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Marriage: too Soon, too Young - or Both??


I have known and/or read many young women's musings who become restless following high school. And there is a reason for that. Many of them were raised with the Biblical mindset that they’d become a homemaker (instead of career-minded), and start to feel as if their “training” is done so now their only desire is to be married – that is what they were taught from a Biblical perspective; how to be a godly wife. For some, it almost reaches the point of desperation to just be married, so you fall into infatuation (the idea of marriage) rather than deep abding love. I see a LOT of danger in that mentality. Thankfully that has not been something I’ve struggled with. Seeing all these young girls marry is something I find disconcerting because even by the time we reach high school graduation there is still a lot of growing up (maturing) to be done – both spiritually and as an individual.

One of my favorite Hollywood feel-good flicks of late is the comedy Killers. (Yes, you are allowed to think it strange that I am comparing something from Hollywood to topics of serious Christian-based relationships but it has its strong points, I assure you.) In it, two strangers meet and share a whirlwind romance in France, only to marry and three years later are living a quiet suburban life. Little does Jen know that husband Spencer is actually an ex-agent with a license to…well, kill. The constant hilarity which ensues is, true not what your typical marriage looks like – in fact, we will hopefully strive not to find ourselves entangled in such a marriage (born out of dishonesty) but what’s most important is that Jen and Spencer are deeply committed to one another and overcome the odds. Nowadays it’s a rarity to find such positive emotions being poured into a relationship – whether it’s real or fiction. Generally when the going gets tough – or even in cases when someone is simply bored with marriage, everyone merely walks away where the “easy out” is waiting: divorce.

Alarming statistics show that at least fifty-percent of marriages (probably more now) end in divorce. Most people probably don’t think about ending their marriage when they are right smack dab in the middle of the blush of a first love… an engagement… saying “I do,” but should things go south, there is a “no strings attached” policy. I see a huge danger sign in young ladies who want marriage so badly that they might “settle” or just marry the first guy who shows interest because that is what they are prepared for – those are their convictions. I share some such principles as a Christian and was even raised with some of these ideas but I am not one who believes rigidly that we cannot also pursue other avenues before the joys a family will bring. However, some families take such concepts much further – far past my own convictions.

Relationships aren’t easy: they each take work – nurturing. A journal entry that I once read written by a public figure has stuck with me these many years. In it the Christian writer shared her self-doubts about ever being married – she was in her late twenties at this time and like so many, had long since expected to be in a committed marriage. She is Rebecca St. James. One of Rebecca’s innermost desires was to be married and as a result she went through a period of real confusion but eventually she let it go to the Lord and only recently did she wed her Prince Charming. Another marriage between two Christian stars was Bethany Dillon and Shane Barnard (of Shane & Shane). Theirs was a marriage I shook my head at because Bethany is younger than I – when she married in 2008 I wasn’t even seriously thinking about being married apart from a girl’s daydreams. Still I wished them nothing but the best and now, three years later, they have a beautiful little girl. I want to be married someday, but I do not see it in the very near future nor as something that will make me “complete” or that there is only one guy I am meant to meet, and only a fifty percent chance that our paths will ever cross. When that dream guy walks through the door, I want to be as ready as I can be for entering into what I hope will be a relationship that ends with “I do.”

Life is really seasons of changes. You’ll relish in the getting-to-know your own Prince Charming, cherish that moment when you say those vows before eventually reality will set in. I am not a cynic – even in this imperfect world, I look forward to my happy-ever-after – but I do know that once I leave the security of my parent’s home, my responsibilities will double as will my life completely change (not for the worse, mind you, just different). Hopefully as well brought up Christian young adults, when we marry, we choose wisely the first time so that there is no chance for a second, and like Jen and Spencer, love will far outweigh whatever challenges life may place in our paths. (Only... we could do without the car chases!)


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  1. I loved you using "Killers" as an idea with your article =D I watched the movie a month or so ago...totally adorable.

    And I whole heartedly agree with this post. I do not want to be one that settles for the first guy who comes along, just because I am desiring of marriage....the Lord will bring just the right guy at just the right time.

    I am not a total cynic either--I do believe Prince Charming exists out there!

