You don’t pretend you’re engaged before you actually are. Well, unless you are Clinton and Bethany Holden, that is!
They met playing the part of an engaged couple in their university’s theatre production. Little did they know that they had been cast in the perfect roles.
When we asked Bethany about their love story, it was evident that God had penned each scene. We love hearing how their romance played out on stage and in real life!
Describe your husband in three words.
Gentle, wise, thoughtful, outrageouslyandwonderfullyhandsomeineveryway
So how did you and your husband meet?
We were cast as an engaged couple in a play my first year of grad school! So, we joke that after the play was over, Clinton wanted to make it “official.”
Who was interested first?
Clinton was practically head over heels before our first date…. I needed some persuading, but when I fell, I fell pretty darn hard.
What qualities about your husband made your realize he was marriage material?
Ha! Well, for awhile, I refused to call ANYTHING “marriage material”; I was too cautious for my own good.
But, the first trait I was undeniably impressed by was that he had a consistent reputation across the board: work, school, peers, church, etc. He was known as being a good worker, a godly leader, smart, and kind to all.
What sealed the deal for me was how all of these traits and more came into full view when I was hospitalized with shingles on my face, viral meningitis, and severe vertigo. I was half dead to the world and couldn’t walk or eat, and I looked like death warmed over- definitely hit a low point with all of that! He was practically perfect in every way and handled it like a champ, and still made me feel like the prettiest girl in the world. That’s when I saw him handle himself in plain view, and I knew I had to marry him ASAP.
What was your favorite detail of your wedding day?
My favorite tangible thing might have to be wearing my mom’s cathedral length veil; without realizing it, I picked out a dress that had the exact same lace as my mom’s dress (Alençon lace!!) I worked hard to clean and to restore the veil. Oxi-Clean Revive White worked magic!!
Nontangible: I also put hours of work into researching what readings to have in the ceremony, and I finally landed with a cutting from CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity and John Piper’s poem Love Her More, Love her Less .
For our first anniversary, Clinton had an artist produce a beautiful hand lettered picture with these two cuttings, and I just can’t love this gift enough!
What’s your best advice to young women in dating relationships?
How do you narrow it down? Be in a community that invests in you NOW. They will in turn be some of the best sounding boards for you down the road. I had sweet friendships in my church and life that knew me well, and they gave great guidance throughout dating and engagement. No one knows everything; we all need to have the safety that comes with a multitude of counselors. I knew they would tell me if I was losing my head over a dud guy, but it turned out that they also gave me courage and insight to trust someone with my heart. I’m so glad they did!!
What’s your best advice for those pursuing sexual purity?
Have Bible based boundaries, discuss those boundaries sooner than later, and have accountability. Don’t make assumptions about what the other person may or may not believe. The longer you wait to discuss your own personal stance, the harder it will become in the end to undo anything you have done/ they expect to do. There is nothing nothing that can compare to reserving that gift for your future spouse. It’s not something you want to gamble with.
What has been your biggest lesson in marriage?
I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did, God is exactly who He says He is, and marriage is a beautiful commitment that will change you. Period. You can’t live with someone day in and day out and not have them reshape the way you see the world on some level. Make sure you are choosing someone that will help you change for the better! Make sure he’s a genuine leader with your best interest at heart.
How do you keep God the focus of your relationship?
Fortunately for us, our personalities lend themselves to discussion about philosophy, human behavior, and blogs/ books. We share articles and thoughts about theology, life, and current events with great regularity.
Clinton is the layman youth director for our church, so we were immersed in ministry opportunities and responsibilities from the get-go of our even dating relationship. That platform can DEFINITELY pull you in every direction and cause you to forget the reason “why” behind what you’re doing, but we often try to visit our philosophy and the gospel motivation. I don’t think people realize how much church leaders spend thinking/ discussing the needs/ vision. That can be helpful in keeping God involved, but it can also keep Him in the actual background of the chaos if were not careful.
Even Clinton teaching the youth Sunday School class has pushed my thinking in a healthy, God pointed way. Honestly, Clinton’s leadership and influence in the church has been a two edged sword in that it definitely has the ability to consume all of life in a potentially unhealthy way, but it has also created space for us to serve together and to get to know each other in many different circumstances. Serving together shows you a great deal about your marriage and where God truly is in it! It shows you things like why you do what you do, what fuels the events you plan (ie: just having fun vs pressure of expectations vs spreading the Gospel and discipleship). It shows you what makes you say “yes” and “no” to more obligations, and how you go at it all as a team. We decided in our pre-marriage days that we would allow our personal time with God to come into discussions that we had together, in addition to allowing the other person to come in to our heart and “see the nasty” part of our souls, which is SO difficult, but that provides room for confrontation and interpersonal counseling, and for plain old encouragement in our walk with Christ.
FOLLOW OUR SERIES #TRUELOVESTORIES!
We interviewed some of our favorite couples to ask them what true love looks like. And we are so excited to introduce these stories to you. True love exists, and it’s worth the wait. #truelovestories #acrossmyheart