The season of “being engaged” — I’m going to be honest, I didn’t realize the enormous importance of it. Sure you’re planning your wedding, and are caught up in the excitement that all that brings. But for that definitive timespan, you’re all of a sudden reevaluating everything in your life: from your finances, to what is important to you, to how you want to raise kids, to where/what community you want to live in, and what type of schooling you want to send you children to.
It’s just like, suddenly, you’ve got to think about the rest of your life, and decide right here, right now, on how it is going to play out.
Yeah, that monumental weight recently hit me, and let’s just say, I am overwhelmed.
Especially given the current battle going on for the souls of our children in culture and the school systems these days. It scares me half to death.
This season involves some real soul searching and examining my deepest beliefs. And the stakes feel higher because the polarity of the country is higher. And the ramifications of certain choices will have a major impact on the formation of our kids, our family, etc.
I need to really commit myself to figuring out deep down, who am I, what do I stand for, and what do I believe? That is my job during this season, so that when I go into our marriage, I know without a shadow of a doubt, the answer to those questions.
My mother so beautifully reminded me on the phone, the answer is already inside of me. It’s God speaking to my heart. It is my job to listen, and discern what He is saying.
Which is why I’m going to start spending some intentional time every evening to shut the world out, and sit and listen to God.
I don’t have any answers to tonight’s post. There’s no neat bow to tie it up with, or a full circle I can finalize it with. Because the truth is, I’m mid-journey on all of this.
One thing I really appreciate about this community is all the wisdom you bring to this table. Though I may not respond to every comment, I read and take to heart every single response. And I learn so much from you.
So I humbly ask, if you have any advice on this – I would love and appreciate to hear it.
I hope you are having a deeply beautiful summer season, filled with family and joy and love. Which, sounds cliche, but as I’ve been in a season of reflection recently, I’m realizing that’s all I want in this world, and I want that for you too.
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37 responses to “A Season of Enormous Importance”
Wow, Caralyn, I can tell how concerned you are in your words, some of it seems like fear. I fear for our country and our children too. I’m not so sure I can offer you anything helpful because I am three-times divorced and have chosen to never marry again, and I am just 61 years young. I will pray for you though, my friend! Hugs. ❤️🙏🏻
It’s been a long time since I posted any kind of comment or blog post of my own, but I am so happy for you finding the man you want to marry. In response to your request for advice on feeling overwhelmed with the engagement season, after 27 years of marriage, I would suggest this – remember that you aren’t going to be able to answer every possible question right now. There are many things that will come up in your life together that you can’t even imagine. However, as long as you and your young man commit to taking everything to the Lord together, and staying committed to each other, letting the Holy Spirit guide you, you will be able to endure pretty much everything. Take time to enjoy the celebratory time and anticipation of your marriage. This is a sweet spot for sure!
This is exactly what I was going to say! You will not be able to figure everything out right now. I appreciate that you take these things seriously, but you can relax and enjoy this time right now. You will know what to do when it comes, because God is going to lead you.
It IS important to agree on some things before your marriage, but I have the feeling you and your darling have already discussed most of the important stuff. I pray that God richly blesses you both, and your marriage, and your future.
Hi Caralyn! The biggest thing I’ve learned about marriage (19 years) is to get rid of expectations at the beginning! I know it sounds crazy but when I mapped out everything marriage was supposed to accomplish and what my husband was supposed to fulfill, I was very disappointed. Through the years, I learned to let go, live each day by getting up and thanking God for whatever I have and not worrying about what I don’t have.
Being said, this advice is very hard to do at the beginning of marriage, bc of agendas like I want children in 2 years, I want $50000 saved in 3 years, etc. But looking back, was that my plan, or God’s? ❤🥰❤
Thankfully my children are grown, and we didn’t have to deal with the uber craziness of today’s world. My brother has two young children, and given where they live and the schools available, they decided it was in their best interest to homeschool their children and to attend a private religious academy part time.
