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“I’m engaged!” How often we’ve dreamed of squealing those words! And once you found your vocation, the man who is “it” and have a ring, boom! You are moving full throttle into this new phase! What a joy and relief it is…

Engagement is an exciting time, but also can be alternately terrifying and overwhelming. Let’s be honest here, it can be just plain HARD.  You and your fiance’s “ifs” have become “whens,” but you don’t yet have the graces and the luxury of those “whens” being here in the now.

Engagement is similar to the beginning of a new entity that totally did not exist before. The proposal is like taking a pregnancy test and getting a positive result. It’s a joy to find out that there’s new life there! That can be soon followed by the challenges of the first trimester — morning sickness and extreme fatigue or deciding the major details: when, where, wedding party, etc. Then comes the time of growth and excitement as the time draws near: the growth of your relationship in the midst of a myriad of details…flowers, caterers, invitations, NFP.

Just as weddings are the birth of a new entity, a new oneness, a new family, they also can be likened to a death.

The bride and groom are called to die to themselves, to place the needs of the other ahead of their own. So walking down that aisle, in a blinding beauty of white, the bride is ultimately leaving her former life behind. No longer reliant on her parents, she and her husband will cleave to one another and build a life together as one.

And the new couple, united in marriage, enters into this new reality a bit in the dark. They can have preconceived notions of what their married life will look like, but honestly, there’s no way to know for sure how it’s going to be. A friend once told the story of a married groomsman, upon seeing the groom preparing to walk down the aisle to wait for his bride near the altar, just pointed and good naturedly started laughing at the groom. The groom, bewildered, asked what’s so funny? His friend the groomsman just smiled and replied, “You have no idea what you’re getting in to…”

And this is true. Every marriage is different. We don’t really know what we are signing up for. It’s a vocation. It’s a call. It’s going to be HARD. While we know there will be plenty of ups and downs, we don’t know at the outset just what kind of roller coaster we are buckling up for. Our crosses & challenges could be illness of our spouse, his/her addiction, infertility, miscarriage, multiples, crazy fertility, a special needs child, etc., etc…

But in all of this preparation and speculation, it’s important to see it all through one lens…the lens of God’s love for each of us. He has brought you and your fiancé together. He has a great plan for your marriage that will only be revealed step by step. He will not leave you hanging. You have only to hang on to Him, together.