Dear Friends and Family,
Nick and I are so humbled by all of your support and congratulations in our engagement! I, personally, did not expect such a hoopla, but I am ever-grateful for it. Kudos to all of you that have gone through this engagement and wedding process – ‘cause it’s definitely a whirlwind! All those people grabbing your hand to “oooo” and “ahhhh” at your ring, all the congratulations and elbow-nudges, and just the stress that comes with planning a wedding – I don’t know if I’m gonna make it, but so many of you have, and that’s an encouragement!
Now, we knew that this engagement would bring many questions and concerns from the people who love and care about us. I hope to be able to answer these today in this blog. We aren’t walking into this blindly, and we want you all to know that we respect your opinions. If after you read this, you still have questions, feel free to ask us. We aren’t trying to be exclusive. We want to hear you out and at least try to alleviate your concerns, which I hope will be accomplished as you read further.
Last year, in September, I believe Nick and I were driving in his car, enjoying each other’s company, when, completely out-of-the-blue, Nick says:
What if we got married in a year?
I was completely taken aback, shocked, dumfounded by the implication Nick just made to me towards marriage. We had discussed this previously, and determined that a few years, maybe after college, would suffice for marriage. But one year? I think my immediate reaction was “Heck no!” But Nick, being such a lovely storyteller, began to tell me what made him come to this idea, which consisted of a lot of prayer and “Really, God? You want me to do THIS?” As he explained himself, the concerns grew within me. I’m a people-pleaser. I don’t do things without thinking first “What are people gonna think about me?” In my mind I was still saying “No!” But Nick’s rationality, composure, and sincerity lead me to really try to understand his heart.
After much discussion between the two of us over what marriage in a year would entail, we decided that we would take a week or two and pray about marriage – just marriage. Over that following week, God really showed us that this was his plan for us. If it wasn’t his plan, then there was simply no reason to still be dating if we weren’t supposed to get married. Thankfully, this wasn’t the Lord’s plan for us, so we moved on to the next course of action.
Next, we decided to pray about marriage in a year. We thought about what would be the best date, based on logistics and the one-year timeframe, and pinpointed the date to September 26th.
Time out: I realize this is the point in the story where your eyes bug out of your head, your mouth stands agape, and an infamous “What!?” resounds from your mouth. We ask that you open your minds further to what we have to say as we are truly, truly trying to respect everyone’s concerns in this. Thank you so much for your understanding.
So, as the story continues, we prayed about marriage in a year. The Lord severely softened my heart and Nick was more encouraged as he listened and prayed to God – mind you, this was on the same day we decided to pray about this.
But, we still had a week left.
That week was the week where I felt God the most in my life.
The next day, Nick went into work, and in the middle of his work day, one of his coworkers asked him “So, when are you getting married?” The question kind of shocked him. At this point, we had never discussed marriage with anyone. Literally – no one. And to have someone bring it up like that – out of the blue? No one had even brought up marriage to us, and here we were, not even a day after we decided to pray about this, and someone had just brought up the subject. Not only that, but as they continued talking, Nick’s coworker asked:
So, when are you thinking? A year maybe?
At that point, Nick just lost it. He immediately texted me and we both were in awe over this. To go from absolutely no one discussing marriage with us, to having someone suggest a year until marriage when we were considering it? Mind blowing.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The next day, we were at church hanging out with one of our good friends. I walked out to use the restroom, and when I walked back in, Nick looked at me and said “You know what he just asked me?” I had an idea. “He asked me when we were getting married, and he suggested a year.” At this point, we were just laughing from God’s humor with this. I guess it was no surprise when, as we were talking with one of Nick’s friends later that night, he brought up the exact same thing as both the other guys.
Okay, God. We get it.
So there we were. September 2013, planning to get married in September 2014. Nick was still living at home. I had no job. I was 17, he was 20. How is this ever gonna work?
You know, sometimes I think God takes our questions as a challenge. “Let’s see how creatively I can unfold this for them.”
Well, in November of 2013, I was hired at Panera Bread.
On the first of March of 2014, Nick moved out of his parents’ home and into an apartment.
God’s humor at its finest.
Over the next few months, we had to determine what we had to do in order to be ready for marriage. Our checklist consisted of talking with pastors, finding a mentor for both us, and discussing it with our families – all things we had to accomplish in a good, yet small, timeframe.
First things first: Nick invited an older and well-respected pastor and friend out for lunch. They discussed exactly what I just told you, along with “Why do you love her?” and “What are your plans after marriage?” At the end of this discussion, we had his full support, and his blessing. This was such an encouragement for us, and I still thank God continuously for how much he helped us, from what he and Nick discussed to just having his support, in our walk towards marriage.
Next, we both needed mentors. We knew we couldn’t do this alone, as we were and still are young. So, Nick, once again, went out for lunch with another well-respected gentleman and pastor. They both realized from this meeting that they very much enjoyed each other’s company, and they soon began to meet on a regular basis, as they still do today. I had met this man’s wife a while back, and, as I also respected her, it seemed perfectly fitting for me to mentor with her. They are the perfect couple for us and we honestly could not have asked for a better, more relatable pair. We are so blessed to have them in our lives.
Nick’s mentor has been such a huge help to us. He has challenged Nick so much, called him out on things, and really taught him how to be a good leader and future husband. Not only this, but he prepared him for the talk with our parents.
Preparing for the talk with my parents was like boot camp. We are so glad we had Nick’s mentor, because if we hadn’t had his counsel, the conversation with my parents would have gone MUCH differently. Nick’s mentor prepared him for weeks in advance, and brought us both together a few days before we decided to talk with them. He prayed with us and encouraged us, and the result surprised us both.
Both Nick’s parents and my parents were very supportive. Yes, yes, they had many questions, but we have been talking and planning with them and they all have been such a huge help. They’re love and support shocked us, and we couldn’t be more thankful for it.
So here we are now: Nick proposed on July 14th in the sweetest of ways – a story to be told later on – and we are preparing to be married on September 26, 2014. We still have a long way to go in our wedding plans, but God is with us, and we realize this more and more everyday. He has been so evident over this past year and, when asked whether we have doubts, we can confidently say no. Everything God has done for us, everything he’s shown us, and all the love we have received from all of you has left no doubt in our minds that this is not only God’s plan, but a very beneficial thing for both of us.
We are so very excited for this huge step. I honestly cannot wait to spend every day with Nick, as I know he cannot wait to spend everyday with me. We are fully aware of marriage’s difficulties, as they are inevitable and unavoidable, but we firmly believe in God’s plan for our lives. We continue to trust Him everyday and just wait for his humor to show as it has in these past few months.
I sincerely hope that this blog has alleviated any concerns or questions you may have had. In addition, I hope that you see why we are giving you all such short notice. Unfortunately for some, getting these puzzle pieces together took time. I wish we would have had more time to plan, but I guess that’s just how it worked out, so we’re gonna roll with it and let God shine.
Nick and are continuously seeking mentorship and, though we hope to be ready for marriage, we know we will never truly be “ready.” No one is ever “ready” for marriage. However, we hope to be prepared for whatever life throws at us.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31
The Future Mr. and Mrs. Artman