Love your wife and respect your husband. Without this, all our teaching is just clanging pots and pans. Jonathan Edwards spoke often about the difference between intellectually knowing something and having a sensible knowledge of it-like reading about honey in a dictionary versus scooping honey into your mouth. Young people can be taught the roles, but seeing the day to day interchange of love and honor played out in the home through all the ups and downs of life is convincingly sweet knowledge. Our kids know our faults, but they know the roles we teach are good because they have tasted their goodness in our home.
What types of things do you advise that a daughter (and her parents) know about a young man before the relationship “gets serious”?
The main thing is to encourage them to look for the right things in a man and find it before getting serious. And I think that is character, passion and authenticity. What values drive him? What does he treasure in life? What voices does he listen to? What is his goal in life? How does he treat others? This is what I tried to convey in the chapter, “He Displays Integrity, She an Inner Beauty.” Everything else can be adjusted too, skin color, class, education, personality type., etc. But does he display a teachable spirit about God and does he demonstrate a growing edge when it comes to godly character? He might be poor, unsure of himself, not yet a strong leader. But if he demonstrates a sincere heart for integrity, honesty, faithfulness etc, that stem from faith in God, then the rest will grow in due season.
If we were to ask your son, what do you think he would say was the best piece of advice you gave him in how to “do things right” as he pursued the woman who is now his wife?
I asked him and he sent back the following: “When the question of marriage became more of a ‘when?’ rather than a ‘whether or not’ my soon to be wife and I were faced with a decision that seemed obvious to most, but uncomfortable to us. As we were both still in school, (Juniors in college) current social trends (even Christian social trends) dictated that we wait until after graduation, and maybe even after I had found a ‘good’ job. We posed the question to my father and he reminded me of a verse that he had spoken to me many times. ‘It is better to marry than to burn with passion’ (1 Cor. 7:9). Looking back I knew he would say exactly that, but with such a big decision I really needed to hear it again. We were married the summer before our senior year and many people marveled at the difficult undertaking of school full time, work full time, and planning a wedding. But really, we took the easy way out. Avoiding a burning passion over a long period of time and staying focused on Jesus saved us the guilt, pain, and hardship of keeping our relationship in ‘stall mode’ for longer than we could handle.”
Tomorrow we’ll conclude our interview with John Ensor. Be sure to check back!