Young marriage. Phew, is that a tough one. People who get married young are always the same kind of people- the desperate, the women who don’t want to work, the uneducated, the stupid, the people who get swept up in their emotions, or those in the military. Lots of different people. But certainly never me. I’m above that.
These were my thoughts. And then I met my Caleb.
We dated 5 months before we got engaged. Crazy, right? Absolutely. Entirely. I would agree with you. Life works out in funny ways. I would disagree with the idea that God absolutely “tells” you to marry people. But he most certainly smacks you in the head with it. I will write an entirely other post on “finding your person,” but this post will be 50000000 words if I go on that tangent now, so I will refrain for now.
So. To be 19 and engaged.
It’s rough- it’s supposed to be the happiest time of your life and it can so easily feel like choosing to marry at a young age negates that joy, or somehow makes you less deserving to be happy when everyone just reacts with concern. That’s a lie, of course, but still is such a culture problem. It’s been such an intense learning process- it at least is such a blessing to get a chance to figure out your true friends, how many people get that opportunity? That has been so hard. I never realized how dependent I was on other people’s approval to determine my own joy. I’ve always been the perfectionist/overachiever type (Yay, INTJ probs), and I’d taken so much pride in always being praised for “having my head on straight” and “doing the right thing.” It’s a tough day when you realize that not only will other people believe they can own a part of your life and tell you off for your judgements, but that also you have given them so much authority in making you feel good or bad that it is darn near impossible to eradicate that need for affirmation in your life. I’ve got such a passion for authenticity, so I am pretty sure that I always look like a tremendous mess at all times to people. That probably hasn’t helped my case for marriage in other people’s eyes. Oopsies. 🙂
I’ve probably made other people’s reactions so much worse by always been very vocal about being career-centered and turning up my nose up at young marriage. (I see what you did there, God!) Single 19-20 year olds keep telling us we have marriage wrong and need a steady paycheck and all of these things to be okay. Yep, it is somewhat unconventional timing for the 21st century- but life happens, and the pros way outweigh the cons for us here. Life is personal. Life is messy. In some ways it has been an immense blessing- all the challenges have led to so many conversations and has given us ALL OF THE THINGS to work through together as a team, and not all people get that kind of team-building before they’re married.
I am entirely a control freak, and I finally made one too many really stupid decisions and turned to God and said, “Hey, I’m a moron. I get it. Finally. You lead. I’ll listen. I love you, and I am so sorry.” You say these kind of prayers and half expect God to call you to a women’s shelter in Africa or to the homeless in San Francisco… I was waiting for that call. I wanted that call. I wander, and I wanted God to call me to use that for him. Instead, God stilled my heart. He grounded me. And he gave me the greatest challenge of them all. He introduced me to my husband, REALLY DARN YOUNG. Which of course lead to… “REALLY God, now? This is REALLY INCONVENIENT. I love you and all, but seriously, this timing sucks.” Ha. But you know what? I wouldn’t have picked it for myself, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lots of lessons on how joy comes from the strangest places if you’re willing to look. And what is the greater God point that taking two sinners and giving them the joy and ultimate challenge of loving like Jesus? That’s pretty darn cool. Thanks, God.
I’m an idiot. Always. But God, you’re not. And we’ll stay focused on you and continue searching. Because you are the first love, and the ultimate one. Always.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2