They Do Exist.

A Letter To My Future Wife: What I Undeserve

Editor’s Note: A girl asked me earlier this week, “I lost my virginity, but now I’m waiting for marriage. I don’t know how to overcome my feelings of worthlessness. I can’t help but think a guy that waited for his wife would want a girl who also waited.” My heart broke because I’ve felt that. And it took me years to truly understand that we are all broken, and our worth is held in Jesus even when we act in ways that make us feel we’ve lost it. The good man will see you not as you once behaved, but as Jesus says you are. Joey Shadel is 18 years old and writes this letter below to his future wife – and expounds upon this idea beautifully. – Lauren

To My Wife,

You’re beautiful. You’re stunning. You’re absolutely perfect in more ways than you know.

I know you’re out there; I know you’re living life just as I am mine. If not now, then someday you will read this letter and gain some insight into who I was before we married. That being said, it might be the only aspect of my life before we met to make you proud.

I say you won’t be proud because frankly I’m not proud either. My heart breaks knowing how I betrayed you with those other women. I regret every touch, every kiss, and every fake “I love you.” I was so consumed with lust that I had mistaken it for love, when you are the only woman I want to ever truly love. For everything, I want to apologize.

Whether it was teenage drunkenness, images on a computer screen, or fantasies in my mind, I defiled the essence of who a woman was. I deliberately turned my back on my calling from God and chose immediate satisfaction. Satisfaction that withered as soon as my pants were back on; satisfaction that left a bowling ball-sized guilt in my chest. She was a physical means to a lustful end, and I had taken advantage of a sinful opportunity. I didn’t see her as a daughter of Christ, and I was becoming her future husband’s greatest enemy. I didn’t treat her body as a temple and took from her what only one man deserved. At the end of the day, my heart was broken for this woman and shattered for you.

If you were in the room, I can only imagine your reaction. You probably wouldn’t watch, you certainly would not want to. Youd probably feel betrayed, like I was cheating on you in front of your eyes. You’d probably be angry, ready to slap me and kick her out of the room for stealing my affection. You’d probably feel your heart being ripped from your body, dropped to the floor, and spat on. You’d probably cry out to God for mercy not to watch, forgiveness for me, and the strength to move on. You’d probably feel broken, expecting more than just an apology. It may never be enough, but it’s all I can say – I’m sorry.

I can see the tears knowing I took from you what only you deserve. You deserve a husband that honors you in his words, thoughts, and actions. I have not been that, and I have begged God for his forgiveness. As promised, he has forgiven me, and I hope you can forgive me, too.

This is a poem I wrote to you, titled What I Undeserve.

What I Undeserve

as i watch the sun rise and the weary sun set,
it reminds me of your eyes all dressed in regret.
not regretful of your past, but regretful of mine,
knowing that it’s been all but divine.

He has chosen to forgive me long long ago,
with a heart of compassion that i see you bestow.
its one of many reasons i get lost in your soul,
trying to save the heart you’ve inadvertently stole.

i can’t wait til the day i see your shining face
all dressed in white at a methodical pace.
walking toward me to begin our life as one,
blessed by the Father, Spirit, and Son.

You are what I don’t deserve. God’s grace will bring us together when I have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Yet I suppose it wouldn’t be grace if I did.

My prayer, at this present time, is that each day God is preparing my heart for you. Marriage is for life, so may what we’ll have last forever. I pray that Christ is not only your Lord, but that He is also your Savior, blessing you with the fruits of His Spirit. My worry is that if you’re in love with Him, then I will be such a disappointment. So I pray that each and everyday I will become less like myself and more like Christ, and that the fruits of His Spirit will also grow in me to naturally honor both Him and you, his daughter.

I know you’re not perfect either. I know you’ve made your mistakes too, perhaps with sins very similar to mine. If your heart is broken, I pray God will repair it. If you’re burdened from sin, I pray He will take away the guilt. Someday I want to look you in the eyes, forgiven, forgiving, and sharing with you a love the past cannot hinder.

I can’t wait to know you inside and out. I want to hear all your favorite stories, music, and movies. I can’t wait to meet your family and learn who you were before we met. I praise God for your beautiful soul and the blessings He will pour into my life through you. Someday we will share a life together. We’ll move on from the past, love every moment of the present, and gratefully await all the memories of the future.

“Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique.” Song of Songs 6:8-9.

Love Your Future Husband,

JPS


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31 Responses

  1. Rebecka

    Wow, this is so incredibly beautiful I am at a loss for words. While reading my heart was both broken and pieced back together and filled with hope. Thank you so much for writing this!

    March 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

  2. Esmerelda

    :D …I am sure your future wife will appreciate this! :D Thank you very much for contributing this letter! Enjoyed reading it!

