I am growing up in a generation that is anti-marriage. Bentley.edu‘s recent study shows that Millennials will have the lowest marriage rate (70%) this nation has yet seen. The median age for a woman to get married is now at twenty-seven and rising, whereas in the 1960’s it was at twenty years old. The article explains, “today an unprecedented portion of millennials will remain unmarried through age 40.” Even more shocking, 25% of millennials are expected to never get married. We have seen brutal, crushing divorces, maybe even experienced them. We have witnessed, sometimes even rooted for, affairs and infidelity. We sing songs for “Single Ladies,” and dwell in our impressive independence. Those of us who do find a compatible partner settle for a roommate rather than a husband/wife. Marriage is a thing of the past that has dwindled from generation to generation, and is now vanishing with mine. I too am not a wanna-be-housewife. I did not go to college for an MRS. Degree. I am not dependent and in need of a man for my own happiness. I am definitely not a hopeless romantic. In fact, I grew up repeating the voices of my generation claiming I would nevveeerr get married.
So, why then, at the age of twenty-one, am I about to get married.
Well, I met this guy three years ago, and all of the sudden, I found someone to share all these mountain valleys and peaks. Despite my immature cries for independence, the Lord heard my mama’s prayers. Within just a few weeks, this boy became my best friend, my favorite traveling companion, my most faithful shotgun rider, and my go-to. He made each memory sweeter and each laugh deeper. He captured my heart, held it tight, and kept it warm. He makes me better, because everywhere I was weak, he provided strength. The closer I grow to him, the closer I grow to my savior.
Three years ago, I fell so in love with the boy who took me to Franky’s Fun Park and danced on his putt putt putter, on our first date. It wasn’t his ability to rescue me. It wasn’t his prince-like charm. It wasn’t my hope in him to make my life complete. It was his love for our savior that made me lose my breath, melt at his gaze, and stricken me unable to talk about anything but him for days.
No, he is not my knight in shining armor. He did not sweep in and rescue me from my situation. He never will be, because my knight came 2,000 years ago and carried a cross and my sin on his shoulders. He gave me salvation from my situation. He rescued me and bought my freedom.
We argue. We complain. We get angry and overwhelmed. We lose sight of what’s important. We are not perfect. But, through his imperfections, I am reminded of my Heavenly Father’s perfectness. Through my short-comings, he is able to see the Lord’s constant and unwavering goodness. We don’t have it all together, but we are committed, in love, and willing to work.
So, to all the questions I have been asked, to all the skeptic looks I’ve received, and to the condescending head shakes:
Yes, I am now only twenty one. Yes, marriage is hard. Marriage magnifies your issues. Marriage can make you a worse person. Marriage can make you hate each other. All of this, we’ve heard it all.
But, we have also heard the promises of our Jesus. We have called to him on bended knees and we choose to believe in His promises rather than earthly advice.
We know that a marriage built on Him as a foundation brings stability, companionship, support, encouragement, and ultimately joy. We know that two are better than one, and that when two or more gather in his name, he is there. We know that this kind of love is less an emotion and more a choice. The Lord made marriage for us as a promise of all that is to come. He began the Bible telling us about the first marriage, and ends it returning for His own bride, the church. We know He didn’t design marriage to be miserable, or feared. His intentions were not for marriage to make us worse, or hate one another. But, we know He didn’t intend for it to be easy. We know that He uses marriage to discipline, guide, and instruct us. He designed marriage for us to work at and invest in. He created marriage for us to find in Him and grow closer to Him through our lacking.
So we’re not there yet. We are still learning and we will always be learning, growing, climbing, failing, and falling (I am sure, if you stick around long enough, you will see a lot more of this in about a year). But, here’s the thing, I would rather do that with this guy by my side.
I will choose to trust in my knight-in-shining armor, and until he returns or I leave this earth to join him, you will find me by my guy’s side. I do not expect that it will be easy. I know that there will be obstacles and trials. Yet, I will fight for what I believe is worth it, and we will try to find grace in each moment along the way.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
“For where two or more gather in my name, there am I with them.”
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”