Will was 21, I was (just barely) 22.
We were newlyweds, just two months out of college.
We met just one month into college. Each barely 18 years old - just figuring out this whole "being away from home" thing. We started dating 10 days after we met and have been together since.
When we married, we'd been a couple for almost four years: two years of dating, and close to two years of being engaged (that long engagement was one of our less-than-stellar ideas, but that's another topic for another time).
It made sense to me to marry right after graduating from college; a natural transition from young adult life to being a real, full-fledged grown up! A new career, newly married, a place of our own to live...it was gearing up to be perfect.
I've noticed an increase in the number of articles and blog posts that encourage young ladies that marrying young is the best idea, as far as when to get married. And guess what?
It is the perfect idea -
if that is what the Lord has shown you will bring Him the most glory.
There are some issues we keep trying to make a one-solution-fits-every-story issue. Here are some issues that are not one-solution-fits-every-story:
When you get married. How many children you have. Breastfeeding. Homeschooling. Staying at home with your kids. Parenting techniques. Food. Headcovering. How many vehicles or what type of home you have. Modesty. Makeup. Music. Where you live. ...and a thousand others.
If, with the heartiest blessing of parents and future in-laws, you feel that getting married while young is what His plan is for you - go. for. it. wholeheartedly, freely, excitedly! Because serving Christ in that capacity is awesome!
But if not: it will bring Him the most glory for you to wait. Wait wholeheartedly, freely, excitedly! Because serving Christ in that capacity is awesome!
So back to the story, and the reasons why I didn't wait:
Will and I got married, as I said, just after earning our college degrees. I have a degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Secondary Education; he has a degree in Studio Art. (Spontaneous, creative man + analytic, overly-logical woman = brave combo) It just seemed that the wedding was naturally the next step.
As a brand-new believer in late 2002 (only a few months), I had a plan for my own life that I was not ready to give over to the Lord. I expected that He would go along with my plan because -hey!- it was a good plan. Marriage, career, kids, cozy home. So I just barreled along with our plan to wed. (You'll notice a lot of 'me' and 'I' in this narrative, and not 'we' and 'us' - I was a wretchedly selfish young lady.)
Here are the reasons why I didn't wait (and how I would counsel young ladies in a similar situation with the lessons I've learned as a result):
1) I didn't wait for marriage because I decided that it was best to get married young. It did not occur to me to ask the Lord if we were truly ready to get married when we did - and besides, I'd have thrown a fit if the answer had been 'wait a year or two, My daughter'. I am one of the most stiff-necked people you've ever met. Will can testify. The Lord has managed over the years to soften me a bit, but I still like things my way.
2) Will and I wanted to be together, ASAP. We wanted that ring, that covenant, that sense that he was mine & I was his. I assumed there would be security & happiness in being married to Will, instead of seeking it wholly in the Lord.
3) Even though both sets of parents initially seemed hesitant about us getting married right out of school, I was certain we knew better, and didn't stop to ask them why. I was smart - I had that math degree, remember? Certified genius. I'd just spent years in an institute of higher learning that repeatedly reminded me that I was capable of living my own life and forging my own future. I should have respected our parents enough to dig a little deeper into their concerns.
4) I had dreamed my whole life of planning my wedding. I didn't want to have to wait any longer! Will (not-so) jokingly reminds me that all he basically had to do was show up at the church - that everything else about the wedding was my doing. I didn't often think to ask him what he wanted.
Now, ten years later - would I have waited to get married?
Honest answer: No!! This year, Will and I (by the grace of God) will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and that is quite an amazing feat for us, and our children are truly a blessing (not only to us, but to so many others). Had we not married when we did, every blessing we enjoy today would look vastly different. I am deeply thankful that we got married when we did! I praise the Lord for the trials He allowed me to walk through as a result because it has helped shape Will and I into who we are right now, and will continue to do so for a lifetime. I thank God for Will - God's primary person in my life who has had a huge part in refining my desperately sinful heart - and for each of my four children, and for how God has girded our lives with people who care and are willing to pray for us and ache with us and rejoice with us as the years come and go.
However, I have repented of the sins of pride in trying to make decisions apart from the Lord (SO. much. pride - still have to repent daily of this!), of dishonoring our parents by disregarding their counsel, of greatly dishonoring Will by trying to forge ahead with my own life plans without really being willing to change for anyone (even him). I'm still the rottenness in his bones far more often then I am his crown (see Proverbs 12:4). I've had to confess that I often think that I know best about...everything. There were times early on when I would wonder how in the world other people could not get married in their early twenties, like me.
I get it now, I think.
The Lord is best glorified in each of us when we seek His face and His will for ourselves and obey joyfully - and encourage others to seek His face and His will for themselves and obey joyfully. And He is glorified when His plan for each person can be different and still there is unity in the church.
So, if there are any young ladies (late teens/early twenties) reading this right now who are wondering about whether marriage is a good idea for them, I offer this:
1) Ask the Lord if this will glorify Him the most out of any of the possible scenarios. If He says yes, listen; but if He says no, listen. Marriage is not mainly about your happiness or sense of being complete with your husband - it is ultimately about His glory and about your relationship being a glimpse of Christ and the church. Don't try to run ahead of the Lord's timing in an effort to help Him out by rushing into a courting/engaged/marriage relationship.
2) Ask your parents for their thoughts. Often. Be willing to hear and honor their input, even if you don't like it. And if you are still living at home, and they say 'no' outright - humble yourself and obey them while continuing to seek the Lord's face. God can be trusted with your heart.
3) Do you think that being married will bring you security, safety, or status? Your relationship to Jesus is the only secure one you can totally stand on. Seek the truth about who you are in Him.
4a) Think about the areas of your life where you need to mature and grow - and ask the Lord to grow you in those areas in the meantime. Are you, as a rule, selfish? lazy? joyless? moody? impatient? disorganized? poor at managing money? fearful? controlling? lacking in discipline or self-control?
4b) If you have a significant young man in your life whom you would consider marrying, think about the areas where he needs to mature and grow, and ask the Lord to grow him in those areas, and encourage him with the Word and by praying for him. Is he quick to anger? overly critical? passive? prone to waste time on inconsequential or sinful pursuits? Does he lack maturity in Christ? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, it might be helpful to wait a little while before committing yourself to each other in the covenant of marriage.
There are multiple facets to every single situation - when to marry included. It is not important when you get married, as long as you have earnestly sought the Lord's will (though searching the Word and prayer) and the input of your parents & in-laws-to-be and your church leadership, if applicable. If all of those pieces are in line, oh dear one - marry young! Be blessed in that! And if the answer you hear is 'wait, My daughter' - pour your energies into seeking the Lord and trust Him that whenever you marry, He will bless you and bring glory to His name then.
Thankful to learn from my journey,
and for almost ten years of marriage in which to grow,
for His glory!
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