Marriage—A Note to My Kids, Or Anyone Else Who Cares to Ponder

DustyMark's Journey 14 Comments

(auther Mark Linsley)


Marriage—A Note to My Kids, Or Anyone Else Who Cares to Ponder

Now that you know I’m a person who likes to give advice and has an opinion on everything… I’ve been thinking about another subject that every young person should listen to.  Its only become more evident to me the last few months.

So all of my Senior High Sunday schoolers and my kids and my kids friends whom I constantly pester with embarrassing questions—listen up.

A few years ago a friend told me that Ross Perot (Use your Google machine kids spoke at his wife’s (girlfriend at the time) college graduation ceremony.  He told me that the part of the speech he remembered was when Ross told the graduating class the key, not one of the keys—-thee key to success in life was wrapped up in one decision, the most important decision that they would make.  Who they decided to marry.

The last few months have made that strong statement more poignant than before to me.  Although as a Christian I believe that a person’s decision about the Man Jesus Christ carry’s even more weight— I will say Marriage is probably #2.

Why write about marriage?  It’s fun and I have 6 kids!

  • Karson my 25 year old step son has just got engaged to a beautiful young lady.  I catch myself constantly giving them advice (I know, I have a problem with that). Asking them about finances, jobs, church etc.  
  • I also have been telling stories,  my wife and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage and its fun to tell them about our first house, jobs and starting a family.  There are no guarantees in life however Dusty and I have been able to stick together because we built our marriage on a foundation that was the same.  We have the same world view.  We discussed this in detail while dating. Our relationship was built on our Christian World View—the Bible calls this being equally yoked.  You can’t have two cows yoked together pulling in opposite directions, life is hard enough without opposing World Views! (2 Cor. 6:14)
  • Dustyand I are in the middle of the strangest battle we’ve faced in our marriage and it has made me a bit sentimental and more appreciative than ever of our friendship and her personality although she can drive me crazy sometimes. 

World View

Twenty years of marriage!  I remember going to Butch Huismann (my Father In-law) to discuss marrying his daughter.  I remember exactly what he said “Its going to be hard..and you can’t quit.”  Everyone who has been married will tell you the same thing—its going to be hard.  I don’t know of one young person who actually believes them!  

If marriage is going to be much harder than you expect, you better set the bar pretty high for the individual you plan on marrying.  I keep telling my daughters don’t ignore red flags, address them.  

Twenty years is not a lifetime but it is just enough time to qualify for giving advice.  The best advice probably comes from those who have been married 40+ years, but unfortunately few of them know how to blog!

We had no clue how hard it was going to be!  But we knew we were on the same team,  we knew we loved each other and We had a foundation to build on even though neither of us would have called it our World View at the time.

I cannot stress this enough, you need to make sure you have the same world view—I spoke about my World View in my first post.  Dusty and I spent quite a bit of time learning each others.  

For my younger audience —A worldview is a way of looking at and explaining life and the world. It serves as a lens through which the world is interpreted.  A person’s worldview will influence the way everything in the world is viewed ..

So for my kids — Do you know what yours is?  Does the person you are interested in know their own?

Ask yourself these questions,  and after that ask the person you are interested in the same things.  You might say—I don’t know about these deep questions, that’s OK, but you probably shouldn’t be dating, or pursuing marriage until you figure this stuff out yourself.

How did we get here?  This question addresses our origin, it seems silly but how you answer this molds who you are. 

Why are we here?  This question addresses meaning and purpose of life.  This is a biggie.  Your life purposes should be somewhat aligned.

Where are we going?  This question addresses the future and the afterlife.

Who’s in charge?  This question addresses the existence of a supreme being.

What is true?  This question is huge!  Is truth objective or subjective?  If truth is objective, what is it based on (what is the source of truth)?  

What is right and what is wrong?  This question deals with morality.  Are right and wrong based on an objective set of moral standards or are they based on a person’s or group’s feelings, desires or standards that fit the time and place? 


