My fiancé and I opted for a three month engagement. He actually proposed exactly three months prior to our wedding date—even to the hour! However, when we tell people that we are planning to be married on July 9th, their eyes widen as they reply with the inevitable, “Of this year?!”
I understand. Prior to my own, I was skeptical of short engagements. I see now, though, the deep discomfort of living too long in the in-between. Every couple I speak with confirms that engagement was one of the hardest times of their lives for a plethora of reasons. So far, engagement has been a delight, for I love my fiancé, his family, and the sweet details of planning our day-to-day life together. Still, even amidst this joy and excitement, I know now why engagement might be considered a trying season; stitching together two lives, no matter how compatible, can be messy and stressful. Keep it short and sweet, I say!
It strikes me, though, that the Christian walk is a lifelong engagement. We are assured of the love of the Bridegroom, but are left to prepare for His return. We are guaranteed of our union with Christ, but are called to pursue Him daily. If temporary engagements for human couples are difficult, how much more might we expect the in-between of Christian life to be strenuous? But, if the reward and rejoicing of human marriage is already tremendous, how much more shall the consummation of Christ and Church be both a resplendent and enduring joy?
Within this cosmic perspective, I find both resignation and hope. While my earthly engagement will soon end in marriage, my heavenly engagement will stretch throughout my entire life. I am destined to live in the already-but-not-yet and must therefore continue striving after the promised Bridegroom. He already gave Himself for me; in the meantime, I must more and more seek to submit myself to Him.
As I said, though, I also find hope in this grandest betrothal. As messy as uniting two lives may be, the reconciliation of man and God was infinitely more costly and more seemingly impossible. And yet, we know this to have been accomplished in Christ. Why, then, should I despair? Why, then, should I cease hoping for each of our paths to be made straight together? Our incarnate Bridegroom has already reconciled all things; so, too, can He bring together our desires, our callings, and our futures.
How beautiful the betrothal of Christ and Church.
How sanctifying the space between.
How strengthening the assurance of the Wedding Feast!