When you’re young, it’s okay to have a simplified vision of marriage.
Just as a Christian child will not have the same understanding of Christianity as an adult should, a young Christian spouse is not going to be able to have a more mature understanding of what love really means in marriage.
The problem arises when the young grow older but their maturity in love stays the same. It would not be appropriate to explain all the details of sex to a child. They may need a general understanding, but to give them all the details they will need to know once they are married would not be fair to them in their childhood. But could you imagine if on their wedding night, all the information they had about sex was that of ten-year-old kid? “But I thought babies came out of mommies stomach?” is an appropriate assumption for a child but a disastrous one for an adult. Likewise, as we grow older, our understanding of God and love must grow too. To walk through life with a child’s understanding of love and marriage is disastrous.
It may be shocking to realize that even mature Christians sin and are in need every day often of God’s forgiveness, but if a young adult refuses to become a grown adult in their walk with God, clinging to fantasies of being a perfect obedient Christian who never fails, great shame will fill their heart. Likewise, if we refuse to mature in our understanding of what love looks like in a mature marriage, refusing to believe that even good spouses hurt one another and thus are in need of sacrificial grace, we will resent each other and turn into a couple we never wanted to be.
An engagement ring is bought before the woman ever commits to the marriage. It is to be a costly gift as the man seeks to give a token of the type of lavish love he is promising to give throughout their life. This pre-marriage gift is to show her what type of love she can expect from him within the marriage.
Our engagement ring from God was the cross of Christ. It was a costly gift bought to express his undying love for us before we ever committed to the marriage. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. As God comes searching for us, he points our attention to the cross so we can see this pre-marriage gift as a guarantee of the type of love he will give us throughout the marriage.
To a young man or woman, forgiveness may be seen as a necessity, but they have yet to see its essentialness to romantic love. But to an old saint still in love with God, or an old couple still in love with each other, they will tell you with deep sincerity in their eyes how romantic forgiveness really is.
As an old woman with wrinkles on her face can look down at the costly engagement ring purchased before she ever said yes, now with decades of examples of how her faithful husband continued on with the lavish love expressed in the promise of the engagement ring, so too can the mature Christian look at the cross of Christ, given before we ever said yes to God, and look back over the decades of God’s faithfulness and say, “He loved me with forgiveness before I said “I do,” and he’s never stopped since. And this has been what’s kept us together all these years.”