Dear Future Wife: A Man’s Perspective on Discernment

By Chandler Donaldson

Dear Future Wife,

The first time I wrote those words, I was 18 years old. Ironically, I was in seminary at the time. Regardless of the obvious contrast those words had to my current life situation, something about them felt right. Although I had a lot more discerning to do and many more letters to write, those words created something tangible in my heart.

I have always been the type of person that throws myself into something. Whether that is reading a book, watching a show, working a job or discerning a vocation. I’m either all or nothing. So the day I wrote those words, I was afraid. I was afraid that I wouldn’t actually discern what God is calling me to, but instead would choose marriage because that is what I wanted.

Six months prior to writing my first letter to my future wife, I entered seminary, and just like I do with everything else, I was all in. But because of the nature of the way I approach life, I realized something two months into seminary that normally doesn’t hit guys until two or three years in. I realized the full extent of not being married, of not having kids. You see, for me with my full force attitude, I thought for sure God was calling me to be a priest and that meant saying goodbye. It meant saying goodbye to my desires to be a husband and to be a father. And so I did. I struggled a lot because of it, but I was all in. I desired so greatly to do God’s will. I knew that I had never felt more peace then when I was doing what I thought God was calling me to.

Four months later, as I sat in the chapel on a silent retreat, God told me to write a letter to my future wife. I didn’t know what this meant at the time. I wasn’t certain if this meant He was calling me to marriage or if this was just a way to get something off my chest. I didn’t know at the time what it meant, but what it felt like was that God had taken the gift that I had given Him and He was giving it back to me. God sometimes asks us to give him our last coin, our last possession that we have been holding onto. I had to give God every one of my desires for Him to purify them and fulfill them in a way only He can.

So as I sit over six years later writing those words for the hundredth time, I ask God for the strength to trust His timing. Lord, please sanctify my desires. Help me to bring them to You each and every day. Help me to be a man that can receive love, to be a man that gives love freely, and to be a man that becomes love.

When my future wife sees me for the first time, I don’t want the first thing she notices to be the color of my eyes or the style of my clothes. I want her to see Christ. I am going to keep striving to be that man. I’m going to keep striving to become love.

And future wife, if you are reading this, know I’m all in.