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Easter, 2006 as an engaged couple
On April 16th, 2006, Amy handed me an Easter basket filled with little plastic eggs. In each plastic egg, she had written different coupons which I could redeem for a variety of special treats like a 30-minute foot massage, a homemade dinner, or a night at the movies. I loved it. So creative and thoughtful.
She also handed me a card.
"Dear Adam, Happy Easter sweet boy! I'm so excited Peeps! It's our first Easter as pre-husband and pre-wife. I've been dreaming about spending Easter with you ever since we've been apart, remembering our special Easter with Louis and Loretta Bratton and Jesse and Diana Almaguer. Here we are P! I love you. Your favorite bunny, Peeps"
Amy's cheerleading continues
* On my warrior heart: "I'm listening to Truths That Transform right now. The speaker, Stu Weber, states that God has placed a warrior's heart within man. And, that if you don't use it for battle in God's kingdom, then you will misuse it, such as two men speeding down a highway racing one another.
"I thought about you. You fight, you engage in battle. You rise to the occasion to stand for a biblical worldview. I am so proud of you, and support you wholeheartedly. In the midst of wedding planning, I have failed to verbalize how proud I am of you and have failed to tell you that I support you.
"Adam, you are engaged in a battle between the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. You are fighting Peeps. You are trying to save this blessed country from God's wrath and judgment.
"Manasseh repented on his death-bed, but due to the evil and slaughter of innocent blood, God did not withhold his judgment on that nation. It is important for you to be covered in God's armor.
"This is my prayer for you from Ephesians 6: 'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'"
Preparing for the marriage: Our top priority
This time, things would be different -- both in terms of the engagement's staying power and the season of the wedding.
On March 10th, 2006, Amy sent me a hand-written note, saying, "I can't wait to start our pre-marital inventory tomorrow morning. I'm so blessed to have a pre-husband who sees the importance of pre-marital counseling. I'm proud of you for scheduling this and choosing a mentor couple. I can't wait to be your bride Adam McManus."
Plus, in our new home church, Amy and I completed a 161-question pre-marital inventory which asked detailed questions about virtually everything imaginable. Once the results were tabulated by Life Innovations, we were assigned to a trained Christian counselor at our church.
Out of the four possible results, we had scored the highest -- being a "vitalized" couple. What differences we did have, our counselor helped us talk through over the next 12 hour-long weekly sessions.
It was so helpful to receive Biblical guidance from someone who did not know us beforehand, but who was both rooted in the Word of God and had solid professional training and credentials.
As promised, my parents paid for an Engaged Encounter Weekend in Dallas which we completed in late April. While I would recommend the Assemblies of God version over the Methodist one in light of the Methodist's unfortunate rejection of the authority of the inerrant Word of God, Amy and I were given an invaluable tool for our relationship.
After each session at Engaged Encounter dealing with topics like communication, conflict resolution, money or future in-laws, we were asked to write a letter for 10 minutes to our fiancé about our personal concerns related to that particular topic. We would then switch letters, read the thoughts of the other and dialogue for 10 minutes about the issues raised in the process.
We found that this tool enabled us to write things down which might be difficult to communicate verbally. It was a true gift.
Later in the weekend, we opened letters of encouragement from both my parents and my Dad's former secretary Peggy and her husband. Peggy, in her hand-written note, indicated that she would often write her husband a substantial note and leave it on his pillow, prompting him to write his response, leaving it on her pillow.
One of the final writing assignments we received at our Engaged Encounter was to write out our "Engagement Promise" for 10 minutes and then share them with each other.
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