John Luke and I just celebrated two years of marriage which is still so crazy to me! In some ways it feels like our wedding was just last week, but at the same time it’s hard to remember life before we were married.
Ever since we got married as young 19 year olds, (and even ever since we got engaged for some of them) I’ve been getting questions like this:
‘How’d you know he was “the one”?’
“What’s it like getting married young?
“Why would you want to throw your life away that early?” (yeah, for real was asked this a ton)
and on and on and on
So here’s what it’s been like for me to get married young:
(if you’re going to start reading this, please read to the end)
1. When people ask me about “the one.”
I really don’t know what that means. I mean, I do, but I don’t remember thinking a lot around that term. If you’ve kept up with me for a while, or really at all, you’ve probably heard me use the term “God’s best.” For me it just means looking, listening, and waiting on God for what He has for me. I knew from the Bible that God wanted me to be equally yoked, which means He wanted me to be with someone who was on the same page as me spiritually. The man is the spiritual leader in a marriage, so I knew I couldn’t be the one pulling him along spiritually, even in just a dating relationship. So I was just waiting on a guy that was head-over-heels in love with the Lord. But when I say “waiting” I wasn’t just sitting around doing nothing expecting for the right guy to come in and sweep me off my feet. I was pursuing the Lord. To this day, that period of time with the Lord when I was single was one of the sweetest seasons, even if it was also really hard. He came in when I was wanting to be loved by a boy, and showed me how much He loved me and cared for me. I learned a lot about trusting God then and became very content in Him. Looking back it seems like when I truly became content in Him was when John Luke came into the picture. When John Luke showed up his love for God was undeniable. It wasn’t just something he talked about, it was something he lived out. Some boys know what Christian girls want them to say, but you just have to see if their actions are lining up. Not just with how they treat you, but with how they treat others, especially in hard situations. I saw John Luke baptizing people, loving his friends, and picking strangers up on the side of the road to give them a ride. And he always had a genuine smile on his face.
I think it’s easy to get caught up in the term “the one”, but maybe think of it like this instead:
Our sole purpose on earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Psalm 86:9).
That’s our goal in all aspects of life, including marriage. Then you can ask yourself, “With this person am I able to glorify God more? Will our relationship be honoring to God? Can I serve God better with this person or are they going to hinder my service to God?” And then be real with yourself and real with God.
But after you say “I do” that person is “the one!”
2. When people said, “You think you’re grown up enough to get married, but you’re only 19!”
Ummm who said we think we’re grown up? Haha, we didn’t claim at 19 to be grown up and we also didn’t claim to know all the answers. We just knew that we loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We knew we had some growing up to do, and it has been SO fun getting to grow up together. We love it. It’s awesome getting to learn together and experience the world together.
3. What did your parents say?
Both sets of our parents were all for it!
John Luke’s parents got married young as well, and my parents got married at 32 and 39. My parents, having gotten married later in life, say they wish they would have met earlier and gotten married a lot younger. Of course theres challenges either way you look at it, but I think when you are older, you face the challenge of merging two different lives that have had time to set their own ways of doing things and even own ways of thinking. When you’re young and just starting out in the world you are able to grow together and form your lives together.
I’m really glad we had all of our parents’ s support, but if they had had any reservations we would have heard them out. Parents want whats best for you and sometimes they can see things that you can’t see when you’re blinded by love. Definitely listen to what they have to say.
4. Has it been hard being married in college?
I went to college for one quarter before getting engaged, but other than that, neither of us really know any different than being married in college haha. Marriage is work for sure. I love, love, love being married to John Luke, but I also don’t want this post to make it out that marriage fixes all your problems. You’re learning a lot about yourself, so it actually brings to the surface a lot of your own problems. I had a friend describe marriage like this “It’s like looking in this big, ugly mirror, where you are seeing yourself for how you really are for the first time, but you have someone else who sees you too and loves you through it.” Marriage is refining. I found a lot of stuff out about myself that first year, and honestly still am. I see my selfishness and I see my pride. It’s hard to find these things out about yourself, but its necessary, because once you recognize it you can work on it. So in that sense, it’s hard to realize all of this while going to school, but you’ve got to realize it at some point and if it’s not during school it’s during work. Like John Luke says, “Theres never a perfect time to get married, theres always going to be something going on, you just have to decide when you want to do it then figure it out.” But moving away for school was the best decision. Because everyone knew us as “John Luke and Mary Kate”, there weren’t John Luke’s friends and Mary Kate’s friends, they were our friends. We weren’t having to merge friend groups or split time between friends, we kind of just have the same friends! Moving away for school also made us dependent on each other. If we got in a fight we couldn’t go running back to our parents, because they were 14 hours away. And we couldn’t run to friends because we didn’t have any haha. Those first few months we really just had each other, which I am so grateful for even if at times it was extremely hard. Obviously we are not living the typical dorm life. We are off-campus in our own house, but it’s been cool to be the couple with a home- we’ve got people coming in and out all the time who are able to get off of campus for a while and be in a home. We may have sacrificed the typical college experience, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
5. “Why would you want to throw your life away so young?”
