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Thoughts About Older Children and Their Future Marriages

Filed in Parenting by on February 10, 2014

Older Children and their Future Marriages - Visionary Womanhood

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject lately since my older children are getting, well—older. My oldest is 20 now and talking a lot about marriage. More on that next week. Anyway, they and their friends are starting to survey the landscape and figure out where they fit in this universe. Job? College? Marriage? Children?

The theme of this season of life for them? UNCERTAINTY.

Another theme? WAITING.

And I’m riddled with insecurities and uncertainty too. Parents spend all those years raising them for something. My dream for my children has always been (in this order):

  1. That they would really know God and have an intimate relationship with Him both here on earth and for all eternity.
  2. That they would really love and really trust Jesus.
  3. That they would really experience God’s deep love and involvement in their lives.
  4. That they would find a life partner who also experiences 1, 2, and 3—and that they would mutually share a deep love, appreciation, and commitment to and for one another.
  5. That they would find a life vocation that would not only provide for their needs but would be satisfying and bring glory to God.

I know. I’m asking for the world on a silver platter. But I can ask, right? And believe me, I have asked.

So there’s that. The asking.

And then there’s the talking with them about these dreams. I hope that some of what I’ve shared over the years will “stick” and bear fruit.

There’s a lot of talk in some circles these days about the fact that their older children are having a difficult time finding the spouse part. Since I’m not on the other side of this fence yet, still having 9 unmarried children, I can only share some thoughts from a forward-looking point of view rather than from a “hind-sight is 20/20″ perspective. But I’m never short on thoughts, so I give 10 of them to you, assuming you are interested or you wouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Our attitude toward marriage will affect our children’s attitude. This doesn’t mean that if we have a rock-star, perfectly healthy attitude to go along with our amazing marriages that our children absolutely WILL follow in our footsteps. Everyone is a sinner with choices to make, and unfortunately, most of us make some pretty bad ones throughout the course of our lives. Many of those bad choices are made when we are young and stupid. Our kids will very likely make some choices that make us cringe. God has a journey for them just as He has one for us.
  2. Even if our own marriages struggle, God can redeem the marriages of our children. He does that kind of stuff all the time, so it never hurts to ask Him if He’ll do that for our children.
  3. If we cloister ourselves away from people, our children won’t meet people. If our children don’t meet people, they won’t meet a future spouse for the simple reason that future spouses are people. God doesn’t always send a prince or princess up to our doorsteps inquiring about one of our kids. Can God do that? Of course. God can do anything. Does He do that? Not very often. Too many families are finding this out the hard way. God doesn’t have to do things the way we want Him to.
  4. Ergo—you may want to consider living somewhere where the young adults in your family can build relationships with other families and young adults. Find a church that preaches and worships in a way that resonates with you and your family—AND that has a number of young people. If there are no young people, why not prayerfully consider a different church?
  5. Our lives as parents are all about launching our children. When we made the choice to have them, we signed away our lives until they would be successfully launched. This will be inconvenient at times and will interfere with our own dreams. I dream of living out in the country. We came close last year, and then realized it just wasn’t our time yet. Since then I’ve been so thankful we didn’t. So many things have happened that may not have happened had we moved. I hope one day my dream will come true, but if it doesn’t, I know heaven will hold trees and fields and streams and horses for me to revel in to my heart’s content. With no bugs or poop. I will need to wait.
  6. If we over-communicate that sex or physical touch is sinful, sinful, SINFUL, our daughters may end up being frigid. We should communicate that it is sinful outside of marriage, but we should equally communicate the fact that it is a gift to be enjoyed immensely inside of marriage. I think this is a serious pendulum issue. I don’t have the answers, but it’s something I think about.
  7. Related to point 6: embrace romance. Romance in the right context is precious. Romance is from God. He is the Great Romancer. Romance is the summer of life. The coming of age. The unfolding of the bud to reveal the fullness of beauty. Maybe we should embrace it more, and teach our children to embrace it when it comes to them.
  8. I hate terms that mean different things to different people. When that happens, the terms are no longer helpful.  Are “courting” and “dating” helpful? I wonder.
  9. I dislike rules and regulations that are applied in black and white ways all across the board with wagging tongues and wagging fingers on all sides. Every family is different. Every child is different. Every situation is different. Every opportunity is different. As the years roll by I’ve been learning to hold my tongue and fingers still. I’m still learning.
  10. Related to point 8: the world doesn’t revolve around me and my convictions. It doesn’t revolve around you and yours. It revolves around God and His plans. And I can almost all but guarantee that as soon as you think you have something all figured out and filed in the proper catalog, God will make sure something totally different comes rolling down the pike to broadside you and scatter your notes to the four ends of the earth.

