Happily Married or Miserable Ever After?

Choosing A Mate:

Happily Married or Miserable Ever After?

 Lessons on Marriage from John Wesley & Jonathan Edwards

“Jonathan Edwards had a marriage made in heaven. John Wesley had a marriage that was living hell. Both men were born in 1703. Both men knew the Scriptures. But when it came to choosing a mate, Edwards used wisdom. John Wesley didn’t. And he paid the price for such a foolish move. Edwards was greatly used by God here in the States, and his writings were influential in many nations… Jonathan and Sarah Edwards were friends and lovers. They had eleven children. John and Molly Wesley were enemies, and one wonders if they ever were lovers. They had no children. There’s a reason for that. If you never have sex, you probably won’t have children… Four months after marrying Molly, John wrote a letter to his brother, Charles. In it, he made this statement: ‘Love is rot.’ That’s not the kind of comment that leads to conversation, romance, and intimacy.

“You need to know something up front. God will lead you. But He wants you to use wisdom. Jonathan and Sarah followed wisdom from the start of their relationship. When he was twenty-three and Sarah was seventeen, they were married. They had courted and spent many hours together for nearly four years. In spending time together, they got to know the other’s heart. They knew each other like a book. When they first met, Sarah was just thirteen. Although she was young, they took time to let their relationship mature. One gets the sense that they were both seeking the Lord and His wisdom.

“So, what happened to John Wesley? John Wesley was a great man and a godly man. But when it came to women he bordered on stupid. Instead of seeking wisdom and wise counsel, he consistently made poor choices in relationships. He was always aboveboard in his morality and purity, but seemed to presume upon the Lord’s wisdom by making blunder after blunder. He ran at the last minute from serious romances when he was twenty-five, thirty-five, and forty-five. At forty-seven, on a whim and in absolute secret, he married Molly.

“In each of the prior relationships, he was convinced that each of the young women would make an excellent wife. In at least two of the relationships, he would drop hints that he was going to propose marriage, but never followed through. In each situation, after years of waiting as he procrastinated and refused to commit, each woman married another young man, once due to the encouragement of John’s brother. According to his journals, John knew he should move ahead. But he went against all wisdom and refused to do so. And in each case, he lost the woman he loved. God wanted john Wesley to walk in wisdom, and he normally did—except when it came to choosing a marriage partner.

“At the age of forty-seven, he married Molly very quickly without getting counsel. He didn’t marry her because God made him do so against his will. He married her because he was impulsive and unwise. It’s very apparent that he didn’t seek the Lord’s counsel. And as a result, he was chained to a miserable woman for the rest of his life. If you ignore His wisdom and leading, you will be stuck with the consequences of your decision to not seek His best… Quite frankly, [John Wesley] didn’t use his head or heart.”[1]


[1] This post is taken as an excerpt from: Steve Farrar, How to Ruin Your Life By 40 (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006), 95-98.


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