Christians who don’t promote young marriage don’t actually care about chastity.

29 Jun

Reader Nate Winchester sent me a link to this article from The Catholic World Report: “Should We Bring Back Young Marriage?

It’s a longer article, but it’s a good read.

My take on the issue of young marriage is that if Christians are actually serious about chastity, then they HAVE to support young marriage.  And it seems to me that Christians at large are not serious about chastity.  All of the “True Love Waits”-style campaigns, purity rings, abstinence education – all of that means NOTHING in the face of biology…or at least it ends up meaning nothing if you’re alone with your boyfriend in your apartment at night and you’re in love with each other, or at least happen to think each other is hot.  I mean, what do parents REALLY THINK is going to happen?  Maybe not the first time, but given ENOUGH time.  That they’re just having Bible study at 1:00am?

Are adult Christians just stupid?

Is it not obvious to anyone with half a brain that human beings were not designed to delay sex for two or three decades after coming to sexual maturity?  Yet we have Christians not blinking an eye at full-grown adult singles waiting until age 35 to marry for the first time, because that was just God’s perfect plan or whatever.

Maybe these Christians (because THEY married at age 21 or 22 and never had the delightful experience of having unfulfillable sexual desires for 10 or 20 years) think that anyone can wait because THEY were able to wait for, like, five years.  Maybe the only singles they know at church are low sex-drive 2s, or girls who became chubby single cat ladies by age 26 and are totally content to serve in the nursery at church while patientlyyyy waiting for Mr. Right that everyone knows will never arrive – isn’t it obvious that waiting is a realistic and achievable goal?

Or maybe it’s that as long as the couple weren’t cohabitating before marriage, then we can totally assume that they weren’t having premarital sex, right?  Even though they dated for five years!

I think some of it is that there are a lot of married Christians in the church these days who had premarital sex, and they just don’t want to address it, because then THEY might have to come clean about their own fornication, and nobody wants to go there because (A) no one else’s business, and (B) awkward.  So everyone just turns a blind eye to what they know is going on, and it’ll all work out because we’re all forgiven and everybody makes mistakes and no sin is greater than any other sin.

Until someone gets pregnant.  But even then, everyone rallies around the brave single mother (no abortion = hero for life) and volunteers to babysit.

We hear a lot these days from pearl-clutching Christians about how evil the world is and how depraved the culture, etc.  If Christians are really serious about changing the culture for the better, then they need to get serious about promoting young marriage and stop telling singles (either explicitly or implicitly) that they have a long time to find someone and it’s better to go off and have adventures while they figure out who they are.  And they also need to stop telling people that the 20s are a “season” in which you can work on yourself to become closer to God and therefore marriage-worthy or whatever.  By the time you hit your 20s, you should already be well-formed enough to be a good candidate for being a spouse.  That has not so much to do with how many various experiences you have in life but very much to do with your fundamental character.  Marriage shouldn’t be about bringing two “experts in life experience” together but rather about bringing two young people who may be inexperienced in life but of solid character together.  All the life experience in the world means very little with no character.  Age 22 is not a good age at which to BEGIN to develop character.   Yes, it’s a good thing to have done some introspective thought about who you are and what you want, but this idea that we have to be practically irrevocably formed before even entertaining the thought of marriage is wrong-headed.  If anything, too much formation makes it that much harder for someone to get married and stay married.


55 Responses to “Christians who don’t promote young marriage don’t actually care about chastity.”

  1. Toz June 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Elephant in the room: Divorce correlates pretty well with how young you got married. Not to say we should rank sins or anything, but practically speaking, divorce has way more devastating emotional effects than fornication.

    That said, I agree with you, we should be encouraging people to get married young. But that needs to correspond with more responsibility at younger ages. Or, as I would put it, no 4 year carefree debt-making.

  2. Deep Strength June 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    @ Toz

    Elephant in the room: Divorce correlates pretty well with how young you got married. Not to say we should rank sins or anything, but practically speaking, divorce has way more devastating emotional effects than fornication.

    Not really. Correlation is not causation for a variety of reasons.

