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
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.