When I was single, I wrote a description of the kind of wife I expected to have and the kind of husband I thought I would be. I’m grateful I’ve lost that embarrassing list, but I do recall that many of my expectations centered on three areas: my confidence in instant maturity as a husband, the assumption of a near-perfect sex life and the expectation of non-stop infatuation.
Not long ago, I was at my favorite coffee shop visiting with an acquaintance who is a recently married, self-professing Christian. He has a new baby girl, so I asked how his daughter was doing. He pulled out his iPad to show me a photo of her, and what happened next was one of the most awkward moments of my adult life.
The other day, I was flying out of Memphis when an attractive-looking man and woman behind me struck up a conversation that I couldn’t help but hear. At first, they talked about where they were from, their work, and politics. But then things got more personal.
I was the senior class president of Petal High School in 1997, and one of my duties was to make a trip to the middle school to talk about sexual abstinence with the eighth graders.
When I was single, I assumed engagement would be one of the easiest and most blissful parts of my relationship with my future spouse. But the day after I asked my fiancée, Raquel, if she would marry me, I discovered how wrong I was.
When I recently wrote an article on Boundless about healing from the trauma of sexual abuse, I expected a reaction on social media. What surprised me were the private messages from adults who, for years, had dark memories of sexual abuse locked inside.
According to a recent study by the Barna group, at least 70 percent of single, self-identified Christian men view pornography on a monthly basis. Many Christian women probably look at this statistic and fear being stuck with a husband who’s more aroused by his smartphone than her. But I’m more worried many of these men will never get married at all.
Back in 2008, I followed the advice of a dear friend and interviewed a few people about the impact my life had on them. The interview questions were designed to illicit mostly negative responses, and boy, did they ever.
When I was 16 years old, a middle-aged guy from my church gave me advice on choosing a woman to marry. According to that man, the most important consideration was the following: “Whatever you do, Josh, make sure you marry a virgin.”
I thought Anna and Don Walker* had the kind of marriage I wanted – maybe they did at the time. That was 15 years ago, when I was in college. Back then, Anna and Don were the kind of couple you never dreamed would divorce. They were steady, salt-of-the-earth folks who effortlessly served others and gave the impression that they really liked each other.