Maybe we should stop

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

Not long after we’d officially decided we were dating, we started praying together during our daily conversations.

After we’d already begun, one of Daniel’s friends had cautioned against the intimacy praying together can create.

My mentor was thrilled to hear of Daniel’s leadership in prayer, and warned of how spiritual intimacy was, well, intimate.

We certainly found it to be intimate. We were opening our souls to God together, lifting up our desires, our requests, our hurts, and our praise. This was deep intimacy.

We weren’t about to stop.

Our prayers took different directions from day to day. Sometimes we prayed for the circumstances of our lives. Sometimes we prayed for the people in our lives. Sometimes we prayed for one another. Sometimes we each prayed for ourselves. Frequently, we thanked God for the gift of His Son. Almost as frequently, we thanked God for the gift of each other.

But one refrain found its way into almost every prayer.

“Lord, we want to be married someday–but if that’s not Your will, we don’t want it.”

“Lord, I love this man, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him–but if that’s not what You want, show us.”

“Lord, You know I love Rebekah and want to marry her–but I want Your will to be done.”

“Lord, if I don’t marry Daniel, I’ll be very, very sad–but I’d rather obey You than have him.”

It was our heart’s cry, our desire laid bare before the Lord. Both of us were prone to make marriage an idol, to worship our desire for a spouse above God. Both of us recognized the danger of idolizing one another.

We wanted each other–and we told God that–but we wanted God more.

Our desire was to be married–but we wanted above anything to honor God.

And so we prayed day after day.

I talked with Cathy, week after week, confessing how much I thought I was in love with Daniel, how much I wanted to be his wife, how he wanted me for his wife. I shared how I struggled to know whether this desire was holy or idolatrous. I wanted God more. As painful as it would be to not marry Daniel, that’s what I wanted if that’s what God wanted. Cathy and I prayed together, week after week.

And Daniel and I continued to pray during our daily conversations.

“Lord, we want to be married–but if you don’t want that, neither do we.”

We continued to pray it day after day until one day, when Daniel said the words that changed the tenor of our conversations.

I was wearing my red satiny pajamas laying across the white comforter of my hotel bed, chin propped on a pillow, Nexus tablet propped on a second pillow in front of me. The light above my head cast a ghastly pallor across my face, such that I winced whenever I saw the tiny box that was me in the corner of the screen. It wasn’t one of my best days.

Then Daniel said it: “Maybe we should stop talking about getting married.”

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