We kissed on the couch while watching a movie in his parents basement. He asked if I wanted to go further and I froze at the question.
How much further? Should I be cool and roll with it? Should I say no?
Questions raced through my mind and in a panic, I excused myself to the bathroom before I could answer. After an awkward conversation, I drove home feeling like a super uncool loser who just lost the cool guy’s interest. I felt like the only girl in high school who couldn’t keep a guy’s interest long.
I encountered a similar situation early on in college. With slumped shoulders, I shuffled back to my dorm room after a disappointing evening, and mumbled under my breath, DANG IT. THIS IS SO HARD!
When I got home, I knew exactly what to do though. I went to my room, opened my closet door, and searched for that secret little box I kept tucked in the back shelf for days like these. I tore out a piece of notebook paper and began writing another letter to him.
It started just like all the others:
“Dear Future Husband…”
You see, when I was just 12 years old, I promised to wait for my future husband. And that sounds like a pretty easy gig at 12 before puberty and cute boys really hit the scene. But throw in hormones, driving, dating, then college parties and cute boys who turn into hot men and WOO girl! Not so easy.
But when I made that promise, I wrote a letter to my future husband. Well, actually, I just filled in the blanks on the template that the purity conference people gave us middle schoolers but it sparked something in my tiny heart and over the years, I kept writing to my future husband before I ever saw his face or knew his name.
I’d write when I felt lonely, or when waiting was especially difficult, or even when I felt I may have pushed the limit and wrestled with shame. I’d write to him while I was in relationships with other men, I’d tell him about my frustration, or my broken hearts, or the ways I was praying for him.
Writing to my future husband in those seasons somehow lightened the burden. It made the waiting seem more doable and the hope I had been holding out for more tangible. While he was growing up in the Arizona desert and I in the Indiana cornfields, through the days he was working at getting a college scholarship, and playing college football, and chasing after God’s heart through his own struggles, I was writing to him.
And on September 3, 2016, on the morning of our wedding, my groom opened a box of letters that had been addressed to him before he ever knew my name.
I’m going to openly share the very last letter that he read right before he switched from ‘future husband’ to ‘forever husband’ because you need to realize that I get it. I get that it’s not easy. I get that we make mistakes. I get that we struggle and wrestle with shame and impatience and all sorts of other ugly. And maybe you need a little real life, true story to remind your heart to believe that all things possible AND all things are redeemable.
So I pray this final letter to my future husband letter encourages you to write to yours, to love yourself enough to forgive yourself, and to love God enough to let Him plant within you His spirit of endurance and mercy:
“Dear Future Husband,
It’s hard to believe that this is the last time I’ll ever write a Dear Future Husband letter to you because in just a few short hours you will no longer be my future husband but instead will become my forever husband. It’s hard to believe that the day we’ve dreamed of since we met is finally here. It’s hard to believe that our forever starts today. It’s hard to believe that I have the privilege of marrying a man like you – a man who loves like Jesus does, a man who serves with His whole heart, a man who is strong and brave, and a man who lets God lead His life no matter the cost.
But on the other hand, it’s not that hard to believe because that’s just the kind of the God we serve – a God who is faithful to work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
When I was 13, my dad gave me a purity ring. Engraved inside of the band are the words: true love waits. In that moment, I promised to wait for my future husband and even signed a purity pact without hesitation (although I had no idea just how difficult that road could be). Nonetheless, I’ve worn that ring since the day it was given to me and done my best to be true to the promise my little middle school heart made to my earthly father, my Heavenly Father, and you, my Future Husband.
It wasn’t always easy waiting for you. It wasn’t always easy when boys would lose interest when I said no. It wasn’t always easy to explain to people all the reasons why I believed you were worth waiting for without even knowing your name yet. All I knew was that God’s design is more beautiful than anything this world could dream up – and that was worth waiting for even when it was hard.
When I felt like giving up, I’d think of you and then I would write to you. I dreamed of one day giving all those letters to the man I married so that he would see how truly important he was long before I ever met him.
Today, you are that man.
And although some have since been misplaced, I pray you treasure these letters I’ve written to you over the years.
As I step out of my single life and into the mystery of marriage with you in Jesus name, I’m giving to you the purity ring my daddy placed on my hand when I was a young 13 year-old girl. In it’s place, I’ll wear the wedding band that you’ll place on my finger today as your bride.
Because you are and always have been the future husband that God designed for me, the one I’ve prayed for, hoped for, and waited for all these years.
Although it’s been a long road of waiting, God has walked with me through the steps of lonely seasons, heartbreaks, loss, frustration, and so much more to prepare me to become a wife worthy of your love. Looking back, every single one of those steps that brought us here were so beyond worth it. And I know without a doubt that you are worth it and I’d do it all over again if I had to.
So as I walk down that aisle toward you today, I want you to know that I believe that walk is so much more than a ceremonial motion or formality. Each step represents the steps that God has walked with me through to bring me to this moment as I take this big step in becoming your wife.
Today we give Him everything. Today, we give each other everything.
I can’t express to you how overwhelmed I am by the faithfulness and goodness of God in His blessing of me with you as my husband and I joyfully give you my hand, my heart, and my life from now until the end of time.
Your Forever Bride”
So that’s my letter. My heart, mushy and sappy in all its forms, poured out onto a page that seemed to close so many years of heartbreaks and mistakes and doubt and lonely.
And let’s not forget that whether or not we are given an earthly husband, our Maker is our ultimate husband (Isaiah 54:5). And that’s what really counts, anyway.
So if you take nothing else away from this, take this:
Just like I wrote letters to my future husband, the good Lord has written you the sweetest love letter of all time. And you know what it says? It says that your that your heartbreaks and your mistakes don’t define you, your marriage status, or your purity. Jesus does.
Jordan Lee Dooley