For some reason lately I have been thinking a lot about marriage and what that means. It’s been a peculiar place for me to be and I’m not sure I can explain why I have been there so much lately. I could speculate because I do wish to have a family, or maybe it’s because “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” as Proverbs 18:22 says. The very interesting thing about the desire that I find myself having is that, at the same time, I am absolutely not ready. Let me explain.

A few years ago I took a huge, but exciting risk, by opening a business. With all the money I had, and quite a lot from others, I opened Type 1 CrossFit. It was great! I had a gym! I was able to coach people, make them healthier, and do what I had been desiring for almost 5 years. Here is the problem. It didn’t work out. 8 months into the venture, as a sole proprietorship, I had to declare bankruptcy and close the facility. Yep. 8 months.

Along with that, and for a completely separate reason, I also lost my license for about 6 months. So here I am broke, homeless, and unable to drive while being in a suburb of Chicago currently in September. What did I do? Well by God’s grace I was able to get a job at a 24-hour Walgreens and functionally LIVED in the back of the store, in the parking lot, and in my car. I walked to work, or to Starbucks which was close, every day. I found ways to get to a shower on fairly regular basis but, needless to say, it was a rough time.

Now, from that abridged history to the present day, quite a lot has changed. My job is much better and I am able to pay down my bankruptcy payments, I am no longer suspended, but I am still functionally homeless. That means I live in my car, but do have the means to go somewhere most nights. What does this have to do with a woman? Let me explain.

For a long time, since all this happened, I have been fishing for a woman in a pond with no fishing pole so to speak. I had nothing to offer, no way to serve, and had no idea what my life was going to hold. This whole situation, coupled with my own sins, made what I was pursuing an absolute absurdity. Jokingly, I have considered what dating a broke and homeless dude would be like from a woman’s perspective. I would pick her up in my car, go to my apartment (my car), and drive to McDonalds to get chicken nuggets so we can eat while watching Supernatural on the CW app, which is on my phone that’s also in my car. Husband material, for sure!

That makes it all very clear. I wasn’t ready, but I couldn’t shake the desire to think about a wife. How do I reconcile my desire, with my present situation? Enter, the notebook. This is something that I have heard and is absolutely brilliant: keep a notebook of letters to your future wife. Write about what you’re working on, what you’re struggling with, what scriptures are speaking to you, and what you’re planning for. Write about how you love her and how she is your beloved long before God brought her into your life. It’s a way to write out and say “I loved you before I knew you” and, when you find that one you will marry, give it to her.

Let her know that you were thinking, praying, and planning for her long before you knew her. Ephesians 5:33 says to “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” I think Paul had much to say on wives being loved by their husbands; but why not start that beforehand?

I see a couple benefits to this. First, this gives you a pretty fantastic outlet for all those thoughts and desires and it turns it into an authentically smooth (and I would guess jaw-dropping) gift to your beloved. Second, it prepares you for the real deal in some small and meek way. When you have to consider the other person in your actions, when that is forefront in your thought, or when you have to actually confess that in your notebook realizing you will give it to her, it changes so much.

The sentiment that I want to leave with you to consider is: “I loved you before I knew you.” That single line, to me, says so much. It expresses a heart’s desire and the outworking of that desire in preparation for marriage, and I think that is a fantastic thing. It’s also just smooth!

As I bring this all to a close I want to say this as an encouragement to all those single guys out there:

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

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