Yesterday I made a late night stop at the store to grab a few things and I had a very interesting conversation with the cashier. We made small talk as she scanned my items, and then she offered me a discount card but I told her my wife already had one. That’s when the conversation got fun. I know this conversation all too well because I’ve had it many times before. It goes something like this…
Person: What!? You’re married?
Me: Yeah I’ve been married for two and a half amazing years.
Person: How old are you? You look like a baby.
Me: I’m twenty three.
Person: You’re so young! Why in the world would you do that?
Me: Why wouldn’t I?
In 2009, I got married at the barely legal and barely respectable age of twenty one years old. During my courtship, engagement, and short marriage, I’ve been asked time and time again questions like, “Why get married so young? What’s the rush?”, and my personal favorite, “You should have waited and enjoyed your life!”
Some of the folks asking these questions were strangers, but some were family. Was I crazy to get married at such a “young” age?
Well let me give you three reasons I decided to get married when I did.
1. I met a godly woman
As an eighteen year-old freshman in Bible college, I wasn’t actively looking for a wife, but God saw fit to introduce me to a young woman after his heart. She was beautiful, but more importantly she loved Jesus. She was aware that she was a sinner in need of God’s grace, and she had a humble, teachable heart. We ended up being part of the same church, so I got to watch her serve, grow, and faithfully give her time to others. I began to talk to my inner circle about her. My friends, mentors, and pastors all agreed – she was a godly woman. I could see myself walking with her and loving her for the rest of my life.
2. I was ready
By this time I began to think about the reality of marriage and what it means to commit yourself to someone for a lifetime. I asked myself whether or not I was mature and responsible enough. I searched through the Scriptures and thought about the responsibilities of a husband, and talked to married friends and mentors. After lots of prayer and conversation, my mentors and the pastors in my church told me they thought I was ready to pursue her. I was elated. But I wouldn’t have pursued her if I thought I wasn’t prepared to spiritually lead her, provide for her, and to be the head of a family.
3. Marriage is a blessing
At first I felt like I had to prove to the naysayers that getting married young is ok sometimes. But when I looked in the Scriptures I didn’t find stuff like, “Marriage equals death! Flee from it!” or, “Put marriage off until you can’t put it off any longer,” or, “Only get married when you’re too old to enjoy life,” or, “Play the field for a while and then pick the best one.”
Instead I found commands like, “Flee youthful lust”, and I read passages like Proverbs 18:22 that says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.”
So when people say, “What possessed you to get married so young?” my new response is, “You’re asking the wrong question.” I think at the root of that question is the assumption that marriage steals something away from me, as if my youth is being wasted in committed sacrificial love when it could be used for casual pleasure and flakiness.
Marriage is a beautiful gift from God! It is a means of grace. I found a wife, and that is a good thing. I don’t agree with the logic that says, put off God’s richest blessings as long as you can. Instead I would say enjoy God’s good gifts and steward them for His glory.
This is not to say that everyone should get married when I did. It would have gone bad if I would have tried to get married before I was ready. Some of us do need to mature more, and others of us need to pray for contentment and trust the Lord and His timing. My goal is not to say that the younger you get married, the more holy you are. I just want to dispel the myth that we should delay adulthood and only consider marriage once we’re thirty or older.
Last night on twitter someone asked me if I regret getting married so young. My answer? Absolutely not.
It’s one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m happier and holier than I was two and a half years ago, and that’s a good thing. I don’t want to make it seem like I’m some super rare anomaly. I know plenty of folks who got married just as young or younger than me. They too saw marriage as a gift and they’ve seen the fruit of that gift. Me and my wife may be young now, but I’m praying for grace to love my wife well until the end of our lives. Until then I want to obey the wisdom of the Proverbs and “rejoice in the wife of my youth.”