Married at Nineteen

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”- Mark 10:9

Honoring God and following Him brings pleasure and sometimes pain, love and sometimes loneliness, clarity and sometimes anxiety. In my walk with the Lord, I have felt all of the “high” emotions as well as a multitude of “low” emotions. The words above resonate very true with me today and forever. Marriage is one of the greatest and most challenging adventures a husband and wife can enjoy together. These are the things I have learned in a little over six months of marriage. I am a rookie at this. We all are at some point or another. Over the past six months I have experienced feelings, emotions, and love like I never thought possible. I have also dealt with sacrifice, loss, pain, and sadness. Through all of the great times and the not-so-great times I know that God has been by our side and guided us along the path thus far.

Marriage has been on my mind ever since I was a child. Both my mother and father were married once before they came together and married for their second time. I was the product of that marriage and grew up as an only child. At this moment in my life, I did not have a relationship with Christ. Health issues, lack of faith, betrayal, and pain started dragging my parents further and further from one another. I was the last bit of glue holding them together and unfortunately the glue could no longer hold. I will always remember going to the grocery store with a cart full of groceries and having my parents’ card declined. My dad’s face turning red and my mom’s disbelief will always be engrained into my memories. We left the store and drove to the bank and came to find out that my father had gambled away all of our life savings and we were broke. I did not realize that this day would be the turning point in how I viewed marriage and life. A few days passed and I was certain that I no longer was holding them together and that divorce was the inevitable. Becoming homeless, court appearances, nearly dying from an eating disorder and more were what composed my life months following the divorce. My mind was set that I would never, and I mean never, get married. Why would I want to put myself through what I experienced firsthand between my mother and father? But as they say in movies, “everything changes when you meet the one.”

My wife and I met in high school. My wife was a Christian and I was not. I did not believe in God, nor did I trust anyone. I had to grow up at an early age and did not believe that there was a God who loved me. As my wife and I grew together in our relationship, we began to feel the feelings of love, passion, occasional lust, and the desire to spend eternity with one another. It was challenging because my wife had a relationship with the Lord and I did not. These challenges came up when we listened to music, watched movies or how we approached our boundaries in our relationship. God worked in our relationship more than I could have every imagined and I committed myself to following Him. I was baptized and now have a relationship with God. I trust God to provide and protect as I walk “the walk” as a Christian.  This by all means was a long and treacherous journey but I would not change it for the world.

On March 27, 2014 I asked my then fiancée to marry me and spend eternity together as husband and wife. We were both only eighteen years old. Compared to most of our friends, we were the odd couple out. The majority of our high school counterparts were in college doing quite the opposite of getting married. We originally planned the wedding for July of 2015, but, as temptation and our desire to get married grew, we moved the date up to September 20, 2014. This gave us roughly six months to plan the wedding and figure out all of the details for school, finances, and work. When my wife and I announced that were getting married and would only be nineteen years old, the response was shocking. Out of a group of ten people I told, here were the responses. Two of the ten were happy for us and were excited for the wedding. Six out of the remaining eight told us that we need to wait. The word “wait” was told to my wife and me so many times. But, why? Was it their insecurities in their own marriage? Did they not want us to have regret? I am sure they requested that we wait for multiple reasons but what gives them the right to dictate our lives. At times we contemplated moving it back to July but after prayer and multiple marriage counseling sessions, we both felt ready to become a chord of three strands and get married in September. The final two people shocked me the most. They said that “if you get married this young, you will surely get divorced, have regret and be making the biggest mistake of your life.” They also claimed that “they would no longer speak to me if I continued down the path of marriage.” This was flabbergasting to me. Since when did getting married mean death?

Flash forward a bit, my wife and I continued to pray and seek what God was pointing us toward. The wedding quickly approached and I was sure in my mind that I was making the right decision. We had a beautiful do-it-yourself ceremony at our church in Rancho Cordova, CA and couldn’t have had a more perfect day. I want to tie back to this verse: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”- Mark 10:9. When in marriage counseling, our pastor mentioned that divorce is a great risk and that the option to get divorced will come up eventually. Coming from my background, I had two parents who had been married and divorced twice. On my wife’s side it was the opposite. No one has ever been divorced. My old self did not see divorce as a sin, but as just a cop-out if things weren’t “working out.” God has transformed my mind, soul, and body and I no longer see divorce as an option regardless of any circumstance.

God created each and every one of us in His image and loves us unconditionally. God is our Creator and Savior and joined my wife and I together. It is his commandment that we shall obey and honor our spouse and let nothing separate us. This verse hits home for me because I always go back to it when I am anxious, worried, or frustrated after a disagreement. It is a great reminder that there is nothing that can break the chord of three strands and the holy union of marriage.

So six months later, here are my thoughts on getting married at nineteen. Getting married at nineteen is not for everyone. Marriage is not something that is to be forced or rushed into. However, marriage is beautiful and quite the opposite of the “death” that many of our peers claim it to be. Marriage is life. Marriage is beauty. Marriage is trust. Marriage is everlasting and unbreakable. There will be struggles and a lot of sacrifice for one another. Love is the key for everything. Love during hard times. Love during great times. If you love your spouse the way Christ loves you, then you have the key to success for any marriage. I have no regrets for getting married so young. I have grown in ways I never thought possible and experienced feeling that I never knew existed. The final key to success is to obey and follow God and put Him above all else.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Erik Feld