Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: Christian dating

What it’s Really Like Being a Newlywed

Hello, lovely one! If you’re new here, welcome. If you’ve been a faithful follower of this blog, then I ‘m sure you can tell it’s been a while since I’ve last posed. I apologize for that, but I’m so happy for all that God has been working in me these last several months.

Over the last year, I’ve been through a huge transition. I graduated college, got a new job, and moved out on my own.

And just a month ago, I got married to my husband Owen. I know that marriage is something that many women–Christian or not–desire. I know I did!

FearfullyWonderfullyMe
Photography by Maliya Wayner

And while marriage is an awesome adventure, I found out some surprising lessons about being married that no one really prepared me for. My hope is that you’ll read these 3 unexpected lessons I’ve learned as a newlywed and store them in your heart for now and the future.

Being a Newlywed Doesn’t Change Who You Are

When you get engaged, you are suddenly labeled as a bride. You feel special, and that’s how it should be! I felt like a Disney princess on my wedding day and will always remember that. 

So naturally, I thought this princess transformation would last into newlywed life. I was wrong. Reality soon hit after the honeymoon.

Work, grocery shopping, cleaning, and then my brand new husband coming down with a cold snapped me back to reality real quick. 

Don’t get me wrong, marriage does change your life. I’m living with my husband and sharing everything with him. I’m spending each day with my best friend. That’s life changing in the greatest way!

But marriage doesn’t change who you are on the inside. 

I still battle with fear and insecurity, just like I did when I was single. The enemy can and will attack us, so we can’t let our guard down, whether single or married. 

This is why it’s so important to learn who we are in Christ and be rooted in our identity as children of God. 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Our worth does not depend on our relationship status. Our worth is based on the love Christ showed us by dying for us on the cross. Having this foundation for our confidence will make for a healthy and joyful life–whether single or married. 

Marriage Comes with a Grieving Process 

The hardest part of marriage so far has been letting go of my old life. I love being a newlywed. Owen and I have so much fun together and are enjoying the adventure of making our home (and cooking lots of yummy food!). 

But I miss my mom. I miss my childhood home. I miss some of the familiarity of my old routine. 

This is normal and all part of the “cleaving” process of becoming one flesh. 

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 NIV)

I wouldn’t trade my marriage to Owen for anything in the world. And we are learning to allocate time alone for friends and family, as well as using our marriage as a ministry of hospitality. 

With any major life change, we must close one chapter as we begin another. And with the help and comfort of the Holy Spirit, we can do this with courage and excitement. 

Marriage Points to Something Greater Than Ourselves

There are so many books and sermons that explain how marriage teaches us to love like Jesus. I always nodded in agreement, knowing deep down that I could never fully understand until I became a newlywed.

And I’m learning. Marriage requires giving and sacrifice. Sometimes I can’t always watch the movie I want, or I may need to step up and care for my husband’s cold. And he does the same for me. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV

But that’s what true love is. Jesus showed the greatest love for us when He willingly gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice on the cross. 

This is the romance of the Gospel, and the reason why we love weddings and romantic movies. We all want to be swept off our feet by a Savior prince who loves us unconditionally. 

Whether you are single or married, you can experience the fulfilling love of God that comes from knowing His Son Jesus. 

That is the love that transforms us in our singleness and in our marriage. It’s the love of Christ that transforms us into who we truly are–His eternal bride. 

Thanks for reading! What about you? Has marriage taught you any surprising lessons? Is there anything you hope to learn to prepare yourself for marriage one day? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

(Our wedding photography was shot by the talented Maliya Wayner)

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My Problem with Christian Dating

Okay, normally I try not to rant on here, but I’ve recently read something that made me lose it.

It was midnight, and I was looking online for devotions for dating couples. And then somehow I stumbled upon some forum post from a Christian girl saying she refused to do devotionals with a boyfriend because she wanted to guard her heart.

Yup. She said even praying together was too intimate–more than sex!

I’m not trying to judge this person, as we all have different convictions. And she did have some good points about making sure people are solid in their faith personally before entering a relationship.

The real problem I’m having is that I see this type of thinking in a lot of Christian relationships.

Guard your heart. Protect yourself. No intimacy of any kind.

No vulnerability.

Why Are We Guarding? 

