Norman Jameson on Marrying Young

The recent Christianity Today article “The Case for Early Marriage” is getting a lot of buzz online. Norman Jameson has some good thoughts on this topic in a recent editorial for the Biblical Recorder. His conclusion:

Does [American culture’s] stance tell our young people that we value independence and financial security more than we value the “holy union” of matrimony? One of the arguments I hear against marrying “young” is that the man or the woman has not fully realized his or her individual identity. I would argue that marrying young enables the couple to grow and find their identity together.

Don’t hear me advocating teenage marriage. But in our sexually charged culture it may be a stronger tactic to lift and encourage an earlier age at marriage than to keep pushing against “our Creator’s reproductive designs.”

Read the whole editorial at the Biblical Recorder’s website.

For the record, when we got married I was 21 and Leah was 22. I still had one year of college left. We turned out just fine.

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  1. J Lewis   •  

    When my husband and I married, we were both 21. Like you said, we did much growing and forming our identity together (theologically, personally, etc.). No problems with individuation. No issues with dependence on parents. Managed just fine without a fat savings account.

    There’s something to be said for forming your identity alongside the person you love and respect enough to promise a lifetime of commitment.

  2. J Lewis   •  

    Before the above statements are misunderstood…let me sat that I do not believe our early marriage reflects some great merit within my husband and me. The fact that we were ready for marriage at 21 in large part reflects parents who raised us in such a way that we had the tools we needed to live independently.

    We learned from them…
    * financial independence and responsibility (living on a budget, giving, responsible spending)
    * decision-making skills
    * keeping the marriage covenent in good times and bad
    * how to study the Scriptures
    * living within the community of faith (after all,we weren’t left on our own after we married–we were part of a local church body)
    * how to seek wise advice and learn from those more mature
    * responding appropriately to failure
    * viewing our lives and the world from the perspective of the biblical narrative, with God’s glory (not financial or academic success) as our ultimate goal

    The above list provides just a sample of what I believe our parents taught us over the years in preparation for adulthood.

    We were by no means fully mature when we married. And we had many opportunities to grow and mature in response to our failures and mistakes. We certainly still have many of those opportunites even after 10 years of marriage! The point is that our parents blessed us greatly by giving us many of the tools necessary for living as adults.

    I say this to encourage parents (and church families, for that matter) to raise their children from a young age with this end in mind. As a young parent myself, I can see how it would be easy to artifically extend immaturity and cripple our children in the name of “protecting them.” Protecting them from hurt or failure. Protecting them from “the world.”

    May God enable us to parent and disciple in ways that protect innocence while forming godly wisdom. So that our children are mature and ready for adulthood–whether God’s plan for them involves marrying at a relatively young age, marrying later or remaining single.

  3. scott parkison   •  

    I am 36. I did not marry until I was 33. I love my life, my wife, and my kids. But I am a fan of early marriage even though it was not my experience. However, it takes two people with a high view of commitment to marry young. Too many young folks these days will bail at the first sign of trouble in a marriage. In this case, it would be better to delay marriage if they cannot fully commit. But if they have a firm view of Biblical marriage and the high call of God to maintain the covenant commitment at a young age, it is good to marry young.

    PS – I love the first comment by J Lewis

  4. Bill Nettles   •  

    J Lewis said : * how to seek wise advice and learn from those more mature

    This is incredibly important in “choosing” a lifelong spouse. Many times parents can see problems in the potential mate that their child “can’t” see.

  5. Dave Carrol   •  

    I’m in the same boat… we were 21 and I had a year left of college and we’re about to celebrate 11 years this week.

    I blogged about it today too.

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