Young Marriage

If you’ve been around any length of time you’ve heard parents and others encourage young people to delay marriage until ….

You can fill in the blank with any number of words.

  • College
  • Career
  • Established Career
  • Until Older
  • Enjoy your freedom first


Did He Get Married Too Young? – Al Mohler

He writes, “As college-educated, professionally aspiring young adults in New York, my wife and I were bucking the prevailing social script by marrying in our early 20s.” Indeed, the average age for first marriage for young men is now 28, and for women it is now 26. That reflects a significant change in the way Americans live, love, and marry. We now have the twin phenomena of delayed adulthood and extended adolescence. Young Americans, by and large, are not waiting for sex . . . but they are putting marriage off into a distant future.

As David Lapp reports, some social scientists argue that “early marriage” is a leading cause of marital breakup and divorce. Lapp puts that argument to flight with his point that the early marriages that fail are often teenage marriages.


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8 thoughts on “Young Marriage

  1. Mark and I got married when I was 19 and he was 18. He graduated from high school and we got married two days later. Soooo many people told us we were too young. If we would have waited a)Nathaniel would have not been born(he was born 7/28/97, we were married 6/1/96) b)Mark’s uncle would have probably not been able to marry us (he died of cancer not long after we got married) c) who knows if we would have married at all. I am sure there are a gazillion other things that would be different, but those are the main highlights that I can think of. I can remember a woman telling me I should not have gotten married so young: “One day you’ll wake up at 40 and feel like you’ve been married all your life.” (I don’t think she meant that in a good way) I think being married young kept us closer to God and out of so many things that a lot of our friends and former classmates got into after getting out of school. I do know that not all 18 and 19 year olds are mature enough to handle a marriage. But divorce was not an option for us, and we are VERY happy. I do feel sometimes like I have been married forever. (In a good way) I have never had to know what it is like to be a single adult trying to weed through a bunch of frogs to find my prince. I have never known the loneliness that comes from coming home to an empty house after work each day.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Kelli,

    That is neat that you married so young. I think many 18 and 19 year olds aren’t ready for marriage but I think the parents are to blame for that. Parents don’t expect enough from their children and they allow this bizarre extended adolescence that isn’t common in all countries. Maybe we should go back to manhood and womanhood ceremonies so that we all know there is a real goal to work towards.

    Our extended “dating” time frame is just asking for trouble and difficulties. College can actually go more smoothly if worrying about having a date for the weekend isn’t the most important thing. Like the referenced article said there is no reason why a married couple can’t do together many of the typical young adult activities. When you think about it most couple up anyway but without the benefits and the purity of marriage.

    The key to a successful marriage at any age is realizing “divorce isn’t an option” and that “selfishness is sin”. Whether 19 or 50, we all need to be reminded of that daily in our marriages.

    Berean Wife

  2. Oh, BW, you do have a knack for picking *interesting* topics to discuss! Very interesting topic. We have, in our church, parents who “push” or expect their daughters to marry right after high school (this attitude seems to lead the girls to flirting and desperation if their prince charming doesn’t come for a year or two). We also have families where the young people are single and approaching their 30’s and travelling all over the world doing missionary-type work, or working (girls included) and going back to school (girls included) who were encouraged not to even think about marriage, so they didn’t, or maybe they thought, but didn’t act like they did. I believe that one should *prepare* to be married, especially young men, as I believe they are the “initiators” and that means “growing up” sooner, becoming responsible, becoming deep in spiritual maturity, being able to provide–or making plans to–for a family, and, if possible, marry in their early 20’s. I, however, would have been in a completely different life story right now, if my husband had married young, as he is 7+ years older than me, and I would have still been in junior high when he was in his early 20’s. So, I believe that we have to wait on God’s timing–He will lead, but we *must prepare* so we are ready when He opens the door and our eyes to the one He has for us.
    Great topic, and so much more that could be said:)
    Blessings,
    Wendy

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Wendy,

    I’m glad you found it interesting. 🙂 You are in the “raising young adults category” so I’m sure this is something you’ve had to consider.

    We really haven’t been exposed to families that pushed for an early marriage, although I could see that becoming a sorta rebound effect from the delayed marriage position. We can’t ever seem to stay on the straight and narrow but must bounce from one wall to another. 🙁

    Now the delayed marriage is what I’m most familiar with. The “get a career to fall back on”, “wait until through with school”, “serve the Lord while young and unmarried” (As if we are to stop when married and old!) is the most common around here. But here is the real strange thing. Although marriage is to be postponed, dating begins earlier and earlier, even in church going families. Now granted there are many homeschooling families (and maybe even some public schooled) that are waiting on courtship. But most are dating early, going “steady” for years and yet they are encouraged to wait for marriage. ????

