My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, New Birth, and the Gospel


Photo credit: Todd Balsley

by Spencer Harmon


Today is the day of my wedding.  And I am not marrying the girl of my dreams.

If you would have told me when I was a teenager that my wife would have seven tattoos, a history in drugs, alcohol, and attending heavy metal concerts, I would have laughed at you, given you one of my courtship books, and told you to take a hike.  My plans were much different, much more nuanced with careful planning, much more clean-cut, and much more, well, about me.

You see, it wasn’t my dream to marry a girl that was complicated.  I never dreamed that I would sit on a couch with my future wife in pre-marital counseling listening to her cry and tell stories of drunken nights, listing the drugs she used, confessing mistakes made in past relationships.

This isn’t my dream – it’s better.

Many people wouldn’t put Taylor and I together.  In high school, we probably would not have been friends.  She probably would have thought that I was a nice, boring, judgmental Christian kid; I probably would have thought that she was a nice, lost, party-scene girl that guys like me are supposed to stay away from.  People like us, with our backgrounds and histories are not supposed to meet, fall in love, and covenant their lives to each other.

But everything changes when people meet Jesus.  Jesus takes people like rebellious teenage partiers, and goody-two-shoe homeschoolers and puts them together in marriage to put something on display much bigger than their own hand-crafted, perfectly planned love-story.

Right in the middle of the mess of life, Taylor met Jesus, and he planted his flag in her life, and she believed in him and he transformed her.  The Taylor who spent her life living from one pleasure to the next died, and a new person was born.  A new person with new desires, and a new heart that longed to please God, serve people, and treasured Jesus Christ above all other pleasure.

And this is how I see Taylor.  She is completely new, completely transformed, and completely clean.  This is not because she became a part of a helpful program, or because she really “pulled herself together.” It’s because God, in his incredible, infinite kindness, took Taylor’s dark, crimson life, and made her as white as a snow.  He took all of her sins on placed them on his Son, and then gave her Jesus’ righteousness to wear like a perfect white wedding dress.

In reality, Taylor’s story is my story as well.  As Taylor walks towards me today, I will be reminded of how much I do not deserve the precious gift she is to me.  I have spent much of my life singing a self-centered siren song.  Nothing about my life cries for blessings; it calls for curses forever.  Yet, God has dressed me in white, put my sin upon his Son, and given me a heart that loves him.

I love Taylor with all that I am.  She is gentle, kind, patient, joyful, beautiful, and loving.  I don’t deserve to marry someone like her.  I didn’t plan for this, but I’m so glad I am not getting what I planned for.

So, today when she walks down the aisle to me, I will be reminded of the beautiful reality that God exchanges that sin of our past in exchange for the perfect righteousness of his Son.  Contrary to popular opinion, our wedding day is not our wedding day; it is the display of the most stunning reality in the universe: that God sent his Son to die to redeem a people for Himself made clean the blood of his Son.

God’s ultimate plan in putting Taylor and I together is that he wants to uniquely put his grace on display so that other people will praise him (Ephesians 1:5-6).  That’s his purpose for our marriage, and that’s his purpose in the world at large, and Taylor and I are taking part in that, and hope you will too.


The content for this post has been updated and expanded in Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement which will be released September 29th, 2017 by P&R Publishing. Spencer Harmon is also the co-author of the forthcoming book Letters to a Romantic: On Dating.

169 thoughts on “My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, New Birth, and the Gospel

    1. Absolutely beautiful. Just proves that we need to let God have control over our lives. When we try to help God out by picking who we want, we could very likely mess up the most wonderful plans He has for our lives.

      1. Been there; done that and you’re absolutely right… when we try to help God out by picking who we want, we end up messing up the most wonderful plans He has for our lives. Won’t be making that mistake again.

    2. What a blessed woman to find such a husband. The beauty is you are probably thinking you are the blessed one! And you would also be right. May you be blessed by your covenant all the days of your life and show others what committment truly means in Christ!

    3. it is quite sad and juvinille to read how judgmental and narrow this boy was and is. Christ would not judge a man or woman so thoroughly

    4. it is quite sad , yet sophomoric to read how judgmental and narrow this boy was and is. Christ would not judge a man nor woman so thoroughly. may we only hope he grown into wisdom and understanding with quiet grace

  1. Wow. This stole my breath away. Congratulations. Have a beautiful life reflecting the love of Christ for his own bride.

  2. What a perfectly written story of Gods redemption, thank you for you commitment to exalt Christ!! We will be praying for this wonderful day, and may all who are there see Jesus! Mike and Josie Padilla

    1. Mike Padilla! Small World! Praying you and yours well. So fun to ‘run into you’ here at this fabulous article.

  3. Happy Wedding Day! Your post brought me to tears and my knees. Praising the Lord for his grace and glory in your lives. Continue to be your “in christ selves” and the Lord is going to use you and continue to do things thru you that will blow your minds! I pray today is glorious! Love and prayers,

  4. I love this story and thank God for bringing you together, may your covenant always be to him and each other showing Gods plans are bigger and so much greater than ours!

