It’s been a while since I last plopped down on my couch and began to write. As the sun breaks the horizon and washes the waters of the deep in its light, I can’t help but gawk at the beauty and splendor of the God we serve. His love is amidst everything, especially within those we love.
This past week I have witnessed friends begin relationships with one another; companions begin new lives in different cities, states, and countries; and even more bond in holy matrimony. It brings me great joy to see such marvelous things happen!
When I reflect on my own relationship, it puts a smile on my face to know I could not be happier with choosing someone outside the church I grew up in and the one I attended in college for so many years. I think the stigma in churches today is it’s always better to find someone within your congregation because it can prevent conflicts of faith. While that may be true for some, it definitely isn’t for others. Just because you didn’t grow up together doesn’t mean you can’t be a perfect match!
After Joe and I began talking again, I quickly realized there was a lot of work to be done; we had yet to determine if our faiths were compatible, among many other topics. In the past, we had both been incredibly stubborn and didn’t see the point of compromise. Now looking back, I am so thankful that we decided to stick it out and continue!
Bringing the Catholic faith and the Protestant faith together wasn’t easy, just to clarify. We had to dig deep into the reasoning behind why we believed what we believed and what the Bible truly had to say about it. There were fights and certainly lots of tears shed, but it was all worth it.
Many of you may be thinking, “well all of that could have been avoided if you had just dated someone within your church”, and I’d be lying if I disagreed. If we had grown up in the same faith, there wouldn’t have been as much conflict. However, I learned more from what he had to say and the light he shed than from countless motivational speakers.
To be clear, this journey hasn’t been easy. It’s been nights of wondering if we are going down the right path, if God is actually condoning this, and if He was truly the center of our relationship. It took about two years for us to make that right, but all the hard work also forced us to learn how to communicate with one another. I watch couple after couple struggle to make it because they haven’t been through a “real struggle” before, so their problem-solving skills are seriously lacking. Our investment in one another proved its worth when we realized our petty fights ceased because we learned how to love one another in that way.
The world today also creates this expectation that your perfect person has so many things in common with you that none of the work I just explained needs to be done. The relationship should already have great communication and be compatible in countless other ways. I hate to break it to you, but this is NOT the reality! It’s going to take just as much work as my relationship did, regardless of if you sat next to one another in Sunday School when you were three or not.
So in conclusion, regardless of where you stand, at least take this: it’s God that approves, not you. You may be able to choose who you want to be with, but if you want it to be successful and blessed by the Lord, there have to be sacrifices; there has to be compromise. The holy bond of matrimony is to bring two people together to become more like Christ. That person has things you will never be able to achieve, so why limit yourself? My person was out there, but he wasn’t right in front of my face. And I’m glad I went looking.