2.07.2014

Why I didn't wait for marriage (or: why I married young)

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!
~Lisha

I may be sharing this post at these wonderful Link-up parties!
If this post has blessed, encouraged, or moved you, please share, pin, or comment! Thank you!

46 comments:

  1. Loved this! ---> "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."

    And GREAT advice to the single ladies! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Jenni - I appreciate it! :)

      Delete
  2. I could have written this post. All of it.

    My husband and I married a month after my college graduation. We met on my second day on campus. I had a career, a path, and a fledgling faith in Christ that I wasn't quite sure what to do with.

    Seventeen years later, I get it.

    Marrying young was the right thing for us. I have no doubt of that. It was part of God's plan to bring me to total surrender, and bring my husband into relationship with Him. But that doesn't mean it was easy, or for everyone!

    Our tendency to categorize things in human terms ("The Right Way") versus God's terms ("My path for you") is so, so strong as we seek out the formula that will ensure our happiness. How sad that we forget our hearts have already been won, and our completion is in Him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing, Heather! 'How sad that we forget...' - so achingly true!

      I'm so grateful that you've stopped by, and for you & your blog :)
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  3. I loved reading your story and your wisdom!

    While I am generally a fan of marrying young and encourage it for a variety of reasons, I have seen it backfire in a couple of my friends' lives. By "backfire" I mean they have had huge obstacles to overcome that might've been avoided or dealt with before marriage. Their maturity level did not automatically correlate to "thinking things through." So I am far more...hesitant to immediately recommend someone marry young.

    In our story, we married before my senior year in college (both 21)...both of us were still in college, but we didn't want to wait til graduation. It seemed to contradict our conviction that family (and most definitely God's will!) is of higher priority to us than our education. We had hoped to marry 7 months earlier than we did, but we were waiting on the blessing to go ahead from one set of parents. That was so very hard for me at the time, bit it was very much God's grace! Our first son arrived just 17 days after I graduated; had we married 7 months earlier, finishing college would've been much more difficult!

    My husband will be graduating in May! 2 years after I did (almost 3 years of marriage)... He is majoring in aviation, which is a very expensive degree -- but he has been determined since just before we got married to not take on any more student loans. So it took him longer. Was this ideal for the first 3 years of marriage? Probably not for most people, but it sure has grown us closer! Not to mention our little one's antics keep life interesting. :)

    I'm gonna hang around a bit and peruse some of your other entries! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kayla, thank you for sharing your story! Yes, we talked about getting married before we both graduated, too. That two-year engagement...golly gee - it was SO tough for both of us. Since our parents were hesitant, though, we decided to wait.

      Rejoicing for you and your husband - what a testimony to God's faithfulness to provide as you trust Him and not the financial system. :)

      Thank you for your encouragement!
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  4. Great post. I married young as well (21) and have no regrets. Your advice is wise though and can be applied to every other area & decision in life - seek God's will. Always. Glad that I stopped by from The Modest Mom this morning. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and sharing encouragement! I hope your day is a sweet one :)

      ~Lisha

      Delete
  5. It is truly great to marry early, except of course God instructs other wise. You need your youthful strength to enjoy each other and also raise your children, besides how else can we see our children's children if we do not marry early enough? Thanks for sharing your heart, have a super blessed day!
    From Living Proverbs
    Love

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Ugochi! You've brought up some very tangible benefits of marrying young. :)

      I am grateful you stopped by!
      ~Lisha ;)

      Delete
  6. This is a wonderful set of words, especially with all of those articles getting passed around regarding marriage and age and all of that, because really, it comes down to this - what would God have us do? Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm grateful that this was a blessing to you, Katherine. Thanks for the encouragement. I hope you have a blessed day!

      ~Lisha

      Delete
  7. My husband wasn't saved until he was 28. It would have never worked out to get married young. GOD has a different plan for us all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How marvelous that he is saved! and that the Lord, for His glory, had you marry later on. :) You are right - the Lord has a different plan for each one of us!

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing!
      ~Lisha :)

      Delete
  8. Loved this! My husband and I married young as well (19 and 21), and this March we will celebrate six years of marriage (nine years together in September). I am so thankful for the life God has blessed us with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Janelle! Congratulations - it is sweet, isn't it, to have been together for so long already? Will and I have been together almost half of our lives, and we're just in our early 30s - it's a blessing.

      I am so grateful you've stopped by and I hope you have a sweet day!
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your wisdom and for your honesty! We were 20 when we got married and I can relate to SO MUCH of what you wrote...!!!! I'm very grateful God can and DOES use us, even when we push on ahead of Him. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lissa, thank you for your encouraging words! And yes, He is able and willing to work through us no matter what - He is a very. good. God!

      I am so thankful that you've stopped by!
      ~Lisha :)

      Delete
  10. What lovely honesty, Lisha. I married at 22...to my high school sweetheart after four years of college dating too and I was selfish and stubborn and as rottenness to his bones...until he left and I remained holding the baby and his two little brothers. And then learned about following God and obeying. And God in His gracious goodness has redeemed my life with great love, but to have made different choices earlier on would have saved many from much pain. Blessings to you that you are learning this early and valuing your marriage. Keep your heart open to the One who loves you best of all and do everything His way the first time. Thanks for letting me share my heart with you from one who has been there and done that and learned the hard way...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing and for your kind words, Sheila. I very much need the reminder (daily!) to choose His ways over mine the first time - thank you! May the Lord bless you and those around you as He continues the good work He began in you!