  5. Simply lovely. This is a discussion my friends and I have had a lot lately. We are parents of kids who are too soon to be teens and trying to figure out where we want to stand in this crazy argument that seems to exist in the Christian homeschool world (dating vs. courtship). This post is a beautiful reminder of what we are trying to do, wholly trust God and know that what He has planned is better than any rules we think we need to be fully “prepared” because the truth is, we can’t ever be fully prepared.

    1. Just a thought about relationships with the future parents of this world. Don’t get caught up on the words dating or courtship but be focused on your children being biblically correct in ALL their relationships. Most(not all) youthful, Christian professing relationships are NOT centered on Christ but on self gratification. If your goal is to please God you will find instruction in everything in scripture his God breathed manual for all Christians.

      1. yep. thank you, Matt. The point has to be encouragement and ultimately marriage or else it’s not a Christ-honoring relationship, no matter what you call it.

    2. Homeschool parents are simply doing the best they can to have high standards for their own children, their primary God given responsibiltiy. Don’t deem them all to be judgemental. I homeschooled for several years, but it didn’t work for our family.

  6. Our God has again, through this, shown His Sovereignty. Nothing happens outside of HIS WILL!!
    Praying that your wedding may be a beautiful memorable event, knowing that this foundation of it will never weaken or crumble. God bless you both!!!

  7. Reblogged this on Solus Christus and commented:
    This is a perfect example of how marriage and the Gospel is intertwined. Just as Spencer did not deserve someone like Taylor and vise versa, God still used this to pull them together and make them one just as He did with Christ on the cross to reconcile us to Him.

  8. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story about your lives and the incredible God who brought you together. Not sure how long ago you wrote it but I wish you both all God’s blessings and much joy.


  9. Well said. Congratulations on marrying someone better than your dreams. The comments from friends and family that say either one of you isn’t good enough or what the other needs/needed can’t be heard as loud as the push of God putting you together to humble yourselves and live in His grace.

  10. My life is much like this, but in reverse. My husband had the drug and alcohol problem before we married, he celebrated 6 months of sobriety the month we married, that was 14 years and 2 children ago. Many people were nervous for me, even my best childhood friend refused to be in the wedding party because she didn’t want me to marry him, but I just knew with all my heart that he was the one for me!! Jesus is the Healer!! It is true that what God unites no man can put asunder!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story! It is a testimony of love and faith!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your precious story. I pray that the three of you will have a beautiful journey together-you, Taylor, and God. Always keeping God firmly in the center of our marriage has led to 24 years of joy and tears, learning and communicating. God Bless,

  12. your story is my story. I married a virgin and was not one myself. God is so amazing and my husband’s love is so amazing. He never judges me because I am born again, as he is.

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  13. So well expressed, but better yet lived. May your lives reflect God’s grace to many through your marriage. Very happy for God’s surprising plans to use us as He plans. Our plans can never excel His own. Sharing in your joy and praying God’s blessings for you both as you embark on this life long adventure of ministry together.

  14. Wow. Sounds mighty familiar. Kinda like my story. I was where she was and God used the most incredible things to bring me home to Him. One of them being a truly Godly man who loved Him more than me. This story really hits home. Better than any fairy tale.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing! My husband and I have a very similar story 🙂 My husband grew up in a Christian, homeschool family, and I spent my teen years partying it up. God saved me, gave me a new life and blessed me with an AMAZING husband and 3 beautiful children! We have been married almost 11 years now and it gets better every day ❤ There are some issues to deal with when you come from such different backgrounds, but God can, and will, work it out for you! May He bless you and your marriage today and every day as you and your wife continue to serve Him together!

  16. This was very encouraging to read. A man does a great, great work and ministry in the heart of a woman when he chooses, by love, to cover a multitude of sin. I praise God for men like you.

    I pray for you and Taylor. She looks absolutely beautiful in the picture, and absolutely a daughter of God. May God bless you both. Happy wedding day, and happy rest-of-your-lives-together!

  17. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I just want to give you and your wife a massive hug. This is EXACTLY the message we Christians need to hear. Praising God for his redemptive work in both your lives and marriage!

  18. This is beautiful and I understand from a personal level. Thank you for sharing your simple, but profound, thoughts.

  19. Elder Son marries Prodigal Daughter, both desperately dependent on God’s grace And both receiving, in each other, more than they deserve. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Truly the right analogy. I’m living it too. I am the Elder Daughter married to the Prodigal Son. I totally agree with Victoria (above)– People need to hear this message.

  20. Wow, I love your story. This is my husband and I but in reverse. Thank you for the gentle reminder that their story is also ours and that we are a God-chosen example of grace and mercy and the forgiveness He offers us all.