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  2. i follow you now! please come see my blog at http://cubettescorner.blogspot.com/
    and follow♥ hope to hear from you!

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  3. Wonderful Rissi!
    I really enjoyed reading this. Excellent thoughts :)

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  4. Wow, this is totally a big issue in our church. My sister and I are in college, and we plan to have careers. I want to get married though. Some girls who are several years older than me and have just recently married or are not even married seemed to be sort of floaters. I don't think any of them has an actually bachelor's degree although I think they have some or maybe even a lot of credits, but they had plenty of time. Another girl was literally boy chasing when she was still in highschool and succeeded in getting a boyfriend whom she presumes she will marry young although he is in such a position in college that it will probably at least three more years. Its these assumptions and lack of productivity that bothers me. I think girls should prepare for a career and work until they are married. People usually do not get married right out of high school nowadays, so it is neither mature or practical do live as if their sole job was to wait for prince charming. I don't want a guy that is okay with a lazy girl. I also do not want the first guy that comes along, and I want to be friends the guy before there is any romance in the picture. I don't like crush at first type for me.

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  5. This was really good, Rissi! :) And, to tell you the truth, I needed it. For a couple of months now, I've been infatuated with the thought of marriage. I've even gone so far as to wish that I could skip the whole dating/courtship and go immediatly to marriage! Yeah, I know. :P But seriously, this helped me. Thanks! :)

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  6. Ella – thanks! I LOVE “Killers,” it’s SO funny (must post my review soon). Glad to hear you enjoyed it also. =)

    I want marriage for myself… but in the future. I don’t feel anywhere near ready to be married, but I know that someday I’ll meet a guy who changes all that – and I am looking forward to that. Life isn’t a fairy-tale, but yes, I feel certain that a marriage can be “beautiful” and “perfect” with two people who are right for each other.

    Cubette – thanks for following my blog; I LOVE new followers. Visit often and join in the conversation. I am off to “join” your blog now. =)

    Rebekah – thank you! I always appreciate your encouragement. =)

    Livia – unfortunately, I have seen a LOT of young girls marry or desire it so much that it “bothers” me because it seems like their motivation is all wrong. Most of them are either my age or younger and some even have a couple of kids. I am not of a mind that college is necessary nor is it of interest to me (apart from maybe some Internet classes – if ever I get decent Internet service and a new computer!) but I don’t believe that I can’t try and hone a skill I may have while attempting to find work in that area. For me, everything I am avid about is all things I can improve by simply practicing them, mainly my choice is writing. I love it, so I want to do whatever I can to try and improve that hobby, and if I can find jobs doing what I love, I have no problem with that – in fact I enjoy it. You bring up some excellent points.

    Establishing a friendship with a guy you are interested in marrying is important – or that is my opinion. He should be a best friend while at the same time you seek out a person who shares your convictions.

    Tinka – thank you… but I am so pleased that it was encouraging for YOU. For me, I see “infatuation” as a dangerous mentality because it gets the relationship off to an unhealthy start. I’ve been fortunate not having struggled with that, but I’ve seen it through the home-school families I’ve known and various other articles. The courting/dating stage of the relationship will be wonderful, and you’ll look back on it with a smile… or that is what I believe. =)

    As always… excellent thoughts girls! I love ‘em. =)

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  7. I have seen extremes on both sides. I grew up in a community that surrounded a national laboratory. It was a very educated community. Nearly every person I graduated from high school with went on to college. With few exceptions, no one got married young unless they were pregnant. The few friends/people I knew who did get married young because of choice, not pregnancy, I remember that their parents weren't necessarily happy about it because of their age/ability to provide for themselves. My associations from this were that it wasn't good to get married young. My own parents were 27 and 30 when they married. So they, naturally, always encouraged my sisters and me to get educations, etc.

    When I moved to Idaho, I met a lot of people who had gotten married very young. I see engagement announcements in the paper all the time for people who are barely out of high school. It was so weird for me, because my associations with young marriage were negative.

    I have a girlfriend who married at 19. She's 34 now and she and her husband couldn't be happier. They have 5 children and are a wonderful Christian family.

