"A woman's heart, John, is a strange instrument,
and few men have learned to play upon it skillfully."
The Withered Heart, 1857
My thoughts on marriage have evolved. I think there was a time when I believed that all you needed was love.
Then I understood that God had certain requirements for believers. They are to yoke themselves only with other believers.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness?
- 2 Corinthians 6:14
Now, as I think about these punkins' of ours someday (far, far, far away in the future) getting married I realize there is more than that.
Equally yoked? Yes.
But what about equally matched?
As a young person I hadn't heard much on the topic of courting, but my mom had always impressed upon me that dating was for the purpose of marriage. In other words, if I couldn't see myself marrying that person, then I really had no reason to be dating them. I know it saved me from a lot of heart break. Thanks, Mom!
As a teenager, I met a guy who I thought I would want to marry (and I did!). I would spend time with him at family gatherings. He would play with children younger than himself, speak respectfully to adults and serve and spend time with his mom. He was an unselfish boy who, not surprisingly, grew into an unselfish man.
He is kind and playful with our children. He happily serves me. And the result is that we happily love and serve him in return. There is no burden in our service. His expectations for us are so low, that we are always sure to exceed them!
I recently read an interesting book, The Withered Heart by Timothy Shay Arthur (Kindle version is $ .99- thanks, Lisa!)
In the book, the author paints the picture of two young Christians who were unequally matched. Long story short, it reminds young maidens that there are far worse things in this life than not being married.
Just a bit of the story line:
The story involves a respected young man who pursues a lovely Christian girl. He is well known and in a position of authority in the church. He seems from the outside to be a good match for this gentle, sweet spirited girl.
But John Hardy has a much different view of submission than Jane's father did. And quite frankly, a young lady raised in a different environment would have been an easier match for him.
Misunderstandings, unkind words and glances are a shock to the system of this delicate girl. And emotionally she shuts down. The consequence is that the very sunshine her husband wished for his home was snuffed out by his heavy handedness.
I am sure you have heard of several unhappy marriages over the years. Often in hindsight, the warning signs were clear. The author portrays similar warnings in his account:
- Although the young girl would look forward to seeing her fiance, when together she was not completely happy and when the young man left, the girl was left feeling pensive and unhappily distracted, feeling insecure about herself and the future.
- The young man would never praise her efforts to please him. If she performed some service (like singing) he would withhold his praise, causing her not to feel good enough. She would work harder and harder, but unable to please, she eventually gave up on her natural talents.
- The young girl had a negative first impression of the young man, but decided to ignore those impressions because so many other people seemed to think so highly of him within their church community.
- Her family also had a negative impression of him, but were afraid to voice it because the hearts of the young people had become connected prior to the courtship process.
For our home, marriage is still far off (did I mention far, far off- smile) but my thoughts on the topic seem to be coming into greater focus.
Praying for equally matched young people who will truly work side by side effectively for the kingdom of Christ.
We have some excited girls over here! 15 days and counting until we leave for Texas and the Christian Worldview Film Festival! Will you be there? We'd love to meet you!