Becoming Mrs Morrison: Courtship, Advice and Turning 30
Butterflies and Summer Love
Like I said, I didn’t have to wait long until things changed completely.
Everything changed May 10th, our 3rd date. I was in London for work and we’d managed to set a late lunch date before I had to get back up to Leicester.
I’d been praying about this whole situation from the start, because I ultimately didn’t want to be deceived by or deceive Mr Instant Messenger going into anything. And all I kept sensing from God was a consistent gentle nudge to just explore things and not be hypercritical of everything. Even on the train ride down to London that day, I was about to start writing a list of underlying character flaws I could see in Mr Instant Messenger and weigh up which were possible deal breakers, when I clearly felt the Holy Spirit say to stop that and just enjoy the day. So I did.
As soon as I saw him walk towards me in the restaurant, the butterfly jar in my tummy exploded – I don’t even know what had changed. A mere several hours ago I was preparing to mentally play Dexter on his character.
And now it was just like a switch had gone on for full blast physical attraction. I distinctly remember how much I just wanted us to sit next to each other instead of across, so we would be closer.
Anyway, we made it official that day and suddenly I was learning to say “boyfriend” in conversations in the most awkward of ways, as it was the most foreign and unused word in my vocabulary.
The day we became ‘official’
Within a month, we met each other’s mothers which was only topped by the fact that it involved him joining me on my Florida holiday to meet mine.
It was like all the summer romance novels and films I had consumed growing up, but even better, because this included:
- quality conversations fuelled by even longer lists of questions
- quality time with family and seeing how he treated my family
- seeing each other relaxed and
- having an obvious physical attraction, but no sex to deceive us or compromise our faith (I might write something about this soon, but feel free to let me know if you have a question on this now)
From then on, we really intentionally started talking about marriage as we both knew we didn’t just want a relationship for the sake of it, but contrarily, wanted to find out any deal breakers as soon as possible.
We read and researched for months what we needed to ask each other and bear in mind when choosing a marital spouse. We shared experiences and observed each other in our different social circles and we consulted with our nearest and dearest. We also discussed engagement ring options and sizes then, so that Gyles could actually surprise me if we kept the relationship going, rather than awkwardly having to find out when we definitely knew we were ready to get married.
Our 1st public outing
Enjoying the sun in Florida
Florida treated us well
Faith, Fear or Foolishness? That is the question
This is where having family and friends with healthy discernment is important, because I got advice from one end of the spectrum to another and obviously also had my own fears to wrestle. I was fortunate enough to be able to recognise which of the people around me were giving faith, fear or just foolishness fuelled advice. It wasn’t as clear to me when it was all unfolding as it is in retrospect, but I could sense it then. Just to highlight, this is not to bash anyone, nor are any of the labels destiny – we can choose any of the below at any given time. This is about who you listen to at what point in your life and what is fuelling their advice.
Faith-fuelled: this advice is based on seeing, declaring and trusting God’s work even when it challenges understanding, thoughts and expectations of how things ‘normally’ go. The aim of this advice is to support you in aligning with God’s purposes for you.
Faith-fuelled advice is what I aspire to give daily; a fruit of living by faith, not sight. But it isn’t always easy which is why I’m beyond grateful to have so many people in my life who have a track-record of giving faith-fuelled advice, so I can rely on them if I’m ever moving side-ways.
Fear-fuelled: this advice is based on fear – the fear of what is happening now, what did happen in the past or what could happen in the future. The aim of this advice is to protect you, but the problem is that it ultimately goes for what’s safe, not for what might be God’s will for you.
I have given fear-fuelled advice to others more times than I can count and not automatically being a rescuer to those I love is still a struggle sometimes. Interestingly though, training to be a counsellor has taught me the necessity of boundaries and the power of not trying to be a rescuer, but instead relate to people as the adults they are/should be. And now having been on the receiving end of trying to be rescued from seemingly unreasonable decisions, has shown me how much hurt and straining of a relationship that can cause.
Foolish: this advice has no leg to stand on because the people don’t know or love you or make decisions only based on their feelings. I don’t actually ever listen to that type of advice anyway, but it’s important to mention in case you do. Don’t let foolish advice ruin your life – if it hasn’t yet, it’s only a matter of time.
With regards to my relationship with Gyles, ultimately I kept trusting what I knew was Holy Spirit which lined up with what the faith-fuelled friends/family were saying which was along the lines of: “Gyles is a great guy, you are clearly so happy and as you continue to honour God and each other, see how things develop”
September came along, and with that my 30th birthday.
I had been planning what to do for it long before I met Gyles and I was really looking forward to spending quality time with friends in Rome.
Because of my amazing girls trip to Rome for my actual birthday, Gyles had pre-celebrated my birthday with me the weekend before, and came back up to see me the weekend after the trip.
I really enjoyed it being my first birthday ever in a relationship and Gyles quickly proved himself as an amazingly romantic and thoughtful gift giver.
I remember on my actual birthday dinner in Rome, being asked by a friend what I wanted to have happen in my new year of life, other than obviously getting married and I just smiled.
I was so grateful to be celebrating life with close friends whilst also knowing I had a special someone waiting to celebrate with me too, who could actually end up being my husband.
Although I had never for myself hoped to still be unmarried at 30, I was really liking the way my story was developing.
To continue reading how the story unfolds, check out Part 4.
At a friend’s 30th
One of the many weddings we attended
Pre-celebrating my 30th