I met Duane when I was 16 years old. Barely.
When I was 16 and 11 months, he asked me to marry him.
Well, technically, he asked, "What would you say if I asked you to marry me?"
And I answered, "I would say we were too young."
And then I flew home to Colorado with a ring on my finger.
I'm not really sure what happened.
We got married two months after I turned 18, one month after I graduated from high school, and we have been married for nearly 32 years.
It's a happily ever after story, except for the parts that weren't so happy.
Every marriage has them, and we learned to work through those parts.
I have never regretted saying "I do."
But I used to have dreams, nightmares, really, that I was on my way to France, and for some reason, some reason related to Duane, I couldn't get on the plane.
One time he couldn't find a parking place.
Another time he dropped me off, but I couldn't find him in the airport, and I wanted to say goodbye.
You see, when I got married, I planned on becoming a French teacher.
I wanted to travel in France.
I wanted to write books.
And when I got married, I set aside most of those dreams.
It took me nine years to finish college.
And then I had two children I adored and wanted to spend time with them.
It's been a good life, it's the life I would choose again, but it wasn't the life I dreamed of when I was growing up.
You see, when I said, "I do," life wasn't about "me" anymore, about what "I" wanted, about what would benefit "me."
It was about "us," about what "we" wanted, about what would benefit "us."
And when I got really serious about following Jesus, about serving in ministry, I couldn't just run off and be a missionary, or leave my kids to serve at the church, or be out every single night and not spend time with Duane.
And when Duane got really serious about following Jesus and serving in ministry, I got grumpy when he was busy all the time.
I kind of get Paul's advice about men and women not getting married so that they can freely serve the body of Christ.
You see, Duane and I belong to each other. In order for our marriage to work, to honor God, we serve each other. It's not a sacrifice. It's a joy.
And I get the part where Paul says that we must live understanding the time is short because the world in its present form is passing away.
This part is a little harder though--
"From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something as if it were not their to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them."
As I've read this over and over, I think I am starting to understand.
Sometimes I would rather hang out with Duane than read the Bible and pray.
Sometimes I would rather sit with him and watch TV than spend time hanging out with other people--Christians and non-Christians God has asked me to hang out with.
Similarly, sometimes I'm sad and choose to be sad over being obedient to God's instructions.
Sometimes I am excited about my homework and neglect to study God's word.
Sometimes I am so caught up in me and what I'm doing that I forget what God's doing.
Nothing, nothing, nothing, is more important than Jesus.
Nothing, nothing, nothing is more important than God's mission on earth.
When we choose to follow Jesus, life isn't about Duane and me anymore, about what we want, or about what benefits us.
It has to be about Him, what he wants, about his purposes.
It's not a sacrifice. It's a joy!