I was asked today why Christians get married so fast. Is it the no sex outside of marriage, thing? Or what?
What I write here is solely my opinion. I can’t really know why other people get married so quickly – We took our time more than others. Partially because we were old, in the Christian world. Well, actually, my husband was old in almost any world – he was 37. That felt ancient at the time. Now that I’m 35, it doesn’t seem so old, although it feels like a huge change in lifestyle is more than my thirty-five year old life could take. I was twenty-six at the time, and I’ll count it before you do – there are eleven years between us. That is a different story.
We went on a date November 2, Casablanca at the FOX theater in Oakland. He said he was going with a group of friends, and when we I got there, there were no friends. He said he asked some people but no one else could come. I believe him, although I think you probably don’t.
For whatever reason, we got to spend some time together but he didn’t ask me out for four months. At that time, after we saw a school play, I told him it was time for us to date. He agreed and told me he wasn’t going to call my dad and tell him that he wanted to marry me. Let’s remember, this is more date 1 1/2 than two. Date 3 1/4 was his mother’s house for an Oscar Party. For some reason that didn’t feel weird at all. He held my hand and kind of petted me a lot. His mom brought out the family albums, and I admit that that made it a tad weird. She said she assumed we had been dating a while, who would bring a new girlfriend to meet his mom? Later she was a tad embarrassed, but I think that is reasonable, and not a big deal. It didn’t scare me off.
So, in our case, it took four months to go from watching a movie without holding hands to I want to marry your daughter. We dated, we had a lot of fun, and a few months later he told me that he was going to go to our Pastor and tell him he wanted to marry me.
He didn’t really check with me. There was no proposal, just marriage talk. I was okay with that for a while, then I got freaked out. If we married quickly, we could have married that summer. We didn’t. In fact we didn’t get married until the next summer, and didn’t officially get engaged until February, and married in July.
I’ve heard from an especially vocal pastor’s wife, many times, that Christians shouldn’t have long engagements. I think it’s one of those things each couple has to decide for themselves, and it’s not really her business anyway. We wanted a five month engagement, and I admit things heated up considerably between us when we were officially engaged. We weren’t having sex, heck, we weren’t even making out. We did a lot of wrestling, though.
I know many couples that met, dated for three months and were engaged three months. There are more than a few that had a new baby before their first anniversary. (Many conceived on their honeymoon. It works for them. I think the idea of “trusting God” comes in the whole thing. They believe they are in God’s will and they want to jump on it, as some miracle of faith will guarantee a happy marriage. I hate the phrase “trusting God.” I love God, He is my father, friend and lover, but the times that I hear that I generally want to scream. “I am not going to observe in the 2nd grade classrooms to pick a teacher because I am going to trust God.” (Passivity is not the same thing as trusting God.) “I don’t have health insurance because that means that I am not trusting God with my health. If you have insurance and get sick it’s because you aren’t trusting God.” The phrase is used to bully and manipulate. Maybe you aren’t ready to do something, even though you feel compelled to. Does that mean you aren’t trusting God? Does anyone have the right to tell you that? I’m thinking no.
There are other reasons, too. My friends were going to get married, but had a very narrow time period when they would because of her visa status. They planned ahead, kept their engagement secret, and were not engaged a super long time. My friends were having a long distance relationship and couldn’t live apart any longer. Others got pregnant and felt compelled to marry right away. I know one couple that met and married within a week. They have six kids and live in relative peace.
So will I marry you? Okay. I guess so. I will. I did. I mean, not right now. I mean. No. Yes. Sigh. Can I have a minute to think it over. Or a day? Or a year?