Age for Marriage

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by mckestev, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. mckestev

    mckestev
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    A while back I read an old article in Christianity Today that made an interesting case for young marriage. The argument was basically this: we tell teenagers to wait until marriage to have sex, but then we basically tell them to wait another 10-15 years to get married. I found the article very interesting personally, because I got married at age 18. I believed it to be God's will then (of course admittedly most 18 year olds don't think straight and I was no different). Now it is 6 years later and at age 24 I am even more convinced she was God's give to me. We have made some stupid decisions that we wouldn't have made had we been older, but by the grace of God those mistakes drew us closer together.

    Now to the point. In one of my classes we were taught to discourage the young from getting married in pre-marital counseling. My question for those of you more experienced than I with this topic, what are your thoughts? Do we want our kids to wait to get married because it is in their best interest? Or, do we want them to wait because we in the church have been subtly influenced by the world in their anti-marriage opinion?

    I ask this because it seems in secular media marriage is treated like a curse or a disease. Many tv shows and books act as though marriage is the end of life, even though multiple studies show that married people tend to be happier and healthier.

    I believe marriage is a gift from our heavenly Father and Creator. Since marriage is a gift, what about preparing our kids for marriage (including being smart in picking a spouse), rather than discouraging it and treating it like the world does.

    Love in Christ,
    Steven
     
  2. annsni

    annsni
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    I am speaking as someone who was married at 20 years old (25 years ago) and who is the mother of an 18 year old and 20 year old.

    If they are ready to leave the home and support themselves, then I don't care when they get married. My husband was 24 and I was 20 when we married and we bought our first house in the months before we married. He lived there until after our wedding when I moved in (well, I had moved some of my things there but I didn't actually stay there until after our wedding). We both had good jobs and were making a decent salary. Actually, I think we were making about what we make now 25 years later! :)

    In premarital counseling with couples who were married young, we always make sure that they are marrying for the right reasons (not "getting out of my parent's stupid home" or "I want a fairytale life so I want to have my own apartment and play house" sort of things), are able to be fully independent and they have a plan for the future that would include being willing to accept children now if God decides to bless them so (because, after all, birth control is not 100%). Additionally, I would only counsel them against marriage if one set of parents do not agree to the marriage.

    But otherwise? Our youth pastor was married at 23 and his wife was 19. I think that was awesome. Then again, I've seen older people who should not have married so I don't think age plays THAT big a role although it does play some.

    ETA: My 20 year old is far from being ready to marry but my 18 year old is completely ready other than she's still in college. But emotionally, socially and in skill level, she's ready as can be.
     
  3. Zenas

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    :thumbs: :thumbs: There is a whole lot of wisdom and truth in that post. I have seen 25 year olds who were too young and a few 16 year olds who were ready.
     
  4. annsni

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    Yep. And even with the same upbringing and training, some are just not there. I do pray my oldest will get there some day. :)
     
  5. preachinjesus

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    Yeah it was a bad article and a worse argument. I have always been against this kind of reasoning...but do support couples who choose to get married younger if they are of a proper mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity. (That is hard enough to find)

    I require premarital counseling for all couples planning on getting married. It only makes sense.

    We offer premarital counseling because it helps us explain the theological, practical, and spiritual elements of marriage. We believe marriage is (ideally) the place for two maturing Christians to find (not completion) but continuing fulfillment in their personal walks as they are led by Christ.

    I don't understand how premarital counseling does this. Maybe I'm missing something. :)
     
  6. exscentric

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    "We have made some stupid decisions"

    Has little to do with age :thumbs:

    My wife (in her sixties) talks to gals at work in their 40-50s and they are making very stupid mistakes relating to marriage.

    One is on her third husband - living in HER house and he kicked her out the other day and she didn't call 911! :tonofbricks:

    Wife was a teenager and we been hanging together for near fifty years so age may not relate all that much.
     
  7. RevGKG

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    As has already been stated, age is not a primary determining factor. One of the reasons I encourage most couples to wait in order to get married is a maturity issue. Marriage is not to be entered into lightly and if a person's maturity level is not adequate, they need to wait.

    The op sugested that maybe one of the reasons we encourage young people to wait is because that is the trend in the world. I actually think it is more that marriage is not held in esteem in our culture. Try it on for a while and if it does not feel right, then get out and find another. Sadly, this is true even in the Christian world. When I am involved in pre-martial counseling, if I am able to talk the couple out of getting married, then they are not ready. We need to get back to seeing marriage as being for life and not something to throw away if we don't like it.

    As far as telling our young people to wait for marriage for sex, God will sustain that desire if they are seeking Him and His wisdom for thei mate.
     
  8. jaigner

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    Young marriage may be right for some people. Older marriage may be right for others. Marriage isn't right at all for others.

    I think we're not meeting the issue head-on if we preach one or the other.

    Still, I appreciate the views expressed so far here.
     
  9. Trotter

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    We were both 18, been married going on 24 years so far. Were we ready? Yes and no. We were rather naive and had some ideas about marriage that had no grounds in reality, but we were committed to one another and we both knew that it was for a lifetime... not until one of us got tired of the other. Ann said it well, so I won't say it all again.

    In my state (TN) premarital counseling is optional, but a marriage license costs way more if you don't have it.
     
  10. PrivateWoman

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    I don't feel that there's a certain age that people should get married at. I believe that it's certainly God's will for some people to get married very young and then for others, later in life.

    I personally believe that God's timing for everyone is different. I am sure glad that His timing is not the same for everyone because I personally think it would be so boring if people got married at the same time.

    I am 31 years old now and I have not gotten married yet. It is simply not His timing yet. It is hard at times because many of my friends my age are married, but I have to remind myself that maybe God will get much more glory if I got married later in life. Most 30 year olds are not virgins because it is too difficult for them to wait. Maybe my story will be a testimony to people.

    Leslie Ludy who wrote "When God Writes Your Love Story" (http://store.ellerslie.com/When_God_Writes_Your_Love_Story_Revised_Edition_p/book-wgwloverev.htm) along with her husband got married when she was about 18. Eric was about 24 I think. Eric has a sister named Kristy didn't get married until she was about 34. She was a very godly and mature woman, but God had some things for her to do as a single first. You can find her story at http://www.girlsgonewise.com/archives/791. Her love story is a testimony of God's faithfulness.
     

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