  21. My husband married that same girl cuz she was me. I was an addict, and had had an abortion, when I met JESUS. A Calvary Chapel Pastor in San Diego came to my door in 1989 and I gave my life to Christ. Our marriage is amazing, and I am so thankful for what JESUS has done in my life. I love you Kenny. ❤

    Congratulations to you and your wife!!

  22. So two humans got saved by our graceful Saviour and decided to get married. I’ll be glad when we as Christ’s church stop putting weights and measures on sins. We all sin. We all need God. We all continue to sin but when Christ reveals Himself to us and we get cleansed and journey of renewal begins. No matter what sins fill in the blanks prior or after our transformation through Salvation. We are all just as dirty & just as cleansed & need just as much work in the ongoing process. I can’t wait until the day the church stops playing God & deciding which sins are more or less acceptable. No human is exempt from humanness & Jesus’ sacrifice cleansed every sin. Glad your story can get people talking.

      1. I whole heartedly agree with you Ross. The article made me worry a little bit for his beautiful bride. My prayers for this couple will be that they will see that they are both equally capable of wickedness and it’s not a sliding scale. They are the same in God’s eyes, both with the record of His perfect Son. May this blogger see his wife only as God sees her. May they be deeply blessed with the years of His transforming grace upon each of them as they grow in Christlikeness.

    1. I actually thought it was a wonderful story. But at the same time, one of my initial (and lingering) thoughts was the same as @Catonsville Mom. As wonderful as it is, it does perpetuate the way in which earthly wrongdoings are more weighted as sinful than other sins that have become acceptable in society…even though they’re all the same in God’s eyes. It also suggests that if one or two people in the relationship have a history like drug addiction, partying, etc that they need to be more still to listen to God’s voice when marrying than any other couple when in actuality we ALL need to make sure that we are joining with the ONE person that God has picked out for us…regardless of their past. So I think the author had good intentions and the story may touch a lot, but I see exactly where @Catonsville Mom is coming from and I agree that that is a crucial issue to not be overlooked.

      1. He does point out that he was equally, but different, guilty of sin, if you read the article.

      2. I agree with pebbles: I think those of you who feel the author did not fully see his own sin did not really hear what he was saying. THAT was how he USED TO perceive things; he no longer does! He was pointing out that his previous notions were shallow and just plain wrong. That is a danger for all who grew up in a Christian environment and we need to take Christ’s warnings VERY seriously. With the help of his wife, this young man finally “gets it”.

  23. This is my story as well. I was a goody-two-shoes homeschooler planning on courting the perfect girl from the right side of the tracks. God in His grace didn’t give me that. He gave me a young lady whom He had rescued from an abusive, sinful situation. She came with an 18 month old daughter and God taught me how much I really still needed Him.

    God’s grace through my wife and oldest daughter have powerfully shown me my own sin and continuing need of my Savior. We have been married 14 years and are expecting our 10th baby (my adopted oldest plus 7 we’ve had together, one stillbirth with the Lord and baby #10 on the way).

    May God richly bless you as you embark on this wonderful journey together.

  24. Spencer, this was lovingly done. You, my brother, are receiving an awesome blessing in Taylor. I’ll never forget the day she returned to church after a long time away. I saw God in her face as I know you do now. We Christians that don’t venture as far away as Taylor did may never appreciate what God did and does in saving us as much as she does. God bless you as you begin your life together. Enjoy the adventure of Taylor and watch as she helps to teach you all the wonders she sees in Him.

  25. SOme of the best people I know come from the worst past. I know never to judge a person by their looks. Anyone that is involved in the party life is just seeking a way out of their problems by drowning them in that lifestyle. It is such a belssing to see this story because it proves how incapable people can have their lives changes by a very capable God!

  26. Wow. I’m so glad people can see the transformation God gives as truly being the birth of a new creation in Him. Awesome read!

  27. As a woman with a past similar to Taylor’s I can honestly say I pray for a man similar to Simon every day. May God bless you both with an an amazing life together ❤

  28. Congrats!! I pray that God will bless you and Taylor both as you walk out God’s perfect will for your lives. Your story is an inspiration to me as I have a life so much like your wifes and yet so much like yours as having grown up in the church. I walked away several times but God is lovingly wooing me back to him in such a sweet way. I wish you both the very best!

  29. Reblogged this on Pieces of a Life with Purpose and commented:
    This post details something I think a lot of conservative Christians (including me, especially me) need to be reminded of: Christians aren’t defined by their past. Whether they went to youth group every week, or whether they had sex, did drugs, hung out with the wrong crowd. They are defined by their identity as children of God. Not only that, but we who have grown up in Christian homes, though we often think so, aren’t any better than anyone else. It is the incredible grace and power of the Lord that has saved us, miserable sinners that we are, and all the glory belongs to Him. Let’s never forget that truth.

  30. How wonderful the way God works. His plans for the both of you were already set before either of you were born. Every road you both went down was bringing you to fulfill God’s plans for your lives. Congratulations!

