"Marriage is the central crucible for accepting and fulfilling the adult responsibilities of work, parenthood, and the full acceptance of mature responsibilities."

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Barry L.'s picture

Historically, men have married later in life (late 20's, early 30's) to establish that they can provide for a family. It's just recent history that has men marrying young. You clould argue that a man in his lower 20's fresh out of college is not mature enough to start a family.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I'd say that in recent history, the adoption of time of life we call 'adolescence' has insured that a boy is not a man until he is about 30. There was a time when was a 15 yo could handle real responsibility and challenging hardship, and now we think it's a great accomplishment if they make their bed once in awhile. Boys graduated from school (if they went to school) at 15 and went on to university. Thomas Jefferson started going to school when he was 9 and went to college at 16, graduating with honors two years later. And I was recently reading about David Farragut, who was only 10 when he started serving on the Essex and 12 when he commanded his first vessel.

They don't make 'em like they used to. The idea of young people marrying is foreign is because we've allowed our culture to condition them to be selfish and irresponsible for a decade or so, and think it is normal and even acceptable.

Greg Linscott's picture

Quote:
Historically, men have married later in life (late 20's, early 30's) to establish that they can provide for a family. It's just recent history that has men marrying young. You clould argue that a man in his lower 20's fresh out of college is not mature enough to start a family.
There may be merit to what you say- but the variables include more than that. For example, in the historical settings you refer to, it is not common for men to marry women of similar age- often they marry younger women who are of ideal childbearing age.

Another variable- those settings did not generally possess the same kind of loose morals in regards to premarital sex we have in today's context.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

mounty's picture

Barry L. wrote:
Historically, men have married later in life (late 20's, early 30's) to establish that they can provide for a family. It's just recent history that has men marrying young. You clould argue that a man in his lower 20's fresh out of college is not mature enough to start a family.

Okay, I'll bite. Smile When I graduated at 23 I was still a mess and there was no way I was ready for the kind of responsibility that comes with marriage. I knew myself pretty well and kinda resented opinions like Mohler's and others' that it was somehow my duty to get married quickly, as if the college was, among other things, a family farm (how'd that quote go? "mend their souls and send them out in pairs"?). Honestly even after finishing grad school two years later, with as much of a maturity grinder as it was, I still wasn't ready to run a family. The two places I'd lived in my life prior to that was at home with my parents and at school in a dorm room. Fix a sink? Learn how to keep an entire house clean? COOK? I had no domestic knowledge (and some might say that's *why* guys in particular need to marry quickly, but that's another discussion) and even after living three years on my own I'm still picking up the basics. Married at 23? That would have been a train wreck for me and the poor girl (and kids, heaven forbid) I would have put through that.

So Barry, as someone in the middle of this who is more than a little sick of hearing about it, you're right - no way I was ready straight out of college to start my own household, and most of the other lonely guys sitting around a table at the local coffee shop said the same thing. Biggrin Seriously, though, articles like this bug me. I see where he's coming from but I think his emphasis is wrong. He's seeing a lack of self-control (no one said self-control had to be easy) and passing it off as a result of not marrying soon enough. I kinda think maybe part of the problem is all the people who were married with two kids at my age going out of their way to say so every time the issue comes up, but beyond that in a world where we're used to immediate access to whatever we want - food, music, communication, entertainment - it takes a concerted effort to teach people to wait for what they want until they can handle everything that comes with it. Again, self-control is at the heart of the matter, not "it's biology, I can't do anything about it."

Greg Linscott's picture

Quote:
Fix a sink? Learn how to keep an entire house clean? COOK? I had no domestic knowledge (and some might say that's *why* guys in particular need to marry quickly, but that's another discussion) and even after living three years on my own I'm still picking up the basics. Married at 23? That would have been a train wreck for me and the poor girl (and kids, heaven forbid) I would have put through that.

