So to set the stage, we are happily back together at this point, and things couldn't seem any better. We spent every waking moment together, and were just enjoying life and being madly in love.
I had a trip to the Dominican Republic planned with a couple of friends since before Chris had even moved home. As excited as I was to get to the beach and enjoy some sand and sun with one of my best friends, admittedly I was also a little sad to be leaving Chris for a week. At this point we had only been back together for just over a month.
The night before I left Chris and I were snuggling on the couch in the townhouse he shared with 3 other guys. No one else was in the room, which was quite odd for that house. Chris turned to me and said something to the effect of "I'm going to love you for the rest of my life"
This was the first time words had been uttered that had implications of the rest of our lives. Up until that point there was no "forever", no "let's get married", no "til death do us part" mentioned in any conversation. I'll be honest- it felt like a really big deal. A much bigger deal than I expected it to be. I had been in relationships previously where marriage was talked about. (It's hard not to discuss it when you date someone for longer than a year.) Never before, however, had marriage felt like the commitment that it now did. This time I was a Christian, and marriage was a forever deal. It wasn't that I actually had thoughts of marriage not needing to be a forever commitment before then- but if I were to be really honest with myself I would have to admit that I didn't truly believe in my heart that all marriages were meant to last forever.
But now... now I did. And all of a sudden someone telling me they wanted "forever" with me really truly felt like forever. And that felt like a pretty big deal. I was excited, but at the same time felt a sensing right away that we needed to pray about this and ask God what he thought. If I'm going to live the rest of my life with someone, I'm going to be dang sure it's the person the Lord wants me to be with.
Side note- I just want to clarify how I feel about marriage. In my opinion, God does have one person set aside for you. That person is your one true match, and only by the grace of God will you find that person and live happily ever after. It is always by His grace, friends. I do however believe that any and every marriage has the potential to be just as life giving, loving, and long lasting as a marriage between two people that God has set apart for one another. When we have Jesus at the center of our lives and marriage we have all we need to succeed. That being said though, it is my belief that when we are living inside of his will, there is a blessing in that, and perhaps sometimes we have an easier time. I'm not talking about the difference between putting a square peg in a round hole, but instead maybe a slightly larger round peg in a round hole. If we marry someone that might not be the person God has set aside for us we might just have to hit the peg a few extra times before it fits perfectly. Am I making sense? There is no such thing as marrying the wrong person. Let's just be clear about that.
Back to that night - we decided that we would both take the next week to separately pray and ask God if we were indeed walking the right path towards marriage. With that I took off on a jet plane the next morning to the DR and spent my time with the Lord on a beach (Lucky lady, huh?)
A few days in, I was alone in my hotel room praying, and for the first time ever, I decided to open my Bible to a random page and ask the Lord to speak to me through His word. I prayed first, and then flipped open my Bible. It opened up to the book of Daniel, Chapter 9. As I read, I was able to identify with Daniel's pleas to the Lord. He was asking for help. For God to intervene. I felt the same way - I was pleaded with God to give me an answer - I so desperately wanted to be obedient to him and to have him be a part of this decision. I flipped the page to Chapter 10, and the words jumped off the page:
"When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.
On April 23, as I was standing on the bank off the Tigris river, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt fo pure gold around his waist..."
Daniel 10:2-5 NLT
Now, I don't know how often you read the Bible, but in my experience there aren't a lot of actual dates thrown around. Often it will say something like "On the third night" or "In the second month" but not real dates. And it just so happened that April 23rd was just less than 2 weeks away. In that moment, as I journeled about what I had just read, I felt the Lord speaking to me, and he was saying that I needed to fast as Daniel had done until April 23rd. He had heard my request, and he wanted to be a part of this conversation. Right away I felt as though he was giving his blessing on our marriage, but he knew how important it was to me to hear from him. I knew this fast was more for me than for him, but I was more than happy to do it. I was being obedient to what he asked me to do, and it couldn't have brought me more joy.
With a few days in the Dominican still left, I decided to wait until I got home to tell Chris what I had heard from the Lord. In the meantime I stopped eating meat, and "rich foods" (which is widely accepted as dairy.) I also refrained from drinking any alcohol. Only virgin margaritas for the rest of the trip! Once I got home I excitedly told Chris what God had told me. We agreed not to talk about marriage until April 23rd. At this point we had 10 more days to wait if my memory serves me right.
The evening of the 23rd we planned to have a steak dinner with a glass of red wine to celebrate the end of the fast and to set the stage for the exciting conversation that was bound to happen. Once we were both off work (It was a Friday) we went to Safeway to get a few ingredients. I was bursting with excitement to finally tell him that Yes, I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life. So excited in fact, that I couldn't wait. Right in front of the bagged salads in the produce section of Safeway I turned to him, grabbed his hand and said "I really really want to marry you!!!"
A wise man recently pointed out to us that while it wasn't until September 1st that Chris actually proposed, April 23rd was a much more exciting day. The ring made it official to all our friends and family, but we knew that night in the bagged salad section of Safeway that we were getting married.
Hmmm... does that mean I proposed to him...?
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