Maybe because we will be celebrating 20 years of marriage later this year, or maybe because we have three teen-aged children or maybe a little bit of both, I have been rethinking what we've communicated to our kids about marriage. Getting married young ourselves, we struggled greatly in all areas of our relationship. Not wanting our children to have to deal with that, we encouraged them to wait for "Mr/Mrs. Right" to come along so they can finish their education, get established, yadda, yadda, yadda. After conversations with them, I'm afraid we've turned them off marriage all together.
Thinking back over our early years of matrimony I admit we were so immature and silly. We were selfish and self-centered. We failed miserably in many ways, but God is faithful. Thankfully, HE honored our covenant although at the time we made it, we barely understood the weight of those vows we uttered nearly 20 years ago. Through all the mistakes we made, He was wooing us to himself. Each failure was really an opportunity to turn to Him. He redeemed us to Himself and restored our marriage. I thank him for directing our paths when our only plan was just flying by the seat of our pants. Now our God-given plan is to glorify God through our marriage. He has blessed immeasurably. I see his hand at work in our lives, growing us in the grace and knowledge of our Savior, conforming us into the image of His Son each passing year. We have matured together: learning to die to self; preferring one above the other, demonstrating sacrificial love, seeking to communicate with respect for one another, learning to budget our finances; run a household and realizing that we are not just partners for life but partners IN life. Our relationship has deepened through ALL the struggles, trials and joys and over the years has grown sweeter and sweeter. We still have (many) lessons to learn, but I thank God for never giving up on us. I praise Him for using our marriage as a testimony of His faithfulness to His people.
Even those very thorns that poked us, made us bleed, I count as blessings. I am starting to see for the first time, that our early marriage with all its imperfections has been the primary means of God to bring us into His Kingdom. Our early marriage is a gift from God that I treasure.
Later this year we will celebrate two decades of sharing life together. I am so grateful for each day. God granted me the desires of my young heart and let me marry the love of my life; he knit us together even as we unraveled and He patched us up along the way. He redirected both of our hearts to Himself. Even now, He patiently transforms us to be the godly spouses He designed. It was God's plan to unite us in marriage in the days of our youth and I praise Him for His wisdom!!! All for His glory!!!! These and more are the things I want my children to know about marriage.
This is the article that stirred my brain juices this morning......
"The Case for Early Marriage"
by Mark Regnerus
Virginity pledges. Chastity balls. Courtship. Side hugs. Guarding your heart. Evangelical discourse on sex is more conservative than I've ever seen it. Parents and pastors and youth group leaders told us not to do it before we got married. Why? Because the Bible says so. Yet that simple message didn't go very far in shaping our sexual decision-making.
So they kicked it up a notch and staked a battle over virginity, with pledges of abstinence and accountability structures to maintain the power of the imperative to not do what many of us felt like doing. Some of us failed, but we could become 'born again virgins.' Virginity mattered. But sex can be had in other ways, and many of us got creative."
Read this rest of this thought-provoking, conscience pricking article here.