Why do you have to have proficiency at all these things (cleaning house, sink fixing, etc etc...) before getting married? I got married at 23, and my wife was 19. We'll celebrate 15 years this coming February. We certainly didn't have all this stuff figured out (and some, like sink fixing, I still don't completely, to be quite honest...). But the logic and expectations you apply are somewhat unreasonable, methinks. It's something like the logic that some people apply to why they should be physically involved with others before marriage, for example- because you need to enter marriage with some idea of how to "do it." There are things that are fine to learn and perfect as you go (and some things it is indeed sinful NOT to learn and perfect as we go, like sex). What's so much better about learning housekeeping with roommates in a dorm, or cooking by fixing what you like at home by yourself? As someone who lived on his own for a while before getting married, cooking for yourself or roommates is nothing at all like cooking for a family. How my roommates and I kept our apartment is much different than the way my wife wants our house kept. The longer you wait for marriage, the more habits and individual expectations you develop that might actually make living together more complicated, at least in the short run. Learning these things together may not eliminate every problem, but it certainly isn't the obstacle you imagine it to be, either.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

What bugs me is the idea that what is necessary to be 'ready' for marriage is the sum of one's mechanical skills, ie cooking, cleaning, caring for children, fixing a leaky faucet... but what is seldom addressed is areas of character- a love for God, faithfulness in relationships, responsibility, generosity, honesty, a work ethic...

You can teach a monkey to run a vacuum cleaner or make macaroni and cheese, but once a person's basic character is formed, if they are self-indulgent and irresponsible, marriage is only going to exacerbate those problem areas, not fix them. That is why I believe the call should not just be for 'young' marriages, but for parents to endeavor to rear their offspring to be adults (not just in body, but in mind and spirit) capable of marriage by the time they are 18.

Daniel's picture

Personally, if you are getting to the point of desiring to have sex with your BF or GF, I think it is time to pop the question. I Cor 7:36-38 seems to back this up. (Yes, I know some people interpret it differently) If you are going to behave improperly toward your GF or BF (Virgin in the passage), I think the passage indicates that you should marry.* And before people say I am advocating marrying for the sake of preventing immoral behavior, that is not what I am saying. (of course the question should be asked, is that an entirely wrong reason? I Cor 7:9; I Cor 7:36) What I am saying is, your relationship with your significant other is physically being built up to sex. So when we date for years and years, building that physical relationship, yet never get married, is it no wonder why immorality is rampant. Of course the action was wrong, but it is only natural for sex to happen.(just in this case the couple were not married) What is not natural is to build a physical relationship for years, doing everything but that which would be wrong and forcing yourself to suppress the final act of physical one-ness.

So, IMO, there are at least two groups of people, those who are immoral just because, and those who are immoral because they have dated far too long, suppressing, possibly years, what should have climaxed a while earlier. In other words, sex is the natural culmination of our growing physically closer to our significant other. It is not some evil thing that should be suppressed due to our lack of desire to get married to our significant other. If you are having to suppress it you should probably either end the relationship or get hitched. And if you get hitched, it is not to prevent immorality, but to allow your relationship with your significant other to grow further. And if you think you are not responsible enough, then what was the purpose of growing close to that person? (which is a separate topic of it's own: the idea that one must be responsible and have all his ducks lined up before he considers marriage. What happens when all the ducks get out of line after marriage? To me, it is a farce that one must be completely responsible and able financially to take care of your spouse. I agree with Susan that character needs to be developed, but at some point we must also say this is enough character to get married, for there will never be a time when we can say our character has arrived.)

* Of course there are other variables in this passage. For one, Paul was advocating staying single due to what was currently going on in his day.(I Cor 7:26) In America, at least, our culture bares little resemblance to that time. So I would venture to assume if Paul were alive he would not tell us to pursue singleness, but pursue marriage. (but that is my opinion)

ChrisC's picture

maybe i'm reading too much into mohler's review, but it seems like regnerus is saying that it would be a good idea for some highschoolers to get married. i'm really curious how many parents would react positively when their 16-year-old tells them they want to set a wedding date since they've already been dating for a year.

Barry L.'s picture

"To me, it is a farce that one must be completely responsible and able financially to take care of your spouse."

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. - I Timothy 5:8

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Barry L. wrote:
"To me, it is a farce that one must be completely responsible and able financially to take care of your spouse."

