In a recent previous week, my husband blessed me in an amazing way. When I came home from a week in North Carolina, my basement was clean! To some of you, this may not seem like a big deal, but you had to know what it looked like before he cleaned it to fully appreciate all of his hard work. We had broken down boxes, an old mattress, computer parts, etc. everywhere. In many parts of the country, the basement or attic serve the same purpose: if you don’t know where to put something, toss it in the basement (or attic) and worry about it later. Well, we had been “worrying about it later” for close to six years… so, in the week I was gone, Eric separated, organized, discarded, and vacuumed so much stuff while I was visiting my parents. The look on my face when I walked in was similar to the look on my face when he proposed… I’m totally not kidding!
As I was looking over his handiwork, he showed me a notebook he found while cleaning. It was full of letters I had written to a boy in high school. He didn’t read them, but thought I might like to since they were in a collection and hand-written.
As I went through them, I quickly went back in my mind to being sixteen and completely sure of my future. I just knew this fellow I was writing was going to be my husband. Interestingly, I did not think so because I was head over heels for him – because I wasn’t… in retrospect, I really didn’t have much in common with him – yet, I believed we were meant to be because so many people in my church were telling us how “great” we seemed together. Because of the quantity and consistency of this affirmation, I was willing to stake the rest of my life on others’ opinions, assuming that God was speaking to me through them.
If I was brave enough, I may have included a sample letter from the pile of letters I wrote to this guy, but I’m not… so, I’ll spare you the stomach ache. Reading them as an adult, I realized how little I knew about life back then. The more I read, the more thankful I became for God’s timing and sovereignty. I was not ready for marriage back then, even though I thought I knew all there was to know about it; and, I’m thankful that I had several more years to grow up and mature before becoming someone’s wife. If someone had married me at sixteen, they would have wanted to return me back to my dad.
Even though I found myself embarrassed as I read these ridiculous letters, I was so glad that I had them. It was such a glimpse into who I used to be! As I read, I remembered things about myself that I had forgotten… important things. The letters didn’t serve the purpose I expected them to, but they allowed me to remember what it was like to be so young… so carefree… so clueless. Reliving those moments through those letters help me remember how to better help others going through the pain and frustration of youth.
A few years after I wrote these letters, I wrote another notebook of letters. This notebook was letters to my future spouse. Instead of writing to someone I assumed would be my husband, I wrote letters that I would one day give to my actual husband. On the day of our wedding, I gave the book to Eric, and much to my surprise, he gave a book of letters to me! These letters are treasures to us, and we occasionally get them out and read them as reminders of our plans, dreams, and expectations of marriage.
Some words we wrote are amusing – now that we have experienced the realities of marriage – and some words are reminders of plans we had for our future. When life happens, difficult circumstances arise in marriage, and I forget why I choose this life path, I can return to the book and remember where it all began.
If you have not already begun writing a book to your future spouse, I would strongly recommend it. If you’ve already begun, keep going! It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, your future spouse will likely be delighted with such a special gift. After a few years of marriage, you’ll also be as happy to have it as your spouse will be. Get to writing!
What do you want to say to your future spouse?