Justin and Hailey Bieber’s whirlwind romance and marriage has sparked a lot of commentary over the past several months. I’ve read countless headlines claiming the couple married too quickly, too young, and predicting X amount of reasons why their relationship could be “headed to an end.”
It’s obvious that most people in today’s society can’t wrap their heads around two young and successful people making a decision to commit to one another forever. People assume they’ve got so much more to learn, so much more ahead of them in their careers.
While many are scratching their heads, dumbfounded by the newlyweds, I personally saw this coming – and I applaud them for their decision to tie the knot despite criticism from naysayers. My husband and I met when we were 22 and 23 and got engaged after 10 months of dating, so I sympathize with the Bieber’s decision to marry at a young age. But that actually has nothing to do with why I’m a strong advocate for their relationship.
I started rooting for them after returning home from my honeymoon this past August. While debriefing on celebrity gossip with a few of my coworkers, one of them said, “You’re never going to believe who was reading the marriage book you recommend to everyone – Justin Bieber!!” The book she was referring to was “The Meaning of Marriage,” by Pastor Tim Keller. One of the main takeaways of this book is Keller’s observation about the misconception in modern-day society that people are meant to “complete” one another. He argues that as Christians, we should view marriage as a triangle, realizing it is only Jesus Christ who can fulfill the deep longing in our hearts for love, but that our spouses can and should push us closer toward that love.
Hearing that Bieber had referenced this biblically based book that played such a huge role in solidifying my own marriage gave me a strong sense that he and Hailey were the real deal. Some of my friends laughed and thought I was crazy, but I told them, “Just watch. They’re in it for the right reasons – they’re going to work.”
Then a few weeks ago the Vogue cover story on the couple debuted, which further confirmed my inkling about them. “The common denominator, I promise you, is always church” said Hailey Bieber. I turned a few heads in an airport terminal saying, “YES!” as I read it. The author, Rob Haskell revealed the couple’s foundation: their mutual faith in Jesus Christ. He also noted Justin and Hailey’s commitment to couples’ counseling as well as repeated declarations from each of them that marriage is a choice, and that it’s not meant to be easy all the time.
Many media outlets have snapped pictures of this couple crying together, speculating WHEN (not IF) they will eventually break up as so many other young celebrity pairs have in the past. But I have faith this duo is going to last. They’ve figured out a crucial truth that is lost on so many others: we must put God at the center of our marriage in order to receive the strength, love and commitment that’s needed to make it last a lifetime.
The reality is that no one will ever have it all figured out, and that includes who we marry. The “secret sauce” is a mutual devotion to God. The wonderful Pastor Dan Meyer of Christ Church of Oakbrook, Illinois married me and my husband, Sam. He wisely explained to us in marriage counseling, “God chooses spouses for us who will help Him work out the things in our hearts He wants to transform.” I’ve already seen this come to fruition after just six months of being married. Even in the honeymoon phase, things aren’t always easy. You have to truly understand that your spouse’s job isn’t just to make YOU happy. The best way to fight our selfish human desires is to rely on God and HIS love to help us overcome the inevitable trials life brings.
Though I don’t personally know the Biebers, I can understand where their hearts are. I pray that they’ll continue to look to God as their strength and source of love. Getting married at any age, after dating for any amount of time, is always a risk. I admire them for putting their faith in something – SOMEONE – bigger than themselves, and of course, I’m rooting for their marriage to last for a lifetime!