If four years ago someone would have told me that I would get married weeks after I finished my third year of college, I would have called them crazy. Not because I didn’t want to get married, but because the idea of getting married so young didn’t seem realistic. I often dreamed of marriage and the cute little family I would hopefully one day have but as a freshman in college and rookie at good lasting relationships; I didn’t think marriage would be happening anytime soon. Little did I know, that in the first few weeks of college, at age 18, I would meet the man I would marry only two years later.
How we met wasn’t in any way that you would see in a romantic comedy or that makes you cry sweet, happy tears. And no, we did not have one of those, “I saw her and I knew she would be my wife,” kind of moments. My roommate, who at the time was one of my only good friends at school, was going to class and left me with one of her new-found college friends. I told him that I was craving some chocolate chip cookies and he said he knew of a friend’s place where we could bake. I rode with him over to this friend’s place and walked right into Nate’s apartment. Yes, I walked into Nate’s apartment as a stranger wanting to bake cookies. Long story short, he really liked the cookies and we ended up dating a year later. We dated for a little over a year but after only four months I knew that there was something so uniquely different about this man that I truly cherished. The way he loved the Lord, led me patiently, and graciously dated me through a rough season of life made me fall in love.
As a habitual dater in high school, I knew what surface level, comforting, and selfish relationships were like; but the relationship we were building had a foundation built on something truly lovely. The longer we dated the more it became clear to us what the Lord was calling us to, but honestly at the age of 20 I was a bit skeptical. Not because I doubted where the Lord was leading, but because our society had other views of what marriage should look like. You could not imagine how many times we heard, “Y’all are too young,” or, “I can’t imagine being married that young, I haven’t even figured myself out,” or my personal favorite, “So… you haven’t finished college yet?” (I had a year left). Although we were certain of our decision, these discouraging and insensitive comments hurt.
Of course we had thought through the implications of being married, while I was also finishing my last year of college because it was so counter-cultural. But the unity the Lord was calling us to was far greater than an obstacle like school. I feel like our society views marriage as a stage in the game of life; it has it’s place but only after you’ve completed the necessary stages beforehand. You must finish college, date for a long time, be settled in your career, and maybe even move in together so you can know for sure whether you want to commit. But hey, if it doesn’t work out just get divorced, no big deal. But what Nate and I were called to is something far sweeter and far more impactful than what some could comprehend. No, I would not have believed you if you told me I would be a married woman at 20; but how thankful I am that it wasn’t my plan at all. It was the plan of a God who knew us before we were even born and had our stories written since the beginning of time, all for His glory. For us, marriage has been the sweetest earthly example of the gospel. For both of us, marriage has been the clearest and sweetest earthly example of the gospel. One of my favorite gospel passage written by Paul is below.
Ephesians 2: 1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We got a lot of “advice” (if that’s what you want to call it) where people would basically tell us how hard marriage was. How hard it was to live with another person. How hard it was to manage money or communicate with one another. How can anyone be expected to live sacrificially and selflessly in the context of marriage until you’re married? It takes time and it takes grace. It takes a commitment to a covenant the day you say “I do”. A commitment to loving another person sacrificially and submissively. The Lord calls us to cherish each other and nourish each other. The word I would use to describe marriage would never be “hard”, it would be “gift”. A sweet and precious gift that the Lord gives us to show the relationship He has with His church. A gift that He uses to make us more like Jesus. And now, as we celebrate over one year together, (myself 21 and Nate 23) there is no uncertainty of God’s timing. Marriage is a sweet and beautiful gift that He graciously gave Nate and I at a young age. Yes, it was hard to navigate our new roles as husband and wife at 20 years old, but we wouldn’t have wanted to wait for the next “stage” our society creates. This marriage was designed and created all for His glory and how thankful I am that I get to enjoy His gift right now.