Our son was only seven years old, prepping for his role as a ring-bearer in my brother’s wedding, when he first broached the subject of marriage.
“What happens,” Robbie wanted to know, “if you go to a lot of weddings and you never get picked?”
I wasn’t quite sure what he was asking, so I pressed for details. “Robbie,” I said slowly, “I’m not sure I know what you mean. What do you think happens at a wedding?”
“I think everyone gets dressed up and then the girl chooses the one she wants. So what happens if you never get picked?”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Having already been on a dozen different sports teams by the time he was seven, Robbie saw the whole world through the lens of athletics. To him, a wedding represented one more opportunity to “dress out” and compete for a starting position.
The fact that Robbie was concerned about the perennial bench warmers—and that he might be secretly worried about missing his own chance to “play”—pierced my heart. I found his question both touching and hilarious, and it served as a reminder that it’s never too early to start praying for your child’s marriage partner.
I’ve written about marriage and kids in this space before (click here to read three specific ways we can pray for the person our child will marry, and here for a post about what makes a really good marriage). But the topic is big on my mind this week because Robbie is all grown up now and ready for a ring of his own.
He’s still an athlete and sports still color much of his world, but I imagine that if you asked Robbie about his biggest win, he wouldn’t tell you about any of the stuff that earned trophies or championship rings. He’d introduce you to Mary, the woman he will marry tomorrow.
As I think back on all the prayers I’ve prayed for Robbie’s one-day wife—prayers that spanned twenty-five years—I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness. Mary is an immeasurably more answer to prayer. And what joy it was, when I heard “She said yes!”, to look at this beautiful young woman and think to myself: So it’s you!
It’s never too early (or too late) to pray for your child’s eventual (or current) marriage. It doesn’t matter whether your kids are single or married, four years old or forty, walking closely with Jesus or still finding their way; God hears every one of our cries. And his answers continue to unfold, long after we finish praying.
God’s answers continue to unfold long after we finish praying.
That’s one of the reasons I love praying the Scriptures, joining my voice with generations—future and past—whose desires are shaped by God’s promises. Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s word accomplishes his desires and achieves his purposes; it doesn’t say how or when. But when we bring our requests to God, we can be confident that he treasures them.
He collects them, the Bible says, in golden bowls.
And as I shift the focus of my prayers for Robbie’s marriage and begin to pray not just for him or for her but for them, I am grateful for God’s past faithfulness and for the good things he has in store.
Do I know what their lives will look like? Not at all. But I look forward to watching their story unfold.
Here are a few of the verses I’m praying for Robbie and Mary. They’re excepts from Psalm 145 and (to me, anyway) they represent a lot of what a marriage might hold. Feel free to pick one (or all) of these verses and pray them for your child’s marriage—or for your own. ❤️
Every day—for better and for worse—may they praise you and extol your name. (v. 2)
May they commend your works to their children, telling of your mighty acts, speaking of your glorious splendor, and proclaiming the power of your great deeds. (v. 4-6)
Let them celebrate your abundant goodness. (v. 7)
Be gracious and compassionate toward them; let them experience the riches of your love. (v. 8)
Equip them to trust your promises and remember that you are faithful. (v. 13)
Uphold them when they fall; lift their hearts when they are down. (v. 14)
Open your hand, O Lord, and satisfy their desires. (v. 16)
Be near to them when they call on you; hear their cry and save them. (v. 18-19)
Watch over them as they love you…and may they praise your holy name for ever and ever. (v. 20-21)
P.S. And Mary, if you ever read this post…thank you for “picking” my boy! 🙂