Warning: extreme honesty ahead.
I am not writing this to bash anyone who is marrying or who has married young.
I am not even writing this to bash the blogger–a fellow wordpress user–who wrote the article about why people should shut up about people marrying young.
I am, however, writing this to share what God has done in my heart and life over the past year.
One year ago, I was in a relationship. Two years ago, I was in a relationship. Three years ago, that relationship was in its beautiful, innocent, flirtatious beginning. And I thought he was perfect.
The fact is, I entered that relationship with pure intentions. I was crazy about him. He was adorable, sweet, friendly, and had grown up in church. He was respectful and a hard-worker. And he was crazy about me. So we started dating. It was fun! I laughed a lot and learned so much along the way. We took selfies and went out for lunch at cafes. We watched Disney movies and visited elderly people from church. He surprised me with flowers and I surprised him at work. And to be honest, I wanted to get married. Between Pinterest, peers getting engaged, and the whole idea of marriage + future together, I was anxious to put down roots.
Then God started to change my heart.
He took the plans and goals and desires I had, and began to change them. It began before I left for Grenada. We knew our relationship was strained in many ways, though few could have guessed. We knew there needed to be major changes in both of us for this to work. And as we drifted apart and our relationship grew more tense, I planned a 6-month, 2000+ miles away trip. “This will make or break you guys,” I was told. And it did. I came home for my sister’s graduation weekend before returning to Grenada to finish out my last two months, and things were different. I was different. He was different. We had argued and cried and talked while we were apart. Now we were together, and things would never be the same. I knew that, but I still held on.
My plans and expectations and goals had changed. He still wanted to get married. He asked for my ring size while I was away. He was looking at farm houses in PA near his job. Somehow, none of that sounded appealing any more. My eyes had been opened to the world around me. New people, places, heartaches, challenges, joys, situations were all shaping me into a new Bethany. By summer 2014, the thought of returning home, getting engaged, planning a wedding, and forgetting everything I had experienced and everything I want to do was just too much to bear. I couldn’t do it, and I couldn’t keep pretending.
If I had had my way, I would be engaged right now. If God had not changed my heart and mind and desires, I would be planning a wedding and choosing to live a life of comfort–a life of settling. But now I can look back and see that this is where I need to be. Not dating, not looking for my life-mate, not settling for someone whose life goals are opposite from mine.
So here’s why I’m not marrying young. Not because I think it’s wrong or stupid or immature; not because I think only people in a hurry to grow up do it; not because I think people should only get married when they’re “ready”. (Because, come on, who is ever truly completely and totally 100% ready?) I don’t think any of those things. It’s because I personally am not in the place in my life–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually–to marry. It’s because God has given me the blessing of singleness, of availability, of opportunity to go and to be and to do.
Is it easy to judge people younger than me getting married? Yes, sometimes. But it is also easy to judge people older than me who are not getting married. The fact of the matter is that we are all at different places in our life: different chapters of our story. Until you read this post, you didn’t know what God has done in my heart. Until you talk to that 19-year-old who has been married for a year, you don’t know what God has shown them. So for my part, I will be patient when people ask me where my other half is or when I’m going to settle down; and I will show grace when I see young people getting married.
It’s all part of your story. More grace, more love, as the Father has shown unto us.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.