In regard to the lesson on courtship and marriage that I have been requested to give this afternoon to the young people, I am reminded of a young sister in one of our congregations some years ago, who married an unsaved, worldly young man. Naturally, it was a divided house, because he wanted to go after the ways of the world and wanted her to go with him, which she could not do and please the Lord. She wanted to go after the ways of the Lord, in which he was not at all interested. Consequently, there was a constant tug-of-war between them. After she had borne that conflict—the trials and pressures that are associated with such a condition—for some years, she said very earnestly to Sister Opal, “Oh, why don’t our ministers preach and teach more about this?” She had been advised and counseled about this but did not listen. You won’t either. Do you think that I am sophisticated, egotistical, and naive enough to think you will give much heed to what I say here today? I am not. I know better than that. That is just not the course of things in this day and time.
Children are taught from the time they enter school to “Assert yourself. The world is yours if you can take it.” They grow right up with this idea instilled in them, with a determination to chart their own course, to take their own way, to do their own thing, resenting any restraint or discipline from their parents, teachers, preachers, or anyone else, because they cannot “take the world” unless let alone and given a free hand. This is the doctrine in which they are trained, grow up with, and it is the influence and spirit of this age, but it isn’t working good. We don’t have to take a second look at conditions around us—moral standards and the divorce courts and all of those things—to see that it is not working good. This is true in all the areas of life but more particularly in this special area of courtship and marriage, where good, solid, sound advice, and guidance are needed more than in any other area of life.
My hair is quite gray now and I am not young any more. I began my ministry at the age of 20. In more than 45 years of ministering, and dealing with people, I have had occasion to counsel with several considering marriage. Out of all of them, I can only call to mind now one person who took my counsel after it was given. That was an older woman who was more mature and had been married, raised a family, lost her husband, and was considering a second marriage. The man in this case was a professed Christian, but a sectarian and not a saint in light. I advised her strongly against that and gave her a number of Scriptures to support my advice. She backed right out of it, dropped her plans, and lived the remainder of her life in widowhood. She had the advantage over people in your age group, in that she was more mature in age, thought, experience, and was able to weigh things out better in the light of the advice given her.