By Jonathan David Faulkner
Being Vulnerable is hard, but in this instance, I think it is absolutely necessary. Since this has been on my mind a lot lately, I want to share these, maybe unconventional, maybe strange thoughts with you because I think they are important.
Every day I get close to marriage to the most incredible woman I have ever had the Joy of knowing and as the day gets closer I have this growing fear and sense that I am not ready and that produces fear in me. Am I really ready for this new chapter?
I started planning my honeymoon this morning, called the resort, got the rates I needed so that I can hopefully book a week with my new bride before I have to come back and start classes again. But it was there, the sense that I am not ready for this, that I am afraid to be married. When someone asked me if I was going to take a Dave Ramnsey course offered by my church my answer was: “I have no problem handling personal finances, it’s handling finances for two that scares me.” Unfortunately I cannot take the class since I am teaching one that starts before that class ends.
We have not even started Pre-Marital Counseling yet and I am already feeling the weight. Maybe it’s the years of asking God to prepare me for marriage, knowing that I would never truly be prepared. Maybe it is my over developed sense of moral responsibility. I mean, I am taking on the responsibility of another life, one that I do love and cherish, but even so, I have never really done that on a day-to-day level for anyone but myself.
How do I take the gentleness and care and love that has so beautifully defined our courtship and help foster that 24/7 365? I know, I know, that’s an unrealistic expectation and there will be hard times, but that doesn’t mean I should give up on fostering the most loving relationship I can. I mean, I am screwed up, what if she sees all my faults and she finds something she doesn’t like. What if the hard man I used to be surfaces, the one my parents and sisters always warned me about. I can still be overly sensitive at times and I have to check my attitudes and make sure I am listening.
I mean, I have to care for another human being and do my best to continue showing her the grace of God and the love of the Church. I have to care for her physical, emotional and spiritual needs and I have to lead her.
What if I mess up our finances?
What if I get hurt and can’t provide?
What if I am a terrible father?
What if I do not follow God?
So many questions, but that last one scares me the most. Why is that? Because I cannot properly manage and steward a household or be an effective leader in my marriage unless I am following Christ. He should be my first and only focus that all other focuses come under. If I look at my marriage through the lens of my focus on Christ I can handle it, if I do not, then I will fail.
It may not be that black & white, but as a principle for helping us navigate those murky waters of the fears associated with not feeling ready it is a pretty good one. If I am following Christ, I should be able to carry our my responsibilities to her and guard her heart and spirit and body. If I diverge from that, try to do these things on my own strength, I will fail to care for her.
The words of Sanctus Reel’s “Lead Me” come to mind in my morning prayers a lot. Knowing that I can call on the God of the Universe for leadership and Guidance is as great a comfort as one can get. Knowing that He has promised to do just that, lead me and guide me, gives an even greater comfort still.
Guys, I’m terrified by the responsibilities of marriage, and I am so not ready. But God has ordained this and I trust and have faith in Him for all wisdom and guidance going forward.
Yeah, I’m scared of marriage, but I am glad I am. That fear has driven me to Christ and I know I can trust in Him for and in all things to come.
Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry