It was about 20 years ago.
An older friend asked me to breakfast in a small Midwestern town café to discuss a “serious topic.”
A lot was happening in my life. I was graduating from college and about to propose to the girl of my dreams.
That’s why I was so surprised when he opened his mouth and went after me.
For about an hour he voiced concerns about my relationship.
He talked about my weaknesses, her weaknesses, and perceived incompatibilities. He was kind when he pointed out some of my blind spots, but it still stung a little.
Then he talked about the difficulties that marriage would present. He painted a realistic picture that was obviously earned through his own experience.
He did much of the talking, but I was not silent. I had already weighed many of these matters. So I was able to offer counterpoints that seemed to allay several of his concerns.
Finally, he appeared to be mercifully out of ammunition. He stared at me for a moment and then asked me what I was planning to do.
“I’m going to marry her,” I said.
That’s when he smiled a cunning smile. He reached across the table, put his hand on my shoulder, and told me how proud he was.
“You mean, you will support this marriage?” I asked.
He answered, “Marriage is a bigger commitment than you can possibly imagine right now. It is more wonderful and more difficult than you know. If I can talk you out of it during one conversation about a few realistic negatives, you have no business getting in over your head in marriage.
If someone can be talked out of marriage in a brief conversation, I’m doing them a favor.”
He was right. He was a good friend. Later, he would serve as one of my groomsmen and become one of our biggest encouragers in our marriage.
Since then, I’ve had the privilege of failing several times to talk my friends out of marriage.
By the way, I feel the same about following Jesus. If I can talk you out of it, I’m probably doing you a favor.