From the very beginning of our relationship, I told Brian that I wanted to build a solid foundation. I have often rushed into relationships and been 100% absolutely, positively sure that I was going to marry the person... and then started making plans. That didn't work out so well. With Brian, I wanted to make sure that we had a solid foundation before we started making plans.
Brian and I are both looking for marriage and we both are aware that it is the goal here... We're approaching this like we're in it for the long-haul and if you want something that lasts, whether it's a house, your teeth, or a marriage, you have to make sure the foundation is healthy and strong. That means being intentional. I like that word -- intentional. It implies that you do things with a purpose. To be intentional when building a house, means pouring a concrete foundation before framing the house. It means putting in the plumbing and electricity before putting up the drywall. To roof it before carpeting it. When being intentional about maintaining the foundation of your teeth (I talk about this all day, everyday to patients!) it means to practice oral hygiene habits that will build, maintain, or even restore the solid foundation of the periodontium so that your teeth will not become mobile and be lost.
To be intentional about building a foundation of a relationship it means to do things with purpose. To talk, not just to have a good time, but to get to know each other and your experiences, fears, hopes, and dreams so that you are able to relate to one another. Understanding each other requires knowing each other... and when you can understand one another, it becomes easier to see things from the others' point of view to work things out when things aren't easy.
We spend a lot of time talking. A LOT. I don't think I've gone to bed before 2 AM since we started talking. We talk about all kinds of things... memories, hopes, dreams, secrets, experiences, ideas, funny stories, Rachael, work, etc. I love talking to Brian. He's easy to talk to and I enjoy listening to him and getting to know him.
I think talking just to get to know each other is so vital to a relationship. A long-distance relationship does make building that strong foundation a little easier, because it necessitates talking. Whereas other couples are able to be together and do things together, we haven't had that yet (14 days!) and won't have it as frequently as many people do by nature of long-distance. And that's the only benefit to a long-distance relationship that I can come up with. :) The thing is, when you're doing things together, you're doing. You might know how good a person is at playing a game or socializing, but not necessarily know them. As much as I would love to be with Brian and just do day-to-day life with him, I really value the time that we are able to spend talking. I value the conversation and the sharing of his heart with me and mine with him.
We do try to do a little bit of just normal life stuff together... include each other in our day by texting all throughout it or by skyping when Rachael is around. Maybe not even necessarily talking as much as just the three of us interacting and being present "together". I might be cleaning the kitchen or Brian might be getting Rachael ready for bed, but we're together.
I value all of the ways that we are working to build a strong foundation, but most of all I value the leadership role that Brian has taken in ensuring that we build a solid relationship with Christ as our foundation. A few nights ago (last week? It all runs together.), Brian suggested that we read a devotion together every night. Since then we have been reading from Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by George Knight, and we have prayed together. I love that Brian didn't wait until months from now to begin laying the spiritual foundation of our relationship, but started it right in the beginning when the rest of the foundation was being built. Christ is not just the foundation, but He is the nails and the plaster and the glue... He is not only the One who will build this relationship on, but the One who permeates it, sustains it, and holds it together. This relationship is not between Brian and I. It is Brian, me, and Christ.
Matthew 7:24-27 says, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
Please pray for and with us as we build a strong foundation on the Rock.
I love Chonda Pierce's retelling of the Three Little Pigs... it's related to this and you will never read the story the same way again!