This is part of a story series that can be read in any order. Read on to discover some of the best dating advice I received…
My pastor leaned back and blew out a breath, transferring his gaze to the ceiling and studying his own thoughts for a moment. Classic introvert. I waited, patient, eager to know what he would say.
I’ll openly admit I had little idea what I was doing: falling in love with this man has been the greatest and most confusing adventure. He’s kind, gentle, considerate, strong, a natural leader, and he pursues me with a singleness of mind I was little prepared for.
So for months I read every relationship book I could get my hands on. With my best friend beside me, I sat on the floor in that section of the bookstore, searching for (I wouldn’t admit it then, but I will now) the perfect piece of advice that will ensure my future happiness.
But there is no book that guarantees happiness (in relationships, in career, in faith).
Funny story? In my eagerness to learn how to do this couple thing, I even Googled ‘how to be a good girlfriend.’ Don’t do it. ;)
I was 22 years single. That’s a lot of on-my-own living to align with another soul.
So there I had the opportunity to ask my pastor that question. What I was basically asking was, What would you tell yourself to do differently while you were dating? What would you have changed?
My heart was crying out, Tell me something that will help me do this right. Perfectly. Right from the start.
And he said this: “I would tell myself to study the culture my wife comes from. I don’t mean the Miami culture. I mean the differences. Stuff like my mom fixed dinner on Sundays so that it was ready when we returned from church, while her mom opened the kitchen so that everyone fixed what they wanted.”
That, my friends, has been some of the best advice I’ve received. Even after all the books. Even after I let go of the mistaken assumption that if I just read one more, I might finally get it right.
We’ve gone over this yet again in premarital counseling sessions (which I highly recommend). Studying Devin’s culture has asked me to consider what it would look like to
- prepare dinner together, then eat it sitting in the living room rather than at the dining room table (not a big change)
- have a trained, obedient dog rather than the three spoiled pups I call my own (all my fault)
- etc. ;)
Little things that account to little now, but could cause friction if we let them later when we’re navigating what our culture will become. Which I’m looking forward to immensely. :)
What about you? What is some of the best dating/marriage advice you’ve received?
- 5 Action Steps Every Premarried Woman Should Take – Katherine Deal
- the Kindred Grace archives are a treasure trove of helpful advice