  3. Kevin June 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    My initial reaction was this is the 600 pound gorilla in the room. Pre-marital sex between Christians is more prevalent than most churches recognize or are willing to admit. To do so would mean they have to admit their own failures in keeping the flock and churches like putting up the facade that they have it all together.
    The sermons which preach “grin it and bear it” or make young people feel guilty about having sexual desire just make the problem worse. Rather than embracing it as something which is God given, that is to be expressed in marriage, some guys go off thinking being a eunuch might be the best way to suppress those evil biological urges.

  4. Lucie Winborne June 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Your comment about character development reminded me of a scene in the novel “Anne of Green Gables,” where Anne, barely in her teens, is instructed (with the rest of the girls in her class) by her teacher about character-building, and how the girls can never start early enough in forming theirs. Sure, the life expectancy wasn’t as long as today, which no doubt had something to do with it, but how much else has changed?

  5. natewinchester June 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Elephant in the room: Divorce correlates pretty well with how young you got married. Not to say we should rank sins or anything, but practically speaking, divorce has way more devastating emotional effects than fornication.

    Toz, the article addressed that.

    “I think there is a case to be made for 20-something marriage,” said Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project . “There is a strong body of evidence that those who marry in their teens are much more likely to get divorced than anybody else.” Wilcox stressed that the research on age and marriage is suggestive, not definitive.

    However, there is reason to think that it is not the age of marriage that is key, but rather pushing against the current trend of adolescence continuing into the late 20s, while fostering greater support from larger family and community.

    Besides, as the article points out, we ALL have prime breeding windows during our lives (yes, even men) so if you wait too late, you may not get divorced, but ya’ll be a barren couple. (though if marriages & breeding keep getting pushed back, I wonder if we’ll start seeing more correlation between divorces and infertility, I’ve heard that can cause a lot of stress on relationships)

  6. y81 June 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    I don’t think the research supports the contention that divorce correlates monotonically with age at marriage, e.g., that those who marry at 22 are more likely to get divorced than those who marry at 28. It’s only marriage before age 20 or so that correlates with higher divorce rates. And I certainly think it’s possible for young people to date without going all the way through age 22. But I agree with Haley, the idea that people could have their own apartments and have romantic relationships at age 25 and not have sex is not realistic.

  7. JG June 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    “Are adult Christians just stupid?”

    On average, yes. Otherwise people would have been at least discussing the topic of younger marriage. That was never once discussed in my many years in the organized church. But it obviously should have been.

  8. Hermes July 1, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Haley, this ties in well with that previous post you did on how the church bombards its teenagers with “true love waits” messages, then abruptly ceases discussing the subject at all once they age into the college-and-career group. Do these pastors and Christian leaders really think that teenagers can’t be left alone for 5 seconds before clothes come flying off, while single twentysomethings wouldn’t dare think of spending their Saturday night doing anything but reading the Bible at home?

    The fact is that the church has absorbed a lot of worldly wisdom. One of my best Christian friends, whom I discuss the subject with often, a fellow medical resident in his early 30’s, is disgusted with the idea of “young” (i.e., early twenties) marriage and is constantly lamenting seeing on Facebook all these kids he knew as a camp counselor now getting married in their early twenties. Despite being red-pill on some issues, he spouts every contemporary cliché about people not knowing who they are yet at that age, needing to finish grad school and get established in one’s career and buy a house first, etc. when discussing the subject. If this is the way evangelical Christians think, who needs liberal feminists?

    As the blogger Robert Stacy McCain was said to have put it (though I can’t find the link,) “you can’t make people wait until they’re old and ugly to have sex.”

  9. donalgraeme July 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I’m not sure how I missed this until now, but a good article nonetheless. Young marriage is not a complete solution to the problem of premarital sex amongst Christians, but it will reduce the scope of it dramatically.

    As for the divorce problems arising out of young couples, that has a lot to do with the way the SMV/MMV works, as well as the fact that most marriage advice these days is awful. The Church (and the general culture) does its best to ensure that young marriages don’t take place, and if they do, that they fail.

  10. Cicely Duke July 1, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    I’m tempted to call Poe’s Law on this site. That is, the idea that without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism. You remind me of the Landover Baptist/Betty Bowers sites, which are operated by atheists with the attempt to mock Christianity. While I hope this isn’t the case, your secrecy about your identity gives me doubts. Why don’t you give your real name, picture, some details about yourself, etc.?

