Skip to comments.The 4 Benefits of Marrying Young
Posted on 12/02/2012 7:21:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind
A recent article on Yahoo extolled “The Benefits of Marrying Later in Life.” The writer, who waited until age 46 to marry, listed the benefits of delaying marriage:
– Learning to love herself and accept her self-worth
– Time to become her own person
– Benefit of knowing who she is
– Experiencing life as her own complete person
With all due respect to the author, her list looks like a recipe for perpetual singleness. A decade or more of doing whats best for me and learning to love and complete “myself” is not the best way to prepare for the sacrifices and selflessness required to be one half of a couple. Be honest: Would you want to marry someone who has spent two entire decades of her life “learning to love herself”? She’s going to be a tough act to follow.
According to the Pew Research Center, the median age for marriage in the United States has risen to a record 28.7 for men and 26.5 for women, which means that half are older than the median when they marry. Marriage overall has declined as well; barely half of Americans are currently married, a record low, compared to 72% in 1960.
But those averages dont tell the whole story. More and more in our society, success is defined as progressing along a pathway that includes high school, college, graduate or professional school, a career with a 6-figure salary, and, after a long succession of practice relationships, perhaps marriage and children (if the woman’s AARP-eligible eggs hold out that long).
Of course, it hasn’t always been that way. Until the early 1900s, no one had ever heard the words teenager and adolescence. Upon reaching the age of maturity (usually in the late teens), young people were expected to court and marry in short order. If a 20-something lived in his parents’ basement, he usually had a good excuse — such as missing hands and feet, or being in a permanent comatose state. In the book From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America, Beth Bailey describes the societal changes that led to our current dating and marriage culture and the new phase of life we now know as extended adolescence:
Because young people were released, to a great extent, from adult responsibilities and decisions, the act of choosing a lifelong mate did not seem so immediately important. Within youth culture, the emphasis in courtship shifted to the social and recreational process of dating…
In a span of about 50 years, we went from supervised courtship with the expectation that marriage would be the end result to casual, recreational dating and, eventually, cohabitation as an accepted precursor or replacement for marriage. As a result of these cultural changes, not only has the marriage age crept steadily upward, but so has the divorce rate. Currently around 50% of new marriages end in divorce, compared to 8% in 1900 and 25% in the early 70s, when no-fault divorce laws appeared.
In light of these statistics, Id like to suggest four compelling reasons why marrying earlier in life (perhaps by the mid-20s) might be beneficial.
In his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua Harris recounts a young womans dream about her wedding day. As she meets her groom at the altar, other young women begin to line up behind her future husband. They are both devastated as they realize that he will be bringing his (rather large) entourage of ex-girlfriends into their marriage. Harris goes on to explain that the dream was a metaphor for his dating experience.
He realized that he had given each girl a piece of his heart and had taken pieces of theirs. Each successive relationship left him with a little less to give to his future wife. Its like when you stick two pieces of masking tape together and pull them apart. If you continue to repeat the process over and over again, eventually no stickiness remains. There would always be memories, thoughts, and images that were shared in previous relationships that would influence, and to some extent shape, the future marriage. Memories from past relationships can linger for dozens of years and threaten the foundations of even the most stable marriages. According to a survey at Your Tango, thinking about exes is a serious problem:
- 74% of women and 64% of men think about their ex too much
- 76% of women and 70% of men have looked up an ex on the internet
- 50% of women and 40% of men say they look at their ex’s Facebook or other online profile too often
In simple risk-assessment terms, the less baggage and the fewer corpses of past relationships you drag into your marriage, the stronger the foundation will be.
Regardless of your age at the time of your marriage, you can count on both partners changing over the course of the relationship. Those who marry younger grow together rather than independently. My husband and I are approaching the 25-mile marker in our marriage and we are not the same people we married those many years ago. I was working at a job I hated and my husband was going to school and working at an oil change shop while serving in the National Guard. We lived frugally in a 3-room rental in a sketchy neighborhood in W. Akron. A few years later we bought our first house in a neighborhood on the outskirts of inner-city Akron for $38,000. Gary spent his weekends keeping our cars running and I learned how to make 101 recipes using ground chuck, which was $0.89/lb back then. If we had waited until our 30s or 40s to marry, wed have missed those precious years of working together toward our goals and watching the lovely, slow progress that emerges over the years of living life as a team and arriving at the destination together. I wouldn’t trade those years of joy and struggles for anything. King Solomon, a man of extraordinary wisdom, had this to say: ”
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV)
I suppose there are benefits to waiting until you have everything figured out and you have achieved success in your career before you “settle down,” but what a grand adventure you are missing along the way with the love of your life!
