This is kind of an important post and I’m guessing I already have your attention! I’m engaged. I have to be honest with you all. It’s kind of weird talking about myself as I am a huge on celebrating other people’s love stories, hence this blog. It’s been incredibly weird being congratulated. It’s a really funny story. I’ve known of him (Isaac aka Superman/The handsome Fiancee) since I was 8/9 years old. We’d been friends for a few years and the long story short is that God did not want us to just be friends.
There was a journey in God that we both went on before we got to a place where we realised that we not only needed God but each other. After some Pastoral guidance and a lot of impatient guardian angels, we started a courtship. At this point I know some of you are thinking, Austen? Did we just go back 90 years? Ha, no! As committed Christians we believe in fufilling romantic relationships on purpose. I don’t believe in dating and here is why. Dating is meeting people with the hope and intention of finding someone that is compatible. The problem with that is that it takes the finding of a partner out of the hand of an all knowing almighty God and gives the chess board to wonderful but imperfect human beings. Humans with feelings and needs that sometimes sway our judgement. Possibly ending in getting us into relationships that hurt, taking more from you than you get. Or relationships allowing you all the driving force but without an obligation to commit or be accountable for your actions towards another persons heart. Then if we get the promise of commitment from the one we love, we feel lucky. As opposed to feeling blessed and happy at getting what we deserve. Our hearts are our driving force both physically and metaphorically. Science has literally managed to now prove it is possible to die from a broken heart. Doctors will run away from Heart issues, because it is a beautiful organ with many functions but a fragile compostion. It is also one of the biggest gifts God has given the human being. In it holds our feelings, affections, passions and longings. I believe we were made for relationship with God and that He takes delight in knowing us. I also believe that God wants to one day pair us in an accountable relationship with another person pursuing a life of honour and seeking to know for sure that you are the person they will spend the rest of their life with. That process is what the Church calls ‘Courtship’. It required us to actively work towards being the people God wanted us to be. In courtship you discuss nearly every topic, triumph and challenge that Marriage could bring you. I still may not know a thing about the Premier League, but I do know my fiancee’s childhood experiences, goals, ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. We know what makes each other tick and equally what annoys us. We can communicate without words and sometimes I’ll steal a joke he is about to tell. That really annoys him! Ultimately we believe God should engineer our relationship and He makes it beautiful.
This blog is dedicated to celebrating love in different shapes and sizes. It would be selfish not to share my story. However, I would encourage you reading this right now. Not because my relationship is perfect but because I serve a God that is, to allow Him to write your love story.
Speech over. Wondering how he proposed.? How do you propose to a nature lover, who has seen nearly everything in London? He took me our breakfast place, which works because we are obsessed with pancakes and bacon. God help us not get fat in the future. We then went to Canary Wharf and got cupcakes. When you think about it, how can I not marry a man who understands my insane need for cake. I later found out this was a decoy to use up time. After we went to the new Roof Top Gardens at Canary Wharf.
Thinking back I don’t know why I didn’t find it weird that we were acknowledged every step of the way, and everyone in uniform smiled at me (they all knew and had been shown my picture beforehand lol!) We walked around for ever eventually sitting down. Of course I thought it would be a great time to start eating cupcakes whilst he begins to talk. Eventually he gets ticked off and says ‘B, I’m trying to give you my heart now, drop the cake’. A couple of lovely private moments later he tells me thats if that’s feel about someone you should propobably propose. So I agree. He then says if there is a proposal there should be a ring right? I’m like right. Boom, he’s on one knee.
All of a sudden, a photographer and videographer pop out of no where. I’m screaming and crying and Isaac tells me to say hello to Timi and Adesola of Bridge Weddings, whose creative work I have previously featured on this blog. Everyone in the gardens is clapping and and whopping at this point as I said yes!
Afterwards, I’m trying to call my family friends and Pastor and no one is picking up their phones. I’m suitably emotional and confused. We both go to Church to find everyone, after opening the doors and they are all there yelling ‘surprise’!
(Isn’t he handsome!)
So back to normal Chioma. Here are five weird but well meaning things said to me whilst I was single that just, well. Made me laugh.
1. Why don’t you start dating? How else are you going to meet someone?
Sounds great right? Well, let’s take a moment and think about what dating really is. It is following the laws of physical attraction and assumed chemistry. Looking the part and putting yourself in a romantic or friendly situation. Hoping to find that right guy or girl in the midst of a competitive jungle. Hoping he will be willing and ready admist all the possibilities to to make a decision to commit.Then years later you hope that even though he met you in the game, he will leave it to propose to you. All jokes aside, the dating pool is quite literally a pool. Full of the finest fish of all shapes and sizes. Expectin Mr Right to appear from it is like swimming around aimlessly hoping for an exit. Hoping that a fisherman with a heart of gold puts the perfect bait on his fishing rod. In the midst of an open river, in a spot you can swim to. It’s assuming you will survive the prison break and be the fish he wants to take home for family participation(aka dinner). Dating can incur too many possibilities and way too many variables. The heart is one of the most fragile organs in the body. Once injured or punctured holes it can take decades to repair if it at all. Surgery and recovery is extremely risky and lenghty with no guarantees. Why risk your heart in the dating pool. Any way, God knows I’m too special to be somebody else’s possibility. Everyone asking me why I don’t date assumes I’m trying to meet someone. Sometimes all I want is cake, tea and Netflix. That was all I wanted for many years.
