Thursday, 2 March 2017

Six Points about Getting Married Young

Seeing as we are nearing the six-year anniversary to when Tharin and I started dating, I thought I would write a post that has been on my heart for a while. Six points about getting married young, in honor of the six years I have been growing with Tharin.

I was a month shy of twenty when Tharin and I got married. The funny thing was, my mom and sister both got married at twenty and when I was a younger girl, I had always thought I wanted to follow in their footsteps. But when I reached about seventeen, I decided that it was probably not for me, I wanted more than that.

Here are my two -cents on what it was like to get married so young, anyway.

I was powerfully pursued by God to get married when I did. It was an extremely difficult time for me. My friends were traveling, working towards University degrees, living the lifestyle expected of people our age. I had had plans of my own - of making mistakes, seeing my own share of the world, doing as I pleased for a while. I had been making pretty good money, was mostly single, and loved going out and having a good time.

But, I was powerfully pursued by God at that exact time in my life, so that I could be here, where I am now. I believe and trust that, with no question, now but it took me a long time to get here. You can read the whole story of how I met Tharin here.


1. I was given the grace to trust:

When I was nineteen and engaged, I had a lot of people asking me how I knew I was ready. I even got into a few fights over it. It was really hard, a lot of the time, I am not going to lie. I had not had a lot of life experience, not nearly as much as I would have liked, so the decision to marry Tharin came from a lot of grace.

When I was a teenager, God placed the word trust on my heart, and I pondered and pondered that word for years. It was something I had to really grow in, and when Tharin I were first dating, he would literally have to pray it into me every single night because I was so attacked with doubt. When I look back, I realize this prompting to trust was God preparing me, giving me the tool I would later need.

Now, when I say attacked, I mean that I knew my fear and doubt were Satan's attempts to separate what God had brought together. It is hard to explain the feeling I had, but even amidst all that fear and doubt, I had such faith that God had lead me to Tharin. I knew God wanted me to marry him, and to marry him right away. I think I experienced supernatural help in the way I was given the grace to trust this feeling. Even with how hard Satan was fighting to break us up, I never once actually considered ending the relationship with Tharin.

As I wrote when we were engaged: [This is] a hard decision, but the right one. I so firmly trust that, and that trust has never, ever wavered. It is the iron-clad trust that kept me clinging onto Tharin, even when he was a borderline stranger and I was so terrified of everything I could already see coming. I am not gifted, in fact, my faith lately has been pretty much a raisin. But I know that somewhere along the way, I really was given the grace of trust.

So I guess, when people would ask me how I knew I was ready, I could only anwer: God knows, and it was that grace to trust that propelled us forward.




2. It was God's will:

It was definitely not by my own artifice that I got married when I did, I was not searching for it at all. In fact, when Tharin came along I had just "broken up" with a boy who had really hurt me, and I had told myself it was time to be single for a while.

Something I wrote when we had only been dating two months gives a glimpse into the whirlwind it was: Sometimes I just want to run as far as I can from something I wasn't looking for at all, and it feels so unfair that God never gave me a chance. But then there are the times when it brings me to tears when all I can do is surrender because I am so unworthy to be so loved. Yes, Gods love is deep. It is so vast that I cannot even begin to comprehend. He has a plan for us. A plan that we do not even see the half of. 

I really did have the feeling back then that "God did not give me a chance," and I was actually pretty angry with Him, even partially into the beginning of my marriage. I loved Tharin, I knew we were supposed to be married and I really could not have imagined not loving him and not getting married to him. But I was stubborn, and I did not always see that God was acting out of love and goodness.

After I got over my anger with God, I was resentful about how I had been in the beginning of our relationship. At times, I wished I could have rewritten it all to be that I had been perfectly trusting, and loving, and faithful. But I had not been, and that is actually a significant and sobering part of our history. I think it shows the reality of humanity, and the goodness of God despite my unworthiness.


3. I grew up with Tharin:

I know every marriage requires a certain amount of growth, but getting married so young amplifies this. I wrote a lot, back then, about how I did not feel old enough as I tried on my wedding dress, how strange it felt when I was buying a house with my fiancee while the rest of my friends still lived at home, how it all felt like it might be a dream.

We bought our first house two hours from my parents, and though it may not sound very far, that ended up being a very difficult distance and time of life for me. Being there really forced me to lean on Tharin, to really grow independent of my family and my childhood, essentially, and I am actually really glad that God designed it to be that way. 