Sometimes as Christians, we can take scripture and twist it in ways that seem harmless, but are actually out of balance.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

When Jesus tells us to guard our hearts, it’s not so we can shut people out. We need to guard our hearts from sin so we can love others better–so love can flow from us.

I used to be afraid because when I was younger and not a serious Christian, I was in relationships that I gave my heart into–foolishly.

That’s my nature. I’m caring, and I’m not afraid to love. I did make mistakes, but I’ve also learned a lot and how to do things better.

Because of what I read online from Christian articles, I honestly feared I would never find love again. That I had given too much of my emotions or self away. That God would deny me a future with someone to love.

But as always, Jesus proved me wrong. And right now I’m in a relationship with someone amazing (although imperfect–just like me) who loves Jesus too.

The Risk of Love

Lovely one, please remember that you are the daughter of a God of redemption. A God of grace.

A God of love.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16 NIV)

Jesus didn’t die for us to shut ourselves away from love or to think we are unworthy of love. He died because He saw us–in our sin and mess–and said we were worth the cost.

Love isn’t safe. It’s risky. But love isn’t something to guard yourself from.

After all, the cross was pretty risky, right? Why on earth would we be commanded to love one another if it was easy?

Finding Freedom

Don't be afraid of love dating quote

Of course, we shouldn’t throw caution to the wind with dating. Love and marriage are important commitments. We should pray and read the Word while asking for wisdom.

But let’s stop dating like scared little girls who won’t let anyone in and calling it Biblical, okay?

Date with purity and reverence for God. Take things slow. Pray and read the Word together. As you grow closer, you will develop a spiritual intimacy that will show whether or not you can ever have a healthy marriage.

This advice isn’t just for dating relationships either. Learning to love with honesty and vulnerability is the key to having thriving relationships in all areas of our lives. Of course it doesn’t always come easily, but God walks with us one step at a time.

Don’t be afraid to love. It’s the very thing that sets us free.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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How to Find Love

love never fails

(Photo Credit)

I realized something recently that I hadn’t really thought about. Although this blog is mainly for young women, I haven’t really written on a topic a lot of young women like to read about–love and relationships.

Here’s the thing–I’m not a relationship expert. I’ve been in a relationships before, and I have been in love before. From what I’ve noticed, it seems like the ideal Christian love story is the girl who waits for the perfect guy. Once she finds him a sign from heaven signals that he is the one. Then they fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. The end.

Wait…but what about the ladies that didn’t find prince charming the first time around? After all, there are plenty of good guys out there–even Godly ones–but it can be hard to find the “perfect match.”

The only thing I can guarantee is that you will never find your true love unless you open yourself up to it.

Although I do believe that the above love story can come true for some people, a lot of times finding a husband (or wife for any guys reading this), is a risk-taking adventure. Yes, there may be heartbreak or pain; there is no guarantee of an easy ride. The only thing I can guarantee is that you will never find your true love unless you open yourself up to it. 

I’m not saying that you should go out looking for random guys to date, but you should be praying about this and seeking God’s direction. Remember that the Holy Spirit can give you discernment on who you should date and if they are right for you.

The beauty of failed relationships is that you learn a lot from them, and you get one step closer to the one God has for you.

I’m a writer, and no matter what I write–whether it be my novel or a short story/poem–I almost always involve a romance. I love writing about love! It’s just who I am. And yes, I’ve had heartbreak, but it hasn’t discouraged me yet. The beauty of failed relationships is that you learn a lot from them, and you get one step closer to the one God has for you.

Even though there can be pain, I still believe in love. I still believe in marriage and the holy covenant God intends for it to be. There is a balance in dating and learning to open your heart to love. You must learn to live in the moment and give yourself freely–while still allowing Jesus to guard your heart. I believe this is the greatest challenge for any Christian who is trying to date.

The most important thing we can do right now is to remember that Jesus is, and always will be, the greatest love of our lives. We need to pursue Him like He pursues us. While we are still single we need to devote our lives completely to Him!

Don’t be scared to fall in love. Don’t be scared of making a mistake or not finding “the one” as fast as you thought you would. God knows us and He can heal every heartbreak and meet every need if we allow Him to. In the end, we all fail at love. But God’s perfect love will never fail us.

[Love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:6-8 NKJV).

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share 🙂

And if you have any other topics you would like to see me writing about, let me know!

Love, Emily <3

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