So we get married in 13 days! As we journey, we wanted to bring you in the journey.
I (Justin) am a preacher of the Gospel. I LOVEEEE preaching. It gives me life, helps me struggle through things, and forces me to ask difficult questions. Everything. Believe it or not, I used to hate talking in front of people. I remember in middle school my teacher told us, “Picture everyone in class naked when you get in front of them.” And I did. And I never was more uncomfortable in my life. The next time I got up she slipped and said, “Picture you naked.” And I did. And I never was more comfortable. Everyone looked at me in awe. Now I (Justin) know I’m extremely attractive…but the way they listened to every word, sat on the pauses, and leaned in with intention blew my mind.
That’s what our engagement season has been all about. Getting naked.
When I was willing to picture myself purely authentically present, the quality of what I gave them was purely authentically awesome. It’s in this authentic living that you become intimate. Intimate literally saying that you get to know what inside of the other, the level that no one has ever been on. Its beyond sex, its beyond living together. Does your significant other know you on a level that no one else even knows exists?
Not just that you leave your socks on the floor, but why you did it and is participating n helping you put them in drawer?
Not just that you leave orange peels on the counter, but also why you don’t like putting them in the trash immediately?
Not just that your favorite color is blue, but why blue drives you?
Does your significant other know you on a level that no one else even knows exists?
That’s Nakedness. Radical intimacy where you and Jesus keep meeting. The place where you and your spouse start the journey towards radical relationship.
Genesis 2:25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. This is a weird caveat in the story of Adam and Eve, but it speaks volumes. The ability to expose everything that I am and not be ashamed is the beauty of a God ordained relationship.
If you are not willing to bring your spouse there, your relationship is already doomed to fail. Engagement forced us to bring each other into those dark intimate quiet scary places, and know that the other will love us until that place becomes full of joy.
Our engagement season has been nothing but naked fun. Now, there are levels of acceptance of said nakedness. First, we as a couple had to accept ourselves, we had to be willing to accept the other, and then we had to be open to honest and open criticism for growth. That, my friends, is much easier said than done.
Nakedness also forced us to define how we look to each other. The amazing thing about being naked and staring at someone is…they can’t see what you see, you tell them what you see. There is a constant reminder to each of us daily to remind the other how much we love them, how much we care for them, how much we adore every single “roll” (if you will) of their lives. Whether its Justin’s never-ending need to watch every single second of every single basketball game, or Courtney’s need to watch every single show on HGTV. Justin’s undying need to eat 5 oranges a day no matter how I remind him of the carbs, or Courtney’s shoes that Justin hates but she loves.
Or the fact that Courtney questions every time she makes a meal whether or not it’s good. Or how Justin has an extreme displeasure with himself and at times sits in long depression.
Those rolls are not known until the other makes it known that its bothersome, but can assist in helping you lose the dead weight. But if we stayed covered the entire time, we would have never known it existed.
Exposure and nakedness in a relationship opened us to open criticism from others that carried over to the home. How people talked about how we looked, critiqued our work ethic, questioned our love, or even tried to permeate our relationship; all has a way of easily distracting from the greater goal God has on our relationship. It taught us that everyone and everything is not welcome in our home. There are some friendships that we had to disband. There were some proclivities that we had to disown. There were some issues that we had to place on the table. You can’t expect authentic progress with inauthentic living.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:25-27 that we should present the other flawless and without blemish. In order to do that, we have to expose those blemishes to each other. Being Naked is being vulnerable to your true essence and trusting the other to protect, work, and love you through it.
It begs the question, in every conversation you engage in and relationship you embark on, we had to ask, “Will (Justin or Courtney) feel comfortable in this conversation?” Because frankly, it will come back home.
No matter how, or what that is, it had to be exposed in order to see what changes can we make together so that we don’t need to seek outside counsel.
Relationships don’t mature in “courting” and “dating” they mature in engagement. Engagement is the middle ground where the planning you do means nothing if you aren’t authentic when you finally are naked together.
So what? Do we get together and just naked and stare at each other? No! Well kind of. Here’s how you can get naked with your spouse.
-Establish that you both are the King and Queen in your relationship. Who has the final say? Who is the one that is the final leader? But remember both of you can make relationships. Anything with two heads is a monster, select whom leads and work together in the engagement season to be co-leaders while also submitting to vision
-Articulate and establish a vision for your family. Without a vision, things will not happen. Establish that vision now. Not an abstract how many homes and children you will have. But a vision that articulates what you will stand on, what you see in 10 years. (Remember visions change as time change.)
-Be willing to get naked. Be willing to sit down, and get uncomfortable together. To openly talk about everything, to discuss anything, and authentically come to places of agreement. You will not know where to workout until you see life naked.