When I moved away from my small town after high school, I began to see how much later in life people got married. I figured they must have it right. I mean, why not? Why not give yourself time to develop and grow and mature (cough cough, be immature) before jumping into a matrimonial mess? I watched friends get engaged and then saw them laughed at by those who thought my friends were too young and stupid for throwing away their lives.
A year ago I was still caught up in the trap of cultural singleness. Especially after having recently returned from a semester in Europe where late marriage is definitely the norm, I didn’t see the rush or the importance of marrying young. At that time in my life, I wanted nothing more than to “do my own thing for a while.”
I wanted time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. I wanted to have the freedom of making my own plans. I wanted to spare myself more heartbreak. And I only wanted to worry about myself. See anything wrong with that picture?
I was supported by friends and family to “find myself” and take full advantage of this time before I was stuck in the trap of marriage. OK, maybe they didn’t put it that way, but to me that’s how it sounded. “You are so young,” I was told over and over, along with “You have plenty of time to meet someone,” and my personal favorite, “You have the rest of your life to be married.”
I believed what I was told and wanted nothing more than to steer clear of all dating with the potential of getting too serious too fast.
But then I met my friend Boundless. After a few weeks interning at Focus on the Family last summer, I quickly realized that my thoughts on singleness and marriage were definitely cultural and far from biblical. I had been remaining selfishly commitment-free for as long as possible instead of pursuing an intentional relationship with a man who I believed would help me serve Christ better.
After a few months of prayer, God led me back into a relationship with my ex-boyfriend. This time we started off on the right foot: toward godly marriage. Our second-chance relationship was intentional from the start, and it has almost been a year now of seeking God’s guidance for our lives and our future together. We were recently just laughing about how much better things have been this time around — after we both realized how selfish and immature we had been before.
Now I’m the one who gets put on the spot: “You guys are just so young!” And at times, I’ll admit, it is hard not to believe them. Our culture has trained us to be selfish, solo and sexy instead of committed, caring and content. But when I sit back and think about what God truly wants for my life and how amazing the man is that He has placed in it, then I know for a fact that I am on the right track. No, my boyfriend doesn’t “complete” me. No man ever will. But he encourages my talents, helps strengthen my faith and holds me accountable to godly living.
Just for the record, we are not engaged or married … yet. But we are intentionally working toward that next step.
I will be forever grateful for the resources and insight of Boundless as it has changed my view on marriage. Instead of thinking my youth is about to end, I am so excited for this next step. God would not have instituted marriage if He didn’t have great intentions for it.
I challenge you to do one (or all) of the following:
1) Listen to this Focus on the Family broadcast with Dr. Albert Mohler as he addresses how our culture devalues marriage and why young people delay matrimony.
2) Listen to The Boundless Show podcast interview with Ted Cunningham about his view on marrying young.
3) Read Ted’s book, Young and in Love. To win a free copy of Ted’s book, enter the Young and in Love Contest. Here’s how to enter. Contest deadline is Thursday, June 30.
Be open-minded and seek biblical truth in this message. Ask yourself if you are single because society tells you that is normal, and ask yourself if you are truly seeking God’s guidance toward intentional dating and biblical marriage.
If you are young and in love and have a story to share on how you are pursuing this path, despite the pressures of society, tell us. Share your encouragement with others and possibly win a free copy of the book mentioned above!