I was rearranging the living room yesterday, moving what used to be my “hope chest” to another corner of the space. Since I had no strong arms on hand, I started taking stuff out of the chest to lighten the load. Piled on the floor was a small linen notebook labeled “2009-2014”. A flood of memories washed over me as I flipped through the pages: Five years of letters, all written to my future (now current) husband.
Because of the nature of purity/Christian dating culture, Christian women need discernment regarding marriage. Idolizing it is not God’s plan, but we aren’t called to ignore our God-designed desires, either. I frequently discourage girls from consuming romantic fiction and media, which create a false ideal about relationships and marriage. But each time we remove something from our lives, we must fill it with something better.
I wrote to my husband for five years – from the time I stopped consuming romantic entertainment to the day we said our vows. Even though we rarely read those letters today, I’m glad I journaled to Josh long before I met him. Here’s why:
Journaling Turned Discontent to Prayerful Expectation
It was 2009 when my relationship with the Lord took a deeper turn. I saw my discontent singleness as the problem it was, and actively sought Christ for my fulfillment. Rather than turn to the emotional “drugs” of romantic books and media to numb the loneliness, I confronted it head-on.
As my confidence in God deepened, I felt drawn to write letters to my future husband. This time it wasn’t out of idolatry, but in prayerful expectation. During one particularly emotional prayer time, I told the Lord: “If you want me to be single the rest of my life, I will follow you. If you want me to marry, I will follow you. But I trust that either you will fulfill my desire for a husband, or you will give me the strength to walk alone.” That simple prayer launched me into a life of freedom I could have never imagined. In that freedom, I felt strong enough to write to my future husband without idolizing marriage.
I didn’t write consistently. I usually wrote every few weeks, sharing what I learned in Scripture and what daily events were in my life. Sometimes I went months without a letter; other times I wrote a letter each time I had my quiet time. Writing to Josh before, during, and after I’d met him now grants me a transcript of God’s faithfulness to refer to at will.
Journaling Helped Me Work Out My Salvation
Journaling to Josh cemented my theology. As I studied God’s Word and learned more about the Lord, the truth affected my letters. As I read them now, I see where my faith deepened as the years went on. The things I learned about Christ directly influenced how I lived for Christ.
Because I came to value my salvation – and Christ Himself – on a deeper level, my letters reflected that priority. The connection I felt to my future husband was completely based on the faithfulness and character of God. In the journal, my future husband and I were quite literally “on the same page”. I wrote to a man who, I knew, would share my values and love for the Lord. My confidence in this was so absolute, I was never tempted to compromise “equal yoking” during my dating years.
Journaling to Josh brought my salvation to life in the most practical of ways, which in turn produced a record of God’s work in my heart.
Journaling Gave Me a Track Record of Spiritual Growth
As I stated earlier, the letters are evidence of my progressive spiritual maturity. I share struggles, questions, loneliness, and fear in the pages. But as the pages flip forward in the second, third, and fourth years, my faith grows increasingly stronger. The people, places, and influences God put in my life for those seasons watered the seeds of faith in my heart.
As I look back on those five years of letters, I am encouraged by the grace of God: How patient He is with us! Even in my immaturity, He slowly taught me the power of love.
God’s timing is so perfect, and the letters reveal just how perfect it is. On March 20th, 2012, I wrote:
It’s been rough here in Virginia the last month. My car has been broken and remains in pieces in the mechanic’s shop with no word on progress. I’m not lonely but definitely am having a hard time finding a purpose in this. I have been driving my roommate’s car and have a speeding ticket to take care of on the 28th. I really just would like to hide from it all, and I wonder where you are sometimes, hoping I will finally meet you. But these trials produce perseverance… and perseverance, faith.
Little did I know I had already met him.
Journaling to your future spouse shouldn’t be about your spouse. It shouldn’t be about you. I’m glad I journaled to Josh not because I felt more connected to him, but because it drew me closer to God. These letters helped me navigate my singleness with complete trust in His character and love, and they are living proof that even the hardest years of our singlehood can bring glory to God if we live them well.