  11. Novaseeker July 2, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Most American Christians follow the general life script everyone else does, and want this life script for their kids as well. It runs as we know it does – mandatory college, preferably away from home so as to cultivate independence, followed by work and graduate school, “figuring yourself out”, and dating around until at least 25, perhaps longer (depending on what you “figure out” about yourself), followed by marriage in the late 20s or early to mid-30s once you have everything else in your life “figured out”. This is the pattern of the middle class and up, whether they are Christian or not – it makes no difference.

    Parents support this pattern because they do not see viable, better alternatives – Christians as well. The alternative of early marriage is more or less universally loathed for a variety of reasons ranging from purely cultural (“people don’t really know themselves and what they want until they are 30”) to economic (“people need to spend the time before 30 building the foundation for their economic lives, and can’t afford other things derailing that because they will then pay for life for that derailment”) to personal (“I did it that way and I worked out fine”). These reasons are not going away, en masse, any time soon among Christians, because most Christians lead those aspects of their lives that are not specifically religious in the same way, roughly, that secular participants in the culture do.

    The response of the church has been to pay lip service to chastity, while in practice turning a blind eye to fornication – a cornucopia of fornication that is happening because it is inevitable for it to happen when sexual maturity and marriage are separated by 15+ years in many cases. The “ask” of the church in this regard is morally responsible, but at the same time fundamentally impractical. But no-one wants to upset the life script which everyone is following, and which is the root cause of the issue. So, instead we get lip service about chastity, and turning a blind eye to premarital fornication provided that certain visible taboos are not transgressed (cohabitation, abortion, rampant and open promiscuity).

    This is, de facto, the “modus vivendi” that the church has reached on this issue. In part this has happened because the church lacks the cojones to confront its own about their caving in to the general culture. But in part it has also happened because the church, at least many people in it, including many clergy, do not really dislike the current model of the walkabout 20s, and so they have found a pragmatic way to have their cake and eat it too – pay lip service to chastity, ignore the fornication that everyone knows is going on by simply pretending it doesn’t exist, and everyone’s happy as long as people don’t transgress visible taboos.

  12. andrewymoon July 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    The thing about this author is that he’s a bona fide sociologist who doesn’t rely just on anecdotes. He published his book “Premarital Sex”, published by Oxford University Press, and he’s also Christian.

  13. y81 July 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    C.S. Lewis once wrote that Satan tries to exacerbate the tendencies of each age, so cruel ages are warned against the dangers of excessive lenity and standardless ages are warned against intolerance. We live in a very individualistic and socially atomized era, so Satan’s agents in popular culture warn constantly against social entanglement and dependence: in particular, against the dangers of premature romantic commitment and family formation. The churches should be, as they always should be, countercultural, and maybe they are to a modest extent, but mostly not. Mostly the churches repeat not the one true and timeless gospel, but the contemporary “gospel” of self-fulfillment and growth.

  14. rosannanoelle July 2, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    Good point made, albeit in a funny and passionate way. If we are going to WAIT, but we are going to DATE as well, then my oh my, we need tactics to stay pure in our love for one another… AND… we need more support for young marriage! My favorite line is this: “…this idea that we have to be practically irrevocably formed before even entertaining the thought of marriage is wrong-headed”. We don’t need to know exactly who we are. We need to be mature enough to marry, but flexible enough to change and to realize we are in for continual growth– and definitely not immutable, nor thinking we are “perfect” in our ways already (which I believe your last line suggests).

  15. Chris July 3, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    @Haley: spot on. Now if you ever get to the antipodes… :-)
    The current dating scene is scary & unstructured: my teenage sons are avoiding it. And I see all these women in their late 30s and 40s going EPL, dumping their husbands, and picking up losers. I’ll believe we are serious when churches have up “no divorces since 2012 in this congregation” signs — as Dalrock suggested a couple of years ago.

    But the middle aged have their own problems. We need to correct things for the next generation. Some ideas.