I definitely understand. It is a lot to think about. And I have a lot of worries about our world’s future too. I love that you are sitting with the Lord each day to get some clarity. There is no one better to help. I pray He guides you and provides wisdom. ♥️
You know what you believe. The way you ask your questions already includes the answer you are looking for. How you ask questions determines the answers you will accept. Real introspection begins by questioning the assumptions you have made. Where did they come from? Why do I believe this or that?
Thinking is listening, not to the echo in your head, but to the world you live in. And not to the chatter and claptrap buzzing around on the Internet or in pop culture. Self knowledge comes by listening to the clear voices of nature and people who have wrestled with these issues for their entire lives. Be willing to listen and be open to other voices.
You don’t have to ultimately agree with any or all of the voices you hear. But at least you can understand from where your views come. Don’t wait for God to speak to you — you need to know a lot more before you are enlightened if you ever are. It’s life’s work.
We are retired, so this is easier for us, but it still demands a decision. We begin each day will old fashioned Bible reading, then a page from Paul David Tripp’s “New Morning Mercies,” then a lengthy prayer to focus ourselves. I wish we’d started this years ago, but I wasn’t mature enough to do so. Blessings on you two.
This is a beautiful post. Your thoughts about this are spot on, especially the importance of making these decisions. And your mother’s advice is so wise. I pray for wisdom for you as you listen to the Master.
Just keep doing what you’re doing. Keep up this practice, and then you’ll know that will keep you smack in the middle of God’s will for your life. And teach it to your kids.
My husband and I are going to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary in August. If there is any best advice I can offer it is for you and your new husband to always pray together and always keep your heart tuned for God’s leading. You are planting into your future. There are always different seasons. We can’t know all the answers now, but we know the one who knows and holds it all in His hands.
“Which is why I’m going to start spending some intentional time every evening to shut the world out, and sit and listen to God.”
Excellent! And since Papa speaks primarily through His word, read, read, READ the Bible. Then do as you said, sit still and listen to Him speak. I pray He gives you the ability to hear Him clearly. 🤗🙏💛
I’m married 51 yrs. Stop over thinking stuff, enjoy each day.
I wish we had your wonderful and vulnerable perspective on that time. We sort of swept through that season hardly understanding a thing but that we lived the Lord and each other. Of course being only 20 and 21 at the time was part of that! God bless you greatly as you are asking all the right questions, I know that God will answer them because that is His promise. Some days obeying will be gard but the blessings will be forever. I hope that helps a little!
Be humble. Listen to God. Read and memorize Proverbs. Be flexible. Forgive yourself and your future spouse (and everyone else). Remember that as soon as we make plans, other people or God change them. Agree with your fiance on the goals of family- big picture ideals and morals for your family because the details will work out if you have the big things concrete and together (i.e. we will do whatever it takes to never divorce, we will pray before making any big decision and seek wise council, we will take our kids to church, we will have family devotions and start family devotions now, we as a family will give God glory, we will prioritize family service, etc.). Date weekly with no phone no matter what. Follow Dave Ramsey’s financial course. Agree on a budget. Conversation with eye contact cannot be underestimated. Hope that helps. Love you as always, my beautiful friend. Hugs! XO😃❤️
You have a wise mama! While it’s wise for you and your sweetheart to discuss these things, life happens, so many things change over the years including our maturity, mindsets, etc. While you’re spending time with Jesus doing your soul-searching, also just enjoy this season of engagement. You’ll never have this again. Have fun with it! Your wedding day will be that once-in-a lifetime experience that you want to revel in, soak in, take as much in as you can remember – I think the same is true for this engagement time. It’s also good to know what your expectations are, but not to hold them too tightly. Married life is different than anything we think, and it changes everything – in a growing, good, challenging way. 😉
You’re farther along than I’ve ever gotten in the sense of relationships and family and such, so I don’t have any advice that you don’t already know. Just keep seeking God for the answers.
A beautiful post thank you so much Caralyn you so beautiful
Dear sister, I belive the Holy Spirit is truly leading you. Before we are married, we are solely under the Lord. Once married, we’re (as Ephesians describes) under our husband, who’s under the Lord.