This one just makes me laugh! But also is really sad at the same time. I hate it that marriage has that stigma attached to it. When we were engaged people would give these little snide comments about my life being over and I was just like “are you kidding me?!” These two years have been the best of my life! We have gotten to travel all over the world and also have gotten to have our own little adventures. We don’t just keep to ourselves either. I think thats an easy thing to do. It’s important to have time together but we also love to hang out with friends with and without each other. I’ve had friends tell me we’ve changed how they look at marriage. My own sister said this morning, “Y’all just make marriage look so fun!” John Luke said his mom said one time, “the best thing you can do for a parent is to love their child.” I’ve never forgotten this and I think of it a lot of the time in relation to God. I think God loves to see His children loving each other well and enjoying each other! That’s one way we can honor Him! Marriage should be fun. It’s like a sleepover every night with your best friend!
6. How do you grow spiritually together?
This is where the triangle comes into play. There’s a good chance you’ve heard me talk about this before as well.
But I picture a triangle. 3 points. God at the top. John Luke at one of the bottom points and me at the other.
If we are both seeking God and walking in step with His Spirit, we can’t help but get closer to one another. We love to talk about spiritual things and ideas and things we’ve read from the Bible and heard from sermons and pray together, but I have my relationship with God and John Luke has his relationship with God. The best thing that we can do for each other is grow closer to God. We each have the Holy Spirit in us and when we are in communion with Him things like “affection for others, exuberance about life, compassion, loyal commitments, etc. (Gal. 5:25 the MSG.)” will appear in our lives and our marriage will benefit from it.
7. Marriage advice.
Forgive each other and learn to laugh. Our goal is to never go to sleep angry. Take the time to talk things out and don’t let anything start to drive a wedge between you. Any little thing over time can turn into a big thing. Take care of the little things and I think the big things will take care of themselves. Also, LAUGH at yourselves. Don’t take yourself to seriously. You are going to mess up. I remember one week we had thing after thing going wrong. From flooding a rental kitchen with dishwasher bubbles to me having a car accident. Not saying a car accident is something to laugh about, but we just couldn’t allow ourselves to dwell on the negative. When you’ve got something going wrong, look at all the things you’ve got going right! Just laugh at yourself and each other.
8. Love well.
A lot of the time our culture makes love sound like a feeling. There is some sort of an attraction in love for sure, but there will be times when you don’t like that person very much. I was dealing with a lot our first year of marriage and I was NOT a very likable person. John Luke probably didn’t feel like loving me a lot of the time, but he showed his love in action. Love is an action. It’s being patient with your spouse. It’s being kind with your spouse. It’s pushing through with your spouse. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Be intentional with each other!
9. Accept Advice from Older Couples
Just because we got married didn’t mean we all of a sudden knew what we were doing. But praise God we had so many awesome marriages around us to look at. We did marriage counseling with my preacher and another incredible older couple we look up to and learned SO much. Their wisdom has kept us from learning things the hard way. Even after we got married we would talk with John Luke’s aunt and uncle when we needed help with something we were dealing with. I’ve learned the importance of remembering and hanging onto the little nuggets of wisdom my mom and John Luke’s mom have said or even just something I’ve watched them live out. We’re never too old to stop learning and stop growing.
This was a long post and I could probably go on and on, but I’ll leave you with this:
10. Other than saying yes to Jesus, saying yes to John Luke was the best “yes” of my life. Being married to him has been the GREATEST adventure.