In 1990 the average age of first marriage in the United States was 23 for women and 26 for men. The most recent statistics show the average age to be 27 for women and 29 for men. That’s an increase of 18% in just 20 years. If you go back to 1960 the average ages are 20 for women and 22 for men. The truth is undeniable; people are getting married later and later. Now, there is nothing inherently good or bad about marrying at a particular age. The bible takes no stance on the correct age to tie the knot. But there are at least three reasons why you should consider pushing against that trend.
My “baby” was never going to be old enough to get married!
In our culture and especially in the church we’ve done a poor job of teaching the covenant of marriage. There is a reason the bible chooses the marriage relationship as the picture of Christ and the church. Marriage becomes the image bearer of Christ and His bride. But sadly as we talk to more and more young people today, marriage isn’t something they anxiously look forward to in their future. As a result people are getting married later and later – if they get married at all!
God wasn’t confused. It’s God that said in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Remember, this is directed at Adam and Eve. Adam has no father and mother. But it immediately sets up the marriage relationship as the most important human relationship these two will ever have. Marriage is God’s idea.
It’s doesn’t mean it’s “better” to get married young. It does mean we must elevate the status and importance of marriage. If two people shouldn’t get married, then getting married earlier isn’t going to help. But if you sense this is the one – then here are three reasons why we think you should support young marriages.
1) The principle of cornerstone rather than capstone. When you ask couples who have been married for 50 years or more, invariably you hear stories of struggles in their early years. How hard it was to make ends meet and how they grew up together. Along with Christ, their marriage became the cornerstone they built their lives on. As opposed to the idea of getting everything figured out first… my degree, my job, my house, my 401K. Don’t get us wrong. All of those things are important and good. But rather than seeing marriage as a capstone to an established life, the strongest marriages see their union as the cornerstone.
2) It lifts up the importance of marriage. As mentioned above, we are the image bearers of Christ and His church. Encouraging young marriages helps elevate the importance placed on marriage.
3) Marriage is better for you individually and as a culture. We want to be careful. We’re not saying married people are better. Singleness isn’t a thing to be cured. What we are saying is for some being single is what God is calling them into, at least for now. But for the rest, statistically speaking, the numbers are staggering about the positive effects of marriage on individuals, kids, families and even communities.
Please hear me. We’re not suggesting if people would get married younger it would solve our marital issues. We’re saying as we elevate the way we talk about marriage, it will include encouraging young couples to consider marriage sooner rather than later. How old were you when you got married?