From her single years as an elementary school teacher to a wife and mother of four strong boys, everything Shannon does is touched by purposeful prayer and intentional choices.
Today, she and her husband Justin live in the Pacific Northwest where they raise Andalusian horses on Promise Farm.
Shannon shares some very practical advice on how to become the person God created you to be instead of wasting your time in the wrong relationships. She gets real about how she navigated her single years and focused on becoming the right person while waiting for the right one to come along.
Describe your husband in three words.
Hot. Tender. Warrior.
How did you and your husband meet?
So who was interested first?
I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure Justin communicated with me first. I pretty much always waited for him to take the first step. If you have to lead your dating relationship you will likely need to be taking the lead for the rest of your marriage. I would say interest was very mutual all along though.
You had a list of qualities you were looking for in a husband, didn’t you?
Yes. I had an actual “list”, and he met and exceeded every quality I was praying for in a husband. I turned down others who came close but were missing some things – glad I did not settle. On a different level, my family pointed out that he was so much like me and had the same interests and passions. They were all for “us”.
What was your favorite detail of your wedding day?
All the special people, many of them not even related, who came from clear across the country to excitedly witness and celebrate our union and the great miracle God had done – finding us our perfect match 2,700 miles across the nation! They all had watched us decidedly wait and hold a high standard for years.
What’s your best advice to young women in dating relationships?
Fulfill your relational needs in God and lifelong same-sex friendships first. They will still be there to support you in a break up or the tough times of marriage. Marriage works best if you come into it with a full cup ready to be poured out.
Thoroughly enjoy your single days and use them to become the person God created you to be. There will be less time to pursue dreams and hobbies when you are caring for a family. So if you have already done that you will be more content when you do not have as much time for those things.
Always keep in mind that the person you are dating is not and may not be your husband. Your future husband is the one you must be faithful to. You do not belong to this man until you say “I do”. There is a reason for a formal wedding ceremony.
People are on their best behavior when dating so take any red flags, including those pointed out by friends or family seriously. Also keep in mind that being overcommitted to the wrong person may cause the right one to move on without you. Keep early dating relationships brief. If a person is not checking off the boxes, move on so you are available when the right one comes along.
What’s your best advice for those pursuing sexual purity?
Have clear physical boundaries and personal boundaries set in advance:
- Really check a person out and have references on their character and trustworthiness before you travel alone with them or put yourself in any vulnerable situations, including sharing where you live, etc.
- Keep early dates more public where there are people around. As trust and closeness grows, be accountable to yourself and someone you trust to avoid situations where the two of you are totally alone and could be tempted to compromise.
- If you find yourselves totally alone with no one likely to come around, pick up and take your visit to a better location – go outside, drive somewhere else.
- Have someone who knows where you are and when you will be home. Call if you will be late.
Sexual purity in your dating relationship will greatly effect the health of your relationship and future marriage, regardless of your past – it’s never too late.
What has been your biggest lesson in marriage?
No matter how Godly your spouse is and how much they love you, they are still human. They will hurt you, fail you, and disappoint you. You must always draw your strength and self worth from God if you are to be the complement God meant for you to be for them even in their weakness. There will be time when you take a unique stand for Godliness or need to offer forgiveness and only God can help you do that. If you are just a submissive follower you are not the full force God meant for you to be in your marriage.
How do you keep God the focus of your relationship?
Keep up your personal relationship with God. Your time with God may look more like conversations on the fly than formal devotions as a young mother, but you can still remember God throughout the day, talk to him, praise him, sneak some time for scripture. It’s harder when your time is divided with a husband and children, making it all the more important that you take the time to hide the Word in your heart, while you are still single, so it is there for the Holy Spirit to bring up “on the fly”.
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