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My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage and New Birth

My wedding was last Saturday. And I didn't marry the girl of my dreams.

If you would have told me when I was a teenager that my wife would have seven tattoos and a history in drugs, alcohol, and heavy metal concerts, I would have laughed at you, given you one of my courtship books, and told you to take a hike. My plans were much different, much more nuanced with careful planning, much more clean-cut, and much more, well, about me.

It wasn't my dream to marry a complicated girl. I never dreamed I'd sit on a couch with my future wife in premarital counseling listening to her cry and tell stories of drunken nights, listing the drugs she used, confessing mistakes made in past relationships.

This isn't my dream—it's better.

Many people wouldn't put Taylor and me together. In high school, we probably would not have been friends. She probably would have thought I was a nice, boring, judgmental Christian kid; I probably would have thought she was a nice, lost, party-scene girl who guys like me are supposed to avoid. People like us, with our backgrounds and histories, are not supposed to meet, fall in love, and covenant their lives to each other.

But everything changes when people meet Jesus. He takes rebellious teenage partiers and goody-two-shoes homeschoolers and puts them together in marriage to put something on display much bigger than their own handcrafted, perfectly planned love story.

Right in the middle of the mess of life, Taylor met Jesus, and he planted his flag in her life. She believed in him, and he transformed her. The Taylor who spent her life living from one pleasure to the next died, and a new person was born. A new person with new desires and a new heart that longed to please God, serve people, and treasure Jesus Christ above every other pleasure.

And this is how I see Taylor. She is completely new, completely transformed, and completely clean. This is not because she joined a helpful program or because she really “pulled herself together.” It's because God, in his incredible, infinite kindness, took Taylor's dark, crimson life, and made her white as snow. He took all of her sins, placed them on his Son, and then gave her Jesus' righteousness to wear like a perfectly white wedding dress.

In reality, Taylor's story is my story as well. As she walked down the aisle toward me, I was reminded of how much I don't deserve the precious gift she is to me. I've spent much of my life singing a self-centered siren song. Nothing about my life cries for blessings; it calls for curses forever. Yet God has dressed me in white, put my sin upon his Son, and given me a heart that loves him.

I love Taylor with all that I am. She is gentle, kind, patient, joyful, beautiful, and loving. I don't deserve to be married to someone like her. I didn't plan for this, but I'm so glad I didn't get what I planned for.

Last weekend I was reminded of the beautiful reality that God exchanges the sin of our past for the perfect righteousness of his Son. Contrary to popular opinion, our wedding day was not our wedding day; it was a display of the most stunning reality in the universe—that God sent his Son to redeem a people made clean by the blood of his Son.

God's ultimate plan in putting Taylor and me together is to uniquely display his grace so that other people will praise him (Eph. 1:5-6). That's his purpose for our marriage, and that's his purpose in the world at large. Taylor and I have taken part in that display, and we hope you will too.

Editors' note: This article originally appeared at the Unspoken blog.

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