This brings me to dating.  What is the purpose for dating?  Friendship, companionship? To be cool?  Or to figure out the answer to these questions?  I look at people today deciding on what computer to buy, the time and effort that goes into researching the specs, pricing etc.. however they put very little effort into their dating relationship.  It just slides along from one stage to the next. Next thing you know they’re moving in together.

Listen up kids… if these questions are too uncomfortable for you to bring up, or your significant other doesn’t have the capacity to consider them, then neither of you are  ready to date!

Because these questions really should be fun and will either deepen your relationship or save you from some pain.

Friendship and Romance

Don’t ignore friendship or Romance! You may have the same world view but if you don’t enjoy spending time together you’re not off to a good start.  I enjoyed dating, before I dated Dusty and especially Dusty—It should be fun getting to know different people and learning about what makes them like them and what makes you like you.  I feel like my kids generation makes dating strangely possessive.  They get very physical vey quick and very possessive— you can’t own someone else!  Its not crazy to be interested in two people at once!  It’s crazy to think you cant.

You want to be with someone who likes to do the things you like to do!  Its not going to be everything but there should be a lot of stuff you like to do together!  

Dusty and I love to travel and can talk about places we want to go together for hours.  We like activities, running, biking, hiking, and camping together.  We will go on vacation and our kids will be ready to do something else and Dusty and I will be soaked to bone with sweat playing pickle ball telling the kids, “one more game then we’ll head back to the beach.”  We like eating foreign foods, we love cross cultural experiences and adventure.  We discuss how we’re going to get on Amazing Race and what our strategy will be to win while watching the episodes.

Do we like everything the other one does? Of course not, but we have a lot more in common than not.  

We are not the most Romantic of a couple—however we were very attracted to each other physically and emotionally.  We were not embarrassed by each other in social settings and didn’t consistently hurt each others feelings.  On a side note— I’m not sure I totally buy into this whole opposites attract—different strengths and weaknesses, yeah— but I think you should have quite a bit in common, you will enjoy each other more.

Recognize Marriage is a serious decision and Dating is leading you there.

Dusty and I spent hours and hours discussing this stuff, we had watched several mutual friends get married and divorced and so it was an easy topic to broach, we had seen our own relationship blunders of the past.  We would go on long runs together yakking away or there was a restaurant on Alpine called “The Clock” and we would drink coffee, sit and talk and talk—it was open 24 hours a day.

The Bible is very clear on how marrying someone who is not a Christian can be detrimental to marriage—competing world views can make life very messy.

Karson told me this summer about a podcast he’d been listening to and how it was an impact to him when it came to dating—it really stuck with me.  He told this story of two guys, where one of them said to his buddy—you want to run to the mall with me? I’ve got to pick up a shirt.  So the buddy says sure…he’s a little surprised by the fact that his shirtless friend doesn’t park near the main entrance but one of the side doors, they walk in make one turn and walk directly into this clothing store, he beelines to the back of the store to the rack with his size/style.  Spends a few minutes pulls the shirt he wants completes the purchase and leaves.  The buddy has his own epiphany when he realizes that he goes to the mall and wanders through the main doors and pops into every store that catches his eye, spends mores money on stuff he never intended to and ends up returning home without what he needed.  But then it dawned on him that’s how he dated.


This last week I looked over at my wife as I writhed in pain due to this crazy back issue.  We were both emotionally discouraged due to our neurological surgeon appointment.  She looked worn out, hair tussled, slight bags under her eyes from exhaustion.  She’s constantly concerned about me falling, about my diet, my pain, my weight loss my medication etc. She runs our dialysis machine like a pro.  If I get up during the night she will get up and walk around the kitchen island with me and cry with me. One time I left the house quietly to walk the gravel road and she caught up to me to hold my hand at 2 am.  If I blink during the night she wakes up to see if I am having a heart attack! 🙂  She is in this battle with me.  I wish she didn’t have to be—I wish I could stop it for her sake but I can’t.  This is why I wanted to write to all you young people about marriage!  This is what I want my kids to see and know—This is what real Love looks like!  It looks like your Mom!  My wife!