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. - I Timothy 5:8


I understand him as saying that you are never 'perfectly' ready for marriage, just like no one is ever 'ready' to have children. The reality is always different than the theory, and you can prepare to the best of your ability and still face challenges you didn't even imagine. And what is 'ready'? Able to provide for food, clothing and shelter, or able to provide those plus a 401K, employer paid health benefits, tuition for a private school, and a yearly vacation at Six Flags (because good Baptists don't go to Disney World). Bleah

Greg Linscott's picture

I understand the point Daniel is making to be one that providing for your "own" starting out in your 20s is not going to necessarily look like your dad caring for his "own" in his 50s. Food, clothes, and shelter, people. Everything else is icing on the cake. If "completely" means home ownership, new car, , fully furnished home, sizable retirement account, etc etc- hey, those things are nice, but certainly not necessary.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Daniel's picture

That is exactly what I meant Susan, one can never be fully prepared for marriage. We could have everything lined up, house, job security, etc, but 1) I think that rarely happens 2) none of those are guaranteed to last, nor are you guaranteed to have them all the way up to the marriage ceremony. Are you going to cancel your ceremony if you were to lose your job right before? Or what happens if you lose your job the week after your honeymoon? For that matter, what has happened to all the Christians that have lost their jobs recently? Have they denied the faith and are they worse than an infidel? I don't think so.

Besides that, I don't think that passage should be applied how you are applying it in this circumstance mainly because it is smack dab in the middle of talking about widows not your marriage. So if you have a widow in your church, but specifically if you have a widow within your own family and do not take care of them, you have denied the faith and are worse than an infidel. (that I think is the correct interp)

***Even besides all that, this was not the point of my post but just an addition and my own personal opinion.

Joseph's picture

I wonder if everyone posting, especially those against early marriage, read the article that is under discussion. For the sake of charity, I will assume so.

It is important in this discussion to realize that there is a simple, straightforward disjunction that needs to be considered:

Either not being "ready" for marriage early is a vice, reflective of stunted maturity, to be ashamed of, not put forward proudly as an excuse, or it is not.

If it is not, then one must defend the idea that being somehow "unready" for marriage in one' early twenties is not a serious failing about which one should be ashamed. I'm interested to see if anyone defends this idea. If they don't, then they must acknowledge that being "ready" to marry early is a good thing. If they do make that acknowledgement, then they need to explain what substantive grounds they have for arguing against people who criticize the current situation of late marriage, and advocate early marriage and a shift away from the conditions and ideas that make marrying late so appealing and increasingly common.

Alternatively, we have another, equally important disjunction:

Either being ready for marriage and being able to marriage (e.g. knowing their are "marriagable" prospects) yet not marrying is, without special circumstances, a failing, or it is not.

If it is a failing, then we have a huge class of people who need to be honest and admit one of two things: Either 1) that they are selfish, and simply do not desire to marry at this time (and do not have a calling to celibacy), or 2) that they are unready to marry, and, assuming they opt for the first prong of the first dilemma, they acknowledge that this is a failing and seek to rectify it.

If some think that it is not a failing to be ready for marriage but not pursuing it in the absence of a call to celibacy, they must explain why this is so, and on what theological grounds they are justifying not having a call to celibacy and the special service so entailed, yet also not pursuing marriage.

(None of this applies to people seeking marriage but, for reasons obviously out of their control, are not yet married. It applies to people not seriously pursuing marriage.)

Now these disjunction are straightforward and not subject to being "false" dilemma's, since they merely affirm a proposition or its denial (e.g. Either I'm a member of SI or I'm not), yet I expect they may make many uncomfortable, largely because people can see that they leave no provision for what is, quite clearly, a very substantive category in Christians' minds: "singleness" as a state in which one does not consider oneself specially called to celibacy yet one also is not actively seeking marriage or the development of the virtues necessary to enter, but rather one is simply enjoying one's life, one's freedom, etc. That people perceive this as normal and justified is understandable, given its prevalence in our culture and its unquestioned legitimacy. Yet it should trouble people deeply that such a concept can find no support in the Scriptures, which sees people as devoted to God in ways befitting of celibacy, or as married or going to be married.