  31. Your story is the same as ours…but my life was the one with all the turmoil. My amazing bride Heather and I are newlyweds too…June marks 17 years on our calender together in marriage. My old self is so far from where we are now in some ways, but at the same time we work together to minister to my still very lost family. We recently adopted my great niece whose mother chose prostitution and drugs over motherhood. My Bride is an amazing mom to our children, and fills in the gaps I had in my family growing up. She has motivated me to show our sons what a real man of God is, and I strive to serve Christ always.Thank you for your testimony…Pastor Jerry

  32. Congratulations you guys! Thank you for sharing your testimony. 🙂 Praise be to God! Indeed, in Jesus, all our sins are wiped clean. 🙂

    Anyway, have you gone watch heavy metal concerts with your wife? My fiance has done that with me. Headbanging with him, couldn’t be happier. 🙂 In return, we went to watch football together. Or was it rugby? Not that I know the difference. I hate sport so much, but watching it with him makes us both very happy.

  33. We’re a homeschooling family from Scotland, a country that doesn’t have the ‘homeschooling movement’ issues parts of the US has. Whilst thankful that – so far – my children haven’t gone into the life *I* lived as a teenager, they still had the exact same need as I had: “You must be born again”. My greatest horror is not a child who is living an ungodly life ‘in the world’, but a child who grows up thinking he’s ‘okay’ because he’s ‘good’. There is NONE good.

    But *in Christ* …. ALL are white, washed with the precious blood of the Lamb. I loved this blogpost, and wish them a lifetime of getting to know each other better, and of getting to know God’s amazing mercy in Christ better and better.

  34. Thank you for sharing this story and Thank you God for washing my eyes so i can see the truth in marriage as a reflection of your love for usvand to each other. You are glorified by our union and the couple in this story. Gods speed you too.

  35. Amen!! This is mine and my husbands story…we have now been married 14 years; have 5 beautiful children; and are serving Jesus and HIs people together!!! God truly is a God of mercy and grace…not repaying us our sins deserve!!

  36. I shared ur story on Facebook! I loved it and could relate. My friend was interested in hearing that same story from ur wife’s perspective! Does she write or have that posted any where? Would love to read it!

  37. What an encouragement! I, too, came from a very “good” background and expected my future husband to come from a similar place in life. But God had very different plans to display His glory and redemption, and I married a man whose goodness could only come from Christ (as of course, all our goodness does, anyway). 🙂 Congratulations on your marriage!

  38. What a godly man! Thank you for taking the time to share this as a hope for us all! Would your Mom’s name happen to be Patty? If it is, she was my maid of honor at my wedding 37 years ago. Loved her so much growing up and now have lost contact with her. Blessings to you!!!!

  39. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST. I resonate with Taylor so much: I have a sordid and dark history, and I have become a new person through Christ. But a common struggle I’ve had is that I’m “damaged goods” to the generous and wonderful Christian men that I encounter. Hearing your words of devotion to her and more importantly to both of your paths towards God has filled me with such hope and confidence in my new God-filled life. Truly, this post was a gift to me. I can’t thank you enough for it.

    1. Kellye your comment touched me in a way that presses me to respond. I am so thankful you have a new life in Christ. He found me after years and years of destruction and walking in promiscuity. Your past isn’t who you are. Don’t let anyone make you feel damaged or less than worthy. You.are.worthy. You are worthy because Jesus says you are worthy and I know you know that, but sometimes we need to hear it again. My husband loves me with the love of Christ and our marriage is pure and beautiful in a way I never thought marriage could be. Jesus does that. Praising Him that you are His.

  40. You made me cry! Have a wonderful life walking with Jesus together. Congratulations on your marriage! There is NOTHING better on earth than a marriage centered in Jesus! Not perfect, but…well, a different kind of perfect, I guess. Much happiness!

  41. My husband and I have a very similar story. He was the straight-laced teenager and I was the party-going hellion. God saved me from a very sinful, wicked lifestyle and gave me my husband at the exact time He knew I needed a partner and a help-mate. God is still using him daily to show me His grace and abounding love! My husband told me often that he sees me as Jesus sees me–a new creation and that my past in in the past. We have been together for 8 years, married for 4 and are expecting our first child in September!

    I know we have never met, but I am so encouraged to hear of someone else with a story like ours. God bless you and Taylor as you begin this amazing new journey!!

  42. What a beautiful story. God works in all sorts of different ways to transform the lives of people, and in turn give himself glory. Enjoy your wedding and I wish you lots of happiness together.

  43. I’m sorry, but this not cute. There is nothing wrong with heavy metal or tattoos. There is nothing wrong with who she was before and talking about her in that way is disrespectful. Furthermore, the fact that you say that you wouldn’t be friends with her before yet you are getting married to her today shows how judgmental you are AND how wrong you are for being so judgmental.