    1. Boys and Girls Brigade instead of scouts. Overtly Christian, British, but includes all those hobby things and doing three day expeditions. Boys do it with the Boys, girls with the girls. The parent/leaders should be teaching diet, exercise, and household skills (including vol. work with the young and the old) as part of this.
    2. Dads teach trades to most of the boys, who then start working in the same area. (there may be some swaps). Girls are encouraged into credentialled and flexible jobs (teaching and nursing are female dominated for a reason). Only the brightest 5% go beyond an associates to a professional school. And then, whenever possible, encourage them to use the free/cheap scholarships out there. This means that by 20, 21, the young man and woman have the basics of a career and prospects.
    3. Kill the youth group. That is what the Brigades are for. Instead, have dances. Old fashioned formal, or square, or celidh. Everyone turns up. And you get to know which young women you like, and the women start to see who can lead while still being decent. These should be family friendly — enough parents around to stop the couples sneaking off and canoodling.

    And when Johnny falls for Sally, he can look Sally’s dad in the eye, say he can support her. Everyone has an engagement party, the bans are read, and they marry (the houseraising may replace the engagement party if the area is traditional, the planning laws lax, and the engagement limited to days or weeks). And once they are in their house they would be encouraged to have sex, lots of it, while young and beautiful.

    By the way, that’s the way things worked in the USA and England until the last 60 years.

  16. oogenhand July 3, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    Finally, Christians are getting it.

  17. The Scolds' Bridle July 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Haley- I’d be interested in your opinion on this story. Agnostic alpha male sexes up church virgin who is old enough to know what she is doing.

    This is a common story, regrettably.

  18. an observer July 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    The Church (and the general culture) does its best to ensure that young marriages don’t take place, and if they do, that they fail.

    The church has adopted the liberal tenets of feminism, promoting careerism, options, and `being the best you can be`, which does not include marriage and parenthood.

    Getting married is discouraged. Playing the field is in, the sunday morning slutwalk is the meat market for professing players, and church girls dont want it any other way.

  19. Aunt Haley July 7, 2013 at 11:28 pm #


    I know of cases where people have been removed from churches for adultery, but the only times I have ever heard of someone being removed or even disciplined for fornication was when that person was in a position of leadership. Sexual sin is the most personal sin, and the most devastating when it comes to gossip, so it’s all very hush-hush.


    Old dudes can father children, while old ladies can’t. However, I always question men who think their 40s or older are the ideal time to BEGIN having children. If you have your first kid at age 50, you’re going to be past retirement age by the time your child finally graduates from high school. And what senior citizen really wants to deal with teenagers and their moods every day?


    I think your friend is lamenting the symptoms, not the cause. If young people were socially “trained” (for lack of a better term) for marriage at a young age, there would be less of a “need” to spend an entire decade or more “finding yourself.”

    Also, I want to smack every female Boundless commenter who thinks it doesn’t matter if you find someone at 25 or at 50, because it’s all part of God’s perfect plan. F THAT. Who wants to finally relinquish their virginity when they’re in the throes of menopause, to a guy who’s way past his physical peak? (Yes, men can be in great shape in their 50s and beyond, but they are physically no match for a guy who’s in his 20s-30s.)

    Only a ridiculous no-sex-drive virgin would say that.



  20. rogerunited July 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Novaseeker and Chris brought up some good points.

    One problem is that the average 20 year old, one who’s not from a moneyed family, can’t support a family. Today’s college degree is roughly equal to the HS diploma of 20 years ago necessitating college for most family oriented types. I can’t imagine trying to raise kids while attending college full time or doing doing so on a $10/hr no-college-required job. Entrepeneurship is the only other option I can think of.

    Another is a society that doesn’t support traditional lifestyles. I think the Amish have it right; live seperately from the world. Maybe its time for Christians to withdraw from mainstream society and set up our own communities like the Amish do?

  21. The Scolds' Bridle July 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm #


    You had me at “smack” and “boundless”.

  22. Hermes July 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    I think your friend is lamenting the symptoms, not the cause. If young people were socially “trained” (for lack of a better term) for marriage at a young age, there would be less of a “need” to spend an entire decade or more “finding yourself.”

