Don’t judge a book by its cover or a couple by their Instagram

This weekend Jackson and I got our engagement pictures taken, and we couldn’t be happier with them. They embody everything an engaged couple is supposed to be. You know, just a couple of high school sweet-hearts, blissfully staring into each other’s eyes and perfectly in love. Because that’s how engaged couples are supposed to be, ESPECIALLY if both people love Jesus. Couples who love Jesus never fight, right? RIGHT? Maybe you’re engaged, and you’re like “Blissful. Joyful. Eye Staring. Perfectly in love. Yeah that’s us all the time, you nailed it”. Maybe you never argue or say things you don’t mean or selfishly demand change out of the other person. If that’s you, then please, share your secrets with me,  would ya? But until then, I’ll keep writing this blog about just how imperfect Jackson and I’s relationship is.

In fact, you should know that a mere three hours before this picture was taken, the joyful and blissfully in love high school sweet-hearts you see here were mid argument. We were right in the middle of a typical everything-you-do-is-wrong-because-it’s-not-how-I-want-you-to-do-it kind of argument. The kind where both of you really have no right to be as flustered as you are, but for some reason (mostly sin) you feel the need to hammer your point that you’re actually aware isn’t even really valid. Maybe I’m crazy and we’re the only engaged couple who spend more of our time disagreeing and working through those disagreements than we spend being blissful and carefree and googly eyed over each other. Maybe we’re crazy. Or maybe we’re not.

So why am I writing this blog airing out all of our dirty laundry? Well for two reasons I think. One, for all you singles out there who watch engagement videos and see wedding pictures and are waiting for your blissfully in love days, free of the frustration and anger and stubbornness. You should be aware of the reality ahead of you. If only you knew the amount of bad pictures it took to get the one that is actually posted on Instagram. Make a decision to see Instagram and Facebook and twitter posts for what they (sometimes) are…a beautiful moment between two sinners where Jesus meant more than their own agendas. You’re getting a glimpse into the life of two people who are trying to love each other well despite their own baggage and sin and pain. REJOICE in that with them. Pray for them.  And recognize that their entire relationship most likely does not, in fact, resemble the picture you’re seeing of them….and that’s ok. To the couples: Maybe we’re crazy and more sinful than most people and no one else is with me and Jackson on this one. But, if I’m not crazy and you’re reading this because you understand, let’s chat for a minute. First of all, be encouraged, because you’re clearly not alone. I bet our average pictures taken to actually posted ratio is somewhere around 20:1. We (I) sometimes take 20 pictures because it’s funny, and we (I) sometimes take 20 pictures because we’re (I’m) trying to get the one that makes us look happy and in love and all of the things everyone expects us to be. I’m going to go ahead and say that the majority of us in relationships are just as guilty as singles at looking at other couple’s posts, and longing to be people we aren’t. WE HAVE TO STOP THE MADNESS PEOPLE. No one’s relationship as flawless as their Instagram makes it seem, and you know what? THAT’S OK. Because us being imperfect makes Jesus more important and necessary. Our failings and our weaknesses in our relationships point to Jesus. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Here’s the thing, relationships are hard. Really really hard. There is no one who is as aware of my sin as Jackson. And not only is he aware of my sin, he is directly affected by it. When I am insecure or impatient or unsatisfied, it’s Jackson who bears the brunt of all of those things. And that sucks. So why do the whole relationship thing if it’s so hard? Because my relationship with Jackson has lead me to a drastically deeper appreciation of my Savior. Jackson knows more about my sin than anyone because he is most affected by it. I hurt him. He hurts me. When I’m angry he bears the brunt of my anger.  When I’m insecure, it’s Jackson that sees it. And yet, he still chooses me. He still chooses to be with me. He chooses to love me through my insecurities and he chooses to forgive my unforgiving insults. Despite how unloving and unappreciative I can be, he still chooses me to be his wife (in 7 months and 15 days, praise God). And if it blows my mind that Jackson chooses me, how much more bizarre is it that GOD chooses me? Ephesians 1:4-6 says, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us inthe Beloved.” PEOPLE DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS. The God of the Universe chooses us to be his children, despite all of our junk and sin and issues. Not only is Christ aware of my exposed sin, he knows my INTERNAL sin. He knows my thoughts and my feelings and my attitude, and yet for some reason he still desires me to be his. For some reason, he chose to save me from death and grant me adoption through Jesus., and that’s crazy.   So let’s all just stop assuming things about each other and instead, rejoice. Rejoice in our short-coming. Rejoice in our victories. Rejoice in the picture that shows two sinners having a good date night. Rejoice in the likelihood of those same sinners working through an argument 20 minutes later. Rejoice in the struggle, because when we choose to rejoice, the struggle becomes pretty.

 

-Ya girl

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67 thoughts on “Don’t judge a book by its cover or a couple by their Instagram

  1. Thank you for this amazing Blog. People really do not see the inside of anyone’s life. Whether you are married, dating, engaged, divorced, single. Pictures are pictures. Love this! Shared on my Facebook! My Fiancé read this also!