  44. And you? Growing up a Christian doesn’t make you blameless and without sins. Maybe your sins look different, but God has had to work on you too. You wife may have had an obviously rebellious life before, but your selfishness is a rebellion in secret. I’m happy for you that you are blessed with a woman who loves you and loves Jesus, but he didn’t die to just redeem her. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.

    1. Jess, did you read to the bottom? Cause that was his whole point. How his sin of pride caused him to need Jesus’ grace just as much as her more “blatant” sins did.

  45. I had my 14-year-old son read this because it was so beautiful. He is just starting to notice the other gender out there differently than he views his six sisters and I wanted him to read your words. He read the whole thing and said, ” That’s really cool!” Thanks for bearing your soul so I could use it to teach my son!

  46. What a wonderful perspective, so very true and a reminder that I needed. I love my husband but still struggle with his past at times. He was definitely not my dream!!! A divorced man with a son, talk about complicated! But he got saved and is a new creature, I have seen The Lord change him into one who can be used of The Lord! Thank you for reminding me that my past may not be so complicated but it is still filled with sin that is only forgiven and made clean through Christ!

  47. Thank you for sharing this! My soon to be husband’s and my story is quite similar. I am a divorced single mother of 2, one of which I adopted out. With 5 tattoos and a string of broken relationships. He is the first born son of two generations of pastors, is a virgin saving himself for marriage, and when I met him, kind of a snob 🙂
    But what God had for our lives was so much more than the labels we placed on ourselves, each other, or that the world tagged on us. And when we become man and wife later this year I know it will be because God had a bigger plan for us than we had for each other!
    Thank you for blogging this, it made me cry with joy and thanksgiving that we serve a very alive, gracious, kind, loving and powerful God. Who He has freed is free indeed!!’n

  48. I know you will have a beautiful life together through Christ ! He is the glue, among all the othe amazing things he brings to us– through him you both will see true love and devotion–
    I am truly happy for you both

  49. Such a
    Amazing Story, Really touch my Heart, I Love When God Comes in our life and change us. I have meet My Soulmate, i know that he was sent from God, May God Bless You and Your Beautiful bride, God Is So Amazing

  50. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. I have had 2 relationships with girls in the 3 years since I was saved. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough. Since my past involved girls and more ecstacy and cocaine than I can remember. I never felt good enough. I didn’t feel I was worth anything to these girls because in my eyes they were perfect… I forgot that I was made perfect. I forgot that I am worth something. I’m redeemed and loved by my father. Loved the article man. I feel really blessed to see and hear your heart expressed about the love and value you see in your wife.

  51. Brant (famous DJ from posted a link to this on Facebook… I’m so glad he did. I am a the homeschool girl dating a guy who rejected Jesus during college. Praise the Lord for His faithful patience, crafting the love stories of those who will let Him drive. He brings us more than we deserve, and blesses us with humility so we can see what He’s up to. Thank you for being real and out-there. This is gold.

  52. As I read this I think about my own life…being raised in a Christian home and living for Christ for as long as I can remember. Then meeting the man of my dreams but not one I had dreamed about as a little girl. God is the God of redemption. My husband is the picture of that. And now as we raise four adopted children, stories like yours and mine remind me God is not done yet. My oldest is almost 18 and making certain life choices that put my stomach in knots. But God is not done writing his story either…He is not done. Thanks for sharing.

  53. This is beautiful and I pray that some day The Lord will put a man like this in my life. I find resonance in the story of who your wife was and where she’s been and this story gives me hope. Thank you for writing this.

  54. Thank you for sharing. This was both encouraging and convicting to me as a homeschooling mother whose expectations of courtship and purity for my oldest son (20) have been crushed. Over the last two years I have spent time in despair over his choices and the girl he has been involved with (very similar to your wife’s former life). Fighting for faith and trusting God to capture his heart, her heart, and to let go of my dreams and expectations is a daily battle. Thank you for the reminder that He can and still does. Best wishes for a beautiful future in Him.

  55. Thank you Jesus for redemption. love, forgiveness and a new life in Christ. May your marriage be blessed!

  56. I totally love beautiful stories of redemption. God is a God of grace and turns ashes in to beauty. My daughter married a man with a history of heroin usage but was a picture of God’s grace and redemption. He was clean 13 years and unfortunately has returned to using heroin. She is left penniless with 2 little boys. I still pray for redemption and I know God has a plan for her. Pray for the Lord’s strength to keep you strong and do not take a single day for granted. I hope you are a strong voice for redemption and the gospel.

  57. Wow, such a beautiful expression of love and the meaning of marriage. This is almost the same story for me and my husband but just opposite roles as I played your part in the story. So in a way, thank you for writing my husband and I’s story of God’s grace and redemption.

  58. Thank you for this very real and very great story of God in Christ for us! This is my story. This is all of our story. Blessings to you and your wife as you display the glory of the gospel of God’s grace.

