This week I got old.
My daughter got a very grown-up haircut- part “The Rachel” part “Rocker Chick.” Too hip. Friday she passed Driver’s Education with flying colors, ordered pizza and gave a good tip out of her own cash flow. It won’t be too long and her glances at the teen guys will turn into more… and that’s okay. I have come to the conclusion I will encourage both of my children to marry young (like under 25.)
10 Reasons I Will Encourage My Kids to Marry Young comes from my own experience as someone who married at 22 and has enjoyed the benefits of many years of fulfilled marriage. I also have seen the unfortunate effects of what delayed marriage does for both family and culture as a whole.
1. Young Marriage= Adventures Together. Most people assume single people have all the adventures. At 22 my husband and I drove from Iowa to Oregon in a Hyundai hatchback- no jobs and no home. Just like a couple of European backpackers we wandered and found our way… except we did it together. There is nothing better than having that kind of vagabond history with your mate for life.
2. Young Marriage Teaches Value of People Over Things. When a couple marries young (if they are anything like we were) they are mostly dirt poor. That is good. When you have little there is simple joy in “Look, we made it!” When you have an accumulation of “his” and “hers” and worries over how the other will treat the other’s belongings there is an added element of stress. Waiting to marry in order accumulate shows a priority of material possessions over people. (Eating dinner on the floor at a coffee table works for a while. We lived.)
3. Young Marriage Teaches Self-Sufficiency. Necessity they say is the mother of invention. The same can be said of not having daddy there to bail you out. The couple work has no choice but to work together to make it financially. This is a much needed deterrent to the epidemic of extended adolescence.
4. Young Marriage is Pro-life. A study published by the University of St. Andrews and Edinburgh University in Scotland found that women have lost 90 percent of their eggs by the time they are 30 years old, and only have about 3 percent remaining by the time they are 40. As couples marry later they are having children later, and having fewer children. There are also increased health risks for the mother and child as discussed in this statement from England’s chief medical officer. Children who are born while their parents are in their 30s or 40s have much less time to enjoy their aging grandparents than did children just a generation ago.
5. Young Marriage Reveals Sinfulness. In a vacuum we are fine. Put us with another person day in and day out our selfish, self-absorbed heart comes out. We are easily angered. “That’s not how I would do it!” In those times we realize our need for Christ more than we do when we are alone.
6. Young Marriage Values the Opposite Sex. Early marriage is the exact opposite of the hook-up culture. It places value on commitment and one person, whereas hook-ups are about now and whoever. A person who marries chooses to cherish his/her spouse instead of simply use people for pleasure.
7. Early Marriage Teaches Real Life Consequences. Buying a car for a trip because we were too young to rent a car was pretty stupid… but it was a decision will lived with as a couple. We grew from it and grew up- together. Twenty-something’s living in mom’s basement have a cushioned view of reality.
8. Young Marriage Can Encourage Education. When people are single they can get away with foolishness, but when they marry they have someone else to think of beyond themselves. Some people are actually more disciplined students when they are married, as Karen Swallow Prior wrote in her article The Case for Getting Married Young: “I transformed from a party girl into a budding scholar.” In my case I told my fiancé, “If you want to see me it will have to be at the library.” He became an honor student.
9. Young Marriage Gets You The Cute One. One of the reasons many godly young people have no plans to marry early is they are waiting on the right one. They have lists of qualifications (and the lists grow as they get ever older) as to what their perfect prince/princess will be like. In their deciding not to “settle” they have overlooked many wonderful choices. Older and frustrated at the lack of choices (particularly “cute” choices) they wonder why God hasn’t given them a mate. If a person loves the Lord the rest can be worked through. At 21 he may not love chick flicks, but by 30 he might tolerate them quite well. She may not play tennis, but you could be the one to teach her. After years of training your mate, he/she can become your perfect “right one.”
10. Young Marriage Lets You Get on With Life. When you have chosen to get married there is no more need to wait. You have arrived. No one doubts you are an adult. No need to question, “Am I a man yet?” No waiting for sex. (Oh yeah!) No more, “Well, I have to buy/do/finish this first.”
So my dear children… Get married, have those kids and get me some grandbabies someday! Never feel like success comes from any job you can get (or lose) or degree you earn. Success is in who you are in Christ and the lives you touch.
For more on young marriage/young motherhood you may be interested in 7 Perks for Getting Married Young from EarlyMama.com.