    I was 29 when I married. (I'm in my 40s now and my husband and I have two children.) I never planned to get married so late, but it's just the way my life turned out. I had reached a point in my life where I knew I could be happy, should I end up remaining single. I had an education, a good job, friends and a church community that was important to me. I can look back now and realize that all those experiences just prepared me to be a better wife and mother.

    I guess, in all my ramblings, I'm trying to say that I've learned that marriage is a very individual thing. As I look back on it, I wasn't ready for marriage at a younger age. I probably thought I was, but I wasn't. And, if I had married earlier, I wouldn't have married my husband and I can't imagine my life with anyone else. I married when it was right for me and it was the right person, and I think that is the most important thing. Marrying the right person because it's the right person and not just because it's someone who asked or was convenient. For my girlfriend, the right time was at age 19. I firmly believe that our happiness isn't dependent on someone else being in our lives, it's dependent on us.

    Sorry, I hijacked your comments section!

    2 Kids and Tired Books

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  8. You have some great points here in this post, Rissi! I enjoyed reading what you had to say about marriage. Marriages differ as well (sounds a little like the fashion topic we were discussing a week ago). I know some people who married young, but had strong marriages, and also those who married older and still were likewise. But there are also those who married either young or old, but their marriages failed. I guess it's a matter of maturity--whether both the couple are indeed ready for the responsibilities that marriage brings along. However, the media seems to be pressuring young people to get into relationships and even marry early. Not just the media, but even family and friends. Thankfully, I'm not being pressured. In fact, I know I'm not ready to marry young--I can wait for eternity to find the right person. I'd rather focus on growing in my relationship with Christ first. :)

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  9. Holly – a lot of people (especially girls) do want to get an education in today’s society because culture says women “must” be educated. I am judging by a home-school group and about five girls from my church (four of whom were not home-schooled). My parents weren’t nineteen when they married either, but I don’t feel like they raised me with a mind-set to wait to marry until I was into my twenties, although if I’d been about to do so at eighteen or nineteen, they likely wouldn’t have been thrilled.

    I agree with you that each person is different and am glad your friend has enjoyed a happy marriage. I am not saying that girls “can’t” marry young and enjoy a successful, Christ-centered marriage, what I am saying is that some girls just like the idea of marriage and it becomes a kind of “obsession” to just have the big wedding and be able to say, “I’m married.”

    Personally, I am not ready to be married, but I do want marriage for myself – just not at this point in my life.

    And, never apologize for “hijacking” comments, Holly! I love them. =)

    Jemimah – everyone does have different thoughts on marriage. Like Holly said, it is an individual thing, and as I said in reply to her comment, I do think some people can marry young and still have a strong marriage and some young marriages may fall apart, but that holds true for people who may marry in their late twenties and beyond.

    What you say about culture pushing young people into relationships is SO true. And it is sad. (As a matter of fact, I have a blog that I’ll likely post in the next couple of weeks that kind of ties together the modesty issue AND marriage, only I’ve used Jane Austen’s era as example points – most likely everyone will be “annoyed” by my thoughts and completely ignore that post. ;-D)

    Like you, I feel I have a lot of “growing” to do yet – especially where spiritual matters are concerned.

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  10. Good post. Very thought-provoking. It seems as if in my circle of acquaintances that it is an either/or situation -- either they marry young or they don't marry at all and now are in their mid-thirties. I know an eighteen year old who is married and expecting her first child any day -- I look at her and feel old and wonder how she can possibly be mature enough to handle marriage... but the truth is, marriage forces you to grow up. At least, it does if you want it to succeed. You cannot be immature and selfish and maintain a healthy marriage. Even so, I don't think anyone ever really feels "ready" for marriage -- it's just a choice we make, and we intend to do our best with it, but deep down most brides probably feel nervous and inadequate.

    I find girls who settle to be very sad -- because they would rather choose the first guy that comes along than be alone. The sadder thing is that many of us will probably wind up alone, because the older you are, the less chance you have of getting married, since most of the marriage-type men have already tied the knot. I think that probably prompts girls to grab a guy and try to keep him.

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  11. I'm alll about taking your time and finding the right person.

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  12. Thanks for following our blog!