    True, but it’s also a good example of how even “conservative” Christians have bought into modern worldly thinking. It’s sort of like he thinks that if you don’t have a graduate degree, a career, and a house, you’re ipso facto not mature enough for marriage.

    Also, I want to smack every female Boundless commenter who thinks it doesn’t matter if you find someone at 25 or at 50, because it’s all part of God’s perfect plan. F THAT. Who wants to finally relinquish their virginity when they’re in the throes of menopause, to a guy who’s way past his physical peak? (Yes, men can be in great shape in their 50s and beyond, but they are physically no match for a guy who’s in his 20s-30s.)

    How unloving and un-Christlike for you to make such sweeping generalizations! Why, my aunt’s cousin’s best friend’s sister’s coworker got married for the first time at age 50 to a wonderful, godly, and loving man, and they are a very happy and blessed couple! Who are you to question God’s Perfect Timing when He is writing our love stories?

  23. Cicely July 9, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    “Maybe its time for Christians to withdraw from mainstream society and set up our own communities like the Amish do?”

    Generally, Christian groups who withdraw do so at the expense of the Great Commission. You can’t share the gospel with unsaved people if you avoid any contact with them (which is not to say that the Amish aren’t commendable in some respects.)

  24. The Scolds' Bridle July 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    And the beat goes on:

  25. rogerunited July 11, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Lot left Sodom so God could destroy it, Noah and his family “dropped out” and boarded the Ark so God could destroy the earth.

    As for the Great Commission, it is to share the Gospel. I doubt there are many people in this country who haven’t heard the good news. I’m saying it might be time to heed Matthew 10:14*

    And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

    Split off and live your beleifs and raise your children in a better environment.

    *I could add verse 15 also,
    Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

    Scary consequences, but we all reap we you sow.

  26. Teresa Rincon July 11, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    I notice Haley hasn’t denied the suggestion that this blog is satirical. I could seriously see her writing for The Onion.

    In any case, younger marriages would be more feasible if parents were willing to financially assist their married children as they do with single adult children. It’s basically a given that couples shouldn’t marry unless they can afford to be under their own roof, away from mom and dad. Similarly, few university campuses accommodate married students in their residential halls.

  27. Cicely July 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    ” I doubt there are many people in this country who haven’t heard the good news.”

    I encounter such people on a regular basis. I am 36 years old, and I can recall only one Christian who ever witnessed to me (not knowing that I was a Christian) in my entire life. There’s no way this society could be in the mess it’s in if the church was doing its job.

  28. rogerunited July 12, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    That’s amazing. What region are you in? I live in the “Bible Belt” and if God, the Bible or church aren’t mentioned in just about every conversation, well, there is no “if”, they’re always mentioned.

  29. Richard Cook July 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Think it’s time we actually tried to live the gospel?

  30. seventiesjason July 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Marriage is hard work even if you are young or old. To think that it gets easier when you “marry older” is just as silly as thinking that a “college education” will guarantee your financial security into “upper middle-class living”

    Plenty of people marry young and did just fine (my parents did at 22 and 19 respectively). When you get married you had better both be putting God and Christ FIRST because that is what will hold you up when the tough times come. And they will come…….married at a younger or older age.

    I am not married and perhaps it was thinking as a younger man back in the late 1980’s that I would “never” be able to find such a confident woman at a younger age.

    I was right on that.

  31. an observer July 25, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    There’s no way this society could be in the mess it’s in if the church was doing its job.

    That`s good, very funny.

    Who`s writing satire now?!

  32. Abby August 11, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Just the basis of marriage should not be age whether young or old. It should be based on whether you are ready and have met the RIGHT PERSON. And waiting later does not mean compromising is inevitable. If God brings your spouse later, he’ll give you grace to WAIT if you believe.

  33. cswoman September 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Cool blog…interesting food for thought! :)

  34. Nata September 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    As Christians God commands us to save ourselves for marriage, but no where in the Bible does it say “THou must marry young!” I am all for people marrying young if that is what God’s want for them. But its God’s and couples choice, not ours and we have no right to judge them if they don’t marry young.

  35. Chris Dagostino October 11, 2013 at 6:46 am #

    Different strokes for different folks.

