July 8th 2016 marks one of the best days of my life! I got engaged to Piper Bailey Lewellen. While I could tell you how beautiful her heart is or even how romantic the proposal was, I would rather share how God has helped us both reach this point in our lives. I would also like to share what I look forward to most about marriage and my thoughts on getting married so young (I am 21 and she is 19).
Our love story has just begun, but it has been in the making for two decades.
From an early age Piper and I have both grown up in loving families. The love of her father gave her the template that would help her discern if I was a man that could reciprocate a similar love towards her. In a similar fashion, my mother gave me the template that enabled me to discern if Piper would be a woman able to help sanctify me for the rest of my life. Both of our families helped prepare us for one another.
The thing I look forward to most is seeing how God will use each of us to help sanctify the other.
As a young and in love man, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that is young love. Typically, my love is infused with infatuation. I haven’t had many times where I’ve had to choose love because my feelings have fueled my decisions thus far. The things I look forward to most in marriage are spending countless hours with my best friend (my future wife), serving the church together, waking up next to her, taking 7-9 hour naps together, and building our own family culture and DNA. But the one thing I look forward to most is seeing how God will use each of us to help sanctify the other.
Even though Piper is younger than me in age, she has a maturity about her that far surpasses me in many facets of life. I look up to her. Her appearance is so beautiful. Every time I see her I ask myself “How did I get someone so good looking?” But the real reason I am marrying her is because of her beautiful heart.
Her heart radiates her beauty all the more. I am excited to live with a woman who I can become more like. Kids always say “When I grow up I want to be like (fill in the blank).” When asked why I want to marry Piper, I respond by saying “As I grow up, I want to become more like Piper and develop a heart like hers.” God uses people to sanctify us and there is no other person I want to go through that lifelong process with than my fiancé Piper.
You’re too young!
By the time Piper and I will be married, I will be 22 and she will be 20. Being young has its disadvantages, but it also has its advantages. Piper and I will have the privilege to grow up together. We haven’t already solidified our own ways of living as adults. We are still young and will be able to create our own family DNA that is unique to us.
What I’ve realized is you never reach an age where you are fully ready for marriage. If Piper and I got married in the next 5 or 10 years, there would be issues we run into then. It’s not about being fully ready for marriage; it’s about equipping yourself with the tools necessary to deal with issues as they come.
When two sinners come together to become one issues are bound to arise. Conflict will happen. Repentance and forgiveness need to become a HUGE part of our vocabulary. It’s not about marrying at an age where you avoid the most conflict; it’s about marrying at a time where you have the tools necessary to deal with those conflicts in a healthy way. How will we go about doing this? Community!
Our local church community known as LifePoint has given us an amazing support structure to walk with us in marriage. From objective advice, to invaluable wisdom, to accountability, our local church community has provided us with the love and support that will help guide us in marriage.
Lastly, once people hear that I am engaged, they like to ask how long I have known Piper for. At first, when asked this question I would feel the need to justify proposing to her after 8 months of dating. But what I’ve realized is I don’t need to justify anything. It doesn’t matter that we are young or that we haven’t been dating for more than a year. Why? Because the people who truly know us and love us support our decision to get married. When the community that knows you is behind you, you are prepared for what is in front of you.
Father, I never imagined this day would arrive, but here it is. Help us prepare for marriage in a healthy way as we lean into community, glorify you, and honor one another. Thank you for bringing Piper into my life. She is a woman who loves you more than me and a woman who loves me well because she first loves you. I am beyond thankful that you have blessed me with a woman who will help my love for you and the church grow. Thank you for the community we have with friends, family, and our local church. God, thank you for all you have done thus far and all you will continue you do.