Writing and releasing a book on marriage is a dangerous thing. I suppose writing a book on anything is dangerous, but the topic of marriage is an especially bold topic to address. As a minister, I have often heard people communicate disapproval for a “younger” pastor sharing wisdom on marriage. What does he know about it anyway?
I definitely don’t understand it all, but I do understand it some. Here’s why I didn’t wait until I turned 99 to write a book on marriage.
As a son, husband, father, pastor, counselor, and friend, I’ve been around marriage and divorce all of my life. The content within the book is not dependent upon my experience or expertise. I have attempted to acknowledge dangerous areas and utilize biblical principles to address them.
Here’s why I think people of all ages need to be speaking clearly and boldly regarding marriage:
- Discipleship isn’t confined to an age. Regardless of your age, you might have something to share with someone. Even if you are young, we each have experiences and wisdom to pass on to someone else. What you think is obvious in marriage might be groundbreaking to another. Share what you got even as you desire to have more!
- The New Testament teaching on marriage was mainly given by single guys. If I were to ask you to point to the most pivotal verses on marriage, most people would turn to Ephesians 5:22-33 which was written by Paul, the never-married apostle. We use 1 Corinthians 13 to speak about marriage (even though it isn’t really a passage on marriage) which was also written by Paul. Jesus’ teaching of oneness in marriage (Matt. 19:1-8) is another reminder of a single man who was teaching boldly on marriage while he had never experienced it. Paul’s wisdom on marriage came from Scripture not his own experience – and that is the wisdom we so desperately need!
- My marriage needs improving now. One of the greatest ways to improve your marriage is to work on it. While I am blessed to be married to the greatest lady in the world, she is married to me which brings significant challenges along with that fact. Spending time studying the Bible regarding the gift of marriage has been such an incredible benefit to my own marriage! I don’t want to wait till the end of my life before I truly wrestle with God’s expectations of marriage.
- Experience isn’t the only wisdom available. While years of marriage should make you better at loving your spouse, sometimes quite the opposite happens. Instead of improving, many people weaken their commitments.
I have heard too often that people can’t instruct others regarding marriage until they have weathered numerous decades of practice, but what that implies is that wisdom only comes through experience.
If experience is the only teacher for marital bliss, then all marriages are doomed to fail.
You can’t be experienced in marriage and a newlywed at the same time! Do you think God would set our marriages up in such a way that we are dependent upon years of experience?
I simply refuse to believe that. God wouldn’t establish marriage to watch it deteriorate. He doesn’t require an elite level of proficiency.
Scripture instructs us for every single good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and I believe that God is including marriage as one of those good works. Within Scripture, God has provided eternal wisdom rather than lessons based on temporal experiences. You can strengthen your marriage right now with the power of God’s Word. God is strong enough to keep you two together – will you partner with him?
Don’t wait around until you have it all figured out before you share the part of what you have figured out.
Marriages are desperate for even the tiniest forms of wisdom available.
What God has joined together, let nothing separate.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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