Tharin was almost my first real boyfriend, (I say almost because, to be a real boyfriend in my family, you had to ask my dad. Only one other boy actually had this permission, and we only dated for a month.) so I did a lot of my learning about relationships with him. During that period in Drayton Valley when we were freshly newlywed, I know we grew so much in our communication, our understanding of each other, our healthy dependence, and our intimacy, and when I look back on it, I am glad we were isolated as we went through this growth period.

Before our wedding, I worked as a nanny, and I remember talking to the dad about all the negative things I had heard and been told about getting married young. I distinctly remember him saying, "But one of the biggest positives is that you will do most of your growing together. If you spend more of your life single, you grow on your own and develop more selfish habits." I am really grateful to him for imparting this wisdom on me, as I know I held onto that when it seemed there were a lot of negatives being thrown around.


4. It takes serious resolution:

When it seems people are asking you from every direction if you are sure, if you are ready, if there is really nothing else you want to do first, when society seems to frown on those who get married young as foolish underachievers, destined to failure it takes a serious amount of resolution to get married young, anyway.

In fact, the day before I got engaged to Tharin, I got into a fight with a friend of mine about how people need to date for a certain amount of time, and be a certain age before getting married. 

It was really hard for me to hear all of these things, of course, because it was the voice of the doubts I was already experiencing. Something really cool God gave me, were these glaring moments of truth I was able to hold onto when it became really hard to trust. 

One of them was from the Search where we had barely even met yet, he was singing and I was just sitting in the congregation. We locked eyes, and all of this sureness about him (yeah, a stranger. It was so surreal) fell into place. 

The other was also at Search, but when we were dating. It was during Adoration, and I was praying by myself when a friend of ours came to pray over me. She told me, "I feel God telling you to surrender." I was overcome by this extreme fear and sadness that God could be telling me to let go of Tharin, but just as suddenly, I knew it was not true. 

That moment confirmed for me that it would be unthinkable for me to let go of Tharin. I was this mess of sobs, stumbling out of the gym where Adoration was being held when I ran into another friend who saw my ugly crying and before I could speak, Tharin came out from behind a curtain and pulled me into his arms. It was one of the most dramatically consoling and affirming moments of my life. When I asked Tharin why he had come (he was supposed to be in a completely different part of the retreat at that time) he told me God had just told him to go to me.

This moment, especially, was one that I would hold on to, dwell on, when I felt most challenged. It was, for me, a clear affirmation of God's will when the rest of the world, and my own doubt, were tempted to question. By the account of the world, I was too young, but God assured me, time and again, that I was ready in His eyes.



5. It is not for everyone:

Of course, getting married young is not for everyone. God has a specific journey for everyone, and this just happens to be the one He planned out for Tharin and I. It is so amazing to me to think about all the diverse ways He orchestrates our lives to best suit our needs, our stories, our pasts and our futures. 

I would not have thought it was for me if you had asked me at the time, and I think that is often how God's plan appears in our lives. I am glad that He was in control, and not me because it turned out so unspeakably beautiful the way He planned it.

I know God has so much more planned for Tharin and I, and I know this is why I was so powerfully pursued to marry Tharin when I was. I see the work of God in our marriage in so many ways, through our two beautiful children, through the music Tharin and I make together, through the ministry that Tharin began this year. It is so exciting to wonder about what more He has in store for us, for I know, without a doubt, there is still so much more to come. 


6. I would not change it if I could:

Honestly, there came a point where I looked back at who I was in the beginning of my marriage and I knew I had not been ready in many was. I had not been very mature or known very much at all. I had been selfish and not loved Tharin nearly as well as I could have. My relationship with God had been so small, and my homemaking unsure and shaky.

In a way, I wish I could have been more like I am now, but of course, the reason I have grown to be who I am today is because of getting married to Tharin when I did, to the years of being a wife and a homemaker that have shaped me so far.

Like I said before, I have looked back and resented myself for who I was then, but I have learned that this is not how God calls us to live. Who I was is not who I am, but I am glad for the Olivia of the past, immature as she might have been, for all that she learned, for her willingness to trust and to say yes to all that I am today. I would not go back and relive those days, but I am happy that she did.











6 comments:

  1. I loved this. So authentic and honest. Such a cool glimpse into your beautiful life!

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    1. Thank you Alicia! I would love to hear what your thoughts are on getting married young over at your blog!

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    2. Ya I should write one :) Okay I just realized I never see your replies. I need to remember to check the notify me box!

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    3. You paved the way and made getting married young easier for me :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Love you too, Emilie! Thank you for reading!

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