A Case for Early Marriage: Why It's a Good Idea to Get Married Young

People don't get married anymore. If they do, then it is much later in life. In fact the age of marriage is continually going up in our culture to where it is pushing thirty. Not only has this been the trend in the culture, but I have seen this trend begin to take place in the church as well. It is my personal belief and conviction that this can be harmful to human flourishing and a great hinderance for godly families within the church. Early marriage has become taboo in our culture. Getting married at a young age of 20 or 21 will get you some strange comments from others, including other Christians (Trust me, I've experienced them). However, I think we need a revival of early marriage among Christians. I think there are several reasons younger Christians need to begin adopting this counter cultural practice by marrying early.

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1. Marriage is a Great Gift

The way many people talk about marriage, it seems like they were talking about a death sentence. As I was engaged to my beautiful wife Kaitlyn at twenty years old, here was some of the comments I received.

  • Enjoy life now because everything will be different (said in a depressive tone)
  • Already? But you're so young, you have so much life to live!
  • Get ready for that bail and chain

It is astonishing that Christians treat marriage as if it's the worst possible thing that could ever happen to you. Getting married is right underneath getting terminally diagnosed with cancer for some people. Young people are told to go "sow their wild oats" and live hedonistically before they settle down and get married. We must recapture the biblical definition of marriage as an incredible gift. Marriage is not a curse, but a wonderful privilege given by God. Marriage is not something to avoid, but something to be sought after by young people. Unfortunately the negative comments about marriage deter young people away from this precious gift. However these negative comments reveal nothing but the troubles of their own marriages.

2. Marriage Encourages People to Grow Up

It is not a strange sighting today to see 25 or 26-year-old men living at home with mom and dad, drinking red bull, and playing X-Box all day. The recently created teenager/adolescent culture seems to be a growing age group. Adolescence is no longer just during the teen years but continues into the 20s and early 30s. My own generation is a generation characterized by a lack of initiative failing to take responsibility for their own lives.

Marriage is God's gracious gift of forcing a man and a woman to grow up, particularly men. When a man gets married he becomes responsible for providing for his family, making sure the bills are paid, and protecting his wife. He must not only take responsibility for himself but for his wife and future children. Marriage pushes young men out of the nest to spread their wings and fly under the windy pressures of life. This is a good thing, but unfortunately rather than pushing these guys towards manhood we allow them to continue in a lengthy boyhood. This is a shame and Christian men need to grow up into their divine calling of marriage and family.

3. Marriage Protects From Sexual Immorality

We live in an overly sexualized culture. From nude scenes in Hollywood movies, risqué television shows, and erotic novels, young people are being bombarded with one message: Sex. There is an incredible amount of pressure on Christian young people to bend their knee to our cultures unbiblical view of loveless, carnal sex without consequences.

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 obseessivly sexualized culture.

It is unreasonable, foolish, and harmful to place this weight on young people. Sex is a good gift given to us by God, meant for our enjoyment in the way God has designed. Rather than encouraging young people to delay marriage and a sexual relationship with their spouse, we should encourage them to marry. This way they can enjoy God's gift of sex in a way that protects them from sexual immorality and glorifies and honors God.

Don't Make Early Marriage Taboo

Christian parents, grandparents, and teachers should encourage younger Christians to consider marrying early. Marriage is an incredible gift given by God to our sanctification and our enjoyment. Yes, early marriage is not necessarily an easy road. You may be poor, have to work twice as hard to make it through college, and be thought of as weird by a anti-marriage culture. However, if two Christians love each other, and most importantly love the Lord Jesus Christ, early marriage should not be a thing that is tabooed, but encouraged and celebrated.

