Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Relationship Manifesto

Last week, through my friend Shyla's blog, I discovered an awesome book I wanted to recommend to all my brides and grooms, and single and married friends. It's called "Project Everlasting: The Search for America's Greatest Marriages Begins!" and it's the story of two bachelor guys traveling around the country interviewing couples who have been married more than 40 years to find out what their secrets are for an everlasting marriage. I got a copy over the weekend, and I loved reading the cute love stories from all the Marriage Masters highlighted in the book. As I continue to wait to meet my husband, being reminded of true love like showcased in the book is always inspiring and truly makes it worth the wait.

Also inspiring, at projecteverlasting.com, one of the author's, Jason Miller, has written what he calls a "Relationship Manifesto" about everything he hopes to have in a marriage and his future wife. I was moved to tears reading how beautiful his words were, and at what an amazing idea it was to write out these hopes for an extraordinary marriage. So I was inspired to write my own Relationship Manifesto a few days ago and I wanted to share it with all of you. For those that are still single, I pray this inspires you to write your own manifesto to determine what it is you will and won't settle for in a future relationship.

Thank you to all who have already been praying me in this area of life as I wait for to meet my husband. I cherish your prayers and encouragement and the beautiful examples that many of you have set before me.


Relationship Manifesto

June 15, 2007

It’s been almost two years since I have dated anyone, and honestly, I’ve enjoyed taking a break from dating to gather my thoughts of what I want out of life, grow stronger in my relationship with the Lord and fulfill my purposes in this season of singleness giving birth to a successful photography business. As a 26-year old woman, the idea of kissing dating goodbye stumps most people I meet and why I’m not jumping on every offer that comes my way. It’s even more ironic to be in the wedding industry considering I’m not married, let alone dating anyone. However, that’s one reason why I got into the wedding industry, to be inspired by other’s love stories. After I ended my last relationship, my heart longed to dream big of a great love that would leave a legacy through the generations that followed us. So many people like to say it only exists in the movies, but now being a wedding photographer, I’ve realized, great love is not just found in a good chick flick, it can indeed be reality. With every wedding I’ve shot, I’m reminded that true love does exist and is worth the wait and I’ve taken with me a piece of each couple’s love story that inspires me to continue to wait for God’s best.

Just like any dream, before anyone gets married, I think it’s important to have a vision for the kind of marriage you want, like a blueprint per se. I’ve always known in my heart what I long for, but I’ve never written it out. I’ve seen so many people settle for convenience or for average love. I’m determined to go against the grain and have the courage to wait for something extraordinary. Of course there are days when it is hard to wait, like when people continue to ask, “So, are you seeing anyone yet?” Trust me, if I was, they would be the first to know. Though I have enjoyed my time being “single and fabulous,” I am ready to now to meet my husband, and when that day comes, I will truly be celebrating and praising God for giving me continued patience to wait through the lonely times. But until that time comes, I am content knowing God’s timing is perfect.

In January of this year, I prayed specifically to meet my husband in 2007. Seven has always been my favorite number, for childhood memories like soccer and pageant numbers, but I also like it for the biblical associations. What greater year to meet my husband than the 7th year of this new century. I feel it coming soon, and eagerly wait for his arrival.

So here it is, my vision statement for my marriage.

For my marriage, I envision a husband, who under God’s authority, knows his importance of the role as the spiritual leader of his wife always pushing me into God’s intimacy first and foremost. The thing that always makes me cry at each wedding I shoot is the time in the ceremony when each couple prays together. To me, that is the most beautiful connection a husband and wife can share. Through the good times, the bad times, the so so times, it is through praying as one to our Heavenly Father that I look forward to the most. Through an intimate relationship with the Lord, my husband and I will share our greatest intimacies. As his helpmate, I will always strive to put my husband first and serve him with respect, yet be a partner he can gain strength from. I want our children to look at as and know love because they see God’s love as the foundation of how we love, live, and breathe. God is love, and as my mom always says, whatever the question, love is the answer.

