We often heard when we were dating, ‘Oh just wait till you get married.’ As if when you get married, then all the romance is obliterated and shot to pieces. When we got engaged, we heard the same thing. Again, as if walking down the aisle was more less a walk toward the death of romance. What a lie.
And then we heard in the first few years of our marriage, oh just wait. On our honeymoon, we went to this dinner at the resort and sat at a table with 4 older women from New York. And they just thought we were so ‘cute’ (and I’d agree, my wife was…me…well, I married up), and one theme of their words to us was the ‘Oh just wait.’ As if the goal of marriage was to simply tolerate your spouse for a lifetime. Boy, that sounds like fun.
But the ‘Oh just wait’ comments are everywhere, not just in marriage.
What about in parenting…
- Oh just wait till they turn 2, as if they are automatically terrible.
- Oh just wait till they become a teenager, as if the relationship then has to be dominated by strife and conflict.
- Oh just wait till they leave your house, and you don’t know what to do with yourselves, as if the focus of a marriage is to be on your kids.
What about at work…
- Oh just wait till you’ve been here a few years, as if your work has to be reduced to simply showing up to get a paycheck.
What about when you become a Christ follower and you hear from your unsaved friends…
- Oh just wait till you grow tired of trying that religion thing out, as if following Christ is primarily about rules that you’re keeping, rather than a God who is keeping you by His grace and love.
When Heather and I heard the ‘oh just wait’ whether as a couple or as parents, it frankly, fueled this fire in us that wanted to reject that idea of pessimism. Because all of those ‘Oh just wait’ comments were rooted not in hope, but in this cynical, the-bucket-is-leaking, it-is-all-going-downhill perspective.
But God’s people should be a people of hope. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we have a living hope in Him. We serve a God who says that through Him, all things are possible. We worship a God who can’t be contained by time or space. We live for a God who says He can make beauty from ashes, and gladness where there is mourning. For Christ followers, we must be marked by an attitude and perspective of hope!
Does that mean we pretend that everything is always sunshine and rainbows? No. We live in a fallen world. If you are in Christ, it doesn’t mean that you’re free from all sin. You and I still have pride that lurks in the corners of our hearts and lives. Marriage is not always easy. Over the course of your marriage, you’re going to sin against each other. Parenting can be exhausting physically and emotionally. Toddlers can be demanding and self-centered little brutes (but still so cute and peaceful as they sleep). Teenagers will fight against authority as they transition to living on their own. It is not always easy to remember that our work is ultimately worship to the Lord. In your walk with the Lord, we’ll be tempted to pursue lesser things, rather than our God.
But don’t listen to the ‘oh just wait’ comments. Don’t take those to heart and allow them to speak some sort of identity over your perspective or future.
Heather and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage this June. I am more in love with her than I ever have before. And you know what else? Over the course of our marriage, we have sinned against one another in ways that we never imagined we would’ve when we walked down the aisle. But in each of those moments, the Lord was so gracious to us and the Spirit so at work, that those difficulties led to greater intimacy and love.
Because we serve and worship a God who can make streams of living water through deserts. A God who is making all things new through His Son.
We have two teenagers. It is not always easy. They don’t always rise up from their beds in the morning and call their parents blessed. But frankly, Heather and are really enjoying this season as parents, helping our children own their faith and prepare them for whatever is next. We are not parenting with a view as if the other shoe might drop at any moment, and the rest of the teen years will stink. We’re not blind to the challenges, but we’re approaching our role of parents with joy because of the great God that we serve.
So Christ follower, be encouraged. If you hear ‘oh just wait,’ take that as encouragement to your heart to resist the pull to just settle into whatever rut and pattern that culture deems normal. And if you find yourself already there, in a rut full of mud and muck. Take God’s Word for the rut doesn’t have to be the end of the story. We serve the one true God who is infinite in His power, mercy, and grace.
A lifelong, husband and wife, marriage does not have to be joyless, sexless, romance-less, love-less, or tender-less. Guess what? Your affection for and friendship with one another with one another can grow. Will it be easy? No. But with a mutual surrender to the Lord, it is possible. With a prayer that says, Lord change me first, it is possible.
Don’t settle to live life in the ruts of culture and our sin nature. Fight that pull and temptation. As Christ followers, our lives are to reflect the living and unchanging hope we have in Jesus. That leads us to be light, and be salt, and be a testimony to the world, where our lives ultimately reflect the God who we worship and are saved by. The God of all hope.
Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.