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.