Today is Gerald and my 4-year dating anniversary. It’s hard to believe that now we’re coming up on our 3-month wedding anniversary. We’ve both certainly changed and grown a lot since we first began dating.
A year ago today (or around this time), I remember feeling hopeful anticipation. Gerald and I had been looking at engagement rings for a little while, so I was MAYBE hoping he would propose (and quickly figured out he wasn’t going to when we had a discussion about it that night that left me disappointed but with a better timeline). A lot of my preoccupation with wondering when we’d get engaged (and hoping it would be sooner rather than later) was my impatience and my need to plan everything. I was thinking we’d have to get engaged in either December or January if we wanted to have a 6-month engagement because I knew Gerald wanted to get married during the summer (but I wasn’t sure which summer).
All my questioning about timing and proposals put a lot of pressure on Gerald. He felt like I wasn’t trusting him with all this, and ultimately I wasn’t trusting God’s timing in it all. I felt like I should’ve been married or at least engaged by then (I actually suggested to him on our first anniversary that maybe by our second anniversary he could propose…that didn’t happen). Even though three years felt like a long time to be dating, in those few years, God grew us both in our ability to communicate with one another (and to work out conflicts), in our friendship with one another, and in our relationships with Him. I know I learned a lot more about what it meant to love someone during our dating years. It made me realize how naive I was about relationships when we started dating (and I was even out of college by then!).
So all that to say, the waiting was worth it. We could’ve gotten married earlier and probably been fine, but as we weathered the ups and downs of life together over several years, we learned more about each other and the joys of serving God together. I think it made us better prepared for marriage. People also have told me that couples who don’t argue a lot while they’re dating tend to argue more once married and people who argue a lot while dating argue less once they’re married. So far that seems to be true for us. Gerald and I argued a lot sometimes while we were dating, but we’ve only had one big argument so far since getting married. By now I think we’ve just figured out how to resolve conflict (through lots of practice in our dating years), that we’ve already worked out a lot of those issues. I know arguments will still come, but hopefully we can employ some of the tactics we learned from premarital counseling to argue well (from John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work).
This is no longer an anniversary we’re really going to celebrate (we’re waiting for our first wedding anniversary now), but I’m still wishing Gerald a happy four years together. I’m looking forward to many more to come!