    March 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm

  3. flygirljc

    NOW TO MAKE THIS LETTER EVEN BETTER THAN WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN TO HER – YOU CAN IMPROVE ON MOST EVERYTHING IN IT & MAKE REVISIONS WHEN YOU HAVE LIVED BY YOUR WORD/LETTER TO THE GLORY OF GOD – THE ONE WHOM WILL EMPOWER YOU TO BE A GOOD HUSBAND BEFORE YOU MEET HER… ♥

    March 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm

  4. Hannah

    I am crying as I read this. It is beautiful and full of grace and mercy. I have made my share of mistakes and sometimes it is so hard to believe my future husband will forgive me, but I am definitely ready to forgive him as Christ has forgiven me. Thank you for this deeply personal letter. I'm sure your future wife will be in tears of joy and healing reading it as well.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

  5. leeleegirl4

    This very topic has been very close to my heart for the last few days. I have prayed and prayed and still felt just as unsettled as when I started. Reading this (over and over) has helped give me peace. I am still unsure of specific details and how grace works, but I know that God is working in my heart and life. One day I will understand it all.

    March 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  6. I write letters to my future spouse when I am in a desolation or need a friend. I'm always worried that he'll think I've been silly for doing this, and tease me for all the moments that I wanted to share with him things that I knew no other man deserved to hear…and this letter has made me so thankful for doing this. Both for myself and him.

    Also– Thank you for your beautiful words. Your wife is going to feel so blessed to know that you found Christ before her, and allowed Him to teach you true love.

    Beautiful!

    March 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

  7. TheBlessedScot

    Dude! You took what was in my heart and put it into words! It was beautiful and awesome in every sense of the word. Thank you, my dear brother!

    March 21, 2012 at 12:25 am

  8. kmpax89

    Hey JPS,

    You are an incredible man. Not only do you have a way with words, you live your life in a way that embodies them. I have no doubt that your future wife will be treated with unrelenting love and the utmost respect. May God continue to prepare both of you.

    Thanks for stepping up to the challenge and sharing your heart. I'm proud of you my friend.

    - Kera.

    March 21, 2012 at 12:31 am

  9. Thank you for this letter. I feel as though you have put the pain of knowing the lives my husband and I led before our marriage into words. You have poured my emotions on this page. Your paragraph describing what I would do if I had seen my husband in those situations is so accurate. I haven't been able to describe it to him. My marriage has been struggling to heal from some emotional pain lately and as I was reading this letter I felt God healing my hurt. It was like He took all the hurt and pain I have been feeling and placed it right on the screen for me to see and then He began healing it in front of my eyes. Thank you for that!

    March 21, 2012 at 8:36 am

  10. Anna Kaye

    What a Beautiful post! Thank you for writing this!

    March 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

  11. Dude! This is awesome!

    March 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

  12. Terri Fortin

    All the words I had for this article have been expressed in the comments above… Bless you, my friend, for your honesty and courage. This is a beautiful piece – one that touches many souls and speaks for them as well. This came to mind – "…and a child shall lead them." (Isaiah 11:6) Lead on, young MAN, lead on!!

    March 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

  13. Alison

    The only thing is, if she's anything like me she won't want to read even as much detail as you've included here about your past. You should absolutely tell her (before you're married) and give her this beautiful letter, I just would recommend removing the details in the fourth and fifth paragraph. Even though they are not specific, I know it would have hurt me to read anything that detailed rather than think about it in a more abstract way. Just a suggestion from a wife who's been there.

    March 22, 2012 at 6:27 am

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  16. dude, so honest and humble. Thankful that we can all wrap up in "for our sake, he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us" You both will be standing in grace. Forgetting and laying aside- we press onto and into Him. It's a fight, and we are constantly waking up to Him being better, and he hasn't left you or her.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm

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  18. Janae

    Wow!!! This is amazing!!! Loved it!

    April 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm

  19. Lindsey

    The past is but a breath in the wind, the present a chance to live as though the only one that defines who you are is Jesus, and the future a great wonderful book that eagerly awaits to be read aloud. You are forgiven undoubtably.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

  20. I can ONLY pray that God will grant me a husband who sees me the way this man sees his future wife. I dated a guy who so struggled with my past and resented it, but not in a way that made me feel cared for. This gives me hope. Jesus is that hope.

    May 11, 2012 at 1:45 am

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  22. Amy

    Absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing this, seriously. May God continue to pour into you.

    August 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

  23. yourtruthplace

    Incredible post. You truly have a gift. Isaiah 43:18-Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

    October 12, 2012 at 7:20 am

  24. Alex

    JPS This was a beautiful letter. My heart was filled with compassion and joy to see you admitting what your past was and commiting to a new change. I am so proud of this and I pray God's blessing and favor of you and your future wife!

    October 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

  25. Jimmy Jones

    I thought it was a joke, a parody of the whole write to my future spouse craze……it is a joke, right?

    November 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

  26. I can relate to what your talking about and am praying that im being prepared for my future husband. Praying that he will love and care for me regardless of the hugest sin in entire life. A life filled with lust and huge mistakes. Something i cant take back, its gone forever. Your letter broke me to tears – it was so beautiful. I pray that you will find your future wife one day, and continue to let God change you and grow you into the person he sees you fit to be the best husband ever. It was beautiful and hopefully truthful.

    December 3, 2012 at 8:04 am

  27. Thabza Stone

    touching letter indeed, lets repent and seek God’s mercy so that we be forgiven

    June 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm

  28. Miss Thing

    Speechless – this is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt, sincere, and romantic letters I have ever read. Truly blessed for reading this.

    August 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm

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  31. What I want to hear when I get married

    February 12, 2014 at 9:44 pm

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