I’ve used up my 10 thoughts. (I have to give myself a limit so I can get some work done around here.) There really is a reason I’ve been thinking of all this stuff lately. But I can’t tell you about that until next week.

About the Contributor

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, and a contributing author of The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking and You Can Do It Too: 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories. You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program. Follow Natalie on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google +. View all posts by Natalie →

Comments (18)

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  1. Bonnie says:

    Amen to this!! We’re in a post-marriage culture. We prepared our 3 children for marriage. Two are married. One is not…a daughter, age 31, who would love to be married. She’s called to marriage and having a family. Where is he???? All we can do at this point is pray hard, ask for God’s specific leading, and trust in Him. She’s never been isolated and we attend a very large church but alas, no eligible men her age.

    • I’ve got a list of older single girls (WONDERFUL women…) I pray for. It is a mystery and a sorrow.

    • tereza crump says:

      I was 29 y.o. when I married my husband. He was 39 y.o. An American who went to Brazil on a mission/ business trip, my sister was his interpreter. The Lord told him to ask her about her sister and told him that she was to be his wife. We met 2 days later, talked for 2 hours. He left. On the first day we talked over the internet for a few hours, the Lord told me he was the husband for me. Five weeks later he came, got my parents’ blessings and we came back to the US. We got married the following weekend. On March 04, we will celebrate 13 years of marriage. It feels a lot longer and at the same time just like yesterday when we met face to face for the first time. :)

      Here is where I am trying to go with this post: I believe the Lord will answer to what you will believe Him for. Over and over Jesus answers to people’s faith, not need. He says: “be done according to your faith.”

      This is a really big stretch for us because we tend to “dream”, wish or ask for little. But I had read lots of stories of how people met and got married. Impossible stories like mine. So I asked the Lord this: “Lord, the day I meet the man that you have chosen to be my husband I want to know without a shadow of doubt. I don’t want to be confused or in doubt. I want my parents’ to give their blessing without holding back and I want to know that I know that I know that this is your will for my life.”

      The Lord had also given me that verse in I Samuel where He says that He sees the heart, not like men see, just contemplating the outside. So I knew that the husband for me would be someone different from what I was usually attracted to. Now all this information came from years of prayer and spending time with the Lord knowing Him and Him revealing my heart to myself. :)

      I was not physically attracted to my husband, but when he left I felt my best friend was leaving. We had an immediate spiritual connection. AFter we talked on the net, the Lord’s presence came into my room and I heard him whisper “this is the husband I have chosen for you.” I sobbed because His goodness and mercies were so immense in that little bitty room. He made His will known to me without a shadow of doubt.

      After a few days talking on the phone, without sharing what the Lord had told us separately, we knew we were meant for one another. WE talked about marriage and he began making arrangements to travel back to Brazil and talk to my parents…. this is a long story… but just want to encourage you to believe. Search your heart to see what you are believing the Lord for. And if you don’t have faith for anything, then read stories, read the Bible and feed your faith.

      God can do anything. :) We got to get Him out of our tiny box.
      tereza crump recently posted…Do you have an IDEAL family?My Profile

  2. Theresa says:

    Can’t wait to read next week’s post :)
    Theresa recently posted…Wednesday’s HodgepodgeMy Profile

  3. Shelly says:

    My oldest is also 20, and he has been talking marriage, too. He has a wonderful girlfriend who loves the Lord, and she comes from a godly family. I love seeing them interact- they’re so sweet to each other, and my son loves her completely. What a wonderful gift!
    Shelly recently posted…Beware of the Pack MentalityMy Profile