Dating and Marriage Part 4: Some Practical Wisdom in Dating

Dating can be messy.  As Christians, we have learned that there are two viable states for a Christian, singleness or marriage.  What about those who exist in that awkward tension of singleness while looking for a spouse? To be honest, the Bible doesn't speak directly on how Christians should think about dating, but the Bible does indirectly speak to issues like dating.  The Bible is full of wisdom and it provides us with a worldview of how to examine and make decisions as a Christian.  As Christians, we are to be holy and set apart from the world as Jesus is.  This means that we need to think and date with a different focus than the rest of the world.  So the following is practical counsel from me to you as we think about dating relationships.  When it comes to dating, the tension isn't always between a right and wrong decision, but a wise and a foolish decision.  The following are things I advise to my students as a Youth Pastor that I've learned as I've studied the Bible and learned through experience, most of my experiences being my own failures and sins.

Maximize Your Singleness for God

We have talked extensively in a previous post about how singleness is an incredible gift.  Use your freedom to maximize your relationship with Christ.  Take the extra hours you have to study the Bible, spend nights in prayer, go on mission trips, and serving in the local church.  Don't sit around and cry over your loneliness, but use that extra time God has given you to make much of Jesus.  Besides, the best way to meet a nice Christian person to date is through the local church as you serve and work along side other single Christian people who are looking for a spouse, just like you!

Do Not Date a Non Christian

This one isn't just wise counsel, but commanded by the Scriptures.  Paul makes it clear in 2 Corinthians 6:14, "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"  As a Christian you have been born of the Spirit.  By God's grace He has saved you and made you pure because of what Jesus has done for you on the cross.  As a result, your beliefs, convictions, purpose, hopes, and dreams are going to be drastically different than someone who does not know Christ.  If the purpose of dating is to result in marriage, then why would you date someone who is going to hinder, rather than spur on your relationship with Christ? Do not fall for the lie of missionary dating, which is trying to date a non-Christian in hopes to convert them.  Most of the time it doesn't work and leads both parties into sin and heartbreak.  Hang out with lost people. Be friends with lost people, but do not open yourself to a person so that you are unequally yoked.

Do not Seriously Start Dating Someone until You are Ready for Marriage

This might be one many would disagree with me on, but I share it with you as some practical wisdom.  I suggest that you do not begin seriously dating someone until you are in that place in your life when you are ready to marry.  I say this because so many teenagers just end up in sexual sin in middle school and high school.  None of them are even thinking of marriage, they just want a pseudo marriage where they can treat some person like a fake spouse.  They get way too intimate, way too quickly, and way before they are ready for marriage.  They begin to connect on an emotional, physical, and a tragically sexual manner that when the inevitable break up happens it leaves both parties in utter chaos.

However is it realistic to begin dating young when we live in a couture that enters into marriage in their thirties? As Christians, I think we need to not be afraid to marry early.  If the bible teaches abstinence from sex before marriage and we are going to expect this from our young teenage and college followers of Jesus, is it realistic to abstain from sex until the age of 30?  So often we make our young Christians feel like it is a shameful thing to get married at the age of 20, 21, or 22.  In fact many older married people even discourage younger Christians from getting married young (It happened to me and my wife), most often because they themselves have terrible marriages and enviously long for their single life back.  We forget Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.  But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn with passion."  Many of our young christians are burning with sexual passion and rather than discouraging a young christian couple from marrying we should encourage it.  Instead of holding to the social faux pas we need to celebrate it.  For it is better for young Christians to enter into marriage than to burn in sexual passion and sin.

Don't find your identity in the person you are dating

As many people date, they create an idol out of the person they are dating.  In fact, many people begin finding their identity in that individual.  An unhealthy dependent relationship begins to develop.  Many people begin to want the intimacy of marriage in their relationship without the commitment.  However, as Christians we must be constantly on guard in case we begin finding our identity, hope, and satisfaction in anyone or anything other than Jesus.   Even in marriage, we must be careful of finding our hope in our spouse instead of Christ.  So many sinfully look for a romantic relationship to satisfy what is lacking in them.  However, in Christ we lack nothing, but have been given everything we need! No boy or girl will ever satisfy you, only Christ!  Guard your heart from idolatry as you date, and pay careful attention to your thoughts and emotions.  Keep the focus on Christ and in all things you do, whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married; do all for the glory of God and for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus!