Perspective is a driving force for what we do as humans. It allows us to make sense of the meaning behind the simplicities and complexities of life. As a young man dating a Godly woman I believe a realistic perspective of what we have in relationship is necessary. It is for this reason that I have processed through what pursuit means and how to give what I cannot control to God. So I wrote this as a way to put my perspective into words.
To the man who will marry my girlfriend,
One of my friends shared with me an interesting perspective with a quote from a pastor he had heard, and this quote is what prompted this letter. He said,
“Until you get married, you are dating someone else’s wife.”
I found this quote challenging, uncomfortable, but very insightful in how I need to be honoring the girl I date.
This is a weird letter to write. In fact I dislike the thought of it very much. But regardless of what I think, here is a cold hard fact: I may not marry the girl I am dating. For whatever reason and for whatever purpose the Lord has planned, she may move on and become engaged and married to a man other than me. I would be a fool to think I can dictate to God what my future will be.
So this is to you, stranger who will love her forever. I write this letter out of respect to you and to her, recognizing that I may not be a permanent piece of her life. It is with that recognition that I strive to serve and respect her to the best of my ability for her sake and yours. I want to walk all the way this relationship, in whatever form that may be; proud of how I honored her and upheld her purity. I want to give you, the man who will love her forever, a woman who is better than she was when I met her. I want to have been an influential part of her faith development as she has been in mine. I want to be a better communicator than I was before, and as she moves on to you I hope she is a stronger communicator as well. I want to give you a woman who I learned to love realistically, whose scars and pain I’ve seen and loved through, whose hopes and dreams I have encouraged. I want to give you a woman who needs no man but delights in the ability to build a relationship and be a part of a team. I want to walk away knowing that I helped and not hindered in her formation. I want to give you a woman who knows who she is, deeply rooted in Christ, a woman who I could encourage through the hard times and celebrate with in the joy.
She is neither mine to give nor mine to take, but owned by God, bought by His Son. Therefore I must treat her with the respect she is due. I must care for my girlfriend the way I would hope the man dating my future wife cares for that future best friend. I want to love selflessly, walk humbly, and be open to whatever God may have in store. There is no better way to live than in the service of my God, and this woman before me is a great opportunity to practice Christ-styled love and adoration. I do not know what the future holds, and it would be foolish for me to think I can plan so correctly as to take what is not mine to have. You, future husband of my girlfriend, please know that I will do my best to protect her heart for you and from me. I want to be a bold leader and a quiet listener, not here to judge but to show grace. I give and I receive, all the while being discerning about how to walk with my girlfriend honorably.
But to change focus as I wrap this letter up, to you, the man who is dating my future wife (and to every man dating someone’s future wife), please protect her. Care for her heart and encourage her to grow in her faith. You cannot control the future, but are given the present to be faithful in. Be faithful, first to God and secondly to my future wife. Honor her, lover her, and spur her forward in growth. You have the opportunity to walk alongside this woman in the greatest of commandments from God, to love Him and secondly others. Be selfless in this walk, for it is not your path to choose, but God’s path to follow. Follow well. Lead well. Love well. And pray for your future, for the Lord will show you which steps to take and how to love those who walk the same path.
As I said before, this is a weird thing to write, but I believe in the importance of openness to God, especially when it comes to the hearts we have the opportunities to invest in. When I look at my girlfriend, my best friend, I see someone with a past, a present, and a future that I have a chance to love and respect and be a part of. I get to journey with God in learning to spur someone close to my heart closer to His heart. If I do not do this then I do not deserve the gift that is my girlfriend. She is not mine neither to take nor mine to give away, but to protect and spur in growth.
With respect to my girlfriend, you, and all of our futures,