Time alone with God, for you and Steven both, is a vital time of fellowship before your union.
The Lord will groom you for each other, may point to shortcomings that need be addressed or repented, or speak to you separately about your call as a couple to serve Him.
The Lord wants to groom the sheep before they come together – you’ll see, it is a precious time. ❤
“I’m going to start spending some intentional time every evening to shut the world out, and sit and listen to God.”
Good advice? Life’s a journey, not a destination.
Your mom has given you wise words. Isaiah 30:21 says “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’.” God will lead you. I have been married over 30 years and raised 5 kids, and looking back, I could not have known, when I was engaged, what God was going to do in, through, and with my family. He led us, moved us, changed our jobs… He was faithful. I don’t think you have to figure it all out now. Set your eyes on Him, take your best steps. Prepare for adventure. The ride will be wild, but you can trust the Driver!
I have what I call the Rock Theory of acting that applies equally well to life. Instead of trying to figure out every detail of what you do in a scene, be organic. Imagine a stream that you want to have swirls and eddies in. Instead of trying to detail each one, just put a rock in the stream. All of the eddies will take care of themselves.
Life works the same way. You already have THE Rock – Jesus – as you guide. Continue to let Him be that Rock in your life. Don’t be weighed down by the details as Martha was. Don’t force your listening to Him lest your mind supply answers your soul seeks. Your quiet time might be 6-7 every evening. Dare you confine God to that time for delivering answers? Be open to letting Him surprise you in the course of your day. I think I’ve told you how I would commit ad long drive to talking to God – no music. 7-8 hours of thanks for the scenery, help whoever that rescue squad is for, etc.
I recently saw an article that promoted “unplugging” from devices daily to allow your mind to wander unhindered by structure. So, your devoted time for reflection each day is a GOOD idea. Just don’t think God will give you the answers you seek at that specific time.
“It’s just like, suddenly, you’ve got to think about the rest of your life, and decide right here, right now, on how it is going to play out.” Overblown fears, dear one.
You never have to decide “right here, right now” for details for the rest of your life, any more than every decision we make, daily, affects the next set of decisions down the road: what school to attend, where to go for rehab (😉), what career path to choose, who to marry, etc. Even where to get coffee tomorrow morning! These are all decisions fraught with eternal consequences, because we are citizens of two worlds: the physical one we see, and the eternal one that we only see with faith.
But Father “gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Breathe deeply and rest in His love and care. Daily “quiet time” is always a good idea! David Wilkerson was convicted by the Holy Spirit as he watched a television variety show to spend those 2-3 hours each night that he watched TV, and convert it to prayer and meditation time! What a different world we live in because he was faithful.
I hear you and I echo your thoughts and hopes and cares. As a Jesus loving, Bible loving, wife, mother of two adult sons, grandmother to seven, I share these. I have a few boiled down thoughts, that I will come back with later, but, I know this, He is sufficient!! As we walk with Him. He gets us through! Also, the essentials of what (or Who, I should say) we believe are what matters, because the how, He will show us, one step and one season at a time!
Much love and prayers for your season!
It’s only over time in a marriage you find out who your spouse really is as you are now with them 24/7. Don’t expect to find perfection as there is only one perfect and that is God. They may be equally surprised to find out that truth too. 🙂 Be prepared to adjust to your partner’s needs and accept their being different from you, something you may not have realized in the joy of discovering them and knowing they were there for you. But remember acceptance is not compromise of your own core beliefs. Love conquers all differences.
Your mother is a wise woman! Lots of good advice in the comments.
Matthew 6:34 is “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” It is the thirty-fourth, and final verse in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew
Being the last word, allow for God to work the rest. Your Mom has said this and you can believe in her truth to you.
God Bless you!
When I lead premarital counseling with couples preparing for marriage, I almost always give each a copy of “Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts” by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot, have them read each chapter and, independently, do the exercise/workbook for that chapter, and then compare notes and we meet together every week or two to discuss. This book promotes discussion about expectations and experiences that can be surprising and stressful if, and when, some of these issued come up AFTER the wedding. By discovering, and discussing, them early on it can reduce stress and marital tension.