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  2. Reblogged this on the healthyweds and commented:
    So well written! Loved this post. “Because us being imperfect makes Jesus more important and necessary. Our failings and our weaknesses in our relationships point to Jesus.” AMEN!

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  3. Reaghen I don’t know you personally, but I stumbled onto your blog via Facebook. Wow, I feel like you read my heart! Thank you so much for writing this! I shared in on my Twitter in hopes of many more girls our age reading it and being encouraged as I was 🙂 Thanks again!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. GIRL. LADY. WOMAN.

    This is so good. So anointed. So pure and honest and good and just rad. The Lord is doing a mighty work in you and through, and I’m thankful you are blogging through the journey. We all benefit so profoundly from your transparency and obedience. Thank you for sharing all of yourself with us and allowing us to see “behind the filter.” You are knee-deep in the muddy waters of being a good and faithful servant. And it’s beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HEY! Thank you SO much for reading and taking the time leave some encouragement, you’re words mean a ton! Hope all is well! I also so enjoy keeping up with your through your hysterical facebook posts. Wish I could have had a teacher like you, friend!

      -R

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  5. Reblogged this on Little Glimpses and commented:
    Reaghan and I went to high school together and we weren’t ever really close. However, a ton of my friends go to Tech with her and I have heard nothing but how she and Jackson are growing in the Lord and encouraging others to do the same. Watching her grow from afar has been a really big encouragement to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. love love love this post. Thank you for being so honest and real! This is basically everything I’ve been going through. I couldn’t have read it at a better time. Also I think we have the same wedding day 🙂

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    1. Thank YOU for taking the time to read it! So glad that it was relatable for you! How exciting to have the same day! Looks like ya’ll are on the “almost 7 months” countodown too! Thanks so much for commenting!

      -R

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  7. Thank you for this. We’re taking our engagement photos this weekend and we know very well what it means to be two sinners trying to follow Jesus. It’s definitely not a blissful storybook kind of thing. But it’s good. Your post is extremely encouraging to us! Keep writing!

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    1. Thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment! HAve SO much fun taking those pictures, it was so fun for us. You’re right, it isn’t easy but it is so good. Thank so much for your encouragement! I hope y’alls pictures turn out beautifully!

      -R

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  8. There is no perfect relationship. Our relationship with Christ is as close as we will come to what we crave in our everyday relationships. Coming from a couple who is 19 days away from getting married, we have argued far more in the last 6 months than we ever have. We’ve argued over things that needed to be discussed all the way down to the most trivial of things…like “You need to buy Purex instead of Tide!”…preparing to join your life together with someone is stressful, tiring and exciting. There will always be a bridge to cross, day in and day out in a relationship. It’s how you cross it together or meet in the middle to continue your journey together that makes the difference. We’ve learned many things throughout being “#engaged” and if you look at my [Instagram](http://instagram.com/thatjaclyngurl) its packed with pictures of events and details of our wedding, but the most important lesson we’ve learned is that of Grace. We have to have grace for each other every day, in every situation, during and after every disagreement. We must have grace for each other as Christ has always had grace for us. We choose to love our “soul mate” everyday. It’s not a magical thing that just happens and continues forever without WORK & GRACE.

    From the stereotypical high school sweetheart couple

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    1. Wonderful, wonderful advice!! I’ll be getting married soon and the best advice and encouragement I’ve been given is as simple as one word, that you have already mentioned, GRACE! I recommend a book I think you would enjoy, “love life for every married couple” by Ed wheat and Gloria Okes Perkins. It is inspiring! Once again enjoyed your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post! You’ll definitely find out even more about all of this in marriage. I read in a book once that marriage is like a mirror that shows you how selfish you really are and makes you more aware of your sin — and it’s so true even in engagement. It’s tough on our pride, but it’s amazing to see how God uses that and daily humbles us to perfect us into His image. 🙂 Thanks for being REAL. Praying for a peaceful wedding planning process and a blessed marriage for you guys.

    ❤ Sydnee
    sydneepeacock.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! I’m thankful that the Lord is using Jackson and mu relationship with him to reveal the worst parts of me, but it sure is hard! So glad that you enjoyed the post!

      -R

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  10. This is SO perfect, and couldn’t be more true. This will make a bigger impact on your readers than you ever thought possible. You are such a blessing, thank you for sharing the truth of Gods love!! I read this through my own eyes, and it brought tears to my eyes, you really ‘hit the nail on the head’. I laughed, as this relates 100% to me, and also to my relationship with my boyfriend!! Sharing it now! Praying blessings over you and Jackson!

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  11. Right on! Love the truth in your words. I think it’s awesome that you recognize each of your imperfections early in your relationship.Your post reminds me of a book I just read called Messy Beautiful Love that talks about imperfect people in a messy marriage. I pray blessings on your future marriage. 🙂

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  12. In our premarital counseling, our pastor made us write down 10 reasons why we wanted to marry the other person. So when we wondered if we made a mistake and how and why we ended up with this person, we could look at the list and remember. Hope you have a wonderful life together.

