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Speaking Out: Discerning marriage at 22

By  Speaking Out, Danielle Rivest
  • November 29, 2018

It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I was standing in his dining room, watching him make his family laugh. He was kind to his parents and he was helpful to his sister. Most important, he was the same person to them as he was to me. And I thought to myself, “I’m going to marry him someday.” 

That was 18 days after we started dating. We got engaged this past June.

Before we started dating, Nathan and I were both a bit hesitant. Not only were we both busy with school, we also just got out of other relationships. 

We were still gluing our broken hearts back together when God worked His way into our lives. Truly, human plans are no match for God’s plans. Whether we felt ready or not, we somehow kept finding reasons to see each other. 

Soon enough, we were barreling towards something we both weren’t sure we wanted: a new beginning. In prayer, I asked God to give me guidance, to help me discern His will. The more I prayed, the more I found clarity. Being with Nathan was a good in my life and it would bring me closer to God. 

So, two mere months after we started hanging out, we officially began our relationship. That was nearly three years ago.

St. Paul tells us that “love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful...” (1 Corinthians 13:4). You know how it goes.

As life had its way, and we felt its torture on the tortuous road, I found that Nathan’s name could replace “love” in this passage. What love was, he was. When I made mistakes, he forgave me. When I was stressed, he helped me stay calm. When I was in the hospital, he held my hand all night. When my dad was sick, he prayed. In some of the darkest hours of my life, he brought Christ to me. 

One time in Mass, I was asking God to affirm that this was His will and I began to cry because I felt it. God had led me to the one “whom my soul loves” (Song of Songs 3:4), and he was sitting beside me, deep in prayer.

We, millennials, faithful followers of a carpe diem mentality, are more susceptible to an egotism unlike anything ever seen before. We are smart, but we also make terrible decisions. We are loving, but we often mistake lust for love. We are kind, but we are also cruel in word and act. 

As I walk down the street or through the halls, I can’t help but overhear the same conversations about the hookup and heartbreak culture. But this is not the love that God calls us to. 

Love is like a triangle, with God at the top, and the couple in the bottom corners. If the couple pursues God together, they will grow closer and stronger.

To be engaged at 22 years old is not the end but the start of a beautiful beginning. Nathan and I still get to explore, learn, grow and live. We also just get to do that together and in pursuit of God. I can’t imagine a better way to live out my days.

(Rivest, 22, is a first-year teacher candidate at Western University in London, Ont.)

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