Monday, July 9, 2012

Help a Younger Sister Out

Before I got married, and shortly after, I was regularly told by older couples to enjoy the happy moments of wedded bless because it won’t last. One couple even told us that after we had been married as long as they had (three years) all the excitement would wane and we would be just another married couple like them, hardly touching, bickering constantly, and doing our own separate things.
I don’t think we were alone. I know a number of other young couples, parents-to-be, and wives who have heard similar pieces of advice from other well-meaning older people. While there is a balance to giving a realistic understanding of marriage for young couples, there is a point where realism turns into fatalism and then we are left wondering why all the young people don’t want to get married anymore.

Marriage is tainted by sin, there is no denying that. But marriage is not bad, boring, and a chore. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. As a younger woman, speaking on behalf of younger women everywhere, I have a simple request to older women who are reading. Can you help us?

We want to believe that marriage is better than the alternative. We want to believe that the day we say “I do” is not the final stamp on the good life. We want to believe that children won’t ruin our bodies, aspirations, marriages, and sex lives. Yes, we want reality. But we want to know that there is at least some hope of going up from here, not down. We want to know that when we read in the Bible that he has a plan for marriage and family and that it means good things in our life now, and that we will enjoy fulfillment in living out our design as women.

The culture tells us that fun relationships, good sex, and dreams only happen for those who are single with no kids. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the church tell us the same thing for those who are young married couples with no kids. A lot of us have heard “enjoy your marriage now before you have kids,” or “someday you won’t like him as much as you do now.”

But I imagine this is hardly what Paul had in mind when he told Titus to have the older women teach the younger women how to love their husbands and children, among other things. Older women have a unique and God-ordained opportunity to teach good things to the next generation, and one of them pertains to their marriage and family. There is a reason Paul tells Titus specifically to have the older women teach these things. Unfortunately, loving my husband and (future) children does not come naturally. I am a sinner. Older women have a unique ability to help younger women in this calling because they have lived it. They have lived through the hardship, sleepless nights, fights, financial struggles, misunderstandings, and lack of feelings. They know what it feels like to have the feelings fade for their husband. They know what it feels like when God works in their marriage and restores it tenfold. They have perspective. And that is what we are desperate to see in the older women around us.

And there is a point to all of this—that the word of God would not be reviled. When older women fail to teach younger women the ways of God the world looks more attractive, and God’s plan for marriages looks like pure boredom. But when older women teach what is good to the younger women in their lives, God is glorified and we are strengthened.

If you are an older woman passing on these truths to the next generation, I praise God for you. We need you, we celebrate you, and we want to be like you someday. We younger women need help to get to the finish line of this journey before us. And we can’t do it without bold, older women teaching us that all this messy stuff is good and worth it, and one day it will come out as gold.


Anonymous said...

I am by no stretch of the imagination old. I'm 35, and I've only been married ten years! I am, however, part of a young church plant where there are many younger women, both single and newly married. I can consider and appreciate this post, since I think I may have sometimes communicated negative things about growing older, marriage, and having kids.

Still, the thought in my head was not to be a killjoy, but to warn them about putting their hope in things like beauty, a suburban home with 2 SUV's in the garage, having a perfect marriage, and kids that turn out just great. God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever. In the end, I know that many of the women that I serve will face (and some already are) hard things: husbands that have had affairs or a porn addiction, being unequally yoked, infertility, sickness, caring for aging parents, financial woes, being a widow early, prolonged singleness, and kids that stray from the faith. Praise God that the Gospel offers so much hope for life in the here and now!

My prayer and my labor, is that they would have a proper view of God, as revealed in the Word. He is sovereign and good, and He is frequently working in their lives in ways that they cannot yet fully see or appreciate. He works all things for our good.(Romans 8:28)

Jesus is worth knowing, worshiping, and obeying... no matter what life throws at you. I know this from personal experience (occasional depression, marital struggles, and money woes), and you can see this in many of the people of Scripture. Among some of them: Abraham, Joseph, Job, Naomi and Ruth, Hannah, and David. So, my prayer is that older women would give younger women a high, exalted view of God, in teaching women the Word and in their own personal obedience to it. I pray that we would teach all women to have Christ as their treasure.

Angel said...

Stopped by from your post at TGC and started reading. I've been married for 17 years and it has been wonderful! We continue to choose to grow together through adversity which makes the calm seasons of our life sweet. Sure, it takes work, but it's been worth it!

I cringe whenever I hear older women with their stinky view on life talking with sweet younger sisters. My heart to lead the women of our church to grow in the knowledge of God is partly fueled by this.

I'm a pastor's wife, too, Courtney. Let me encourage you to keep your focus on Jesus. Have lots and lots of conversation and fun with your husband. And, chose joy and grace through the power of the Spirit in the difficult seasons that may come your way.

Courtney Reissig said...

Thank you both for your faithfulness to encourage younger women in their marriages! It truly is a testimony of his grace and glory! I admire the honesty you bring, as well as the passion you have for the Savior. May many younger women learn from your faithfulness!

HaleeBurch said...

Amen! I have heard this same trash and it is so discouraging. I also frequently have Christian women (or men) discourage/look down upon children, and homemaking etc.