"I wasn’t content in my role as a wife and mother because I had started to see myself as a wife and mother and nothing else."
I had pretty much resigned myself to stay single when I met my husband. My parents had just recently finalized their divorce after 30 years of a rocky marriage, the guy I really liked and thought was going to become my boyfriend got back with his ex, and I was just too done with love. I honestly didn’t care if I stayed single for the rest of my life if it meant avoiding heartbreak and the drama that comes with it. When I looked at my parents’ relationship I dreaded making the same mistakes they did. And I certainly didn’t want to end up marrying someone for the wrong reasons, only to find myself feeling miserable and disgusted with myself when I woke up every morning.
Then I met him. It wasn’t like the romantic comedies where there’s lots of passion and fireworks when the two characters meet. My heart didn’t start pounding whenever he came into the room.
It was more like him slowly growing on me until I realized I couldn’t imagine my life without him. You can read all about it in this post that went viral.
But when I thought about spending the rest of my life with him, and all the baggage we both had, I was still scared and worried that I was making a mistake. I loved him, but I really didn’t want to deal with all the difficulties I imagined would come up eventually if we got married. I was scared of the commitment.
But here I am, 7 years and 2 kids later, writing blogs about relationships and marriage.
I don’t regret getting married, and I now dedicate a lot of my spare time to advising single people on relationships and marriage.
So how did I get over my fears of making the commitment that we call marriage?
I did some serious soul-searching and had long, honest talks with God about these:
1. Character: I did a thorough mental evaluation of every aspect of my husband’s character. I was honest with myself about his flaws. I asked myself: If I have to live with this flaw for the next 10 years, will we still have a happy marriage?
That’s one of the MOST important questions to ask yourself. The thing that most people don’t understand about marriage is that the flaws you see in the person while you’re dating are only magnified when you get married. You’re living with each other, sleeping in the same bed, and waking up to each other every morning. Whatever it is about them that gets on your nerves, will only become even more frustrating. Constant frustration can lead to bitterness and resentment, which slowly chokes the affection in your marriage.
If you find that there’s an aspect of your partner’s character that you would not want to put up with in your marriage, don’t get married. Give them time to work on it and establish more positive habits so that you know the change is real, not something manufactured for the sake of getting you to say yes.
2. Chemistry: Did we have that spark, that attraction that draws two people to each other? Was I attracted to him physically and intellectually?
I’ll admit, I struggled with the physical attraction part in the beginning. He just wasn’t the type I usually went for. But the more I got to know him, the more endearing his looks became, and I found that my heart did speed up for a second whenever I saw him. As for the intellectual part, that was what got him out of the friend zone! We could talk for hours on the phone, and he understood me in a way that no one else ever had.
3. Commitment: We both took marriage seriously. We understood that we would both do whatever it took to make sure we were building our marriage on the right foundation. We were both willing to do whatever it took to work out whatever difficulties we would face. We were both committed to making sure our love stayed bright and strong.
4. Core Values: Part of the reason why we were able to have those long talks was because we were on the same page when it came to things that were important to us. Our moral standards were the same. We both valued family and friendship. We both wanted to be forces for change in our communities. We were both youth leaders at our churches and would encourage each other as we swapped stories. When it came to the types of lives we wanted to live, we were completely in sync.
Let me keep it real. Even with all of that, there were still times where I wondered if I had done the right thing. Marriage is still a leap of faith even when you and your spouse make awesome partners. It doesn’t mean that your marriage will be easy. Difficulties will always be a reality of life. Love will always entail taking a risk. But it’s a calculated risk. You have to approach it with your eyes wide open to everything you are risking.
After that, you entrust your marriage into God’s hands and know that He will keep your love going even when you both want to quit.
Seven years, 2 kids, and counting.
Till next time!
Want to know more about what to expect in marriage? Download your FREE copy of "Love Me This Way" here!