In the Church people use the word Christian Courtship to describe a loving relationship borne out of a deliberate decision. A decision to commit to learning about another person and discovering if God would have you marry each other. It involves prior prayer and counsel and should never undertaken without serious thought. other issue I have with dating is that there is no accountability or inferred responsibility. Mentorship is so important and so is a decet amount of research. You would never go backpacking without some serious google mapping, a couple of guide books and doublechecking you oasis isn’t a terrorist hotspot. So why do people attempt a journey of 30 years plus by educating themselves on E! news specials. In courtship you talk about issues that will directly impact on your life together. Think of it as troubleshooting in advance! Discussing life issues in a relationship not compensated by sex will make you figure out VERY quickly if it is going to work out.
Everyone also made the assumption when asking why I don’t date that I actually God wants someone to join me they will pop up. People walk up to people they don’t know and say hello all the time. If no one did I wouldn’t die.
2. Haven’t you taken your Christianity a bit too far?
Well let’s analyse what Christianity is. If I believe it to be the best lifestyle choicer, there is no way I can take my good choice too seriously. No one ever said, I want to be healthy or happy but can I do it part time? My faith doesn’t just aid me in getting closer to God but teaches me how to make great decisions. Decisions far beyond which church to attend. Biblical notes tell me that I am worthy and special to God . So before I can join myself to another person, he must prove that he is worthy of upholding and honouring me. Capable of taking care of someone apart from himself. My faith also encourages me to work at becoming someone worthy of such an honour. I’m still working on that ;-)
3. If you don’t believe in sex before marriage, how will you get engaged? How will you properly know each other if you dont have sex. What if the sex is bad?
Well I just managed to get engaged without getting engaged, so the first question is beyond irrelevant now. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. I am confident my God given abilities beyond my flexibility are enough to interest a man with the right intentions. I have a beautiful mind, great perspectives and I’m kind of funny. I am far from mighty or perfect but that doesn’t bother me because no one is and we all do number two’s. Let’s start thinking about sex as the cherry at the top of the cake as opposed to the buttercream that holds it all together. What holds a relationship together is the choice to work through the layers of different personalities, dreams, challenges and experiences. God adds the flavour, quality assurance and uniqueness with his Bon Mammon Strawberry preserve(amen yum.)The icing is love and the cherry on top(sex) adds to the overall experience. Sex does not make a relationship though it can have a huge effect on it. If someone said to me they wouldn’t marry me unless I slept with them, I would laugh!
The problem with our world is that we have isolated sex from love when the two are protected and safer when inseperable. Marriage is a life long thing, there’s plenty of time to work at it. Sounds like fun homework.
4. Being single is awesome!
It was incredible. I had an amazing time with complete freedom. It was God, myself and I. I travelled, did all kind of ministry across different kind of churches. I made friendships for life and learned life skills. Never jump to be in a relationship. It’s likely when jumping from pillar to post you don’t learn much on the wayand will soon jump into a fire. I would rather be single than have a broken heart. I walked into my relationship with dignity. We automatically repsected each other journies and had so much more to learn from each other. I learn from my Fiance daily because his knowledge and ability to problem shoot transcends my worrying nature! I trust him because he has proved that he always knows what he is doing and is annoyingly always right. As he wasn’t jumping from relationship to relationship, he had time to pick up a whole lot of common sense. Which is not as common as you’d expect. So if your looking at people lifetime events on fb, wedding hash tags or your next single birthday with dread don’t panic, rejoice! Once you get married you share your awesomeness. Enjoy being awesome right now.
5. You have to work at relationships.
I blame Hollywood. They told us that the challenge was finding the right person. It is a consistent choice to make your relationship work. I had seen failed marriages and good people in bad unions. This taught me that when you do find the one your soul loves, hold on tight. Becuase nothing great comes easy. The likelihood is that life or other people will throw arrows to frustrate. Or people will make you feel unhappy with what you have when you get it. I am very protective over my relationship and my Fiance is very(very) protective over me. We knew we wanted to get married form the start, God gave us a timeline and we stuck to it. And like the good book says ‘What God has joined together let no man put assunder’. People may tell you it’s too soon. Then they will tell you are too young, or she or he is not right for you. Then the same nosy parkers will grab a favour bag at your wedding. Love is not for the faint hearted. It will shapen and sharpen you, unfortunately most marriages don’t make it through the fire. Refining will cost you elements of yourself you have to let go off. Hopefully you come out better and shining like gold. Or in my case Platinum.
Engagement Photography by Bridge Weddings