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 (A forced goal?), 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. It is interesting that they don’t teach how Paul urged Christians not to get married if they can manage it, since you have a stronger ministry if all your time and energy is focused on Christ and your ministry. Though I do see or understand how “managing” the sexual drive could be a problem. Life is complicated!

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, Dorothy Hearn, though Ginger was then attending FBC Dallas with a larger singles program. We dated off and on during much of the two years I was at Hillcrest and then I’m off to Memphis as a national consultant for Royal Ambassadors, 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 to have 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. And if she turned out anything like her mother, she would be a great wife in ministry. So in January I called Ginger and gave her a date when I was passing through Dallas on a trip and asked if I could stop over for the weekend and get reacquainted. 🙂 Thus on to the next chapter . . . Dating & Courting Ginger . . .

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