This blog of my thoughts is not a formula!  A + B = C

Dusty has been committed to me from the beginning and I see it now more than ever.  Please understand I do not believe there is a perfect formula for Marriage.  I think there are multiple effective paths and patterns.  I also know  people can change and there is a risk no matter who you choose that they will not be committed.  People have to choose daily to Love and Sacrifice and we all by nature are quitters due to our sin nature.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:

If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.

Comments 14

  1. Mark you are very inspirational (as is Dusty). I’ve been married 38 years to my high school sweetheart. Basically we grew up together had to learn to lean on one another. When one was weak the other was strong and we’ve had some really tough things to get thru. And I’m sure more struggles to come. But the greatest thing we have in common is failure is not an option. I will always be here for him and I know he’ll always be here for me.

    Thank you for sharing!!

  2. I always cry reading your and dusty’s blogs. Thank you both for sharing your stories w others. You 2 are such a blessing to me. Love you guys. Praying everyday for your healing🥰🥰🤗🤗🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻✝️✝️✝️

  3. Mark, your words are full of great advice. After 46 years of marriage, I find this all to be true. I’m thankful for the man God chose for me and that through pain, joy, disagreements, and sorrow, my precious George is right here to meet my needs and encourage me.

    We are praying for you and Dusty (one of George’s Sunday School students) as you travel this journey. The Lord will never leave you or forsake you. Keep hanging on to Jesus.

  4. Mark and Dusty,
    Thank you again for sharing this most difficult journey, your thoughts to ponder and all the bits and pieces in your life.
    The BU kids miss your messy handwriting.
    I pray for you and your family daily.
    Phil. 4:19.

  5. Mark,

    Thank you for sharing your advice, stories and thoughts. Your insight is such an inspiration!!! I love hearing your love story with Dusty! ❤️ Keep that advice coming!

  6. I can’t see the words. I’m over here crying. Thank you Mark for your words. They are a treasure!!
    31 years in for us and I am every day more and more thankful for Tim.

  7. What wonderful advice and beautiful tribute to your amazing wife. Dusty is such a strong and loving advocate for you, tirelessly researching for whatever can possibly bring you some relief. You both are an encouragement and wonderful example to all who know you. Thank you both for sharing your journey.

  8. Thank you Mark for sharing … I have forwarded this to my dating children.. to share your advice on asking these important questions and to share your example of what a marriage should truly be.. conversations like these are hard. I love so much of what you have written and shared. I completely agree about our kids generation makes dating strangely possessive!! My youngest son just walked in the room when I was reading your blog post to my husband and I tried to explain to him “dating” and how I agree with you. He looked at me like I was crazy thinking you could date more than one person. ugh I also read and cried with my husband the remainder of your post. I did giggle when I read what Butch said about it’s going to be hard.. Not marriage but marrying his daughter Dusty haaa kidding kind of .. Praying your pain is gone and you are healed and my sweet friend is less anxious.. and finds some peace. I am truly enjoying the Jack & Ruby remodel as well. Thank you for sharing 🤍 Hugs and Love friends

  9. Mark you are spot on about marriage. Everything that you have shared with is exactly why my husband and I are still together for almost 51 years. I especially that you said to make sure you have a lot in common. It would have helped us through lots of struggles. But the bottom line is, we both look at marriage as a lifetime commitment and God has helped us through. God Bless you and heal you!

  10. I’m so thankful you had a good Christmas! Thanks for sharing the encouraging pictures too.
    I know that when I get bogged down with worries the unknowns or what-ifs (And I haven’t gone through anything like you’re going through) I have to remind myself that God loves us so much that he died for us and that he loves those that I love even more than I can.
    Continued prayers for you!

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