6. hard but necessary

Dear beloved,

The date count has gone up. The total number of dates now that I have gone on has been 6. And while they have been positive experiences, I hoping that the number will stay at 6 until I meet you. Dating is confusing, it brings up more questions that it does answers, and the worst part is when it brings up unanswered questions. Dating is filled with uncertainty and while uncertainty helps me to depend on the Lord, it also scares terrifies me.

I find it pretty ironic that I started writing this post a couple of days ago, with an entirely different purpose, outlook and conclusion. The draft was saved, unfinished and unpublished, as if to say that I was even uncertain of what I was trying to say. And even as I sit here at 3:20am in the morning, having just waken up and unable to sleep with a myriad of thoughts in my head, I find myself writing aimlessly and trying to process what it is that I am actually thinking. It has been a tough couple of days, and I am slowly coming to the realization that uncertainty and not knowing all the answers can often be a good thing. Despite the amount of anxiety it has given me these past couple of days, uncertainty, in all of it’s glory has helped me rely on, and be more dependent on the Lord.

I am excited to meet you, and eager to get to know you, but now that I have had experience in dating, you can also add apprehensive to that list. Because getting to know you, as fun as it will be, also requires vulnerability. I am not an easily vulnerable person, mainly because being vulnerable means sharing something that you aren’t necessarily comfortable opening up about it, or answering a hard question that requires blatant honesty. Vulnerability requires trust, and trust is a hard thing to establish given a short time period, and is something that must be built. I hope that when we date, our trust will be built, that our trust will have a foundation of friendship, because figuring out if you want to date a stranger is pretty hard.

In the past couple of days, it seems like I have felt every single emotion on the spectrum of emotions, from anxiety, frustration, disappointment, confusion, dread to joy, wonderment, relief, eagerness and ultimately peace. Through this dating phase God has taught me some lessons that were surprising, and yet… necessary.

  1. It is better to be uncertain, than it is to be foolish.  – Being uncertain is not a bad thing, but it is a scary thing. It means being cautious, protective of my heart. Entering into a relationship isn’t going to be easy, and character is everything. How are you going to treat me, are you listening to what I am saying, are you going to remember what I have said, are you interested in getting to know me? Before I give my heart to you, before thinking of the future, these are questions that I now know should have solid answers.
  2. It is okay to not know what my desires are – Desires are simply that – desires. They are not written in stone, and they may and can change over time. I learned that the important part is to be pursued and loved as a partner first. Because a godly marriage is the foundation for a godly family. Are you pursuing me because of me, and the partnership that we can have in Christ, or are you pursuing me as a means to an end goal? I am still trying to figure out what my desires are. Those desires may change as I meet you, as I commit to you, and as I love you, as long as our desire first and foremost is for the Lord.
  3. There shouldn’t be any hesitations. – If and when I commit to something more with you, there will be no hesitations, on my part and on yours. Hesitations are different than fears – there will always be fears. Fears of failure, fear of the unknown, of heartbreak, of invested time that does not lead to marriage. But hesitations breed insecurity, insecurities – doubt, and doubt – mistrust. Any type of commitment should be entered in with confidence, joy, peace and eagerness to start something that will be glorifying to God. I want our commitment to take the fear of the unknown and make it exciting.
  4. Feelings aren’t everything, but they are something. – Attraction grows. I don’t know if I will be attracted to you at first, or if the attraction that I have for you and vice versa will grow as we get to know one another and see the hearts that we have for Christ and for each other. There are other feelings too though. Feelings of nervousness are important, feelings of anxiety and stress. I learned that if I feel these things I need to ask myself what is the source of these feelings, not simply regulate them and move on. God can use the way that I feel to reveal to me something that I had not known before.
  5. Being comfortable with vulnerability takes time. There was a point when I felt like i was having open heart surgery, without any warning or pre-op appointment. I appreciate honesty, openness and vulnerability, and I am willing to reciprocate. I learned that it is one thing to be vulnerable, and another to be comfortable with the vulnerability. Ideally it is the latter, sometimes vulnerability is worth the risk, and I know that it will be worth it with you.
  6. Friends in different stages. – I am so thankful for friends and family who have spoken into my life in different ways throughout the dating process. Friends who are single, married, divorced, and newly married – single parents, grandparents, married parents. They have all spoken truth into my life, with various viewpoints, experiences and nuggets of wisdom, I hope that you have people pouring into your life as well who love you enough to pray for you!
  7. Sanctification. Ultimately I see the dating process as a process of sanctification. And that is what has given me hope. In the past week alone, I have seen results of this, in my complete dependence on the Lord for wisdom and discernment. He has revealed to me the power of praying His word, specifically Psalm 143:8-10  which reads:
    Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust.
    Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.
    Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to You for refuge.
    Teach me to do Your will for You are my God!
    Let Your good spirit lead me on level ground!
     Psalm 143:8-10 
    These verses, now committed to memory, has been a saving grace this week, and to see and recognize how God has answered this prayer has been in and of itself been an incredible journey.

Dating is a lesson in selfishness, selflessness and sacrificial love. It is hard, confusing and while I do not regret any of these experiences, I also would not go back and repeat them. This past dating experience will take some healing, some recovery, some processing. Ultimately, we both left having shared the gospel and making a new friend. There were harder lessons to learn here, and some were necessary, and the way that I look at it all, is that it is preparing me for something greater, it is preparing me for you.

Dating is hard. Marriage will be harder. I am apprehensively excited to journey together,

Love,

Your future wife.

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