For the past few months, Bridget and I have spent a few hours every other Tuesday over coffee with our sweet friends who are preparing for marriage. We are nearing the end of our time together (They informed us tonight, “One month and two days!”). We hate to see it end.
Technically, it’s premarital counseling, but it has the comfortable feel of a casual conversation. We have covered a wide range of topics: the one-flesh relationship, the Christ/Church parable, the nature of the marriage bond, how the fall affected relationships, roles, marriage as sanctification, how to respond when sinned against and more. We’ve drawn from contemporaries (like Andreas Kostenberger and Dave Harvey) and the old dead guys (like Martin Luther and Jeremiah Burroughs.) There is just so much to take in. Someone has said that newlyweds should not be issued “marriage licenses”, but rather “learner’s permits.”
I’m unsure how many couples I’ve done premarital counseling for, but this trip through the material has been particularly enjoyable for me. In part, it’s because this couple has the humble disposition of learners. When we get together, they are fully present. They both ask such insightful questions. The husband-to-be is a copious, diligent notetaker. The bride-to-be is completely engaged in the discussion.
Toward the end of tonight’s session, there was this really honest moment when the prospective groom (no doubt, wearied from addressing invites, registering, picking out shoes and vests and the myriad other banal decisions as the big day nears) set down his pen, leaned back in his chair, glanced at his future wife and said, “I just can’t wait to start learning this together!”
In that moment, we all understood where he was.
The privilege of “learning marriage together” is one of life’s great joys. On our ride home, Bridget commented on how good it is to revisit these topics. It really is. She and I are a year into our third decade of marriage and I can say more than ever, I understand this young man’s heart. May I have the grace to sit under my own teaching. May God give me the same eager, “pen poised”, eyes-riveted enthusiasm about caring for my precious wife that I see in this good man. And may that same zeal mark him throughout his married life. Marriage is too great a privilege not to enjoy!