A Long Engagement


I vividly remember my proposal story. Matt and I were college students in finals at Texas A&M University. We had been dating for a year and a half and we had had the typical weird Texas A&M Christian bubble experience where we were kind of too intentional about our dating process. We basically knew marriage was on the table as soon as we made our dating relationship "official." Because neither of us dated people that we couldn't see ourselves marrying. 

Finals week had just ended, and Matt invited me to celebrate the beginning of summer with a beach date. It was May 11, 2011. 

We drove down to Galveston, excited to spend the day goofing off instead of studying. I had in the back of my mind the idea that he might propose, but I didn't want to obsess over it because I wanted to truly enjoy the day regardless. As we laid our towels out on the beach, he said he left something in the trunk and went back to the car -- was this it?? He came back with sandcastle supplies and two cute plastic dragons (I love dragons). I giggled at my proposal paranoia, and excitedly took the Toothless dragon from his hands. We built sandcastles, swam a bit, and talked a lot. 

We washed up at the beach house thing and got ready for dinner at our then favorite restaurant -- Olympia (greek food). We laughed and enjoyed each others' company, though I got onto Matt for being on his phone too much while we were on a date. The waiter was taking his sweet time. I think he thought Matt was proposing too. He eventually brought the check and we got back in Matt's car. It had been such a happy and lovely day, even without a proposal. We just really enjoyed the time together. 

As we were headed back north, Matt said he was feeling really full and wondered if I wanted to walk off our dinner a bit on the beach. We started walking, not talking a ton, but looking off onto the water, hand-in-hand. He guided me onto a jetty and said, "Could I start telling you nice things now?" I laughed it off and said, "When would it never not be okay for you to tell me nice things."

As he was saying his nice things, he got onto one knee and asked me to marry him, there on the jetty. 

We drove back to College Station (I was texting everyone to tell them the great news for the majority of the drive) and were greeted by my closest friends and my brother when we arrived at Matt's house. Turns out Matt had been texting all day to coordinate some of his best friends to be able to take photos of the moment. It was such a great day. 

From there, we were obviously uncontrollably excited about our wedding day. Even before we had our 10-month away wedding date set, we couldn't wait. We knew it was going to be amazing.

I'm not just randomly telling you this story. 

Last Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon on Revelation 19 -- a really intense passage involving Jesus on a white horse, in a robe dipped in blood with swords coming out of his mouth. 

We talked about how this portrayal shows what Jesus is willing to do to be one with his bride (the church, us). He fights for us, but because he's God, he's victorious before he even begins battle.

We looked at the symbolism of Jewish weddings and our relationship with Jesus:

  • The legal stuff = sin being paid, justice
  • The dowry = Jesus' death on the cross
  • Period of separation before the wedding/engagement = where we are now, we're saved (legally married), but not yet united
  • The 7-day party described in this passage,/wedding = Jesus' return, our full union with him

You should listen to the sermon because it's really good, but I want to focus on one key aspect -- the excitement of earthly engagement, and how that compares to our unity with Christ. 

I just shared with you my engagement story. My salvation story is quite different. I don't have a specific moment. If we're making comparisons, I'd say it was more like a common law situation. I had slowly developed a relationship with God over years. 

My anticipation of the wedding (Christ's coming) is also very different. I'm not crazy excited about it to where it's all I can think about. I don't daydream about our physical unity. 

What does that mean for me? If I am so much more excited about marrying my husband than I am about being united with Christ in full form. Does it have something to do with the fact that the wedding day isn't set? We're in a long engagement, of unknown duration. Perhaps that's what slows the excitement. 

I've been chewing on this during my runs for over a week now. I want that excitement. I want to live in a way that longs for a much more perfect unity, the unity we all ultimately crave. And I think I know where that excitement comes from -- relationship. 

By continuously working on my relationship with the Lord through prayer, meditation, and study, our relationship will continue to blossom. The better I know him, the more excited I'll be about ultimately being with him in the new Jerusalem. And the better I know him, the more wonderful that "wedding day" will actually be.