Here’s to hoping I didn’t scare anyone off with that title.
College was the first time I first heard of the practice of writing letters to your future spouse. I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but the idea followed me through my college career up until I became active in ministry. It seemed moving, captivating and a bit scary. It was a commitment. A commitment to the future and a commitment to love.
In my first year of ministry, I wrote a letter or two. I didn’t take the practice very seriously. I would just watch talks or read blogs about women who wrote these beautiful and inspiring letters to a man they hoped to one day meet. My browser was filled with testimonies of these women currently writing the letters and those who had the opportunity to give them to their eventual husband. I’d cry over these stories. I desired to live these experiences myself. I was anxious for the future and it seemed like this was a way to help.
But it didn’t. The next year I decided to be committed to writing letters to my future spouse. I was unaware how much anxiety it would bring me.
I traveled that second year. From Ohio to Texas to Florida to Tennessee, I carried my little blue journal and attempted to fill the pages with heartfelt letters. It was simple at first.
“Hi, how are you? I’m going to be your wife. Praying for you. Xoxo, Alyssa.”
Well, obviously not like that exactly. But pretty basic about my fears, hopes and my prayers for this future I knew nothing about. Over time the tone of the letters changed from delightful to impatient. With impatient came anger. Before I knew it, every time I pulled that little journal out I would be overcome with emotions. I became anxious. My heart seemed unsettled and without rest.
On top of this roller coaster, was the unchaste practices that came along with these letters. I’d look back at the letters and realize I must’ve been thinking of a specific person that was already present in my life. Subconsciously I was writing a letter to whoever had captured my heart that week, wondering if they would be the one in the future to read my notes. I mean it was to the point that each letter was being more tailored to different people and almost as if they had been written by a different person each time. It reached the point that I didn’t understand why I set out to do this in the first place.
The last hit came when I was writing what would be my last entry. On June 4, 2016. I wrote:
“Sometimes I wonder if I am even writing to anyone. What if my vocation isn’t even to marriage?”
What if I ended up being called to religious or single life? I had discerned my vocation was marriage and here I was second guessing myself. If I was wrong in my discernment, who would these letters go to? I read back through some of the letters. I noticed the gentleness of the first few and the hardness of heart in the most recent. I realized I had been so worried about forming an emotional connection with someone I didn’t even know than on my actual relationship with the Lord. I spent time filled with anxiety as I attempted to create a beautiful story that had yet to be written. This obsession with the future had pulled me so far from the present. This wasn’t healthy for me.
It’s beautiful if you are writing letters to your future spouse. It’s beautiful if you are one of those who is a witness to how this practice can help young women. I’m not trash talking this whole idea. I truly see the beauty and fruits. But my story of discovering that this wasn’t the best thing for me is also beautiful. I know my vocation but the future has yet to come.
One of my favorite parts of watching a video of a wedding, specifically a Christian wedding, is when a scene graces the screen of a soon-to-be bride or groom reading a letter from their beloved. Someone usually starts crying and the words are filled with authenticity. The words and commitments truly come to life because in the next scene these words will no longer just be written on a page. It’ll be presented to the world through action, through the sacrament.
It’s moving. It’s captivating. And it scares me a bit.
But that letter.
That’s the next love letter I plan to write.
reposted with persmission from meltthesoul.com
Alyssa Sanchez is a native Texan currently trying to survive the Midwest. She served 2 years as a missionary for The Culture Project International. Through her missionary work, she realized her passion for serving the Church. Alyssa currently works as a Marketing Specialist for Our Sunday Visitor and runs her own Catholic lifestyle blog, Melt the Soul.
Image by: Victor Utama