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  13. This is SPOT ON! Seriously, my life is on the exact same timeline as yours. Finishing up college, getting married in May, and actually had planned to have our engagements taken this past weekend (except we got rained out!) So, hearing your insight on your struggles was so refreshing. You took these thoughts straight out of my soul, and I couldn’t have said them better myself. Thank you for challenging me to struggle pretty through this season of life. It’s a beautiful time and a beautiful opportunity to grow together in Christ. Best wishes and congratulations to you and your fiancé!

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  14. wow…this is exactly what I needed. I wanted to write you an email to tell you what I thought about what you wrote without airing my dirty laundry on a public comment. I honestly thought there was something wrong with me and my fiancé, that we too argued more than stared lovingly in to each other’s eyes. I thought maybe that being with each other since my sophomore year of high school had somehow made us love each other less. I want to thank you for writing this, it’s perfect and just what I needed to read in this stressful time of wedding planning and struggles in my relationship with my fiancé and God. I wish you and your fiancé the very best on your journey ahead! God Bless.

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  15. It’s not just you! Haha. I remember the first time I had the, “Is this worth it? Should I leave?” thought. Of course the answers were, yes and no! But I felt so guilty for even having those thoughts. I was talking yesterday to a godly woman who has been married for 30 years.and she told me she had the same thoughts before. It was a relief. The key is what you do with those thoughts-dwell on them or submit them to Christ. Marriage is hard, but I have also never experienced so much sanctification and so much intimacy with both my God and another person.

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  16. This is awesome and something that I think about every day. You have put my thoughts into such wonderful words and backed them up with scripture which is even more amazing.
    I am getting married just about 2 weeks before you, so my fiance and I go through the same things. I really struggle when people ask my why my relationship is so perfect and my only answer is really that it isn’t perfect, but we center it around Christ, and that is what makes our relationship perfectly IMPERFECT.

    Thanks for a great post.

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  17. Thank you for writing this. My boyfriend and I have been dating for several months and we fight, because it is life and we are imperfect. The best thing about fighting is seeing the grace and love that is extended afterwards. The willingness we have to choose to forgive is something, whether we get married or break up, is something I will cherish.

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  18. As I was reading about you and your fiance my mind went back 28 years ago when I myself was engaged. Now married with two grown and married children I would like to encourage you and say always keep your eyes on the Lord don’t let them stray for one moment because Satan is looking for a way in to destroy. Don’t give him the wiggle room.

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  19. Hi! My husband and I have been married for just about 22 years. My practical advice is…

    1. Always forgive. Even if you’re right, no matter if you’re wrong. Forgive each other. No matter what! If he apologizes, accept it. (even when he can’t tell you what he did that made you mad)

    2. Be humble enough. Remember, you love him and he loves you. Don’t let pride come between you just so you can be right. (either of you) *goes back to #1*

    3. Make a personal list of the things you love about the other. Add to that list weekly/monthly/daily whichever you see fit… just make the list!! It may come in handy down the road at a time in your life you least expect it (and that list will bring you back to where you committed your hearts to loving one another.)

    4. The “Message sent is not always the message received”. Hubs and I went to a Chaplain for advice, he helped us understand “what I’m saying” vs. “what he was hearing” and the opposite too, because I wasn’t understanding what he was saying either. It took all the arguing out of our relationship! We seldom have disagreements, all from being respectful when talking to one another and being understanding.

    Love God and love each other the way God wants you to.

    Many blessings on your upcoming wedding!

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  20. I am engaged, and this article rings true for me too. Thanks for putting words to a very real experience. Thanks for writing about the “real” and not just the “perception”.

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  21. I echo everything. I’ve been engaged now for several months and the wedding is a month away tomorrow. The discouragement through comparison and through constantly seeing more of sin and annoyances in one another can be a hard thing to bear sometimes! But, man, praise the Lord for the opportunity to daily have the need to rest in His Grace and to need His Spirit to make us capable for every act of selfless love. I just want to encourage you, that through seeking Christ together- yes- there has been conflict- every healthy relationship (especially two sinners joining together) is going to have conflict and be so messy- we constantly see our sin more and more, but the love that comes behind it- for our Savior, for the meaning of the cross, and for each other- it’s really awesome and it’s brought us to our knees for Him often. That love that comes through seeking Christ creates a posture. (that we are working on day by day, minute by minute!) Marriage is going to be such an amazing platform for love to continuously grow between you two. Keep sharing! Awesome blog!

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  22. I have read this over and over again over the last few weeks, and it has been so encouraging to me. Thank you so much for reminding me that it is through my weaknesses that Jesus is glorified.

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  23. God is Good! You could not possibly understand how much I needed to see and read this blog post at this moment. Thank you God for speaking through your daughter so your child(ren) could read and understand. Relationships are so hard that sometimes in the middle of your worst storms you forget the bigger picture. Our love is not about you or the person you are with, it is about the love you share to Glorify the Lord. When you take your focus off Christ and our Father our relationships suffer and become destroyed. I prayed for his guidance and he brought me to you. Praise God. I will pray for you and your partner. Please pray for me and mine. His name is Daniel. Lots of love and light.

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