“I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice..." - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.
David and Lisa ~ Nicholas and Lydia ~ Samuel and Alicia
In this special month of remembering love, a couple of sweet gals and I got together to give a quick glimpse into what life has been like since the Lord brought our special men into our lives. We do this in the hope that it will be an encouragement to y'all and maybe answer some of your questions on what an actual Christian relationship looks like.
We'll always be learning, but we agreed that we wished we had had a blog post like this to read when we were younger and looking into the future. Everyone's story is different...everyone's story is beautiful. So, whether waiting on the Lord or in your own special love story, please enjoy!
What is your favorite thing about your boyfriend/fiancee?
Lisa: Favorite things...oh boy. Can I just say “everything”? :) I love his humility, his constant desire to live in God's will, his unfailing love and acceptance of me, his incredibly analytical brain, his optimism... I love that he understands the value of the little things in life, yet never loses sight of the bigger things; he's unafraid to show emotion, and is one of the most “real” people I know.
Lydia:This is a hard one - because I like everything about Nicholas! :) But a couple of my favorite things about him would be his adorable laugh, how tall he is, and the way he makes me feel safe and protected. He has a deep desire to please God in every area of his life, and he is a great leader. He has a gentle, understanding heart and is always trying to do things to surprise and bless me! (And he always succeeds in the surprise too!) ;-)
Alicia: Lisa beat me to it! Please allow me to say "everything" too! The things that I think I most cherish are his heart for the ministry, his great communication skills and openness with me, his compassion, and his strong convictions.
What sorts of things do you like to do for him?
Lisa: Leave him little surprise notes and gifts :) I also love writing to him. Although we only live about a mile away from each other, we both love to write, and so we've tried to incorporate letter writing into our relationship quite a bit.
Lydia: My two favorite things to do for him would definitely be buying him gifts and sending him love notes and texts! I bring him snack food and a card every Tuesday, and it's always fun deciding which treat to bring him next time: chips, Reese's, nuts - or maybe homemade brownies. :)
Alicia: I am in a long-distance relationship, so planning surprises and such requires a bit more planning. :) We write letters and send packages back and forth. I get chocolate, he gets man food like summer sausage. I try to send a pic of me in my Sunday finest once a week since we see each other only every few months.
What things did you learn from books that you didn't actually find to work or be true in your relationship?
Lisa: The thing that surprised me is that guys (or at least my guy) need a lot more love than I expected. Through reading different books, and listening to different things, I had come to an unconscious belief that any acts of love would probably go unnoticed by a man, and the best way to communicate the love I felt was through my respect. David is so not like that. He appreciates gestures and words that communicate love about as much as he does the same that communicate respect. That mentally surprised me a little, but I'm very glad :)
Lydia: I'll be honest - I had read very few if any books on marriage when Nick and I got together. It was a very new, exciting, but sobering stage that really made me evaluate my beliefs and the direction my life was heading.
One thing I learned, was that we as women may have to let go of the fantasy that we create when we think of married life - I envisioned life on a farm, living in the mountains and life staying pretty much the same when I first got married. That's unrealistic - we need to be willing to change and give up some of our dreams in order to support the man we marry. Because if you've found the man OF your dreams, he will make giving up some of your previous desires seem like nothing. :)
Alicia: Lisa pretty much nailed it! I had come to the same mental conclusion too, but quickly found out that love is every bit as important as respect.
Also, relationships aren't cookie-cutter. We all have to set our own guidelines and make our own decisions based on the Holy Spirit's leading...not a courtship/dating book. It's easy to fall into what-does-the-book-say instead of What does GOD say.
What things from books were helpful?
Lisa: Guys and girls think differently. Completely. It's not “bad communication”, it's just an entirely different perspective. It's so nice to know that just because I'm seeing something one way, and he's seeing it the opposite way, it doesn't mean that either one of us is trying to be stubborn or block headed, it's just the way we were made.
