from God, not something to share with God and thank Him for and revel in Him. (How wrong I was!)

And one more entry, from a visit I made to New York:

We played “What Am I Thinking” and “Would You Rather.” His options were hilarious. Then he asked if we wanted to pray through the Lord’s Prayer. It was hard for me to turn my mind toward worshiping God, but so sweet and needed.”

2. Relationship Secret #2: Communication

Trevor and I have had excellent communication. Sure, starting out long distance helped. Talking was our only option, other than a monthly visit. But it’s more than that.

Mostly it’s been Trevor’s humble responses and probing questions that have given me more and more courage to share openly with him. I can’t tell you how huge this has been in my life; until Trevor, I always “held back.” Here’s one example from my journal, about a Skype conversation:

As were were about to go, I asked Trevor if he’d pray for me. I got teary. I told him I was kinda anxious about his visit . . . His response was beautiful . . . He asked if there was more.

I didn’t want to tell him, but I admitted that I worry I might be getting into a relationship with an angry man. He responded amazingly and thoughtfully.

He said he was sorry multiple times.
That I didn’t deserve that.
That he didn’t want me to have to have any caution flags with him.
That he would be repenting of his sin.
That he’s still growing out of selfishly thinking his sin only impacts him and the person he’s sinned against.

He said he already has some action ideas for what to do next. And he said a lot, “Anything I say feels worthless ’til you see some change.” Although he’s also confessed he’s a sinner and this will probably be a life-long process, but he didn’t want that to be an excuse.

Trevor has modeled humility time and time again in our conversations. He has also not hidden sin from me, but confessed it. As a result, I trust him—with my inmost thoughts, fears, and struggles.

3. Relationship Secret #3: Community

The fact that Trevor is so deeply rooted in community has given me great confidence. He loves his local church body. In addition to running sound, playing guitar, and doing their books, he leads a small group and participates in a discipleship group an elder leads. Because he’s surrounded himself with people, I’ve been able to hear from others who have known Trevor a lot longer than I have what they think of him. (That’s invaluable as a girl considers marriage!)

From the start Trevor was intentional about introducing me to his friends (he even tried to get some girls to host a girls’ night while I was in town!). This has meant that when I moved to New York a couple months ago (to live with a family from his church until our wedding day), I’ve had instant community through the relationships he’s already built.

We’ve also been able to do premarital counseling with an elder/counselor, and get a wise, outside perspective on our relationship.

All three of these C’s—Christ, communication, and community—caused me to joyfully and confidently said “yes!” when Trevor got down on one knee this past April and read me a Shakespearean sonnet he’d written:

. . . I journeyed far to gain this precious rose,
By land and air through darkness deep inside.
I’ll carry her through thorns and fears below,
Held by His hand in raging storms and tides.

The rising Day will banish soon the night,
Sojourn with me ’til then, and be my wife.

How about you? Would you ever consider marrying a man without Christ, communication, and community being a part of your relationship? Why or why not?

Then, check back tomorrow for a wrap-up to this series as well as a chance to win a copy of my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom.

3 Reasons I Said “Yes!” to Marrying Him was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Trevor Declares His Undying Love . . . Sorta

Trevor Declares His Undying Love . . . Sorta

Trevor and I met in “The Promised Land” (a.k.a. Chick-fil-A) on a Saturday night last summer. (If you’re just joining us, I’m sharing my journey from “boy-crazy to my man” this week on the blog. Click here and here for the first two posts.)

We’d never even talked on the phone before—just written back and forth on Facebook for the past four months, but it was as comfortable as could be from the get-go. He was sitting at a table when I walked in—not holding a rose like in romance novels—but reading a book in true Trevor-fashion.

We did all sorts of “manly” things together that long weekend (remember, I was trying to show him a good time!), like exploring an abandoned house, shooting guns, lifting weights, hiking through a riverbed, canoeing, swimming in the lake, and making a bonfire. We ate. And talked. That was my favorite part. We talked about what we were looking for in a spouse, theological beliefs, and past experiences.

Tuesday morning, as we met at Chick-fil-A for one last meal before he headed back to New York, I fought back tears. We’d become even better friends over the long weekend, but I had no idea if I’d ever see this guy again. I wasn’t about to put him on the spot and ask, “Sooooo . . . what are you thinking about us?”

But while I prepared to say goodbye for good, he did it. He did what God created men to do; he initiated. It went something like this:

T: “So, how do you think this weekend went?”
Me: “It was fun!”
T: “Where do you see our relationship going?”
Me: “You tell me. I’m wide open.” (I’m not sure he was expecting that answer!)

He let me know he had qualms about a long-distance relationship, so he wanted to take a few days to seek advice about how to pursue me from nine hours away.

I sent him on his way with some black licorice Swedish dogs, overwhelmed by God’s wonderful surprise and by Trevor acting like a man should. I was on top of the world . . . until the morning.

All too soon I pulled out my journal, and my sin spilled out:

Today I was ungrateful for all God has done and just wanted more. I wanted Trevor to pursue me now.

He’s seeking the Lord about how to do that, but I want and expect to be fawned over and contacted and pursued hotly from his first admission of liking me.

Thank You, God, for this training ground. I want to learn now how to thank You for what he does rather than focusing on what he doesn’t do.

So thank You for his sensitivity and leadership in texting me this today:

“I don’t know if I said this when we had breakfast yesterday, but I want to make sure I’m clear on this—I like you, too, and the question I face is, ‘How might a relationship like this work?’ So that’s the main thing I’m going to try to work through in the coming days and such. Just wanted to maintain the clarity a bit. “

I continued writing,

I also confess that when I responded to his text and admitted my struggle with him only telling me I “had a good head on my shoulders,” I didn’t think of how that would sound to him (probably like “You failed”). I wanted him to text me back saying,

“Of course! Dumb me. You must be wondering WHY I like you. WHAT I like about you. Where should I start?!” (This is where I imagined him rattling off a long list.)

Forgive me for seeking to manipulate him. For trying to gauge my worth on his praise of me.

Here it is again. I want to be worshipped rather than to worship the only worthy God. I am an idolater. A breaker of the first commandment. Rescue me, Abba.

Almost instantly I came face to face with my ugly expectations for a dating relationship. It was as if I no longer cherished our friendship; I only wanted romance . . . and now! How patient Trevor was with me as I worked through my junk. I’ve already written about that season in these two posts: “When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One” and “My Ugly Expectations for My Boyfriend.” They’ll give you a good idea of what this man has put up with!

So . . . what gave me the confidence to move forward with this man even when he wasn’t meeting all my crazy expectations for 24/7 romance? Check back tomorrow to hear the three main things that caused me to joyfully and confidently say “yes!” when Trevor asked me to be his wife this past April.

Trevor Declares His Undying Love . . . Sorta was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.