After six years of dating, I got engaged on the 13th of October, 2017. In the words of my friends: “it’s about time”.
If you want to know the specifics – well, here they are: I booked a restaurant; I wrote a letter; she read the letter; and, at the end of the letter, I proposed.
Yes, I did get on one knee (after knocking over a chair) and I made sure to “pop the question” before the mains were served as my nerves were overwhelming my appetite.
It was a simple proposal, and all in all, it was a happy day.
At this point, my fiancée (I’m still not accustomed to using this word) and I are enjoying our engagement. However, I’m trying to not get carried away by this whole process.
Don’t get me wrong, being engaged is really fun. It brought me so much joy telling my best mates they were my groomsmen, and I can’t wait till I call Jacqui my wife.
However, I do have three things on my mind: first, I’m conscious that wedding planning could literally consume our lives; second, I’m conscious that I have many single friends who are not engaged; and third, I’m reminded by John Piper that marriage is momentary, and it serves as a parable for something much more permanent.
Wedding planning will consume your life
Before we got engaged, I said to Jacqui: “Look, after we get engaged, let’s not talk about wedding planning for a couple weeks because once we start planning, it’s going to consume our lives”.
However, this lasted for about three days. Jacqui now has an excel sheet that documents our budget, we have booked venue inspections, and supposedly, the wedding’s colour scheme is navy and burgundy (I had to Google the spelling of burgundy, and I still don’t know why it’s not called “dark red” or “crimson”).
Over the next couple of months, I’m sure there will be plenty of fun times. However, there will also be difficult times.
First, both our mothers will have to become accustomed to “letting go” of their respective child. Jacqui and I both grew up in single parent households. Personally, I still haven’t come to terms with my mum being alone in a household. You guys can pray for me.
And second, the reality that two sinners are organising this wedding means that disagreements, arguments and stress will be an inevitable.
However, I trust that God will help us work through the above.
Engaged now, but once single
Before I was a ‘fiancé’, I was a ‘brother in Christ’ and a ‘good mate’, and I intend to continue being both.
I have observed that most churches will run dating workshops for teenagers, marriage counselling for those who are engaged, and marriage refreshers for those who are married. I still haven’t worked out whether my church accommodates or looks out for those who are single.
Therefore, over the next few months, I’m going to work out with Jacqui how we, as a married couple, can be hospitable towards those who are not married. Whether it’s the bible study that we will lead together, Christmas, or any other social event, I pray that we will be able to practice the Christian value of hospitality.
Waiting on the greater marriage
The first, and only, book that I’ve ever read regarding marriage was This Momentary Marriage by John Piper.
I was 18 and I still have no idea why I bought that book as a teenager. Nonetheless, the book presents one resounding principle that I will never forget.
Marriage is great. However, it is a momentary gift from God. It may last a whole ‘lifetime’, which seems long, but in reality is short when compared to the scope of ‘eternity’. Its beauty derives from the fact that it reflects the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church.
Currently, I’m trying to sort out the reception guest list, but I’m reminded that our reception is merely a foretaste to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
When Jesus does return, the momentary marriage that I’m organising, which will be great, will be subsumed by the permanent marriage, which will be greater.
Jia Pan Xiao is a graduate lawyer working in Sydney. Jia Pan attends GracePoint Chinese Presbyterian Church, and in his spare time, he enjoys watching American sports and drinking coffee.
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