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  13. Charity – I can’t say that I’ve seen a trend of marriage being “either/or.” I completely agree with you though that marriage is a union that should inspire maturity – or as you say, it should if the couple wants it to last. And, selfishness does not go far in ANY relationship, whether it be a friendship or marriage.

    Marriage is a choice, yes… however, it is only “okay” so long as it is a relationship built of love and respect, and not just a desire to be married. I think most girls who “settle” simply think they can’t do any better, so they do whatever they can to hold onto their guy or any guy, and that is just… unfortunate – for their sake. A relationship such as that will probably not last.

    I don’t necessarily agree with you that if you don’t snatch the first guy who shows interest in you that you won’t then marry or there is less of a chance. Just because some girls may want to wait for marriage until an “older” age doesn’t mean there won’t be some godly guys out there.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts, Charity.

    Juju – me, too. =D Finding the right person is very important.

    Riah – you are welcome; I hope you stop in again sometime. =)

    Great input everyone; you all have some awesome viewpoints and I am enjoying reading the differing thoughts.

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  14. I really enjoyed this post! Thank you Rissi! :)

    After reading a few of the comments above, I figured I'd leave my two cents:

    I agree with most all what everyone is saying, and I think each of you have good points :) But I think we need to bring ourselves back to what marriage is really about-
    Marriage is something God created to reflect the relationship Christ has with the church, (His bride). It should be God glorifying and built with Christ as the foundation.

    That, I believe, is the main thing we should all focus on when we think about marriage. It's not necessarily about your age, nor about your education, etc. , it's about bringing God glory and accepting His will in your life.

    No person has the same calling... God created each of us differently, and has a unique plan for every single one of us. He has called some to marry young, some to marry older.. but the main thing we should be focusing on before we get married, is our relationship with Christ. Whether He wants us to marry young or not, a relationship will not be strong unless the two people marrying are both in love with Jesus, and that's what creates a strong marriage!

    Only God knows when each of us are ready to embark on the next stage in life (marriage) so by just trusting Him and seeking out His will for our life, we don't have to worry :) He'll bring the right man into our life at the right time! :)

    I'm sure each and every one of you would agree.... I just wanted to point that out. Sometimes we can get so caught up with the different standers and ways of going about things (I'm not accusing any of you of this, but speaking from personal experience) that we forget the purpose of marriage and why God created it. :)
    Posts like these are so good though and I think it gets us all fired up to want to do better and peruse Christ more and find out what that calling is He has for our life! :)

    Again, I think what Rissi said in this post was all good! I was greatly encouraged and look forward to what God has in store for my "love story", as I know He has scripted it beautifully:)

    But no matter what happens, lets all just keep pursuing Jesus... because He will always be our Prince Charming!! :)

    Blessings to all,
    -Destiny ♥

    (ps, forgive me for rambling on.... I didn't realize it'd be this long :P haha:))

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  15. I hope there are godly, older, single Christian guys out there -- because in my life, I know about a dozen girls between the ages of 25 and 35 who are keeping their eyes open, but haven't met any single guys around their age yet! I don't know if it is as rampant other places, but it honestly doesn't seem like that age demographic exists for young men anymore where I live. They're not in church, that's for sure. It used to be kind of a joke, but it's become less funny now -- where are all the young men?

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  16. Destiny – I believe it is VERY important that the relationship one has with God and your convictions be at the forefront of a dating/courting/marriage relationship. If a man and woman are interested in one another as a potential mate, I think it’s vital that you know where they stand spiritually. If the other person doesn’t share your same core values, then it probably isn’t worth fostering that relationship. Similarly, if a guy doesn’t respect your values – or vice versa, he isn’t worth crying over.

    God did create us all uniquely (thank goodness!). And, I am not arguing against EVERYONE marrying young, I merely see a danger in girls who are merely infatuated with the idea of marriage rather than a desire to enter into a marriage that will last “forever and always.”

    I cannot wait to have my own “love story” either (it will be beautiful), Destiny, but as my life stands right now, I have a lot of growing to do in my walk with God, so I want to be as prepared as I can in my spiritual life before entering into an emotional relationship with a guy.