  4. Karen says:

    My husband and I have thought about when we first met and were dating and he said that he would never have let one of his daughters marry a guy like him! :) Honestly, I don’t want my son to marry someone like me, from that time period either…we are so very thankful that in the Lord we continue to grow and mature!
    I have two married daughters. Kirsten and Johanna. Kirsten introduced a nice young Christian man from college to Johanna and he decided to chat on-line with her. It was becoming apparent to me that they were building a relationship of the heart. I didn’t interfere, but after praying for her, I asked her if that was what she wanted and she did. They are doing well! He is a great guy with a servants heart that grew up in a very different church than we have been apart of. So that was a hurdle that we had to wrestle with before the Lord. Maybe we wouldn’t have chosen him based on this, but he is perfectly suited to Johanna. Because he’s got a different perspective, he is bringing challenges to her to grow beyond where we were able to take her. This is not something that we usually think about with our children as we are looking ahead to them getting married. They still need to grow, but as an adult.
    Kirsten is also married. After college she moved to another state for a job and while there met a non-Christian young man. The Lord lead her into many conversations with him about the Lord and turned him down 3 times when he asked her to go out with him. We saw how she acted wisely and she even sought out godly counsel about the whole situation. But the Lord was drawing him to Himself…he started studying and digging into Christianity and became a Christian!
    Interestingly, his parents thought he was “playing a role” to get the girl but they were pretty shocked to find that it was real. He challenged them about their own beliefs and continues to do so. Kirsten and he just got married this past year. If we were to choose, we would have tried to find a nice godly man for her, but the interesting thing that has happened is that as he is still learning and growing he is challenging her to think through her faith and really pin it down in a way that she probably wouldn’t have. Growing up in the church we can sometimes take for granted that we “know it all”. I’m very thankful for how the Lord lead my girls to their husbands.
    We need to know that our work is only partial. It is like the “passing of the baton” when they become young adults. We pass it to the Lord though, we give them into His hands and we let them see what deposit of faith has been given to them. They try out their faith while with us, but this is when the roots get strengthened and there is more established. Sorry so long! :)
    Karen recently posted…Reflections…What am I reflecting?My Profile

    • Oh, I’m so glad you shared all of this. It was very interesting to see how God worked (and continues to work) in their lives. Such a good perspective – the whole idea of our work being only partial. I loved reading this…thank you.

  5. Karen says:

    Thanks! I’m sorry that it was so long. :)
    Karen recently posted…Reflections…What am I reflecting?My Profile

  6. Julie T says:

    Wow, I really like this. I’m 26, with a son & baby in the oven, and have been married for almost three years, and I never considered that I married “really young.” As I look around though I see that not many of my friends are married yet, and those that are don’t have kids, even the ones who married quite a few years before me! Some don’t want to get married yet, and others want to very much but our home city is possibly one of the WORST places to meet a spouse (think Sodom & Gomorrah). My parents saw each of their six children married before any of us completed 30 years, and I realize now what an accomplishment that is! Especially as all the in-laws are saved, and from intact families (no divorces!). As I read your article, many things resonated with my parents taught us. They always encouraged traveling too. ;) And I met my hubby in Argentina, so I’m grateful for that! I look forward to you next post, and know that God had an exciting new season up ahead. (:

  7. Julie T says:

    your* next post, and has* … a new season. Ugh, typos, haha.

  8. Gretchen says:

    Thank you for this post Natalie. I’m 25 and still praying to be married and meet that special someone (hopefully soon too)! The church I attend is rather large but there are not a lot of young singles (probably about a handful that I can think of). It’s hard when I do feel called to marriage and motherhood but each day I’m learning to let go and trust that God has it all figured out. For now I’m learning to make Jesus my number one priority while still holding out hope. Thanks for this post Natalie. It encouraged me!
    Gretchen recently posted…A Great Debate!My Profile

  9. tina says:

    Good post, Natalie. I am waiting for your next week’s post. What could it be? Is it what I am thinking? Anyway, Our oldest will be 20 in June. It is hard to think that those years could be just around the bend for us. It seems like just yesterday it was all of us waiting on the Lord, doesn’t it?
    tina recently posted…Gotta Love…My Profile