    But like you said there is a big difference with being prepared and open to marriage verses seeking and pushing for marriage. All won’t get married, although the majority of people will eventually marry. There is no reason for parents to not prepare their children for that time.

    The husband being a few years older and established in a career was common practice until recent history. But even so the man was working and preparing to be able to support a wife and family during his younger years. Often young men don’t really consider that until they do meet “Miss Right”, but then they are late getting started. So often the young wife must work and put the children in daycare due to poor planning and preparation by the young man and his parents.

    Berean Wife

  3. This is a topic that emerged as a rabbit trail over at my blog when I responded to a reader’s question about college.

    I believe, with the many variables young people have to face in this society and this disaster of an economy, that a college education can be a good investment when obtained wisely (while living at home, no debt incurred, etc.) What I don’t get is why people believe that marriage must be dalyed until after college is completed? That has never made much sense to me.

    We are proponents of early marriage. When we married, I was 22. My husband was 20! Even with poor planning and lack of financial wisdom, I came home to rasie our babies with little fanfare or financial upheaval.

    Of course,both my husband and I had a strong work ethic (from his father) and frugal ways (from my father) instilled in us from an early age.

    Sadly, we live in a world where sex is celebrated apart from marriage, which is probably why marriage rates are declining and the age of first marriages are rising.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Terry,

    I’m afraid very few people worry about obtaining a college without incurring debt. Debt is considered necessary for a good college degree. I agree with you though there is no reason why college students couldn’t be married while obtaining a degree. Actually I think it might be helpful to be settled in that manner so the focus on studies can be unhindered.

    “Sadly, we live in a world where sex is celebrated apart from marriage, which is probably why marriage rates are declining and the age of first marriages are rising.”

    That is probably the gist of the whole matter. Which came first though? The delayed marriage or the intimacy of marriage without marriage. Probably they were both equal factors in our society’s rejection of marriage and sexual purity. But how many parents inadvertently caused this in their children by their subtle and not so subtle teachings placing college and career above marriage and by default causing their children to be tempted to stumble and fall into impurity.

    Berean Wife

  4. Amen I believe in getting married early. As for me and my wife we married QUICKLY and this because of the fruit I observed in my wife (a baby Christian at the time) My wife was 19 and I was 24, we got married in less then 9 months of knowing each other (I knew THEN what a godly woman was and I wasn’t about to settle for less), and we really only had 1 date which became the engagement and then 6wks later we were married. I worked part time (at STAPLES) and she worked part-time (TJ-MAXX) though this came through IMMENSE discouragement we did have a few including my mother who wholeheartily supported us.
    We had decided to trust God in all our decisions and He more than provided. Funny @ first we were discouraged because she wasn’t pregnant (NOT a problem now) but after about 3mths of marriage we were blessed with our FIRST which also just HAPPENED to be the same month my insurance from my new full-time job kicked in. Then a girl from church who knew my wife for a few months, her and her husband we’re moving to florida so they gave us their JUST NEW living room set (all we had was my stereo on a box, and those foldable moon chairs and an old chair my mother Reupholstered) and a crib and two childrens dressers plus a bookcase. THE LORD HAS PROVIDED!!!
    As you mentioned one problem is the extended adolescence (the ungodly desire to ESCAPE responsibility) and I would add a unbiblical DISCONTENT-we want and DEMAND SOOOOOOOOOO much and waste our lives trying to get it.
    I had a brother I was counseling at the county jail who showed remarkable fruit over a few months and he mentioned the fear of getting married since it’s such a hinderance (something his father just told him) and I had to correct him and show him that the sacrifice involved in marriage (or child-bearing) brings with it GREAT rewards of joy, not to mention a CLEARER view of just how holy we are NOT.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Julius,

    I’m glad you at least had your mother’s support. As Kelli said just think who in your family would be missing if you and your wife had waited a few more years before marrying.

    It will be interesting when you are both old and gray to talk about all the ways the Lord provided for your family in both big and small areas. Hope you have a few pictures to show the children.

    I think discontent is an area that is stretching younger and younger and also up to old age. We seem to be losing the ability to be content in a simple, honest life. Marriage and Parenting are truly very effective tools the Lord uses to show us our sin and our selfishness. But thankfully with all the discipline and instruction they require also comes much blessing and joy.

    Berean Wife

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