My son, I care deeply about your life. I care because God cares. I also care because you are preparing for marriage, and your life is going to be joined to the life of another, and God cares very deeply about marriage.
I have learned a lot of things that can make your life and your marriage so much richer, and can save you a lot of soul-searching, regret and pain. These are things that should be said to every young man, and I offer them to you freely. This is my gift to you:
One of the promises you are making at your wedding is this:
“However we argue, whatever disagreement we may have, we will be ok – I will be your husband and you will be my wife. That is not under threat. I will never walk away.”
This promise is crucially important for you to understand. It makes arguing “safe”. Trust me, you want that.
Deal with the Older You
You are young. There will be a day when you are older. On that day the Enemy will tempt you to question whether such a young man is really able to make the kind of commitment that marriage requires. He will start you wondering whether you made the right decision. Here is some advice on that:
- Firstly, you are a grown man. This commitment is one that you are qualified to make.
- Second, the “older you” is not entitled to question this. When you commit to marriage as a young man you are not only committing the “younger you” to it, but the older one too. It is helpful to think very clearly about this.
- Third, I suggest you let the “older you” know about this. Write him a letter. Pour out your heart. Show him that you mean it. Tell him that, even if he thinks it was unwise, nevertheless he is bound to honour it.
- Finally, having done all this, consider your marriage like your birth: You never sit around wondering whether it was a good idea to have been born. Similarly, that question about your marriage simply doesn’t make sense. Your marriage will be your reality, and everything else in life must be understood from that standpoint. Stop and think about this. It may be the most important thing you will learn your whole life.
A marriage is not simply a promise never to have another girlfriend. It is a promise to actively love, and to cherish your wife until you are dead. It isn’t good enough just to stay married. Your responsibility is to invest in your marriage and to ensure that it grows and feeds you both for your whole life. If it gets damaged, you have to fix it.
Jesus taught that adultery happens when your eyes wander lustfully. If you have a porn problem, or chronic masturbation, or you’re a flirt, do not imagine that a marriage certificate will cure you. These things will infest your marriage bed and steal not only your bliss, but also that of your wife. Get these things sorted out now. It’s going to hurt but it’s worth it.
When you and your wife go into your bedroom and close the door, what happens in there is yours and nobody else’s. Nobody else has a say in what is “right” or “wrong”. You are two human beings joined in one flesh, and whatever you find joy, comfort, or connection in, is good. If either of you is uncomfortable, it’s bad. If both of you are happy, it’s good. Your God has created this clean space where you both can play without condemnation. Enjoy it fully. It doesn’t matter what it “looks like”. Nobody’s looking.
There is nothing more valuable in life than a pure marriage bed. Do not ever compromise it. Nobody who has ever compromised their marriage has ended up happy for it. A marriage is a taste of heaven. If you compromise it you will get a glimpse of hell. Just don’t.
Don’t listen to the jaded old folks who talk about a “honeymoon period” and then only drudgery. Your marriage is what you make it. I have had twenty four years of honeymoon so far, and still going strong. That happened because I decided it was going to. Decide this. It matters.
Everything else you can figure out for yourself.
Above all, enjoy it. Marriage is a privilege and a joy. God’s joy is powerfully present in marriages, and marriage is the primary way in which the Bible describes God’s relationship with His people. You will find out why as you go.
May God bless your marriage.