    As I mentioned in my first post yesterday, I’ve pretty much renounced marriage and am surprisingly optimistic about a financially prosperous and celibafe future. I know what Paul meant when he said that he wished that more men could be like him – busy with the Gospel and thinking with the bigger of their two heads.

    For those who desire marriage, I personally think that they’d be better of marrying a little later when they’ve been around the proverbial block a few times. When I was still interested in marriage, I read Debbie Maken’s book “Getting Serious About Getting Married”, and she didn’t rule out a couple getting hitched after only a few months of courtship. (She also asked one of her dates, “So, what kind of eunuch are you?”, so yeah, she’s probably not the most reliable source I’ve come across.)

    “Marriage of continence” is a dangerously hasty thing; sex drive/attraction is a legitimate reason for marriage, but it should only be one piece of the puzzle.

  36. emily October 25, 2013 at 2:23 am #

    I personally think that young “Christian” couples rushing into getting married at 22 with the so called justification that “God has told us to” (when everyone knows its actually just a desperate to have sex thing), then getting knocked up straight away and not having the finances to support the child is far far far more selfish and stupid than having premarital sex. I mean seriously, how is you raising a child in a student flat with your shotgun wedding husband that you were motivated to marry mainly for sex, a better and more “Christian” situation??

  37. emily October 25, 2013 at 2:27 am #

    *I’m meaning, premarital protected sex, that is’ant going to result in a baby.

  38. Elspeth October 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm #


    Are you a Christian? I’m guessing you’re not because that’s the only way you would ask such an outlandish question.

    The Bible clearly indicates that getting married for the purpose of getting to have sex is a valid reason and superior alternative to premarital sex or lustfully playing with the fire of “how far can we go without sinning?”

    Younf marriage is not as bad as we have tried to paint it. I know from experience and know others who have married young and done just fine also.

  39. Chris Dagostino October 28, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Elspeth, the desire for sex isn’t a bad thing–God Himself is trying to get me to realize that after all these years–but like I said above, it’s only one of many factors to take into consideration.

  40. Elspeth October 28, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Elspeth, the desire for sex isn’t a bad thing–God Himself is trying to get me to realize that after all these years–but like I said above, it’s only one of many factors to take into consideration.

    Of course it’s just one of “many factors to take into consideration”. The problem with the super spiritual modern church is that there is a tendency to down play that particular consideration and as such, set our young people on a path of extreme temptation.

    Most of what is considered a “factor to take into consideration” is just more post-modern prattling about perfect timing and having the perfect job and a mortgage to chain you in place and what not. Meanwhile Christian young people are fornicating and lying about it to their parents and everyone else when they could be married a lot sooner than they are.

    Marriage and college need not be mutually exclusive. Marriage and building a life from the ground up need not be mutually exclusive.

    The considerations are actually quite few: Shared faith and values, attraction, the ability to provide the basic necessities of life and start a sparse household, and parental consent.

    That’s it. What other considerations are there that are worth the risks of undermining chastity and the teachings on Biblical sexuality?

  41. brennaforde January 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    This is a really wonderful article. I believe that some people are meant to get married later in life, but generally I find that those people are the ones who don’t want to focus on love much at all at the younger points in their life. Some of my friends aren’t even interested in dating at this point, but will probably find that they have time for that stuff later on, at which point I think that is great for them to get married, and not fornicate. I think the reason for young marriage has most definitely been society’s push to baby kids, well into their twenties and also the amount of time it takes to earn a college degree. 70 years ago, it took a woman 6 weeks of education to become a teacher. 6 weeks! For the most part men would also have a job that required less time to become educated. While we have pushed to ‘start our lives’ at a later age, God has not changed the age at which we are sexually mature. and at a healthy age to have children without increased medical problems. Society seems to frown upon young marriage even more so than having multiple sexual partners. If I do perhaps end up getting married at 20, my parents will probably not support me financially, which is a huge mental burden. It’s difficult to please everyone. However it’s God’s plan that is most important, so if we started paying attention to that and less attention to our current sinful society tells us, it would be just grand.

  42. brennaforde January 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Reblogged this on Insurgent Lassie and commented:
    This is a very interesting look at young christian marriage. I also ended up reading the comments and found the discussion quite interesting.