    Thanks for YOUR encouragement, Destiny. I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on this topic. Thanks for joining my blog – visit as often as you like, and never apologize for a long comment; come back and add your “two cents” to any of my posts. Comments make the blogging experience much more rewarding. =)

    Charity – I can’t say that I know where all the “good” guys are (they certainly aren’t in my church either), but I do believe they are out there… somewhere.

    Your question is a good one though...

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  17. I cannot even tell you how much I'm glad you posted this. I've run into too many girls who expect to be married in the next few years. And sometimes I want my love story to start now, but then I remember that I'm only twenty, that there is so much to do yet, and that I am glad, for many reasons, to still be waiting on God to bring my first boyfriend. I wish these lessons were easier shared, but unfortunately, they are ones either never learned or learned after a long, difficult time.

    regarding your comment on my blog, that's why i love - as cliche as it is - the rule that one writes what one knows. because really, how can you write about anything else? and how can you write authentically when you don't write like yourself? i read some papers that read a little ridiculous, if i may, because the writers use grandiose vocabulary, attempt grammatical structures they don't understand, all in the name of sounding intelligent, rather than finding their voice and orienting their language around that.

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  18. It has been such an encouragement to me to know that so many of my readers have enjoyed this post, so thank you, Annie!

    I think so many girls become "desperate" for marriage in part because of their up-bringing. Especially those who weren't raised with the mind-set that a college education or career were the "only" way to go. I don't want a string of boyfriends but rather when I meet the right guy, I want it to be a relationship that can end with "I do," a relationship with a guy who shares my same values. Right now, I love my life, and am seriously pursuing what I love to do: writing. Marriage is most definitely in my future, I just don't see it in the next two years.

    "Write how you Talk" post: I do write about some things that I've not personally experienced (like marriage) but I also know such writings are merely my observations and humble opinions. Writing about what one knows has to be "easier" or we can relate more, but as a writer, I think using one's creative imagination isn't a bad thing either. Mostly, I think writing from experience is the best kind of good writing.

    Thanks for visiting again, Annie - and for joining my blog! It is very much appreciated. =)

    Great discussion, ladies! Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts about this topic. Anyone else who wants to share their thoughts is most welcome; I'll be sure and see any future comments. =)

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  19. Rissi: I didn't marry till I was almost 31. It took me forever to find Mr. Right but it was sooooo worth it.

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  20. Juju - as some of the comments have suggested here, I think by the time some girls reach their late-twenties, early thirties, they really get "desperate." That perhaps translates into a reason why they say "yes" to the first guy who show interest - and that isn't always the right guy, which can cause problems in a relationship down the road. So, yes, I am definitely for finding Mr. Right in the beginning. And, as you say, the life you share will be wonderfully perfect. =)

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  21. I'm commenting now two years after the last comment. . . . :P

    I very much agree with you on the "infatuation" stage of marriage and the "completing yourself by marriage" mindset. Marrying in the infatuation stage is dangerous because you still believe the person you're marrying can do no wrong--and then you wake up to the reality--that they are certainly not perfect--which is very unpleasant and could cause harm to your marriage. And no one can be completed by anything or anyone but God--which is still a fact that, though I KNOW it, I have a hard time BELIEVING it, because I definitely have a desire to be married and be a mom.

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    1. No worries, Hannah - I don't mind in the least if readers comment the day of the publication or two years afterwards. Only thing is, who knows what I sounded like two years ago! ;)

      I want to marry and have a family also. It's never been something I haven't wanted but in watching all of the young people I once knew marry around me, I've seen some "danger" signs (and as such, haven't "panicked" that I've not met the right guy) - and I'll admit that I'm on the outside looking in and don't know the whole story, this has scared me a bit. So many of these young girl's are merely infatuated with the idea of the wedding, of having their dream and when they get caught up in that, they don't really realize all the hard work and emotions that go into a marriage. It won't always be easy but then with God at the center (or hopefully He will be) of that relationship, things are made easier and it's yet another reason why it's SO important to pick the right person in this relationship.

      Regarding your comments about us thinking a spouse is "perfect," another thing we girl's think we can do is "change" the guy - and while I do believe people can "make" someone want to be better, ultimately, it's between the person and God.

      Very well said, Hannah.

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