  59. I do not know the last time I cried. I do not know if it was a combination of personal conviction and timing. I do not know if it was a celebration of what is just. I do know that I wept tears of joy upon reading this. There are days I try and picture my future wife. There are days I choose to sculpt her in my mind. This post reminds me that was is to come is far greater than what in try to create. Thank you for sharing this beautiful anecdote.

  60. From one Christian blogger to another, this is awesome. Praise God! He is so good when we aren’t, and can pull anyone from any circumstance with His mercy, love, and grace.

  61. This is wonderful. My Fiancé and I are actually in the same situation. He was homeschooled, grew up in a christian, loving home and I had more of a history when we first met. It has only made our relationship grow stronger and bring about an amazing testimony. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  62. As heart warming and provocative this story may appear, I have reservations. I’m not sure it’s actually practical. God bless Spencer and his marriage. If anyone seeking to marry and has sexual purity in mind then I would think twice before giving your heart to someone in the same situation. One must ask why is sexual purity important? Why is it promoted in the Christian community?

    1. Fortunately for all of us, grace and forgiveness are more important in the Christian community than sexual purity.

  63. Absolutely beautiful. Yes, we really are all in the same boat. In desperate need of grace and for Jesus to show up. Our marriage is a very similar story. We’ve been married for 13 years and I can say that my husband’s unconditional acceptance of me has been like seeing the face of Jesus. I pray that you will both love each other well! Congratulations.

  64. Much of my thought and my attitude 2 years ago was the same as Spencer’s was when he first met his new bride. I was very adamant with God about what my future husband would look like, specifically what he would believe, how his walk with the Lord would look (not just to me but to other people as well), and a whole host of other things I had on a “princess list”. I’ve spent the last two years getting a little peek at what the Lord may have in store for me. So I have to say I’m sorry that it’s taken me a whole two years for me to finally wake up and smell the coffee. Being “Holier than thou,” is just as much of a sin as being addicted to drugs. The guy I’m with now is not the one I would have imagined for myself when I was 17 or 27! So here’s to changing the “princess list” to line up more with God’s Will and also to your Wedding Day and Continuing Marriage. Thanks for posting.

  65. I was the wife with the tatoos and the history. I am forever grateful that our God is so mighty he opens the hearts and minds of people broadening their focus until girls/women like me are included in the vision field of men not considering something less than their ideal. Thank you for this blog it was amazing and beautiful. It reminds us we are all sinners and all fall short of God’s glory and yet He provides us with the opportunity to come to Him surrendered and broken and exchanges our ashes for beauty.

  66. This could almost be the story of me and my first wife. When she met Jesus, her life changed. Even yet, it took her many years before she really understood that God’s grace had not only saved her, but in His eyes she had been made pure, and that her past didn’t matter to Him. Part of that was that not everyone was so willing to forgive a woman who had a son out of wedlock, even though I loved her and her son, whom I adopted, unconditionally. I loved her until the day she died …. and frankly still do.

  67. This is a wonderful story of two people finding love and commitment to one another and I wish them happiness in their marriage. However, as the tattooed, lifelong Christian mother of a tattooed, lifelong Christian daughter who is currently “dating” and not “courting” a homeschooled, Christian young man, it scares me a bit as to how she could be viewed in the homeschooled, non-denominational Christian world as “damaged goods” because she has dated, socialized (yes, with alcoholic beverage in hand) and has probably attended more various rock concerts with her dad and me than your average 22 year old. She is a happy, loving, and well balanced college student who knows where her salvation lies, yet there is risk in her relationship of being filtered through a different lens on sin simply because of her denominational and cultural upbringing. There is no right or wrong way to sin. We are born into it. We are dead to it in Christ. Tattoos, music, alcohol or for that matter, drugs, do not make us more sinful. They just tend to make us more judgmental. And that is sinful. We die daily to sin because of our life in and by Christ’s death and resurrection. And I pray that my daughter remains strong in her faith and the freedom she can enjoy in life because of it, rather than being perceived as a “more in need of grace” sinner, worthy of a “less in need of grace” sinner’s love and attention. The young man she is dating is a well raised, respectful person and I pray that they continue to be happy and committed to each other in building a strong and healthy relationship into the future.

  68. wow this beautiful!! I’m literally crying!! congrats on your wedding day!!! 🙂 God is amazing and we are nothing without him and his grace.

  69. This was beautiful. Even as Christians, we tend to make judgements when we shouldn’t. Grace covers all and we are a new creature in Christ. Thank you for writing this. I too have a scarred past and struggle inwardly to feel accepted because I don’t fit the mainstream Christian ideal. Thank you…..

  70. Wow, what a powerful story and somehow your story reminds me of my wife and I except I am the one who has all of the problems. Thank you so much for this.

