Letters to a Young Engaged Man: Squeeze Tightly, Hold Loosely

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron

Dear Young Engaged Man,

There are a great line of men and women who have gone before us. Godly relationships, beautiful marriages, and stories dripping with a sweet fragrance to God. Yet every sweeping romance story must come to an end. Some stories carry on throughout the years and pass away peacefully on a bedside. Others are jarred unexpectedly and brought to a screeching halt.

To be honest, I feel totally inadequate to write to you on such a topic as the death of a loved one. I cannot imagine losing the wife of my youth. The thought of Jennifer dying is something I cannot yet fathom and something for which I barely know how to prepare.

While pursuing Jennifer, my dear friend Rob Coleman would often remind me about the brevity of life. Hold the things of this world loosely Sean, do not cling to them too tightly. Don’t make Jennifer an idol. Christ is sufficient and soon everything else shall pass away.

This world is fading and along with it even the most precious gifts. There will come a time when the brown eyes of my bride will grow dim and her soft hands will go limp. Thoughts of this future moisten my eyes and press against my heart. And if I am not careful, my world will become as dark as the inside of her casket.

The only thing that brings me hope in the midst of such thoughts is the gospel of Jesus. This world is not my home. Nor is it the home of my bride. Marriage is a wonderful thing, but it is not the most beautiful thing. You see, you will soon lock your arms with a fellow Pilgrim. You will soon whisper sweet nothings into the ear of a sojourner. Do not fight death, for Christ has already conquered it. Live this life holding loosely to the hand of your bride, ready and willing to offer her hand back to Jesus.

Jesus has prepared a place for her to dwell. If it were not so, he would have told you. Honor Him and “live your married life as if you were not married.” “Love your wife by hating her.” Such odd sayings of Jesus and Paul aren’t they? Yet they stick in the mind and guard the soul from clinging too closely to this world.

It is a joy and unexpected gift from God to be engaged. It is a joy and cherished delight to walk through life hand in hand with your best friend. Do not fear death or let it rob you of the thrill of glorifying God today. Glorify God by enjoying Him in all things and above all things. Both are possible and the Bible commands such happiness in our lives. Glorify God by enjoying the moments he has given you and the gifts he has bestowed upon you.

Laugh with your fiancée, flirt to the appropriate fullness and buy her beautiful flowers. But be satisfied in God above all these moments. Dig your joy deep into what cannot be taken away. Dip your bucket into the eternal pleasures of God and drink from His fountain that never dries.

There will come a day for us when time will stand still and her grave will be occupied. And we will mourn like we have never mourned before. But we will not despair like the world does. We have a loving Father who grants eternal hope and raises our dead. On that Day, we will be grateful he gave us the grace to enjoy precious moments on earth and to ground our hope in Him above all.

So for now, enjoy Him in all things and above all things.

Or to say it a different way, squeeze her hand tightly but hold it loosely.

Until then,


The content for this post has been expanded into Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement which will be released in 2017 by P&R Publishing. 

Letters To A Young Engaged Man: Content with the Greenest Grass

by Sean Perron

Dear Young Engaged Man,

I hope you have not bought into the false idea that the season of engagement is a form of hell. Instead of enjoying engagement and using it to grow in godliness, many people waste the engaged portion of their life because they view it as a hindrance and a necessary obstacle to marriage.

We’ve both talked about how marriage is good and perpetual engagement is not. However, I can’t help but notice that discontentment has given you a low grade fever and even made those around you miserable.

Too many single folks pass their days wishing they were married. There are a lot of single people wishing they were married people.

Girls can dream of their wedding day by pinning all manner of things on their social media just in case they happen upon a relationship tomorrow.  All the while, the guys spend their time twiddling their thumbs to line up a perfect timeline for the next potential candidate.
Whether people are hanging paper lights on a virtual alter or calculating the perfect proposal for the mystery Mrs., contentment is the missing variable from the equation.

Now the irony here is that I know married people who are just as restless in their dreams.  Believe it or not, I have had married friends tell me they wish they were single because they could have more time to read, study, serve, and spend for the kingdom.  Yet the greatest irony is that those restless married people were just as restless when they were engaged!

Notice the inevitable cycle: those discontent singles become discontent marrieds. Engagement just happens to be the canal in between. You must stop the cycle before you reach the other sea.

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Brother, do not forget that you need contentment most when everything seems to be going your way. Whether you are sky high on the thought of engagement, or in the thrills of marriage, you need contentment just as much as when you are sunken low in the shafts of singleness. Contentment in Christ needs to make its way into every crevice of every circumstance.

Regardless of the ringing of wedding bells or the hollow echo of loneliness, I encourage you to lay hold of the strength of Jesus to be content in Him. Circumstances should not change contentment.

What is the secret to a happy life? Realizing that everything you have and need is found in Christ alone. The happiest people in life are not single or married. The happiest people in life are those who seize each season for the glory of God. The grass is greenest where we graze upon God.

May you enjoy each season to the fullest by enjoying God to the highest.

Until then,