Against the obvious rejoinder that the category of singleness was not prevalent in N.T. culture (the truth of this I can't speak to), one can simply note that a theological argument must be made from Scripture to legitimate this modern category, and I have not seen anyone making such an argument.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I personally do not think it is necessary for a person to 'actively seek' marriage in the sense that most people think of the term, ie shopping for a mate as if people are shoes and you need to try on several pairs before you are sure of the right look and best fit. Nothing in God's Word leads me to believe that marriage should be approached the way it is in our society, thank you so much Neal Clark Warren and Nora Ephron. If I remember correctly, the work 'seek' in the Bible is often used in the sense of desiring something and not actively 'searching', which is how we usually use the term.

I agree that the modern view of singleness is without Biblical support. The point of celibacy was to serve God without distraction, not as freedom to indulge oneself. But a fair question is "How does one know they are called to celibacy?" I can imagine the confusion caused by parents and other adults pushing young people towards marriage while God may be calling them to singlehood. Since we teach our kids to listen to and obey the counsel of their elders, we could be causing many a young person to stumble by making marriage a primary goal and treating singlehood as some kind of failure. They should be enjoying their state with contentment and joy just as a married person should be happy and fulfilled in their relationship. If God has marriage in mind for them, and they are not sure about their 'calling' as it were, better they figure that out on their knees.

However, those characteristics that make one 'ready' for marriage should be developed in every person regardless- what virtues are only needed in marriage but not in any other facet of life? Patience? A work ethic? Self-control? Good stewardship of time and money? All are desirable traits expressed in a variety of ways, and just one of those ways is in a marriage relationship. My dh and I are dedicated to rearing our children in such a way that they are responsible adults by the time they are 15-16. We have opted out of the myth of adolescence, and would view our offspring at 18, 21, 24... and not being able to provide for themselves and others, or lacking in such virtues as patience, kindness, and temperance as being a failure on our part to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The 'mechanical' skills- cooking for a crowd, caring for children, balancing a household budget- why should those skills be unique to someone desiring marriage? I would think that serving God involves serving people, and why shouldn't that entail providing a meal or caring for someone's kids during a family emergency?

IMO, not being 'ready' for marriage usually means that a person is not ready to exhibit sacrificial love on a daily basis in the way that a marriage relationship calls for, or their teen years are such a waste that the best they can do careerwise is flipping burgers. Good grief- I know young people in their early twenties who are in credit card debt to the tune of $10,000-20,000. Talk about not ready. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-shocked004.gif[/img ]

Side note: What do you all think about parents deciding whether or not their 'adult child' is called to marriage or singlehood? Is that between the individual and God, or should parents have a definite and final say in whether their kids marry, and to whom?

mounty's picture

Thank you, married folks, for your input. Now please allow a single the same airtime you've had. I'd like to point out a few examples of what I feel are the more hostile married approaches to singleness:

Susan R wrote:
IMO, not being 'ready' for marriage usually means that a person is not ready to exhibit sacrificial love on a daily basis in the way that a marriage relationship calls for, or their teen years are such a waste that the best they can do careerwise is flipping burgers.

Joseph wrote:
...[One ] must defend the idea that being somehow "unready" for marriage in one' early twenties is not a serious failing about which one should be ashamed. I'm interested to see if anyone defends this idea. If they don't, then they must acknowledge that being "ready" to marry early is a good thing. If they do make that acknowledgement, then they need to explain what substantive grounds they have for arguing against people who criticize the current situation of late marriage, and advocate early marriage and a shift away from the conditions and ideas that make marrying late so appealing and increasingly common.

Joseph wrote:
...[It ] should trouble people deeply that such a concept [a state in which one does not consider oneself specially called to celibacy yet one also is not actively seeking marriage or the development of the virtues necessary to enter, but rather one is simply enjoying one's life, one's freedom, etc ] can find no support in the Scriptures, which sees people as devoted to God in ways befitting of celibacy, or as married or going to be married.

