Note: I wrote this initially as a Facebook comment to a friend who posted this article, entitled “A Case for Early Marriage: Why It’s a Good Idea to Get Married Young.” My passionate, impromptu response made me realize I had a story that was worth telling. This is not meant to be a dig on the original blog author, just using one of his arguments as a jumping off point.
The author wrote: “However, if Christians place the expectation on young believers to wait till their late twenties and early thirties for marriage, we are placing on them a weight that will cripple them. Young Christians seeking to be obedient to abstain from sexual relations outside of marriage will collapse under the weight of their optimal sex drive and the influence of an obsessively sexualized culture.
It is unreasonable, foolish, and harmful to place this weight on young people.”
I am newlywed 29 year-old and I’m proud to say my husband and I both saved ourselves for marriage. I realize we are the exception and not the rule; however, based on my experience of what has been possible, I have to disagree with this particular point of this article, even if it is well-intentioned. If we really believe in God’s grace, strength and Spirit we should be ALSO teaching young people to cultivate strong relationships with God and not simply corralling them into early marriages before they may be ready. I think the attitude of encouraging early marriage can be unhealthy if it’s based on fear and control. We are telling people “Oh, you can’t handle waiting anyway so you might as well get married young.” Paul addresses that in 1 Corinthians 7:9 (the “better to marry than burn with passion” passage) but it’s an allowance for sinful nature and not necessarily the ideal. For many Christians early marriage might indeed be the way to go but for others, it can be an amazing–though incredibly difficult–story of waiting on God and being obedient to Him.
How counter-cultural would it be if two 20-something-almost-30-somethings in 2014 can say they actually waited? CRAZY.
Was it “unreasonable, harmful or foolish” for us to wait? According to human limits and culture perhaps, but not when God is involved. One could say Abraham and Sarah were unreasonable or foolish for believing they would have children at 90 years of age. One could say Noah was unreasonable and foolish waiting on a flood. Sometimes to be a part of God’s grace in this world we have to be part of something unreasonable and foolish.
I am glad I waited because now I have this story that it IS possible. I am not “crippled.” I did not collapse under the weight of sex drive or an over-sexualized culture although it was incredibly difficult, disheartening and frustrating at times. My husband and I waited ONLY by the grace and strength and provision of God. But we did wait.
I wouldn’t have had it any other way.