  71. Thank you for this. Really. As a woman who is certainly not the girl of a godly man’s dreams, your perspective offers hope that a godly man can see the transforming work of Christ in the life of a woman whose past is reflective of a life once lived for self. We know that God restores that which was lost due to our sin, but to see it in action in the life of another is a true encouragement. May God bless your marriage and use your joint testimony to plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of lost people.

  72. Spencer,
    What a wonderful sentiment with which to enter your marriage! About thirty years ago, as my first marriage was coming to an end, I prayed to God for a new wife (I knew I was a married sort of a guy). I was very specific about the kind of wife I wanted, very specific. Fortunately, God did not answer my prayer for if he had I would have had such a two-dimensional marriage. Instead, he gave me so much more than I could have dreamed of or known to pray for (it’s almost like he said, “yeah, yeah… I got this”) My wife, Jennifer, has been the best friend I have ever had – fun, challenging, interesting, gentle, lovingly brutal when I’m being a bonehead (a daily occurance!). Coming up to our 28th year together and I love her more this year than last, when I thought I could not love her more. I hope you and Taylor have a deep and rewarding life together. It sound like you’re starting on solid ground.

  73. My husband was much the same, if not worse off. If that wasn’t enough, we had many acquaintances (definitely NOT “friends”) try to split us up. And finances went south after some emergency situations. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for anything. God has used everything, good and bad, to remind us that He is in control, and that we owe Him everything. Just a word of advice: A few years from now, when you still have problems and you’re losing hope and patience, reread what you wrote, and remember that you have a lovely lady worth fighting for. Congratulations to you both!

    1. I’m sorry to say it but most of these posts reek so heavily of judgement and self ordained holiness that they are making me nauseous. Please understand that I wish nothing but the best for ALL marriages but the idea that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard because we were raised “Christian” is part of the problem. Be honest with yourself and allow God to witness you in your brokenness. He is your father and His love knows no bounds. He isn’t expecting perfection, only love and honesty. Being obedient to His commandments should be more about the relationship that you have with Him as your dad than it does following some list of rules in a book. Also, please be careful how you judge people from the outside. I’m a 26 year old, Ivy League educated female who came from a family with 2 divorces, domestic abuse, drug addiction, and poverty all WITHIN the church. I know what it looks like to go without and I’ve had to cling to a God who can make sense of the mess that surrounds me. He has clothed me in Righteousness and anointed my head with oil. I gave Him my heart a long time ago. I’ve never been in a relationship with a man or so much as kissed one but my history and love of rock concerts and tattoos would probably lead you all to believe otherwise. Look to God if you need encouragement, but please remember we are ALL flawed vessels, trying to get home.

  74. As sincere are you are, I am still uncomfortable with the extent of privacy lines you have crossed with regard to your wife. Much could have been said without that. That is her story to tell, herself, not yours. Nevertheless, I understand you are sincere and your ultimate perspective an honorable one.

    1. Do you really think that the obvious love, honor, and respect Spencer shows Taylor for the purpose of drawing attention to the transformational Love of JESUS CHRIST is in any way dissonant with the obvious transparency he and Taylor share? Would the man who wrote such a powerful and GOD-centered, GOD-glorifying post–this beautiful, humble tribute to the Love of CHRIST–be so thoughtless as to put this out in the open without her knowledge?
      This post is not focused on Taylor’s past; it’s focused on how God pursued two sinners to be cleansed by the blood of JESUS CHRIST, and be unashamed of the ways HE brought them to where they are now. It’s a LOVE post; if my husband had written it, I would be absolutely ecstatic.

  75. Did you have your future spouse’s permission to post her past to the whole world?

    I’m kind of unsettled about this, and I didn’t see a mention of whether you had asked permission to do so.

    1. Do you really think that the obvious love, honor, and respect Spencer shows Taylor for the purpose of drawing attention to the transformational Love of JESUS CHRIST is in any way dissonant with the obvious transparency he and Taylor share? Would the man who wrote such a powerful and GOD-centered, GOD-glorifying post–this beautiful, humble tribute to the Love of CHRIST–be so thoughtless as to put this out in the open without her knowledge?
      This post is not focused on Taylor’s past; it’s focused on how God pursued two sinners to be cleansed by the blood of JESUS CHRIST, and be unashamed of the ways HE brought them to where they are now. It’s a LOVE post; if my husband had written it, I would be absolutely ecstatic.

      1. Thank you, Jenn. I would have written the same response to JRD’s comment, only less elegantly. 🙂

      2. I genuinely appreciate your feedback, Daphne. I rarely comment on such matters, but here I thought it potentially useful. Thank the Lord that He can speak through me.

  76. Congratulations on your wedding. What an incredible portrayal of the Gospel in a modern context!! Best wishes to you both

  77. From the uniformly positive nature of the comments, I assume this comment will get deleted. Either way please come back in 10 years and tell us you’re not divorced, because the blithe happy talk you allow yourself here flies directly in the face of statistics. Your wife is bringing more than tattoos into the marriage, and while Jesus is (I agree) infinitely forgiving, he’s not sufficiently tyrannical to erase the past. I do, I REALLY *REALLY* DO, wish you all well; but similar men in similar situations should think twice, and then think twice a hundred more times before marrying a woman with that sort of history.

