Letters to Young Lovers


Parents Can Be of Help

If you are blessed with God-fearing parents, seek counsel of them. Open to them your hopes and plans; learn the lessons which their life experiences have taught. LYL 45.1

Should a son or daughter select a companion without first consulting the parents, when such a step must materially affect the happiness of parents if they have any affection for their children? And should that child, notwithstanding the counsel and entreaties of his parents, persist in following his own course? I answer decidedly: No; not if he never marries. “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Here is a commandment with a promise which the Lord will surely fulfill to those who obey. Wise parents will never select companions for their children without respect to their wishes. LYL 45.2

One of the greatest errors connected with this subject is that the young and inexperienced must not have their affections disturbed, that there must be no interference in their love experience. If there ever was a subject that needed to be viewed from every standpoint, it is this. The aid of the experience of others, and a calm, careful weighing of the matter on both sides, is positively essential. It is a subject that is treated altogether too lightly by the great majority of people. Take God and your God-fearing parents into your counsel, young friends. Pray over the matter. LYL 45.3

If children would be more familiar with their parents, if they would confide in them, and unburden to them their joys and sorrows, they would save themselves many a future heartache. When perplexed to know what course is right, let them lay the matter just as they view it before their parents and ask advice of them. Who are so well calculated to point out their dangers as godly parents? Who can understand their peculiar temperaments so well as they? Children who are Christians will esteem above every earthly blessing the love and approbation of their God-fearing parents. The parents can sympathize with the children, and pray for and with them that God will shield and guide them. LYL 45.4

This letter brings into focus the thought of responsibility to parents. It is clear that hans is trying to urge himself upon the girl, against the strong opposition of her parents, and without concern for their feelings at all. This situation raises the question of whether parents should be considered in the process of choosing a wife. What happens after such a marriage as far as relations with them are concerned? Ellen White poses such consequences worth considering. LYL 46.1

Geneva, Switzerland,

December 16, 1885.

Dear Hans,

I understand that you have desired to have my judgment in regard to matters that trouble you in reference to marriage with Brother Meyer's daughter. I understand that the father of the one upon whom you have placed your affections is not willing that his daughter should connect with you in marriage. While I would feel due sympathy for you because of your disappointment, I would say, “Who should feel interested in his own child more than her own father; and also her mother?” LYL 47.1

The very fact of your urgency of this matter against the wishes of the parents is evidence that the Spirit of God has not the first place in your heart and a controlling power upon your life. You have a strong will, a firm, persistent determination to carry out anything you have entered upon. LYL 47.2

Will my brother please look to his own spirit and criticize his motives and see if he has a single eye in this matter to act in all things for the glory of God? I was shown the cases of several in Switzerland who were very much exercised upon the subject of marriage, that they had their minds so fully engrossed with this subject that they were disqualifying themselves to do the work God would have them to do. LYL 47.3

There was a young man shown me who was seeking to become one of the family of Brother Meyer's whom he did not seem to accept. He was in great trial and worriment of mind. I cannot but think this applies to you. This brother was not fitted in any sense to take the responsibilities of a husband or of a family, and should the union be formed now there would be great unhappiness as the result. LYL 47.4

Now, my brother, my advice is for you to give your mind and affections to God and lay yourself on the altar of God. LYL 47.5

There is the fifth commandment that must be respected. Had this commandment been more respected than it has been,—had children been obedient to their parents and thus honored them,—how much suffering and misery would have been spared! The inexperienced child cannot discern what is for her best good, and how to wisely choose a companion who will make her life pleasant and happy; and an unhappy marriage is the greatest calamity that can befall both parties. LYL 47.6

Will my brother closely examine his heart and see whether he is in the love of God or not? Will he see what feelings are arising there against Brother Meyer because he cannot bring his mind to consent to there being a union between you and his daughter? If you were indeed learning in the school of Christ to wear His yoke, to lift His burdens, to learn of Jesus’ meekness and lowliness of heart, you would not urge your will and your wishes so persistently. LYL 48.1

Do not unfit yourself through your strong will to carry your points at all hazards. Stop where you are and inquire, “What is the spirit that controls me?” Are you loving God with all your heart? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? LYL 48.2

The very first duty that rests upon Brother Meyer's daughter is to obey her parents, to honor her father and her mother. This she can do if you will not keep her mind in a state so unsettled that she cannot do her duty to her parents. LYL 48.3

The mother needs the help of her child, and when she will become a few years older, she will understand better how to choose a husband who will make her life smooth and happy. A woman who will submit to be ever dictated to in the smallest matters of domestic life, who will yield up her identity, will never be of much use or blessing in the world and will not answer the purpose of God in her existence. She is a mere machine, to be guided by another's will and another's mind. God has given each one, men and women, an identity, an individuality. All must act in the fear of God for themselves. LYL 48.4

There are so many unhappy marriages. Can we be surprised that parents are cautious and want to guard their children from any connection which may not be wise and best? LYL 48.5

Your sister in Christ

Ellen G. White.

Letter 25, 1885