Saturday, June 27, 2009

When Do You Know?

I've been together with Kelvin for nearly two years and I can't imagine my life without him in any way but lately we've both had these doubts floating around in our heads about when do you know that the timing is right for marriage or that you are 100% sure that this is the direction you are meant to go... Last night we openly and honestly discussed our fears and concerns (which I think was really healthy) but nothing really got resolved. I don't feel like our relationship is in jeopardy of falling apart or anything, nor am I concerned that our love is dying but I do feel some stress.
A few months ago, we were both struggling through life changes (me being here, him being there and going through his retirement, his son's graduation, his 40th b-day coming up and becoming a grandfather this summer) and I became VERY insecure in where our relationship stood. I felt sure that it was falling apart, that he wasn't interested in being with me anymore and that I had to come to terms with starting over... I really also struggled with what society tells me is the right timing in a relationship. I'd had friends and family telling me that we should be engaged or moved in together by now... that Kelvin needed to move forward, make a formal commitment etc. I bought into all that and allowed it to create additional stress in my life and I brought that to our relationship (which you can imagine caused some pressure and stress). And then I took it to God and I prayed... really and truly prayed over this relationship (something I hadn't done in a long time) and I felt a peace over me. I felt like this wasn't the time to listen to the outside world and this was a time to step back a little, to not pressure Kelvin in any way and to just relax. And that is what I have been trying to do more and more. Times are hard for my man and I love him enough to grant him the space he needs to deal with this in his time.
And now Kelvin is feeling like he isn't being fair to me by making me wait until his life is settled again. He officially retires in October and starts his second career sometime after that. He is struggling to walk away from the one thing that has been physically constant in his life for the last 21 years (his military career) and he feels like he is dragging me through all this stress and that it's unfair (I on the other hand feel like it is the most natural thing in the world to help him through this time and to put his needs first at this time... but he wants to think of my needs first). And lately, he has been feeling the same external pressures from society that I was feeling before and it is just adding to the stress that is already overwhelming him. He also is so stressed about being perfect in a future marriage with me. Kelvin has been married before and has watched that fall apart. He knows now what went wrong and how much hurt was caused by it all and he can't bear to repeat that. He also is terrified to not do this right with me since it would be a first marriage for me. He has all these expectations that he has placed on himself from past experiences and from a Biblical perspective and it stresses him out a lot (which is the last thing he needs right now... and which I think can wait until other things settle into place).
Last night we had a wonderful honest discussion about all of this for about 3 hours and it was so good. It was so good for him to release his fears and stresses and it was so good for me to be on the listening end for a change... but the question still remains: How do you know when you are ready for marriage? How do you know that time is right?


Kristen said...

Jonathan and I postponed our wedding once (our wedding was actually our second wedding date, a year later). There were things that we both needed to do in our lives before we took this step. I had some growing up and maturing to do. He had to explore his calling and pursue his education. It was difficult to let him go but it turned into a great growing experience for both of us. We never let go of our relationship, we just put the marriage plans on hold. We read 2 marriage prep books during this time, Fit to Be Tied by the Hybels and A Marriage Without Regrets by Kay Arthur (we did the study guide for that too). Those really helped us. One thing that Jonathan felt was important for us was just to prepare for marriage, knowing that one day God would tell him "Go get your bride" (like the old Hebrew way of marriage) - and it happened that way. We had 7 weeks to plan and execute the wedding, but it worked and God was very present. I don't think that you can be perfectly ready for marriage (you know the, if this this and this happens then we are ready) - I think you prepare and choose to commit yourself to love each other. Marriage is a lot of work, but worth working at. I hope this helps!
Love ya,
Kristen :o)

Shaun Guthrie said...

I can honestly say you just know when it's right. It's as simple as saying this is the person you want to grow old with and spend the rest of your life with. If you cannot honestly picture moving forward with your significant other (Speaking generally here not just you), then you are not in the right relationship. As far as I know. I was with someone before Lindsay for 5 years and at no point could I ever see myself with that person till the end. It was more just going through the motions.

You will know when it's right, kinda freaky cause it just comes over you. There is no science behind it and there is no special sign, you just end up knowing and when you do it's awesome!