As far as I can tell, what I'm reading here is that there can be no middle ground - you're either a committed celibate (not considering even dating) or speed-dating with as-clost-to-immediate marriage as possible in mind, and those are the only options. This would indicate that God can choose only one permanent path - forever single, or dating extensively to find "the one." I would counter that there's no reason God can't call a person to be single for a few years while he/she is doing work or in a location that would make it unsuitable, dangerous, or inappropriate to be married, but later call that person to marriage with a similarly surrendered mate. There are plenty of folks out there who are pastors now who were evangelists before, or vice-versa. They are applauded for their change of ministry, but too often when a committed single person announces he's dating, the response is quite the opposite, usually along the lines of "It's about time!" I submit that there is no substantive difference between the two examples and that there is a pointed lack of consistency in response to the two scenarios.

Bottom line is this: God expects us to be faithful where He's put us and not to run ahead of His timing - on that we can all agree. I'm single - I freely admit that, and I am not ashamed to say it (though I once was). Why? Because I am firmly convinced that single is what God has for me now, and as any other Christian, I'm happy and content to be in God's will. I humbly resent the inference that I'm single because I am selfishly seeking to do my own thing without a wife to tie me down, or that I am in such financial ruin that I would be unable to provide for a family. I assure you, neither is the case, and in the latter I have credit reports and bank records to back that up. If I go to work tomorrow and meet my future wife, I will have moved from one phase of God's plan for my life to another, and the fact that God adjusted my life's plan won't trouble me at all. And I highly doubt I'm the only Christian in this boat.

Let's also bear in mind that Scripture doesn't go one way or the other on the question of when to marry. Any argument to be made is necessarily going to be based on first century Middle East customs or a lack of empirical evidence to the contrary (which is a very weak foundation for an argument) because the only passage with any extended teaching on this is I Cor. 7, and Paul himself states that it's just his opinion and not from the Lord - and he does so [em ]half a dozen times[/em ] (I Cor. 7:6, 8, 12, 25, 26, and 40). But that doesn't mean we throw out that chapter, bookended as it is by statements that this is opinion and not God's command (except as marked, v. 10). Paul's own opinion of marriage (and he says so as a single man) is that the timing of marriage is subject to the condition of society (wars, persecution, etc.) and one's own level of self-control.

In conclusion, there seems to be a holdover idea from 10-20 years ago that marriage must be done ASAP, and if not, there's a problem somewhere lurking under the surface. Certainly that was not Paul's mind on the matter, and in this light I humbly suggest the level of married dogmatism be dialed back a few notches to maybe an eight or a nine. Wink

Greg Linscott's picture

Quote:
In conclusion, there seems to be a holdover idea from 10-20 years ago that marriage must be done ASAP, and if not, there's a problem somewhere lurking under the surface.
In light of the article prompting the discussion, the rise in promiscuity and such is a factor here. Tom, I imagine that doesn't apply to you- but the fact is that many "singles" are enjoying "benefits" outside the bonds of matrimony. It seems to me that one of Mohler's points is that if "benefits" are to be enjoyed, let's make sure they are enjoyed legitimately. Another matter to consider is reproductive capabilities (especially for women). The trend of waiting longer isn't necessarily a positive thing there, either.

I don't think anyone is saying it's universally wrong to wait. That being said, I have heard- especially from single Christian women- that finding Christian men is not easy. If you can say that the issues being discussed don't fit you- fine. It's between you and the Lord. But there is no doubt that national trends indicate that many people- Christians included- delay marriage. So if you don't need to hear the things being said, certainly some out there should.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:
As far as I can tell, what I'm reading here is that there can be no middle ground

I don't think you've considered the comments you quoted in context. I also said "we could be causing many a young person to stumble by making marriage a primary goal and treating singlehood as some kind of failure. They should be enjoying their state with contentment and joy just as a married person should be happy and fulfilled in their relationship. If God has marriage in mind for them, and they are not sure about their 'calling' as it were, better they figure that out on their knees." as well as "those characteristics that make one 'ready' for marriage should be developed in every person regardless- what virtues are only needed in marriage but not in any other facet of life?"