Lydia: Hmm..what was helpful in the books I read? Like I said, I didn't really read any. Each man and woman's relationship will be unique and different from anyone else, so we really can't abide by the rules of a book to decide what we are going to do. The path that Nick and I followed was not from a book - it was based on what our parents required of us, and the wisdom they imparted.
Alicia: I found The Love Dare to be the most insightful, encouraging, and motivating of all the books I've read on relationships and marriage. Just read it! I learned the differences in how men/women think (well, as much as you can!) and also practical daily applications of love. And every single dare is convicting and motivational about what it means to show unconditional, Christ-like love.
Is it important to know your guy's love language? Or are you balanced with all of them?
Lisa: We have it pretty easy because for both of us, our primary love language is Words of Affirmation. As such, we both “speak that language” pretty fluently...and understand/ receive it happily as well :) But we both have close runner-ups to that that I think are still important to be fluent in. All the languages are important, but the greatest value I see in them is using them as a tool to understand your guy and communicate your appreciation for him even better.
Lydia: I think every woman needs to be balanced in in all the different ways of making her man feel special. But she should find out what means the most to HIM and exercise doing the things that especially make him happy and feeling loved. To Nick, what means the most to him is words of affirmation and the knowledge that I respect and look up to him. And a big ole' hug makes him feel extra special too. ;-)
Alicia: I'm not super into love languages personally. Samuel and I talked about it and came to the conclusion that we just want to show each other all of the love languages! And, for us, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, etc. is all very meaningful.
Does he have a preference on your hair, makeup, etc. and do you think it is important to abide by those preferences? For that matter, have you ever asked?
Lisa: He definitely has preferences ...opinions....whatever you want to call it :) He's an artist, and has a super keen eye for what makes something beautiful, or not, as well as color schemes, styles, etc. So clothes are important to him, and then how the hair/makeup is done to go along with whatever I'm wearing. And yes, I ask him often. I know which hair style he likes best :)
But for all that, he definitely doesn't expect me to be “done up” all the time. Which I'm so thankful for because when I'm around the house, I keep it pretty casual ;)
Lydia: YES!!! My man loves long hair, and he likes it especially well when it it curly and BIG! Hehe! He likes it when I wear maxi skirts and he loves it when I paint my nails bright, fun colors. :) I never used to paint my nails, but shows how a girl will (or should) do a little extra work to be more beautiful for her man! We should take the time to look nice for our husbands/fiances/boyfriends - not just everyone else in our lives who won't really care as much as the guys who love us most.
Alicia: Definitely on the hair... :) Long and curly. As for the rest, he always says he just wants me to be me and he likes my preferences on makeup, apparel. So thankful for a guy who is easy to please.... :)
Any additional thoughts?
Lisa: Pray for your guy!! Satan is out for his mind, his heart, his purity, and he needs your prayers desperately.
And enjoy this time :) As stressful and frightening as it can be, it's so amazing....I am so blessed to have David.
Lydia: I would encourage anyone in a relationship or hoping to start one to make sure that you never compare your man with anyone else. A pastor once said that a man will live up to what he sees in his wife's eyes. Tell him why you love him, why he is the best man in the world to you. What he does that you respect and honor. Thank him when he does something for you that you like - a man can't read our thoughts, and he needs to be told what we like/dislike so he can keep doing it! :) I'm getting married in 5 months - and it's the most exciting thing in the world to me, and I have been blessed with the best fiance in the world! But all relationships take work. So put GOD first, each other second, and seek God's Word for wisdom on how to love and live better each day!
Alicia: I was taught by my Bible instructor that a man always is what you expect him to be and what he sees in your eyes. Be uplifting and just enjoy. So many people try to turn this into a super stressful time instead of a blessed one. Seek God's face, pray against spiritual attacks and negativity, and be happy!
Any thoughts? Favorite books? Fun things you do for your special guy or hope to do one day?