First, my apologies for the meme’s attention-grabbing nature. True love for God does wait for marriage to have sex, and it is best to be prepared to enter into marriage before doing so. However, it seems we need to start preparing kids to marry at younger ages. If the reports are true that upward of 80% of Christian evangelical young adults are having premarital sex, that is a rather strong indicator we’re delaying marriage longer than most have the self-control to wait.
Based on my experiences, for a young couple deeply in love, following the cultural trend of delaying marriage until nearly thirty and also delaying sex that long would be unbearable torment. I applaud the single folks who do remain celibate successfully into their thirties, their forties, or even for life due to a personal calling. However, for those who are struggling, the clear biblical solution is to stop delaying marriage and tie the knot before you fall into sexual sin (or to repent, get a clean slate, and marry before you fall again.)
God has called us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and trust him to keep his promise that he knows our need and if we trust him and honor him first, all these things we worry about shall be added unto us. Frankly, many of the worries Christian parents have boil down to, “but if our children marry right out of high school, what shall they eat, where shall they live, what shall they wear?”
It is written I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor their children begging bread, and God’s word will not return to him void even if we defy the wisdom of this age and choose to marry young rather than fall into temptation and sin against him.
We need to have our hearts set on eternity’s definition of starting out right rather than the world’s definition. My husband and I were only 20 and 21 on our wedding day, and he lost his job not long after we were married, but God took care of us and saw us through it.
If the couple both attend a college with married housing, being married college students isn’t any poorer financially than being unmarried college students spiritually impoverished due to falling into sin and sleeping together out of wedlock. I recall hearing married college students tend to do quite well academically, too.
Regarding non-college students with jobs, it is more expensive to maintain separate households, so a budget wedding followed by combining households is cheaper financially. (Save the fancy dream wedding for a vow renewal down the road.) This approach is also more profitable spiritually than the world’s shacking up solution is. The biblical counter offer to that, however, doesn’t apply to those couples who are willing and able to maintain separate households while they’re delaying marriage without falling into sexual sin.
By the way, when I first heard about this issue afflicting the Church, I was tempted to judge the sincerity of the faith of the 80% of young believers who fall into sexual sin, but God checked me. That is not always the case. For many, cultural expectations that are unreasonable for those individuals set them up to fail. If that’s you, admit it was wrong, apologize to God, receive grace and strength to stop sinning, and resume practicing celibacy until marriage.
Many fear marrying young dooms those couples to divorce. The truth is, marriages at any age fail today because at least one spouse is irresponsible, self-centered, and not committed to keep promises no matter what. So, Church, let’s do our best to teach children better than that, gradually begin to treat them like responsible adults when they physically become adults, and support them as needed. With such tools in their hands, they’ll have better chances of staying married to one person for life, having no sexual regrets, and remaining in right relationship with God most importantly, whether they head off to college as husband as wife or leave it as such.
More of our high schoolers might find temptation easier to withstand if the finish line of the marriage bed was somewhere anywhere close to in sight. If I recall, at that age, college seems an eternity away, let alone turning twenty-five or even thirty. Again, I’m not advocating we force teens into shotgun weddings unprepared; I am saying let’s prepare them for adulthood and for marriage and give them the tools needed to marry and stay married at the ages where their bodies are urging them to date/find spouses and open minds to the possibility of a personal calling to marry young.
When true love can’t wait anymore, it marries, and it needs to learn how to stay married with the support of its family and/or its church.
(Original draft written on December 16, 2011 at 11:03pm)