Much of my post was in reference to modern ideas of 'seeking' a spouse, and the comment you quoted was what in my experience most people mean when they say "I'm not ready for marriage". They are saying that they are not financially responsible, they are not ready to give up selfish desires, and they don't think they are ready to commit to one person for the rest of their lives. These are all characteristics of someone who is immature, not someone who is unclear about God's will or content to wait. To say that one is not 'ready' for marriage because God has not revealed to them whether their calling is to marriage or singlehood/celibacy is a legitimate reason, but using the the phrase "I'm not ready" carries a much different connotation than "I'm ready, but waiting".

There is certainly not any hostility on my part towards single people or the state of being single, especially since I for one did not spring from my mother's womb with a ring on my finger, and I was hoping to be one of those that God did not intend for marriage. But here I am, 22 years and four kids later, rejoicing in God's wisdom and glad I followed Him instead.

mounty's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:
So if you don't need to hear the things being said, certainly some out there should.

And you're absolutely right, of course. It's just that after four or five readthroughs of all that's been said here, as well as three times through Mohler's article, I came away thinking that the general scope of what was being said was much broader than apparently was intended. Susan, thanks for the clarification on what you were commenting on. I do read a bit of a difference knowing that. I guess, though, when I read "ready" I think that something's planned or in the works. So I would then say I'm not "ready" to get married, for the simple lack of someone to marry. In a similar sense, I'm "not ready" to change jobs. Not because I don't think I could handle the job search, the interviews, and waiting by a phone for several weeks, but because I don't feel any particular leading to do so and that, with the economy as it is, it would be unwise to change jobs. Perhaps this is the source of the broader stroke I saw in what you said than what you intended.

The reason I took the approach I did above, though, was because I don't think marriage is really the issue here, and so I spoke out against what I felt to be the same old arguments for early marriage and the usual digs to follow at singles in the crowd. Those arguments still stand, even if the impetus for them turned out to be me reading a bit too much into what was said in some places. Regnerus (and I guess Mohler, as he seems to be in general agreement) seems to be smokescreening the heart of the matter by deflecting the blame on late marriage. This is perhaps too condensed, but the statement is raised: "Too many unmarried Christians are failing morally these days. How do we stop this?" And the answer is, "Teach them about marriage and to get married early." Regnerus says the problem is that young Christian adults feel the wait-time fore sex is too long. If they are constantly being bombarded with popular media portrayal of sex, then sure, they're going to get impatient and find ways of dealing with it on their own. But preaching Sunday on the concept of marriage as it relates to Christ and the church isn't going to help on Monday when they're watching TV after work. Now, if you impress them with the need to marry early, you've stopped them from outward immorality (probably) by ensuring they have a proper outlet for their desires. (Yes, I know I'm being simplistic here, and that marriage is much, much more than that.) But the "I want what I want now and it doesn't matter how I get it" part of the problem hasn't been addressed at all, so really...you're reducing the statistics of immorality but you've left the heart issues that [em ]lead to[/em ] immorality untouched.

Does that make sense at all?

Anne Sokol's picture

don't you think a lot of this stems from industrialism and labor laws? I think it does more than we know.

if you're not legally allowed to work until what, 15? or 16? then you are legally a CHILD. And the educational system (legally required until one finishes high school at about 18, right?) now goes on for years and years, giving the impression that one should not marry until "school" is done, which is what, 22 at the earliest usually, if going to college, which is also considered essential in an industrial society.

living in an agricultural society/family (usually) makes a kid a pretty valuable worker at a very young age. the whole school/work legal system of our instrustialized society doesn't. parents have to work extra hard to give their child an adultness and adult readiness before finishing high shcool. Youth groups often follow suit--and it's expensive sending your kids to all the recreational activities.

i think this is a significant piece of the puzzle.

however, I will also say that I am glad I didn't marry at 18. i was a very different person mentally at 18 then at 22 or 24. and it really wasn't dependent on my parents. it was my own immature ideas of what i should be and what a husband and marriage should be like.

Daniel's picture

Mounty, I have lots to say, but don't really know where to start, so I will attempt to keep it simple.

