I received some questions about my dating story from someone the other day, and after I emailed my responses back I decided that a little Q&A could make for a fun post. So, here they are, with this anonymous person’s permission of course.
What made your waiting for marriage beautiful?
I’d say that the waiting didn’t feel beautiful as I was experiencing it. It felt really hard and sad. But looking back, I can see the beautiful ways that God was at work. He showed me some of that during the process of course, but it is much easier to look back now and see his hand guiding me. The truly beautiful thing is that he shaped and grew my faith in Him. He drew me close to himself and taught me more about his great love, and that is the beauty of my story.
How did you know that God wanted you to get married?
I didn’t. I used to think that we need to know if God wants us to be married or single, and then we can move forward. However, as I studied scripture and read various books, I realized that I couldn’t know the future before it happened. I had a desire to be married that was normal and realistic (I didn’t expect marriage to solve all of my problems, I knew marriage would take hard work, etc.), and so I felt free to pursue dating and getting married. I knew that while I was single I wanted to make the most of it and serve God well with my singleness, especially since I couldn’t guarantee that I’d meet someone I’d want to marry. I didn’t want to wait around for my life to start. So, by God’s grace, I rocked the single life and also intentionally pursued getting married.
How did He prepare your heart to serve your husband?
I think first he taught me that Jesus is our great servant King- he served us with his whole life and continues to do so. And he invites us to live a life of service to him. He helped me learn how to serve the people in my life long before I ever met Travis. I had to learn to love my family, roommates, friends, and people at church and work. He also helped me get comfortable in my own skin- learning my gifts, strengths, and weaknesses. That way, when I was dating, I was my true self with men I met, and as I got to know Trav it became clear that we made a great team that could serve others and each other.
What does Christian dating look like? Kissing. No kissing. Hugs. No hugs. Do we bust out our Bibles and read? Group dating? How is God most glorified in dating?
Haha. I don’t think you need to read your Bibles together on every date. =) I think Christian dating looks different depending on the person, so there isn’t just one right way. Pray that God would help you figure out a wise way to date based on your personality and your past experiences. God wants to help you learn and grow in this part of your life! Pursue wisdom found in the Bible, helpful books, and conversations with people you look up to and trust. As you pray, if you sense that you still want to be married, then I think you can move toward that! Involve your friends and community at church- I could not have dated well on my own without the wisdom and encouragement of my friends. And now Trav and I rely on our community to help our marriage stay strong and thrive.
Here are a few books that I highly recommend:
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller
Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen by Candace Watters
How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Henry Cloud
Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Some friends of mine that oversee a marriage ministry recommended a book to me recently, but I haven’t read it yet. It’s high on my ‘Read Soon’ list though after another friend read it and said it was helpful – How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk by John Van Epp
Do you have any other questions for future Ask Mrs. Austin posts? Feel free to leave a comment here or send me a message.