For my marriage, I envision an unlimited creative bond always pushing the boundaries of the artists within us. My soul thrives on creativity and the arts, and my husband will understand this huge part of my heart. He will understand my reasons for nights I need to stay up and fulfill creative visions. He will look at my work and see every ounce of love I put into the art and be my biggest cheerleader in times I doubt myself. Whether he works specifically in a creative realm or simply enjoys it for a hobby, my husband and I will find joy in using the creative gifts God has given us. We will both be instruments in carrying out God’s ultimate masterpieces as He works through us to make a difference in the lives around us.

For my marriage, I envision peace. My parents have worked hard for 32 years to finally now thrive in a relationship built on peace. It has been a bumpy road, and though I trust God has had a purpose in each obstacle along the way, I want to do things differently. My husband and I will have an open relationship comfortable enough to express concerns and worries without needing to raise our voices. We will respect each other’s differences and understand that it is our differences that complement our individual desires to draw together as one. When the unexpected challenges come along, as they naturally will, we will use the storms of life to draw us to be more dependent on the Lord’s all understanding for the rainy days and the sunny ones.

For my marriage, I envision commitment. When I say my vows on our wedding day, I will mean it with all my heart and love my husband with all my being until death do us part. I love looking at old people holding hands still all those years later, and my husband and I will still be head over heels for each other as begin to grey and grow old together. For us, divorce will not be an option. We will be married, for better or worse. With commitment comes giving of oneself and compromise to maintain an everlasting love, and though I know God is continuing to break selfish only-child habits instilled in me, I know He will more so use my marriage to teach me the art and joy of giving and serving others first. And when times come upon us that my husband and I don’t “feel” in love, we will promise to commit to rekindling our love by turning ordinary days into extraordinary.

For my marriage, I envision passion. One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced in life is maintaining my virginity and waiting until my wedding night to completely be with a man. I strive first for a purity of heart that will be carried into my actions. Ever since I was a little girl and signed the “True Love Waits” card in my Sunday school class, I have strived to honor God’s command with this promise. I have had the vision of giving the gift of my virginity to only my husband and look forward to a passionate wedding night when he will unwrap this gift as I truly become one with a man for the first time. For all the years I’ve waited, it has increased my desires and will keep the flame burning long in this part of our marriage that my husband and I will share together as the years pass.

For my marriage, I envision a strong love of family. As an only child, my parents are my best friends, and though my husband and I will be starting a new family, he will also enjoy a great friendship with my parents, as I hope to have with his parents also. With our own family, I hope to instill old-fashioned values like the importance of sitting down to dinner every night and the security of tucking our kids in at bedtime as we kiss them into dreamland. My husband and I will foster a home of love through always being our kids’ biggest cheerleaders, and an open source of trust and communication guiding them in a Christian home as God the Lord and head over our family’s home. My husband will also understand when it comes to family, the love of my toy poodle, Rhett, and he will always be my first child having a place in our home.

For my marriage, I envision honesty. No matter what the problem, circumstance, regret, we can handle it based on the foundation of honesty with each other and those who keep us accountable. It can be a challenge for me to open up about my feelings to others, but I know I will be able to trust my husband with my vulnerabilities. And I long to give of myself so that my husband can trust to come to me openly about anything as well.

For my husband, I envision dark short hair, gentle eyes and a great smile. Also, people laugh at me when I have told them this before, but with me already being 5’8, I’d like my husband to be tall enough that when I wear cute high heels, he is still taller than me. I want to able to look up into the my husband’s eyes as he wraps his protective arms around me. I also hope to marry someone who can gently motivate me to keep physically fit. As much as I try to work out, God knows, I hate working out and I’m not into sports, but I hope to have a partner who we can encourage each other to maintain a healthy lifestyle and explore physically active things I’ve never done, like camping or kayaking. And it would be fun if he had a passion for the water, where my soul always feels at peace.

In the time that I’ve been on my own the past 2 years, I continue to be flattered by guys who have expressed interest in pursuing my heart, and while I’ve been grateful for their interest, I am waiting to recognize the heart of a guy who truly gets me and the depths of my heart. I know my identity in Christ as God’s daughter and princess, and I refuse to date for the sake of dating. I am waiting for a man who is fulfilling the visions God has given him, as I continue to pursue the visions He has given me, and I trust in His perfect timing, as we both strive to fulfill our purposes, that our paths will cross in doing so as we then join as one to continue the journey together.