  43. Red March 16, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    This is my life. Wow. Did you hit it on the head. Let’s be friends. Especially as a female in my twenties, I can’t believe how accurate this is. This is everything that I would have written, only it sounds better. I’m trying to explain to my parents, my “Christian mentors,” what I’m going through right now, and I always hear, “Well, you’re better off not having to deal with (…).” I’m not. The sad thing is, I’m hermitting myself trying to study, and for some reason, darn it, I just can’t focus!

    I see you have some links about Boundless. Those should be funny. I really tried with them, I did, I gave them quite ago, even after articles telling me that I should grow my hair out and bake casseroles for the man I felt that God was leading me to… like Ruth… or whatever. But they are just totally clueless. They’ve basically given-up. They never cared about the urges of our generation, sort of like basically every church out-there. Even though in the BIble, the leaders are told to instruct people our age to get married before “the lusts” take over. I stopped following Boundless when I tried their dating site partner, and it was a scam website. It charges a ton of money, and there are like 80 “singles” from across the country who are out to get more of your money. But maybe the best part about Boundless are the presumptions that:

    1. You were born in the Bible Belt
    2. Your future-spouse is in your G.O.B. friend-group
    3. That the female member is doing something wrong
    4. That the male member is still single and celibate, yet massively horny

    Other advice from Boundless (it’s only to women):

    1. Consider men who are abysmal
    2. Don’t be fat; men are attracted to sight
    3. Don’t be friends with with men, that makes them horny; just say, “hi”
    4. Don’t touch a man’s arm; that looks desperate
    5. Don’t sit next to a man; that looks desperate
    6. You can approach a man, but still try to get it so he somehow chases you
    7. Paul was single
    8. If you touch yourself (I’m sorry that I have to say this) while you’re engaged to someone, they should dump you.

    This isn’t to say that some of the writers aren’t good…

    I also hate looking for a church. I’m definitely at the point where I’m going to meet a man, but also want it to be a good church. You go to the big churches, and they’ll be like, “We have a college group for young adults.” I go in there, and I’m a “cougar.” There’s some emotionally unstable dude in a felt shirt with stubble and glasses, who get’s really whipsery over the thrown-together praise music. “Everybody get up on your feet and blahblahblah!” “Jesus, we just come together, God, and we, we, we, ask that you blaaaaahhhh….” Afterwards, has a beverage and a plate of chips and stands.

    Or you go to the “singles” group, which is Christian speed-dating. You quickly learn a lesson, and recite it back to your table. The woman with the best response hypothetically gets a Christian husband. The good-looking man would actually pick the good-looking woman, but he’s actually single because basically, he actually is a Paul, and he’s never going to make a move ever.

    But they never combine 20-30-year-old singles and couples, unless you’re Catholic. So, my social network stays limited and very girly, indeed.

    I might just find the church that I want and make a meetup for er Evangelicals who want to hang out because uh fellowship.

  44. Red March 16, 2014 at 2:14 am #

    Common misconceptions of church leaders:

    1. If we make a college-30s group, a 35-year-old will marry an 18-year-old
    2. If we don’t say “Singles” and “Marrieds” the singles will sleep with the marrieds
    3. Married people never want to hang-out with single people anyway; they have experience, and are serious-minded now
    4. Singles are basically 14-year-olds in a lot of ways. They can’t control sex until they are grown-ups. Grown-up means married or late-thirties.
    5. Young adults will meet their spouse singing praise songs and reading the Bible together. That is the hottest way.

  45. Dominique March 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    I can only speak for myself and my own personal experience but – I think that love is a complicated thing. I think marriage is a big commitment and should not be entered just to keep yourself from sinning. That’s not love and that has nothing to do with being committed to someone, or a marriage bed. I’m not trying to justify any wrongful course of action but I do think that maybe people should be cut some slack. If I had married at 21, like I had originally planned, that would have been the single biggest mistake of my life. Your singleness is a very important time to develop your relationship with God, to try and make a living, and to prepare yourself for when you are married. And also to enjoy the time you have to yourself. Because after you are married your life is no longer your own and your time and dedication belongs to your spouse and any children. The truth is it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone is a sinner anyways, and trying to hide that or prevent that with someone else’s life in your hands, I feel fairly confident is not something that God would bless. I am currently 26 with no plans to get married in the near future. I have faith that God will get me to where I need to go and that if the worse happens along the way, and I fail while I’m waiting, I know that God will know that I’m doing the best I can. And that for the record for anyone reading this is what love looks like. It’s not a ring, or a piece of paper, or the right way of doing things. It’s being committed to taking the hard road together.