Second, I always have extra copies and, as a gift, give every couple I counsel a copy of “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I have found this to be extremely useful in our marriage, interpersonal relationships, dealing with church people, and in raising children. I can completely change the way that you look at, and understand, love and friendship with another person.
Finally, I highly recommend finding a place where you can participate in Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” While you may not, and don’t have to, agree with everything that Dave Ramsey teaches, you may still be able to get “on the same page” with your future spouse financially. And, since arguments about finances are one of, of the the single largest contributors and causes of divorce, it can go a long way toward armoring your marriage and equipping you for success.
May God richly bless you both as you prepare for a life together.
Pastor John Partridge
My first thought was don’t try to decide everything now! Yes, you should have discussions on those topics, but you don’t need to make decisions on many of your concerns yet. Even if you tried to decide on these matters now, that doesn’t mean you will abide by those decisions when the time comes. Life has a habit of surprising us in ways we can’t imagine.
As for this world and bringing children into it, yes, it’s scary. Raise children with faith, teach them from day one, and pray for them daily. Just realize that they are going to make decisions you will not enjoy. Once they hit adulthood, you truly have no say in their choices UNLESS they ask you. Not to say you shouldn’t provide input even when they don’t ask, but as adults, you must accept they will no longer abide by your wishes. They have freedom of choice,Go into parenting with the understanding that you are teaching them to leave home.
My marriage blessing written for my grandson and his lovely bride, I share with you. WELCOME TO MARRIAGE. THE MAKING OF THE “TWO IN ONE.” WITH THIS COMMITMENT YOU BECOME ONE IN THE SAME SENSE THAT THE CREATOR GOD, JESUS, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE THREE. EACH OF YOU FULFILLS A FUNCTION YOU CAN NEVER DO BY YOURSELF, YET EACH OF YOU HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO FULLY FUNCTION ON YOUR OWN. ISN’T THAT AMAZING! NEITHER OF YOU CEASES TO BE YOU. YOU ARE TWO ONES WHO CAN ONLY BE COMPLETE WHEN YOU ARE EACH ONE, ONE.
LET THE LORD GOD BE YOUR THIRD, THEN YOU CAN BE THREE IN ONE AS YOUR MARRIAGE IS BLESSED WITH JOY AND HAPPINESS, and PATIENCE AND FORGIVENESS. TOGETHER YOU WILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO JUMP THE HURDLES, AND THE STRENGTH TO SOAR THE SKIES.
God leads us to the right people, the right career, the right path. It’s alway about the path, and that path is ever-changing, ever-winding, ever-leading to the place where God intends for us to be. He will lead you. You only need to be open to where He wants you to go. Keep praying and searching, but most of all, keep listening. He’s talking. All you need to do is follow the path on which He leads you.
Thank you Amy – you’re right God’s path is a living path, always changing, leading us to where He has planned. You’re right – i need to be fervent in prayer, and listening with all my might. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, my friend. Hugs and love xox
Caralyn, I’m so happy for you and excited for your future! Don’t worry about those decisions and issues. It will all take care of itself. You and your guy are obviously good Christian people, so the decisions you make will be fine. Sure you’ll make some mistakes, but that’s ok, because then you’ll be able to amend your ideas and with God’s help you’ll succeed. Enjoy the time you have as an engaged couple. It will go by so fast! Before you know it you’ll be married for 5 years, then 10, then 20. Relax and enjoy!
thank you friend! You’re right, Reid – gotta keep it in God’s hand. thank you for your support! Hugs and love xox
I have to commend you for thinking about the long-term. Too many people spend too much time planning for the wedding ceremony, reception, and honeymoon, and forget that there’s a whole complicated life ahead of them after that.
Some of those issues are things you don’t have to make decisions about yet. Just keep trusting in the Lord and leaning not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:7-8) and He will guide the two of you to the right decision at the right time.
thank you again xoxo