      I am thankful that you stopped by!
      ~Lisha :)

      Delete
  11. One of the reasons many young couples today wait to get married is because they don't wait to live like they are married. Sadly, one of my daughters falls into the latter category. Her younger brother began a relationship and married much more quickly than she did. When she asked me why they wanted to get married so soon, I said, "Because they want to be together, to live together, and they won't do that until they are married." "Oh, yeah..." was all she said. She's married now, but still not following the Lord. We pray on. Visiting through Adorned from Above. www.aroundthetable.flemings.in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will pray this evening, Sharon, that your daughter will see Jesus for who He is - pure, holy, and unfailing, and that she would choose to follow Him!

      It is one subtle way that the enemy has duped us (as a culture) - that living together and marriage are enough the same that it doesn't really matter. :/

      Thank you for stopping by and for sharing!
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  12. I'm stopping by from the Wednesday Link Party.

    My husband and I also married young. I was 21 and was 20. We did have the blessing of our parents, although they were hesitant at first.

    I can definitely see how God has worked on us and matured us through the years. I think it was great to be married young because we grew up together. Because we had so many shared experiences, our spiritual and emotional growth was similar.

    We will celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Leah, how wonderful! Congratulations on 20 years!

      I am so thankful that the Lord can and does work through marriage to refine us in ways nothing else could - and yes, the growing up together can be sweet. :)

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing!
      Blessings!
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  13. Amen! I have also noticed advice being given about when one should marry. This was the most balanced presentation of the topic I have read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet words, Carie! :)

      ~Lisha

      Delete
  14. I really appreciate your openness and wise counsel. Thank you for having the courage to speak out for morals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement. My heart's desire is just that the Lord gets the glory He deserves, and that is done when each heart seeks His and follows Him - in marriage, or in any area of our lives!

      I'm so thankful you stopped by!
      ~Lisha :)

      Delete
  15. Hubby and I were married at 19 and 20. So many folks were just frustrated that neither of us had a degree or careers (well, he was in the Army), but we chose to move ahead with marriage. While I didn't seek God at the time, God knew exactly what we both needed. I believe if we had waited, we may not have married! Excellent advice for young couples!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We (society) are so quick to assess that young adults need to build a career or acquire more schooling before moving on with life...but I would offer that marriage can (and does) produce a kind of real-life, on-the-job education that no college or career could prepare for. :)

      Thank you for your encouragement, Kay! I'm so grateful you stopped by and shared your story :)
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  16. I really enjoyed reading this. My husband and I married at 24 not quite a year after we first met. Both of us wish we'd met and married earlier, but that wasn't God's plan. I love that you were bold enough to share this. I'm sure a lot of people don't understand, but I'm completely with you. If God leads you to marry young, do what glorifies Him most!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I appreciate your encouragement :)

      Delete
  17. Congratulations on 10 years of marriage. We'll be celebrating out tenth this spring too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cristal, and congratulations to you, as well! :)

      I'm thankful you've stopped by! Blessings,
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  18. I got married at the same age and never regretted it. I knew that my husband was the one and I believe that marriage is the foundation for the family. Congratulations to you both.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How sweet! :) Thanks, Mel!

      ~Lisha

      Delete
  19. Lisha, this was a perfect reading for me. I'm not "young", but I'm navigating with new foundations with the Lord and newly engaged. Perfect timing! Thank you for your honesty!
    Amanda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda, it's a blessing to know this encouraged you. And yes, you are still young :D I am thankful for you and your engagement!! Praying for you often!

      Hugs!
      Lisha

      Delete
  20. I loved reading this post. If I had followed God's plan for my life I would have married at age 18 to my (now husband) and we would have celebrated many wonderful years together. I messed it up big time! You can read all about it in my blog posts.
    I believe you've given some very valuable advice for young couples who are wanting to marry early. I honestly wish I had followed this type of advice growing up. I could have used it, but I also didn't trust either one of my parents (and neither of them really gave me solid advice on marriage even in my later years.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind encouragement, Crystal. Be encouraged, though, that the Lord is able to restore the years (Joel 2:...25? I think?) that you 'missed' out on - somehow, in His economy!

      Thank you for sharing, and for stopping by :) Blessings!
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  21. Loved your testimony on getting married young. Yes, getting married young is good (as far as I am concerned) because the Lord has a way of using marriage to iron out the kinks in our sinful nature that need decreasing. Thanks for sharing this with me last week for WholeHearted Wednesdays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Judith, does He ever use marriage to work out those kinks! I've got quite a few :)

      I hope you have a sweet Wednesday! I just saw that this post is highlighted this week - thank you. :)
      ~Lisha

      Delete
  22. Loved reading your story! I also got married young - I met my husband in college and graduated in three years. I got married the week after I graduated at age 20 (almost 21!). Had my first baby at not quite 23! Went on to have 10! :) Thanks for sharing and for linking up for MArriage Monday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! Your story is so sweet. Ten children!! *sigh* what a blessing!! I was 23 when I had my first one, as well :D

      I look forward to Marriage Monday - so much rich encouragement there. :)

      Delete
  23. Congratulations! Your post was the most viewed post at Marriage, Motherhoods and Missions Monday Link up. It is featured at Missional Call - www.missionalcall.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosilind, thank you for the heads-up! I was amazed by what the Father chose to do with this particular post!

      Your blog is a blessing to me, especially as I am learning more and more about the heart of the Father for the nations!
      ~Lisha

      Delete