Before I started dating my husband. I met a guy that I thought was “the one” through friends in my church circle. I got him to speak at an event at my church, and before I knew it, he and I were texting back and forth very frequently. One day he texted me “Can I call you?” In that moment I realized that I was definitely attracted to him and wanted to get to know him more.
We started talking on the phone, sometimes for hours. I felt like the more I got to know him, the more I realized that he was exactly the kind of guy I wanted: he loved God, he was a pastor, educated, and wasn’t afraid to take a stand for things he believed in. I started imagining my future with him in it: starting a youth ministry together with him, being in the pew to cheer him on when he preached, the whole nine. I was even friends with his sister so in my mind I thought “This is perfect.” There was just one small hiccup: he hadn't asked me to be his girlfriend yet.
One night his sister, his mom, and the two of us ended up going to the movies. When we pulled up to my house, he didn't bother walking me to my door. As they drove away I felt insulted and confused. Hadn't we just (technically) been on a date?
The next day I made up my mind to ask him what his intentions were. He explained that he didn't want to lead me on, and that he wasn't over his ex yet. He also said he didn’t want to hurt anyone so he wanted me to know he wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. I thought it was just nervousness talking. I figured in time he would get over his hesitation because I could clearly sense that he found me attractive and enjoyed our friendship because we spent so much time talking.
I prayed about it and asked God to show me if this was meant to be. And it seemed like right after I prayed that prayer, I got a text from this guy. Yes! That had to be my sign! Time went on and the same thing kept happening, so I thought he was the one.
All of a sudden, he seemed to become distant. I would call and he would say he was too busy to talk at that moment. I started getting a sinking feeling in my stomach about the situation. Something wasn’t right. (Duh!)
One day I was riding the bus home from my classes, and I got this feeling that something was about to happen. Something that would make me sad. It was an eerie feeling that I had never felt before. When I got home, I received a call from my guy friend. When I saw his name on the caller ID I felt relieved. I hadn’t heard from him in a few days. I smiled as I picked up the phone and flipped it open.
"Hey!" I said bright, eager to catch up. In the next few seconds, he explained that he and his ex-girlfriend were getting back together. I was shocked. This was completely unexpected. Tears gathered in my eyes and I blinked them back quickly.
I didn’t even know what to say. I cleared my throat and tried to be civil. “Well, um, if you love her, then…” I kind of had to choke out the word love as I said it because I didn’t want it to be true. It couldn’t be true. I had prayed about it. God had given me signs. But here he was, telling me he was getting into a relationship with someone else.
In the next few days I started finding out more details: I hadn't heard from him in a few days because he had actually gone out of town-to see her. She would be coming to town soon and they would probably be getting married in the next few months. I felt like such an idiot. He had tried to tell me that he wasn't going to pursue me, but I didn't listen. I kept wasting my time hoping he would come to his senses when he was probably trying to work things out with his ex the whole time!
In the next few days I took a long look at myself and my feelings for this guy. I thought back to all the time we spent talking. It took a while for me to admit it to myself, but I realized that I had been so caught up in my feelings of attraction for this guy that I hadn't used my common sense. I should've stopped texting and talking to him on the phone immediately after he expressed that he wasn't looking for a relationship. Instead I had convinced myself that he would eventually get over his ex and start pursuing me.
Ladies, if the guy you like tells you he isn't looking for a relationship, believe him. It doesn't matter how much time you spend on the phone talking, or if you've had sex with them, or met their family and they love you. Believe their words. Don't allow yourself to become a distraction for them to pass the time. Set up boundaries so that you don't find yourself falling into this role. And this principle applies to guys as well.
Guys, don't allow yourself to be someone's rebound or toy. If you're pursuing her but suspect she's only with you to make someone else jealous, or to forget her ex, fall back.
Use your common sense. Love isn't blind.
Till next time!
P.S. If you want to read more about what it takes to be ready for marriage, and life after "I Do," download our FREE e-book entitled "Love Me This Way," written by yours truly!