“Let me grab those bags from you. Oh, and you can take the front seat too.” My insecure and nervous self was shocked by his words because I had every intent of sitting in the backseat of his car, putting in my headphones, and pretending I was invisible.
You see, I had lost my ride home for winter break due to an unlikely Lynchburg snow storm and my new ride home was none other than a cute, burly, hockey player that made me stumble over my words. Yes, I brought snacks (gluten free cookies of course) in hopes that it would make the driver and his teammate accompanying us like me a little bit more, but I planned on being as little of a disruption as possible.
Well that offer to sit shotgun turned into 6 hours straight of talking and bonding over gluten free cookies and now over 2 years later that cute, burly, hockey player named Brandon that made me stumble over my words, is my fiancé. If you had told either one of us that on that cold December day we were meeting the person we were going to spend the rest of our lives with, we probably would’ve laughed and shook our heads in disbelief. We knew we would be good friends but neither one of us initially saw it working out that way.
Brandon has taught me a lot in the last few years. How to love well. How to serve well. How to fight well. How to listen well. How to “just be” well. How to love Jesus well. The list could go on and on. With premarital counseling on the horizon, we both have started to realize the selfish tendencies and sin natures within us that are going to be magnified when we are married. Daily we will have to die to the desires of our flesh not only to glorify God, but also to love each other well. It has been sobering and sanctifying in the best possible way.
Lately, as I have been thinking about this commitment I have been drawn to the book “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller (a cult favorite around here). There have been a few key takeaways that have knowingly and unknowingly shaped my love for and relationship with my fiancé, the first being “action.”
“Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love. And of course that can be true. But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love.”
Love is not simply the butterflies Brandon gives me and the desire to spend as much time with him as possible. There are days when we just keep getting on each other’s last nerve and we have to sit back, take a deep breath, and choose to honor one another in the way that we go about our frustrations. Serving Brandon even through conflict breeds a steadfast love for him.
“Friendship is a deep oneness that develops when two people, speaking the truth in love to one another, journey together to the same horizon.”
As I mentioned previously, Brandon and I primarily saw each other as just friends and nothing more to start for a variety of different reasons. And then we started to spend more time together, have deeper conversations, and grow in enjoyment of the other’s presence. We began to develop our common ground (Jesus, hockey, and gluten free snacks to name a few) and realized that the desires of our hearts aligned. He became my best friend and oneness with him quickly became something I wanted deeply — journeying through life with a man who points me to Jesus and loves me with truth and honor. He has been my iron (Proverbs 27:17).
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
2020 threw many curve balls our way. We graduated college but no one was hiring and we spent close to six months asking God to provide a job for Brandon. After all, we wanted to get married, and marriage is a good thing right? Yes, but God put us in a season of waiting to liberate us from our self-made agenda, humble our pride of thinking we knew what was best, and strengthening us to walk through difficulty together. We had to wait patiently on the Lord (Psalm 37:3). It was in God’s good plan and faithfulness for Brandon to not get a job right away. Those 6 months taught us a lot about our unspoken expectations, our insecurities, and how we respond when life does not go the way we planned. It was a season of sanctification and we are currently reaping the benefits of leaning into the Lord together.
I get to marry Brandon in 211 days and I am so ready to be his wife.
I am so grateful for Jesus, Hockey, and gluten free cookies.