  46. Red April 8, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Dominque, you brought up a ton of good points. I think that maybe I brought up one, though: the Bible does say to get married to prevent yourself from sinning. I’m going to say that experience differs for everyone: what’s good for you is different from what’s good for me, in this instance. I did want to make the point, however, that there is Biblically another angle to marriage, and that it should be generally taken more seriously.

  47. Nicoletta September 11, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    Early marriage worked in the old days because of the multigenerational extended family unit – the couple, their children, grandparents and maybe cousins, aunts and uncles under one roof. Or if not under the same roof, at least very close by.

    The older generation was mentoring the younger ones on a daily basis, and there was more supervision of children. Even if mom worked, grandma is around to watch the kids, and this is still the norm throughout non-Anglo-Saxon societies. (Imagine if Ray Rice came home to his father-in-law with a shotgun.) But now that couples are left to their own devices upon marriage, they need more years of maturation before making that decision.

  48. trugingstar October 19, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Seven or eight months ago, I was frustrated with Boundless and life in general, didn’t know who I was, etc., and found this wonderful page. Totally, changed my life. That’s an understatement. Anyhow… everyone’s craziest redhead now has a blog. ^_^ It would be fun to hang out with you all on there!

  49. Amber January 11, 2016 at 8:03 pm #

    Wow, wow, wow. This is absolutely hateful and unkind in tone. The point of chastity until marriage is not for some people to lord it over others, not to shame some sinners more than others (since we’re all sinners), and not to make singles feel hopeless. It is, like all other earthly concerns and challenges, to make us certain of the fact that even our faith is not a work and we need God in everything, every second. The only thing I have against the norm of young marriage in the church is that it leaves few church-leaders who have firsthand experience with trusting God through singleness past 23-years-old. However, I have seen firsthand that grace and honesty in leaders can go a long way to remedy that. Otherwise, people should marry at whatever point they find someone with whom they mutually foster greater capability to serve God, whether thats age 21 or 41. That’s why we’re here, people, to serve God and make sure our fellows can serve Him well too. As a nearly 30 year old woman, I spent the past 17 years as a believer single and opposed to marriage for myself because I was *not* trusting myself (or God) with whether I was capable of a healthy marriage after growing up in an environment of domestic/ marital abuse. Finally, God has faithfully taught me that to trust Him is better than trusting myself. I am not someone with a “low sexual energy” (a concept I tend to have a lot of doubt over as an anthropologist, and feel that the biological issue of sex-drive is oversimplified to benefit the hegemonic American cultural beliefs regarding sex. Its there, but the cultural beliefs surrounding it are flawed) and have had plenty of male attention, both from Christian and non-Christian men, during that time. I was able to remain chaste because I understood that God calls us to submit everything to Him, and that sex is serious business which has as much capacity to harm us as to connect or benefit us, and God’s correct context for it is essential due to that. It is also essential to be humble enough to be accountable to other believers, whether that means living as a responsible adult with your parents through your twenties (something no one thought twice about 50y ago, and has become common again due to the recession, and is no cause for shame if you pull your weight like the adult you are) or having committed Christian roommates whom you collaborate with and really entreat to hold you accountable and be present when you interact with your boyfriend/ girlfriend. But, yeah, waiting longer to marry and still being true to God’s will for your life is possible, of course it is. If you aren’t one of the exceptional people called to lifelong singleness, you won’t be waiting forever and should understand your own limitations and seek out the support of God through other believers. But deciding that only the “fat 30 something girls no one wants anyways” are the only ones relying on God for that is terribly, terribly cruel. As unkind, I’m sure, as whatever someone said about young marriage in the church that must have made you lash out this way.


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