24 Hours & More: The Story of Mark & Kylie
No One Listens When You Say:
“If you can’t stop, you should consider getting married.”
Marriage is a sacred institution, designed and implemented by God himself in the very first human relationship. It is not something to be entered into lightly. We often take that to mean that it should not be entered into quickly, and most of the time, that’d be both a wise and probably correct bit of guidance. However, there is a biblical circumstance in which getting married sooner rather than later is the right course of action - when you’re having premarital sex, and you can’t or won’t stop. This is exactly the situation in which Mark & Kylie found themselves a few weeks ago.
Mark & Kylie came to us just after Valentine’s Day this year. Their story was definitely one we hadn’t quite heard before. They had spent the last four months breaking up and getting back together as Kylie wrestled through her past and her future, trying to determine if this was the relationship God was calling her to. And while that process may have been more dramatic than it needed to be for those four months, it was nevertheless a worthy process, because it’s the most important question your relationship will ever seek to answer. “Is this one the one God has for me?”
It didn’t take more than a session or two for us to help Mark & Kylie determine that the answer to that question was a resounding, “yes,” but the complication, unfortunately, didn’t stop there. Both of them were sexually active in previous relationships, and while it was their strong and genuine desire that this relationship honor God both in spirit and in body, they were really struggling to break that habit. We would sit together and discuss strategies for avoiding or managing temptation, biblical philosophies of relationships that would help with how they thought about premarital sex - nothing was effective. They were becoming more and more discouraged. We spoke regularly, via text, on the phone, and in person, consistently encouraging them and trying to get them to walk the path they wanted to walk. Simultaneously, we were gently laying the ground work for that 1 Corinthians 7 conversation, “Now to the unmarried… I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
We’d give anything for Paul to have expanded on this advice. We can’t take it out of Scripture and isolate it - we must look at the full counsel of Scripture, which regularly cautions wisdom, slowness of action and speech, self-sacrifice and restraint. Scripture also reminds us that, in Christ, all things are possible. So we must ask, “to what degree are we simply unwilling to stop, as opposed to unable?” But, the longer we ponder that question, the more our relationships become impacted by the ongoing sin that exists in them. It’s a precarious balance for the couple. Likewise, as mentors, it’s a precarious balance for us, in that we didn’t want to scare Mark & Kylie off by pushing a marriage on them they weren’t ready for, but we also didn’t want to abdicate our duty to them by not speaking truth.
It’s a conversation we’ve had once or twice before, with other couples, and just no one listens when you say, “Hey, if you can’t stop having sex, maybe you should consider getting married.” It just never really goes well. But by God’s grace, Mark & Kylie were receptive to the truth of His scripture…
This Is Where the Story Gets Fun.
One Sunday afternoon, we got a phone call from Mark & Kylie, who we’re just now realizing we should’ve been calling Mylie all this time. Lost opportunities. Anyway, Mylie called us and said that after considerable prayer and thought, they were going to go to the courthouse in the morning and get a marriage license. We applauded their bravery and their obedience - but something in our souls still felt wrong. This whole decision was predicated upon their strong desire to honor God with their relationship by whatever means necessary. Their marriage should begin the same way. So we asked if we could throw them a wedding. In 24 hours, we rallied a handful of troops to the cause and threw one of the most gorgeous weddings we’ve ever been a part of. There was a cake, there were two photographers, a lovely message from the officiant, and a small gathering of Christ-centered supporters who loved this young couple and wanted to see them succeed.
We worked on it throughout the day, texting back and forth with our crew to make sure everything was organized, beautiful, and ready to go. All Mylie had to do was show up and enjoy the beginning of their life together. We had a small reception afterward, with barbecue pulled pork, and we all swapped stories about our weddings, our engagements, and our marriages. It was a holy and Christ-filled day, and we pulled it off in just over 24 hours. This is the kind of stuff that NEB gets to do that we just love. As mentors and helpers and lovers of marriage, we live for these moments. And we want to continue to offer and experience them for as long as we can.
Here’s Where You Come In.
We’ve gotten the chance to share this story a few times since the wedding, and every time, people are so excited to celebrate with us. They’re happy for Mark & Kylie and they encourage us for the role we played, and they want to know how they can help. So we thought we’d share the story and the opportunity to play a part with all of you. Today is April 24th. In one week, on May 1st, we’ll be launching the 24 Story Fundraiser. We don’t just want to support Mark & Kylie in that 24 hour window, but for the next 24 days, 24 weeks, 24 months, and 24 years. And not just them, but as many couples as we can. But to do that, we need your help. We’re asking everyone who hears and is moved by their story to make a small donation to the cause of helping couples honor God with their marriages. All you have to do is make a donation equal to the number of years that you or someone you love has been married between May 1st and May 24th. That’s it! And you can make that donation right here.
We’ll be posting updates throughout the month of May to help you remember, along with some videos of participants, some photos from Mark & Kylie, and updates about their new marriage! We hope that you will support them and us next month in this small way so that we can keep telling more stories like theirs. Thank you in advance! This ministry doesn’t happen without all of you.