I agree that at the heart of pre-marital sex is a heart issue. I also think we would agree that if you have actually been called to singleness, then the article isn't directly applicable to you. The article is written for those singles who for whatever reason, good or bad, have started a physical relationship yet never follow through with marriage. I think I Cor 7:36ff is very applicable to this group of people. Notice what it says, "if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin." (virgin, IMO, could be equated to your GF/BF/Fiance/etc) Does this not sound like the singles they are describing? What does Paul prescribe, "let them marry." Or take I Cor 7:9, "if they [single ladies ] cannot exercise self-control, let them marry." So I think the notion that it is wrong for a couple to get married simply because they cannot control themselves goes against scripture, seeing that Paul in two cases tells people to marry if you have no self control.

A little redundant, but in addition, these singles described are not following what is prescribed by Paul in I Cor 7:36ff. If they are behaving improperly toward their significant other, then they should be doing what Paul prescribed, getting married. They are also not following what is prescribed in I Cor 7:9, that they should marry.

I have more to say about why they have singled out late marriages, but it is getting late.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Anne Sokol wrote:
don't you think a lot of this stems from industrialism and labor laws? I think it does more than we know.

if you're not legally allowed to work until what, 15? or 16? then you are legally a CHILD. And the educational system (legally required until one finishes high school at about 18, right?) now goes on for years and years, giving the impression that one should not marry until "school" is done, which is what, 22 at the earliest usually, if going to college, which is also considered essential in an industrial society...

i think this is a significant piece of the puzzle.


I agree- the advent of mandatory public education until age 18 combined with child labor laws(which were a good thing, mind you) have had some unintended consequences, resulting in the http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1018089,00.html kidult . This cultural phenomenon has seeped into churches, and Bro. Mohler's article is not aimed at those who are ready for marriage and waiting on God, but those who are actively putting off marriage because with marriage comes responsibilities- and it is the responsibilities that they are not ready for. Hence the engaging in premarital sex, which naturally follows, because when someone is irresponsible in one area, the likelihood of being irresponsible in other areas increases exponentially. If you read the article thoroughly, you will see the use of the words "putting off" and "delay", which define the aim of the article.

I also believe that Bro. Mohler and Mark Regnerus are arguing for a more reverent attitude about marriage. You only have to watch a successful sitcom about family to see that marriage is a mockery, when for a Christian, it is (or should be) a picture of the Gospel and a reminder of things to come. We've allowed marriage and children to become a joke, and brethren, these things ought not so to be.

mounty's picture

Daniel, I'm not saying that they shouldn't get married just because they can't control themselves. I agree that's what Paul says, pretty explicitly. What I am saying is that it shouldn't end there. That doesn't solve the problem. That takes care of a statistic, but follow-up is probably needed to ensure that this root problem doesn't manifest itself some other way or in the same way later on down the road. The original article seems to stop the solution at marriage, and my point is that's too soon to call the problem fixed.

Daniel's picture

I don't have time at this moment, but that is why I explicitly stated at the beginning, "at the heart of pre-marital sex is a heart issue." I don't deny this.

Jennifer Wilson's picture

I wish I could have married early, but I echo Mounty's thoughts -- there is NO WAY I would have been ready for a healthy marriage relationship just out of college. In fact, after going through some biblical counseling and really looking at God's conviction in my life, I can honestly say I've probably only been ready for marriage -- i.e., a person who could make a marriage work -- since I turned 30 (I'm now 31). Still, that doesn't make it any less painful. It honestly gets more painful every year I'm alone and (practically) everyone around me gets married and has kids. But I am so grateful to God that He didn't let me have what I wanted. I feel like I'd be divorced right now without His protection in my life.

So I thank Him so much for protecting me, even when I didn't want Him to, if that makes sense. But simultaneously, I hurt, because I think, "Why not now, God?" I think I have a realistic view of marriage -- I realize it's going to be HARD WORK and God will use it for my sanctification. But I guess He's using my singleness for my sanctification right now Smile Meanwhile, like Susan said, I'm trying to be content in my life while focusing completely on Christ. "The things of this world will grow strangely dim" and all that. Still, marriage is a good thing to want, so I don't feel guilty for wanting it.