I was really excited for meeting James in real life. He was coming to Berlin in a few weeks. It would be his first time seeing me in real life and his first time in Europe. We both were looking forward to it.
Some time before his coming James brought up the topic of physical boundaries. I really liked that he was the first one to bring it up, as that was very important to me too as a Christian. At the time I remember feeling really grateful that God had brought someone so godly into my life, as it appeared to be almost impossible to find someone with the same values.
We both knew that we wanted to wait until marriage. But we weren’t clear on kissing. James was ok with either. I had no idea what God would want me to do.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so I didn’t hear much teaching on kissing in the short time I had been a Christian at the time. So I started researching online on what the Bible said on kissing and what other believers thought.
Ultimately, I found that the Bible was not clear whether kissing was okay or not before marriage. We both wanted our relationship to be pleasing to the Lord. But I wasn’t certain whether it was ok or not to kiss.
So because of my doubt about kissing, we agreed that we would not kiss during this trip of James coming over. It would be the first time we met and we didn’t want to rush things. We were talking about maybe getting engaged and we didn’t want kissing to be a factor in that decision.
Now writing this makes me kind of laugh at the irony of us “not wanting to rush things” and yet talking about getting engaged the first time we meet in real life!
But regardless, it was a good decision to not kiss during the first trip. As it actually made sure that we spent the time talking and getting to know each other without much physical distractions. Since when you are married you have to do life with the person (which you hopefully got to know during dating), the physical is just a small part of marriage.
Talking about the physical, I started to get worried about my appearance. Am I fit enough? Will he like me without make up? He will actually be able to see me in real life without filters and screens!
At the time I met James my skin was much better than during my teenage years. But it still wasn’t perfect. So ever since I got into a relationship with James I started researching more on how to clear up my skin completely.
That was when I came around the natural way of managing acne. The basic idea was that eating sugars and carbs influences our hormones (such as insulin production), which in turn could have an effect on other hormones that then can cause acne. So I thought I’ll give it a try and see if my skin improves.
I didn’t stop eating sugars or carbs completely, I just reduced the amount I was consuming considerably. I pretty much tried to stay away from high glycemic index foods. I also started to exercise more regularly and was intentional about getting my sleep. Doing all of those things for few weeks had a positive effect on my skin, my body, and my emotional well-being.
The fact that James was coming over to meet me (and look at me in real life) gave me the motivation to improve my appearance. I think it was good that I did that. But it also kind of seems silly now.
Now that we are married, James sees me without make up every evening and morning (and my skin is not perfect, but improved) and he is often the one to encourage me to eat some ice cream or cake. We eat reasonably healthy and both walk/exercise a good bit. We both have a healthy weight. But I am not some super skinny model, even though James calls me his model.
“I don’t want you to starve yourself and become anorexic,” James will often say. “I want you to be healthy.”
And that’s kind of liberating. I feel like in our current social media culture the new beauty standard is to be super skinny. And if that’s you naturally then it’s fine, but too many girls actually will get on diets and starve themselves even starting out with healthy BMI!
I just feel like with all the social media we may feel the pressure to be a certain way to be loved. Ultimately, our acceptance and value comes from God. But if we want to have something to aim for in our weight, then it should be just being healthy. Whatever it means for your body.
And the reason we should aim to be healthy, is because it’s pleasing to the Lord. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. They are the vessels that God gave us to use during our life. If we want to live a meaningful life of service to the Lord, we should do everything we can to maintain our health and take good care of the body entrusted to us.
So all the preparations were in order. Now it was time for James to fly over!