When the doorbell rang, Nannygranne was surprised to see Destiny waiting when she opened the door.
“Well, hello Destiny! Did you come to help some more with the Bible class materials for Mrs. Judy?”
“Yes, but I want to talk to you some more about my brother,” she said as she stepped inside and headed for the kitchen table.
“You talked to your brother? Is he okay?” Nannygranne didn’t sense concern in Destiny’s presence, but she seemed ready to get down to business. What could she have on her mind?
“He’s okay, but he told me not to worry about him and Jaycie buying their house. He said they are being careful before they get married and have a lot of thinking to do before they get that serious.” She absently took a drink of the lemonade Nannygranne had served her while she talked. “I wanted to tell him about how God wants them to be happier, but he didn’t listen.” A frustrated frown appearing on her face, she grumbled, “Nobody wants to listen to me, anyway.” Taking a bite of her peanut butter cookie, she chewed angrily.
“I hear what you’re saying, Destiny. Sometimes people don’t listen to me because I’m old. It doesn’t feel fair. But we still get to listen to God and know in our heart of hearts that we know the reasons for what we do.” Nannygranne reached for the art materials. “Let’s do some work and that’ll help us feel better. Doing something for others always helps me feel better while I think.”
“Me, too,” Destiny agreed, pulling a page toward her.
“After we talked before,” Nannygranne said, “I wanted to find out why so many people think it’s better to not get married before living together, even when their families or friends don’t approve.”
Destiny didn’t look up. “My brother says people get divorced when they get married and he wants to not have to get divorced. He said he wants to make sure they can get along first.” Destiny avoided Nannygranne’s eyes, not wanting to see disapproval for her brother.
“That’s one of the things I learned that worries couples. They think that practicing being married will help them have a better marriage. Some want to save money for a wedding or just have more money by just having one house to pay for. I also learned that about 75% of those couples go to churches that don’t teach God’s way about marriage and don’t mind that couples aren’t married. That made me sad.”
Destiny’s eyes widened. “Why don’t all of the churches teach God’s way about marriage?”
This time Nannygranne avoided Destiny’s eyes so she wouldn’t read the intensity in hers. “Destiny, only God knows why, and I don’t think He’s happy about that. He gave us His word so we could learn and teach others how to live well His way. Also, God will ask ‘Why?’ one day. I don’t want to try to give excuses. Jesus said, ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do what I say?” 1
“What else did you learn?”
“Well, I learned that even though couples think those things, they found out that being married made their love stronger, and that not being married didn’t cause them to save more money nor did it make their marriages stronger than people who got married before living together.”2 Nannygranne paused for a moment, then continued, “You know, Destiny, I think we’re talking about two different kinds of love in this situation.” 3
“What do you mean, ‘two different kinds’?”
“Remember last week we talked about God’s love and then about ‘falling in love’? God’s love is a love that keeps on caring no matter what you feel like. Real love doesn’t mean just loving as long as you like the person. Real love means caring and helping someone even when it’s hard for a while.”
“You mean like my Granny cares for my Grandad? She has to help him with everything and sometimes he’s cranky because he doesn’t feel good.”
“That exactly what I mean, Destiny. God cares for and helps every human on this earth every day and some humans hate Him. But if those humans decide to follow His ways and love Him, God will take them home with Him one day. When you love someone with God’s love, you never give up wanting them. That’s what God’s way of marriage is.”
“I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t marry someone you love.”
“Well, honey, sometimes people don’t really trust someone fully, or they’re selfish and want money more. And sadly, a lot of people have never seen God’s love in marriages like you see in your Granny and Grandad. They’ve stopped believing that real love like that is possible. But with God, all things are possible…especially real love.”
“Well, when I get married, I want my boyfriend to love me with real love.”
Nannygranne hugged her and said, “That’s so wise, Destiny. And make sure you love Him with real love, too. When you find that kind of love, you can trust him and marry him and give him all of you for life. And never give away what God has given you for real love only for your husband.”
“Are you talking about THAT again?”
“Yes, I am. Destiny, your body is the greatest gift you can give your husband. It’s also the greatest power you have as a woman to cause someone to respect you. Any boyfriend who wants to make you give him your body for free is stealing some power from you. You are stronger than that and you want a man who admires your strength and respects you. That kind of man will be your partner for life and will help you and your children live well and be God’s people. That’s the best God has given us. I want the very best for you.”
“Thank you, Nannygranne. I just wish my brother would listen.”
“Just pray for your brother and love him. Then trust God to work on your brother’s heart. Be true to God’s ways and maybe someday your brother will learn from you, understand God’s way, and then teach his children. God wants to save your brother and his girlfriend, too.4 Family is a blessing and each person has to make their own choice.” Nannygranne smiled and added, “Destiny, I’m so proud of the choice you’re making.”
She held up her work for inspection. Destiny nodded approval.
“Could I have one more cookie, Nannygranne?”
“Of course. In fact, I’d like you to take the rest of them home and share them with your family. I’ve eaten all I should.”
“Thanks! My brother loves cookies, too.”
1 I Tim 4:3; II Tim 2:15ff; Luke 16:46; Rev 20:12
2 Pew Research Nov 6, 2019 https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2019/11/06/mariage-and-cohabitation-in-the-u-s/
4 John 3:16; II Peter 3:9