So earlier this week Cristina and I filmed an episode of the show “Too Blessed to be Stressed” in Brooklyn where we talked about preparing for marriage while remaining chaste together.
Other than explaining a little about how we met and how we discerned marriage together, David asked us about advice we could give to other couples – which led to the idea of “standards”.
You know, God has really been speaking to us lately about identity, and I think that identity is one of the biggest reasons why “dating” in our society either goes really well, or (most of the time, unfortunately) goes horribly wrong….
Instead of saying to someone in the beginning of a relationship ” X, Y, and Z are my standards and unless you do these things, we won’t work out” we should be more focused on being exactly who we are.
As many great people have said in the past, the biggest crisis of our time is the fact that people are not true to who they are.
One of the reasons that Cristina and I were able to get to know each other AND discern whether or not our relationship would truly form into something stronger, was the fact that we were both VERY honest from the beginning. Instead of trying to make Cristina into something that she isn’t, we were both focused on being transparent to each other – allowing the other person to truly look deeply into our lives, and through that God showed us the way.
What happens so often today is that people become attached physically or on the surface(and those bonds are strong!) BEFORE they even know the other person. Then, in order to continue along, both (or just one) feel the need to hide certain parts of who they are so as not to scare the other person away.
Because they are already “falling in love”, they both focus on what the other person can be instead of seeing who they truly are (it might not be their fault, the other person might not be 100% honest, out of fear).
A wise person gave me advice when I was dating Cristina and when we were talking about our future. I asked him for help on knowing whether or not Cristina was “the one”, and what he told me really opened my eyes. He said:
“Andrew, do you love Cristina? Can you see yourself living and loving her for the rest of your life, raising children and helping each other get to heaven?”
….and of course my answer was “yes!”
“Now, let me ask you something else. Can you see yourself with her for the rest of your life EVEN if she never changes….if she stays the SAME way that she is right now, for the rest of your life? You cannot marry someone, become one flesh with her, if you are counting on the fact that she will one-day change…because you NEVER know”
WOW, I had never heard that before. It really hit me, but let me tell you, that was probably the most important advice I got about discerning God’s will for marriage with Cristina.
Of course! I know that we are called to lead each other to holiness, that we will help each other grow and “better ourselves” (a worldly way of saying “grow in holiness”) BUT, this doesn’t mean that I marry Cristina based on those conditions, for she is who she is right now and I CHOOSE to be faithful and commit myself to her right now, exactly how she is at this very moment.
This is why it is so important to be ourselves and to be FULLY alive at each moment, especially when dating someone! Some people look at us like we are crazy when they witness how open we are with each other, how much we communicate and share with each other……but I thank God for this, for I know now exactly who I am promising to God that I will love, protect and honor for the rest of our lives!
Check out our episode that airs in September! We will keep you posted!