    1. As a woman who has a similar past I would just like to say I wish your comment had been deleted. I have hope that Jesus will send a man like this into my life and I keep coming back and reading this blog. It gives me more hope. Your comment dashed my hope a little. But at the very least it was hurtful.

  78. Someone said “They just got married. Just wait until all the issues surface.” or something to that effect. When I read the article, it reminded me so much of my husband and me. He was the person I wouldn’t have looked at twice. I just didn’t hang out with that sort of person. But God saved him and we have been married for 26 years and 10 months, all very happily!

  79. This is very humbly worded and powerful. As someone who treated a marriage all about himself, I can attest to these words as true.

  80. Reblogged this on Lost & Found and commented:
    I love this. It shows so many things. 1) It shows that our past does not define us, and God still loves us no matter what and will help us through. 2) It shows that God’s plans can be so different than what we thought our plan was, but is always better. 3) Appearances aren’t everything. “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b) 4) God has perfect timing. 🙂
    A must read for everyone!

  81. My husband shared this with me because it could be our story with only a few minor details changed. That the purpose of marriage is NOT to lose yourself in each other, but as a one-flesh, lose yourself in GOD to bring HIM glory is a message that we need to make more clear.
    I love how you express that only though Jesus can we truly be purified. I did not deserve to wear a white wedding gown nearly 15 years ago; and as the bride of CHRIST, I don’t *deserve* to stand before GOD in the radiance of JESUS’ blood-bought righteousness.
    Thank you for the clarity of your purpose in marriage, in life, in the Church universal, and especially for acknowledging how this beautiful transformation is GOD’s story, and never our own.
    Blessings to you.
    Ephesians 3:20-21

  82. Am I the only person who found Spencer’s blogpost rather awkward? writing about your wife’s shortcomings for all the world to read? I don’t know them at all, and it just made me feel really uncomfortable. I’m all for using our past as a display to His glory, but a husband using his new wife’s past? I just got a very off vibe… but maybe it’s just me. If you were a friend asking me for advice before you hit “publish,” Spencer, I’d say “Please… let your bride bask in the glow of the chastity granted her in Christ’s blood– she’s wearing WHITE for a reason– instead of reminding the whole world that she’s a past harlot. She isn’t one now. Now she is far beyond anything you ever dreamed.”

  83. My husband and I were similar. I was the tattooed party girl and he was the smart very responsible christian boy. He says that the first time he saw me, he knew that God wanted him to be with me and take care of me, and it was his faith and love in Jesus that inspired me to look into it with an open heart. I did and every bit of me began to transform, the entire world gained so much more significance than I ever could have guessed. Praise God, your story is wonderful!

  84. I come back to this every few months and read it again. I have so much hope because of this post. Thank you from my heart for reminding me that Jesus has redeemed me and I’m now righteous and holy because he is righteous and holy. Any way, getting a bit rambly. Thank you.

  85. This made me retch a little bit. The whole “don’t deserve her” bit?

    PLEASE. I’m not saying the reverse it true, but could you be any MORE of a “white knight”? Be a freakin’ MAN pal, and remind yourself that she is getting a VERRRRRY good deal.

  86. Dear Spencer,

    Congratulations on your wedding! Thank you for your beautiful and moving ode to your new marriage to Taylor. Two things came to mind after reading your essay, 1) Had you waited just a year before publishing it, it would have made the perfect 1st wedding anniversary gift to celebrate your marriage, but I dig the joy so I won’t blame you! I think I would have done the same thing! 2) You make an important point (based on Eph. 1) at the end of your essay, “God’s ultimate plan in putting Taylor and I together is that he wants to uniquely put his grace on display so that other people will praise him.” While this is true, never lose sight that those “other people” are first and foremost you and Taylor. In marriage, God’s grace is on display primarily to the couple. That everyone else notices (and praises God) is a byproduct of your living it out with one another.
    Gracias for letting me share. May your marriage live long and prosper!

  87. My wife (Michelle) and I definitely relate for as we read this we saw so many parallels with our marriage and backgrounds too. To God be the glory!

  88. As a young woman who worries that she’s “too much” for any man to want to marry your story gives me hope. It also reaffirms the truth God’s been trying to drill into me: our identity is in Christ. Hallelujah!

  89. Fantastic! How do I do to have the permission to translate this marvelous text to my home language Portuguese? I would like to do it for many reasons (the majority of them can be easily seen on your text), but also because I write a Biblical Counseling blog (I am a pastor as well) and such text would be a great blessing to my people!

    1. Hi there!

      I’m happy for you to reproduce this in Portuguese. Go for it! Please send us a copy of this when you complete it. We’d love to see it!

      -Spencer H.

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