For my wedding, I envision walking down the isle to my husband to the song “Arithmetic” by Brooke Fraser. To the strings and piano accompanying, she sings:

“I’ve been thinking of changing my mind
It never stays the same for long
But of all the things I know for sure
You’re the only certain one

You are the one I want
You are the one I want

I’ve been counting up all my wrongs
One sorry for each star
I’d apologize my way to you
If the heavens stretched that far

You are the one I want
You are the one I want

I won’t find what I am looking for if I only see by keeping score
I know now that you are so much than arithmetic

When the years are showing on my face
And my strongest days are gone
When my heart and flesh depart this place
From a life that sung your song

You’ll still be the one I want
You’ll still be the one I want

You’ll still be the one”

I sit here teary eyed just listening to the song again, and I can’t wait to walk down the aisle finally to the one God is preparing for me as I type this. Wherever he is, whoever he is, I know true love will be worth the wait.

With all my heart,



Blogger SamTheMan said...

First of all, thank you for sharing such a special part of yourself with us. This is simply wonderful and brings me to tears.
And, I stand in agreement with you for your husband in Jesus' name.

I too have a "manifesto" of sorts for my wife. I learned of it from TD Jakes and mine is more of a list but I love the way you've written your marriage's vision. And as a man of vision, I think it is wonderful! And, as a fellow single Christian standing-in-faith for a Godly wife, would you consider teaching your fellow sisters as you, and your approach to marriage, is very, very, very rare. Be encouraged and know that God will fulfill your heart's desires!

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Love is just going to sneak up on you one day Scarlett! I just know it. Watch out! ;)

Jason and I were married 12 years ago. I was 19 and he was 20. We had NO IDEA what we wanted out of life. Honestly, when I look back I don't even know if it was love. We just could not be apart. We are both from very religious families and just HAD to be married if you know what I mean. ;) We have grown so much over the years. We are totally different people now. The one thing that remains the same is our love.

When you meet "the one" you will be knocked off your feet! Good Luck Girl!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Shyla said...

Oh man, I was moved by the relationship manifesto too!!! I started one of my own after reading his and then I come here and you beat me to it!!!


Way to go!!!
Isn't this project amazing?? I wish I could travel around and interview these Marriage Masters :)

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Awesome! 7 is my lucky number too! That's funny. I think you knew that though? Anyways - '07 will be my year to get a dog!

Awesome writing! I love the blue print analogy!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Captivating Studios said...

Sam- Thanks for your faith! I know there is an amazing woman of God waiting for you too!

Amy- Thanks girl! I can't wait to meet your hubby soon and take gobs of photos of your love during our session!

Shyla- That's great you are in the midst of writing a manifesto too! I'd love to read yours sometime too. But yeah, great project isn't it? I saw you were giving the book to your brides and grooms, great idea!

12:56 PM  
Blogger Captivating Studios said...

Rachel- Ok, I've know you for like 15 years and swore I never knew 7 was your lucky number. Great minds think alike!

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Yes, 7 is my luck number. I used to have a huge poster with a "7" in my dorm room freshman year. My roommates lucky number was "8." And maybe it was for the biblical analogy among other things. Most recently, though, people have been seeing 7/7/7 as the Saturday to get married, so I've heard! Lucky Number 7!

3:00 PM  
Blogger swan said...

Rock on, Scarlett.

Some guy is going to be blessed...

7:07 PM  
Blogger Mary Bess said...

Scarlett this is so awesome! I loved reading it and the standards you demand & deserve from your future love. I think '07 is the year and I can't wait to see it unfold!! I wish I had always had you as a role model, but I'm so glad to have you as one now!!


10:16 AM  
Blogger Captivating Studios said...

Mary Bess- Ha ha! You are the one engaged! It looks like you have been doing just fine on your own without me. :-) Thanks to you and Justin for being a beautiful example in my life!

10:39 AM  

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