General Relationships

Letter to An Engaged Warrior

MW Editor’s note:  The time eventually comes when many warrior-aged men marry. If he has a mentor, the opportunity arises to speak wisdom into the heart of the engaged man. This is a letter written to a warrior about to be married. 

Dear Warrior.

The day is almost here when you will stand before God and family and friends, face to face with your beautiful bride, gazing into her eyes with anticipation and love. Over the past year or so, as you and I have met, I’ve heard the story of the two of you emerge.  First, a distant liking of each other, Inquisitive. Then, came that first date. You both had a blast, despite the first-time jitters that accompany asking a girl out.  The more time you two spent together, the more you both fell in love. Both of you love Jesus and it’s shown in how you speak to each other, care for each other. 

There have also been some tough moments in your relationship. You came to the conclusion a lot earlier than she did that you wanted to marry. It took her some time to figure things out. That bothered you. I recall many conversations we had about whether she was the right one or not. “How can I be convinced and she not? Am I just not seeing things clearly?”  She had some things to work through that frankly has nothing to do with you, but hindered her fully entering into a relationship with you. But, that has now changed! The Lord used your patience and she worked through some other situations she needed to figure, out so that she could be fully focused, as she says “on us”. 

When you popped the question, you were so excited!  “Will you marry me?”  It’s the question every man longs to ask and yet wanderers what would happen if she says “no”. But, she didn’t! Now, engaged it seems the past few months have been filled with wedding plans: caterers, venues, vows, honeymoon, Her family is very accepting of you. You are obviously loved by them. Your relationship with her dad is good. I’m glad the two of you found some common interests. When you asked her dad for permission to marry her, he hesitated and grinned at the same time. If he hadn’t grinned, you’d be out the door for good!  “Son, if I didn’t approve of you marrying our daughter, you would have known a long time ago!”

And there you have it!  You are now about to become a husband!  With that, I want to offer you some godly advice I wish someone would have given me when I was about to marry. 

Leaving and Cleaving

In Genesis 2, God tells us that a man is to leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and become one flesh.  I know, guys like you, and like I was when I was about to marry, love that verse for the sex aspect. Believe me when I say that I hear you loud and clear that you want to jump in bed with her and enjoy sexual intimacy!  I get it!  And, so does God. More on that later, but let me focus first on the leaving part. After high school, you made moves to live on your own. An apartment at first, then renting a house.  All good moves in terms of leaving the home you grew up in. You have great parents, but one thing I will continue to advise you regarding is leaving your parents, relationally, especially your mom. Don’t conclude I’m saying to cut all ties. No! You want healthy relationships with them, especially in years to come when you have kids. But, you can’t be running back to momma when things are tough. When life gets rough, it’s now you and your new bride to work together. Sure, ask for your folk’s advice, but don’t do things just because they said to. If there is one thing I made a mistake in our early years of marriage, it was in not seeing my wife and me as our own home; our own family, making our own decisions. Both of you should be leaving your folks well. With respect and with honor.

Sex

OK! This is what you’ve been waiting for!  One of the things I appreciate about our mentoring/warrior relationship is the open/honest conversations we can have about healthy male identity and sexuality; the way God designed it, not the way the world looks at it.   Let’s be honest. Your adolescent years, and into your early 20s, were filled with porn forrays that ate at your soul. Remember all those conversations we had? Those 24-hour rules and pre-emptive strike texts when you fell or were tempted. At the core of your misuse of your sexuality was a misunderstanding of the core of who God is shaping you into as a man. All that stress and confusion of the young man you were becoming led you to take it out on yourself through porn and masturbation. It also impacted how you thought of dating. Let’s be honest, those early months of dating were filled with too much physical attraction. Too much sexual arousal. True, like you, I’m glad you didn’t have intercourse before marriage, but you two explored too much of each other’s bodies, which frankly is to be discovered after you say “I do”.

Thank God for grace and restoration. I’m glad you two got to a point of repentance and asked for godly accountability in your relationship. Sure, it’s awkward to let someone know how you are treating each other physically, but I’m sure glad you took the courage to step up to the plate and be vulnerable.  Here’s what I’ve noticed about you in the past months of dating and now engagement. You are far more confident of the man you are becoming. You have godly confidence and you see the value of loving your new bride to be with the love of Jesus. You also see the value of living by the power of the Holy Spirit, giving your body as a place where He is glorified. 

That doesn’t negate your sexual urges. They are probably more intense now than ever! All I can say is that one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control. Not instant gratification. Your day is coming, very soon!  When you two finally settle in at the hotel after the wedding, give yourselves time to rest and sleep. You two will be exhausted from the fun day.  Sure, it is ok to unveil your naked bodies to each other. A woman wants to know her body is your delight. All of it, head to toe, and all parts in between. This is what we talked about in the Song of Solomon. God smiles on a young married couple who are tender towards each other. And, as we’ve talked about before, intercourse is far more than you entering her physically. It’s about two souls becoming one. Not two sucking the life out of the other, but two of you become one in heart and soul, so you offer each other each other. Go back and read 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. That’s another one of those things I wish someone would have shown me. 

Be tender, not an animal. Learn to hear her heart long before you share bodies. 

Dude, I’m so incredibly happy for the two of you!  I’m going to be at your wedding with the biggest smile and joy in my soul knowing that here is a young man entering into a loving relationship with a beautiful woman who both love Jesus. 

Enjoy your honeymoon!

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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