The “Requirement” of Marriage

That title may puzzle you or even make you wonder what I’m talking about. In college I committed my life to the service of God however he led me and it was from the beginning through various Southern Baptist ministries, starting as a Youth Minister. My three churches as a youth minister had dozens of people trying to be “matchmakers” and all the pastors telling me how important it was that I get married and set the example for the youth I was leading, though I enjoyed the single life and the freedom to do some youth activities that would be more difficult married, I was constantly reminded of the importance of me “finding a mate” and living a “normal married life,” so much so that it became one of my goals in life, but I was not making much progress. And by the way, even after I left a local church position to work in the denomination I was again told that I must get married to be a Christian leader – single people are not “normal” in Southern Baptist Life.

So when I returned from Miami to Dallas I tried harder to date more as the youth minister at Hillcrest Baptist Church. And one of the “more fun” girls I dated was Ginger Hearn, the daughter of one of the very best volunteer youth workers in the church, though Ginger was then attending FBC Dallas with a larger singles program. We dated off and on during much of the two years at Hillcrest and then I’m off to Memphis as a national consultant for Royal Ambassadors with a new job of traveling nation-wide by air leading conferences for church RA Leaders and other RA-related activities. I forgot about Ginger and the marriage goal with the excitement of traveling as my job! 🙂 But almost immediately I was pressured as the only single guy on staff to find a mate. Whew! What happened to serving God?

I was happy as a bachelor and with my work that I could do well as a single, thus found this new “requirement” of being married a difficult challenge, but I’m up to all challenges and in less than a year I tackled the challenge with fervor, dating several girls in Memphis that just did not “click” with me. And I began rationalizing the advantages of getting married from managing my sexual desires to my love of children and wanting a family – it must be what God wants . . .

Finally on that first New Year’s Eve in Memphis I on my knees at a church “Watch Night Service” I prayed that God would show me what to do and who I should marry as my New Years Resolution/Prayer Request. (And by the way, God never told me I had to be married and I still remembered Paul’s challenge to stay single, but not for Southern Baptist Ministry it seemed.) So . . . in that New Year’s Eve prayer, I thought it was God that brought Ginger to my mind as more fun and more desirable than what I was finding in Memphis. So in January I called Ginger and gave her a date I was passing through Dallas on a trip and asked if I could stop over for a day or two and get reacquainted. 🙂 Thus on to the next chapter . . . Dating & Courting Ginger . . .