If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone bring up the financial situation of a young couple seeking to marry, I might actually have enough money to meet their standards. The lie that couples should be financially comfortable (with college degrees, a house, and retirement plans in place) before going to the altar has spread like wildfire throughout our culture.
Well-meaning Christians misinterpret passages about a man being able to provide for his household, twisting it so that he should provide a standard of living far higher than what I believe God intended. If we held people everywhere to the same standard, the majority of the world’s population would suddenly become ineligible for marriage.
For whatever reason, we have replaced “provision” with “riches” and acted as though being poor is one of the seven deadly sins. Spoiler alert: it’s not. So far as I can tell, if you have somewhere to live, food to eat, are able to make ends meet, and have the blessing of your parents, you aren’t sinning by getting married at a young age. By the way, “young” is a very subjective term.
In Trey and I’s case, we married at 20 and 23, midway through my junior year of college and just after he graduated with his first bachelor’s degree and began his second.
I can’t fully express how richly the Lord has blessed and provided for us, meeting our every need since we married six months ago*. But alas, I will do my best.
God has provided for us in such a way that we have not yet paid a single bill of rent and as of May we no longer have to pay a utility bill. And no, it’s not because we’re bumming off of our parents. In the original situation, He gave us just enough scholarship to pay for our university-owned apartment and a campus meal plan to share. It was a 600 sq.ft, cinderblock-walled, humid, dark apartment with no dishwasher or laundry machines. Not to mention we could hear our neighbor’s conversations. Yikes. It was by no means luxurious, but it was ours to live in and we were exceedingly grateful for it.
Because it was paid for with scholarship money, we expected to live there until I graduate in May 2019, a total of 18 months. However, we were going to have to pay out of pocket for the summer months. This was causing some stress, as we did not have a steady cash income and were trying to calculate exactly how much we needed to spend on gas, groceries, etc. with no extra room to be especially generous, go on dates, or travel.
Money was going to be tight. We canceled trips and were considering putting off summer school, but we were expectant that God would carry us through, as He had so faithfully done before. Around this time, my husband accepted a better job than his nearly minimum wage job and we were ecstatic! He loved the new office environment and felt nothing short of blessed to have that job.
Within a few weeks of working there and enjoying every minute, he received a phone call with an offer for the summer job of his dreams and we proceeded to literally jump for joy around the living room. At this point, our financial needs were met and we were simply praising God for the incredible opportunity He placed before us. But, the fatherly care became all the more apparent as the ensuing weeks unfolded.
To our shock and boundless joy, we were contacted at the end of April by an elderly couple through a mutual acquaintance with an offer to live in their country cottage in exchange for yard work. They had an extra house situated right next to their’s on their land, but wanted help maintaining the place. We gladly accepted and moved in a month later. It was just in time for us to miss the summer months’ rent for our apartment.** And, it’s beautifully situated in the country and has the coziest log cabin feel.
During the school semester, we shared a campus dining plan that supplied the majority of our food. Now at the cottage, our generous neighbors are constantly sharing every kind of fresh vegetable they can grow, including red potatoes, squash, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Some other dear friends of our’s gifted us the beef from their butchered cow, as they don’t have space for it in their freezer.
I can’t tell you how many meals we have enjoyed this summer that have been fully provided for us by God through various generous people. That’s an important point to note here. While we fully recognize God’s hand in our lives, we also praise Him for the kind-hearted people He placed along our path as vessels for His glory.
By this point it seems to have become a trend: our entire married life has been one long string of God providing for us so intimately, like a father caring for his children.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11 ESV)
Consider the Lord’s Prayer. Through it, Jesus teaches believers to petition God to provide their daily bread. Such vulnerability and reliance upon God is a rarity in our culture of plenty.
It has been so humbling to acknowledge that God, our Creator, has been intimately involved in our care and well-being. We are truly dependent on Him for our livelihood, as He has orchestrated our jobs, home, and daily bread.
If we had listened to the culture and waited for a 401k before getting married, we would have robbed ourselves of the deep-seeded joy we are experiencing now, knowing that our Heavenly Father is caring for the tiniest details of our lives.
*This blog post was originally published on July 9, 2018 on my former blog. We have now been married just over two years. A few adjustments were made for clarity.
** Little did I know at the time I wrote this, when I returned to school in the Fall, my scholarship that had previously paid for our university apartment was unexpectedly cut by 60%. This was a shock to us, but not to God. Months before we knew our need, He had already taken care of things. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!