I want to apologize for the delay in getting this portion the mini-series up. Being that life seems to have slowed down (a tad), I should be finishing up the series next week (Lord-willing).
Okay, we've talked about following:
Guy/girl friendships – how we should strive to keep them closely casual. We also talked about needing to find the middle ground, and the importance of giving the friendship to God.
Courtship – how it's a form of “commitment” and shouldn't be taken lightly. How it should be set apart from the dating scene, and treated with the attitude of seriousness + responsibility.
Prayer & Purity - how it's important to keep our hearts pure, not just in our friendships with young men, but also in our courtship. How we shouldn't treat courtship like dating. Instead we are to treat courtship like the set apart, Christ-honoring relationship it should be. How we should allow our courtship to reflect the love we and the gentleman have for Christ.
So let's talk about the next step – engagement.
It has finally happened!! You're engaged. You said “yes”, have a beautiful ring to show off, and now have a wedding to plan. After watching my dear friend get married the 30th of last month, I began asking myself a few questions, that I just recently had answered (another reason the posts have been delayed).
What is engagement?
Do you call off an engagement?
How can you depict Christ loving His Bride (the church)?
How do you make engagement set apart?
What is engagement?
Depending on who you ask, most people will tell you that engagement is a life-long commitment between a couple (or at least that what someone told me). When I was told this, it really made me ponder.
Is engagement really a life-long commitment?
The reason I really began to question it being a commitment, is because I know of at least two couples (possibly more) who have called off an engagement. If it is a commitment, then shouldn't they have followed through?
Being the type of gal who needs her questions answered … because she has to know everything, I looked up engagement. Here is the definition I found:
A formal agreement to get married
Reader, engagement isn't a commitment! To be committed is to be wholeheartedly dedicated to something. We are committed to Christ. We are committed to living as peculiar people (set apart). If engagement were a commitment, then why call it off??
Would you dare call off your commitment to Christ??
I know of at least a couple engagements that have been called off. I have seen the heartache that it causes, the lack of trust that enters into the hearts of both parties, etc.
We just talked how engagement isn't a commitment, but merely an agreement to marry a person. I personally believe that this "mindset" is being abused - especially in the world of young adults.
When a couple faces trials and tribulation, they should strive to work through the hard times together, not immediately call off the engagement. What you practice now will carry through into marriage. Engagement today is, in a sense, like dating - practice for divorce.
So here is my point of view on whether you should call off an engagement.
A couple should try their hardest to work through any trials and tribulation they are facing. Even if that means that they postpone the wedding for a bit. Once the couple has done everything to the best of their abilities (prayer included), then they need to discuss where to go from there. Whether that's postpone the wedding or calling off the engagement.
If a couple can't learn how to work through life's problems, then how will they survive the hardships, trials, and tribulations of marriage??
How can you depict Christ loving the church?
Any couple has this potential. It doesn't matter if you are a believer or a non-believer. Every couple and every relationship has the potential of depicting Christ loving the church. It just takes effort – sure there will be trials, but when you are striving to be like Christ, going through the trials side by side will make you stronger as a couple.
Do you think Paul was simply talking to the believers in Ephesians 5: 22-33? Absolutely not!! He was talking to all husbands and all wives. There isn't a special sect that needs to obey, and doesn't have to.
So what are some ways to depict Christ loving the church?
- diligently seeking the Lord's guidance in every aspect
- making Christ the center focus of your relationship
- praying for other's to see Christ working through your relationship
- being submissive to your special someone in every aspect (practice now ladies)
- discussing major "issues", events, etc., with that special someone
- being respectful (even in your friendship)
- don't nag or complain about your man. You have been incredibly blessed!!
- realize that he isn't perfect and that he never will be.
Those are just a few that came to my mind at the moment. Pray and ask God to show you ways that you can depict Christ and His church.
How can you make engagement set apart?
I have been praying and searching for ways that my man and I can do to make our engagement season special and set apart. I have studied out betrothal - while I like what it stands for, I won't be doing (unless y'all have a money tree to share lol). So I prayerfully decided to apply some of the things from betrothal (now I just have to hope that my man is open to them haha).
Here are some ways that I have come up with - enjoy :)
** In the sight of both families, say special "vows" or promises to each other. Binding our hearts together in the sight of God
** Both families choose the time to be elapsed between engagement and wedding
** Discuss with both sets of parents boundaries you two would like to set.
** Have a field day full of games, food, and fellowship. Plan it so out of town guests can join in on the fun. Have the games be bride vs. groom, maid of honor vs. best man, or the bride's party vs. the groom's party. The field day can take place of the typical bachelor and bachelorette parties.
** Appropriately cultivate "romance" in your preparation for the spiritual and emotional unity in marriage.
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It all comes down to this:
take the typical stereo-type engagement and make it a commitment. Seek God in all aspects. Learn how to work through the hardships, trials, and tribulations together. But most importantly, work together to make your engagement special and YOUnique.
What are your thoughts on engagement?
Let the iron sharpening continue ;)