HI!! Happy Thursday!
I suppose some people might be offended that I had the strong desire to write this but well, this is my blog. It is a place where I share my thoughts and by the Grace of God, some people choose to read them. If you disagree with what I think (I’m fully aware that ~98% of people that read this post will) then so be it.
I’m not writing about this because I had a quick thought one day, “Wow, I think it’s silly that so and so is living with his/her fiancé before marriage”. That was not the case. This is something that I have thought about daily for the last couple of months and goes beyond the statistics that states the percentage of couples that end in divorce after living together before marriage. I’m not judging people for doing this. I’m just very thankful that I’ve never lived with my fiancé, Stephen, before our wedding day and I want to explain why.
In case you are new to Donut Stop Running (WELCOME!), I’ll give you a little update so that you understand where I’m coming from when writing this. I met my (now) fiancé while we were both students at Virginia Tech. We’ve been together for 4.5 years and engaged for 6 months; 3 of those school years we were living in the same town but had relatively little time to spend with each other, summers were long distance, and we’ve been long distance since he commissioned into the Air Force in 2014. To give you some perspective, Stephen and I have only seen each other about a total of 30 days over the past 2 years. Some people are so quick to provide sympathy when they hear about our situation and yes, some days really do suck more than others, but I’m genuinely thankful for this time spent apart. Not only that but there are men and women overseas with limited communication that haven’t seen or will not see their family for months to over a year. With that always in mind, I’ll remain thankful for my 30 days.
I have to pause my thoughts for a second and give huge props to our parents who engrained in both of us from the very beginning that we shouldn’t live with our significant other before marriage. While we might not have listened to every single thing they told us to do growing up, I’m thankful that this is something we both didn’t budge on. It would’ve been pretty simple for us to say, “We’re tired of being apart. We want to live together before marriage… I’ll find a job in Mississippi…” but it was never even a thought.
With Stephen’s pilot training drop night and graduation filling up the month of October, I’ve seen him more in the past month than I’ve seen him all year. Reuniting after spending so much time apart has really gotten me thinking (and saying to him), “Wow, I’m really glad we don’t live together.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the man much more than I feel the need to express on my blog but I can’t help but feel that way. I think in today’s day in age this thought process is such an anomaly so I’ve thought for months over this list and the result is this-
Building up the Excitement
With our wedding approaching in May, we’ve been preparing and talking more about the ‘big day’. We’ve picked out the flowers, completed our cake tasting (YASSSS!), chosen our bridal party, you name it. Don’t get me wrong, we’re excited for May 27, 2017 but I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we are more excited for life afterward. Not only will we wake up next to each other every day but we’ll be moving into the same house and experiencing so many firsts together. I mean, even things that some people would consider stupid… We have yet to experience what it is like when both of us are working and we have to come home and figure out what to make for dinner, who will take care of the trash, how we’ll decide what to do on Saturday mornings, etc. Really dumb things… But we’ve never experienced them and it’s something that we will get to face once we’re married. I look forward to the thrill of moving across the country into a house with Stephen after the wedding and finding the answers to all of our stupid questions as a newly married couple. If we were together during this time then we would already be comfortable in our living situation and would know which one of us is most likely to take out the trash. Where’s the fun in that?
Stephen and I both find comfort in each other and in our relationship. However, we don’t have any sort of comfort established in a living together sense and that is perfectly okay with us. We have continued to date each other through out engagement because we haven’t fallen into the “old married couple” comfortable routine that usually occurs to couples living together. During this engagement period we are happy but will I say we’re completely comfortable with our situation as it is? Heck no we aren’t! We can’t wait to be together! If it were the case in which we lived together before marriage, I believe it would’ve been very easy to get comfortable and content in our situation. We would be two separate individuals living two somewhat separate lives under one roof; we would certainly love each other but not until we get married will we ‘become one’.
“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Mark 10:8
The Engagement Period
This period of time I think is really important. We went from two dating people, to two engaged people, and in 7 months we will be two married people. The purpose of the engagement period is not to just flaunt a beautiful ring and post a few pictures on Instagram counting down the days until the big day. This period of time apart has been so beneficial for the both of us because we’ve been able to step back on our own separate time and really reflect on what marriage means. Let me remind you people, marriage is an everlasting covenant.
One of my best friends (and bridesmaids!) Rhya, suggested that we read The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller to prepare for marriage. Rhya, I can’t thank you enough. We’ve also used other resources during this time that I won’t go into detail on. Another post, maybe?! 🙂
I haven’t learned all of Stephen’s pet peeves and he hasn’t learned all of mine… Heck! I don’t think I even know all of my own yet. Anyway, we get to experience these together once we’re married. I have no clue if he throws his dirty boxers on the floor before he showers instead of putting them in the hamper but guess what?! As a wife (woah….) I will take care of and after my husband and if that means I find out that I have to take care of his boxers then so be it but I don’t want to find those things out until I’m the newly married Mrs. T.
Surviving Long Distance
I could write an entirely separate post about how I believe even a small stint of a long distance can be very beneficial for any couple (and maybe someday I will) but for now I’ll just say this. This point mainly addresses military couples because we all know that eventually our significant other will be deployed or we will be separated at some point or another. However, there are also civilian couples that might deal with this too! My best friend and I (she’s also long distance with her Air Force fiancé) always rant to each other about the struggles of long distance but when it really comes down to it, I’m so glad that we’re pros at this before marriage. I know exactly how Stephen and I handle the time apart and how we make each other feel loved despite the many miles between us. Not to toot my own horn but I have learned to be one heck of an independent woman that is able to work two jobs, stay active, grow as a daughter in Christ, and plan a wedding all while loving Stephen to the best of my ability. Throw kids into the mix of a deployment someday and I have faith that I will be just fine. Oh! If you’re in a military relationship and have questions about speaking each others love languages while in a long distance relationship, we’ve enjoyed reading this book!
Continuing on from the point above… I know that once we’re married, most of my time will be spent with Stephen. He is my best, best friend and as my husband he will always come first. However, [GIRL]FRIENDS ARE SO IMPORTANT. When ‘they’ say, “It takes a village.” Well folks, it certainly does. I’ve always loved and cherished my friends but during this engagement period leading up to the wedding, I’ve really grown to appreciate them even more and have really learned the importance of friendship. It might sound crazy (Jordan, you didn’t know friends were important?!) but during this time it has really impacted me in a much deeper way. Once Stephen and I are married I will spend more time with him, yes, but not much will change with my friendships because I’ve learned so much more about each of my old (and new) relationships and what each friends needs of me to feel loved. You girls are so special to me and will always be such a huge part of my life. Along with the point above, I know that if Stephen gets deployed I will be a okay because I have my friends for additional support. I’m so thankful I have found that comfort through this engagement period apart from Stephen.
I’m going to keep this one short by saying this is a significant part of marriage and let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to be intimate before marriage when you’re living under the same roof.
Not too long from now we will be the newly married, never lived together, Mr. and Mrs. T. We will experience many firsts together, many ups and downs, and tons of adventure. As we move into this new life together, we want to cherish the newlywed stage, the traditions that come along with it, and continue to grow in our relationship. While it may be a rarity nowadays, we are so thankful that we stuck to our guns and get to wait until our wedding day to start our life together.