For eleven of our fifteen years of marriage, Jonathan and I worked in some capacity with teens, and in that time there were a few things that we said a lot. Probably the most common one was, “Where do you think you’re going?” but a very close second was “What’s the point in dating in high school? It’s not like any of you are dating the person you’re eventually going to marry, and if that’s true, then you’re not preparing yourself for marriage, you’re preparing yourself for divorce.”
Every time we said it we were greeted with jeers and derision from couples who swore up and down that they were going to prove us wrong. Very often the voices telling us we were wrong had been claiming a year, or six months before that someone else was the love of their life, so the protests did nothing to change our feelings on the matter.
In 2002 a young man with a less than stellar reputation began to come to youth group in pursuit of the Sr. Pastor’s daughter. We really liked Melissa, so we were even less thrilled at this budding romance than at most; even when Ben proved to us that his character exceeded his reputation, we were as skeptical of the relationship’s duration as all the others. Several years after Jonathan left that church we saw Melissa and commented to each other that the relationship was clearly nearing its expected end. By that time we’d grown fond of the two of them, not only individually, but together. Ben had become a believer and was obviously growing in faith and in knowledge of the Lord. Melissa was blossoming into a beautiful, Godly, young woman. Still, we assumed that the odds weren’t in their favor.
We drove across the state of Georgia to attend Ben and Melissa’s wedding.
Ben, the young man we saw as an under achiever with a chip on his shoulder, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Latin, a Master’s in Biochemistry and Molecular Chemistry and has been accepted into an MD/PhD program in Texas. Not to be out done, Melissa graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and French and will be entering medical school along side her new husband. More importantly they both love the Lord and are seeking to glorify Him. Their wedding was Christ centered and it was clear that they will attempt to do the same with their marriage.
They are the rare exception, and I will continue to discourage teens from dating in high school; but when it comes to Ben and Melissa, I have never been happier to be wrong.