Our sexual desires and ability to procreate are innate, God-given characteristics. Those are precious, beautiful things and, as a Christian, I believe the Bible teaches they are reserved for the confines of marriages (read Steven Crowders excellent account of the rewards of abstinence before marriage). This is the best plan for a healthy, happy marriage. Expecting men and women with this sexual ethic to suppress those feelings until they are 30 or even 40 is frustrating, difficult, and, probably for many, cruel and unusual punishment. Marrying earlier rather than later avoids the frustration of denying and repressing ones natural sexual urges and allows them to be expressed appropriately in the context of marriage. In addition, the 20s are the peak fertility years, especially for women. Marrying earlier can help avoid the heartache of infertility that so many couples face when they postpone childbearing until they complete their education and then spend a dozen years establishing their careers. Its counterintuitive to delay having children until after the womans best chances for conception have passed. There is also the added benefit of not being the dad who asks for the senior discount at the ice cream stand after his kid’s t-ball game. And think about the weirdness of picking up both Children’s Tylenol and your Low-T medicine at the pharmacy.
For many couples, living together before marriage is a cover for their unwillingness to make a mature, adult commitment. Ill first refer back to my previous point about Gods plan for sexual abstinence before marriage and monogamy within as the best route to a happy and healthy marriage. But in addition to that, I believe that cohabitation sets a very unhealthy pattern that leads to a culture of divorce. Living together before marriage to see if were compatible is practicing failure. The unspoken (or sometimes spoken) agreement is that if it doesn’t work out or if my partner doesn’t fulfill my desires, we can both walk away. Its built on a foundation of selfishness and flies in the face of For better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health, forsaking all others, until death parts us. Marriage is fun, fulfilling, and amazing, but its also really, really hard sometimes. There can be long periods of time when couples must wade through difficult periods of medical issues, family crises, financial problems, and routine boredom. Cohabitation gives couples license to walk away in the face of those difficulties, with the excuse that they must not be compatible or it wasn’t meant to be. In contrast, marriage (technically) requires a commitment to permanence. Couples that survive and endure through dozens of years of marriage do so not because their marriages arent touched by trials, tragedies, and heartache, but because they manage to navigate these difficulties and persevere, fiercely resolute in the commitment they have made to one another and, for many, to God.
In his counter-cultural book Dating with Integrity, John Holzmann describes the solemnity of the vows, beginning at the moment of engagement:
To be betrothed means to be promised. People used to speak of plighting (pledging, promising) ones troth. Troth means faithfulness, loyalty, promise. But whether we call it engagement or betrothal, the main thing people need to attend to is that their promises are true and they will do whatever they must in order to fulfill them. At the point of engagement or betrothal the great transition should occur. It is here that one should make ones vows and plan to keep them. Before one makes a vow, all ones questions should be answered concerning whether or not he or she intends to fulfill it. It is at the point of engagement that the big shift should occur between being mere friends to being committed to one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.
Couples in trial marriages via cohabitation arrangements refuse to make such commitments and instead enter into agreements that are, at their root, open-ended and even selfish. Experiencing one or more of these relationships/arrangements teaches couples to take the easy way out when the going gets rough. Rather than making semi-sincere vows (which, by the way, can also be made or implied in non-cohabitating serious relationships), perhaps we need a return to what our grandparents practiced: Avoiding the practice marriage trap by marrying young, embracing the gravity and solemnity of the marriage commitment, waiting until the wedding day to move in together, and staying together for life.
There are many factors to consider when deciding when and whom to marry: the maturity of the individuals, their financial independence, whether they have a realistic view of marriage, and, of course, whether they’ve found the right person to marry. The bottom line is that what we’ve been doing for the last fifty years isnt really working. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that the way we do marriage is failing miserably, evidenced by the colossal divorce rate. Its time to examine our modern marriage paradigms and ask if we can learn a thing or two from generations past. While I’m not suggesting that early marriage is right for everyone, I am saying that we shouldn’t automatically dismiss it out of hand just because current conventional wisdom says it’s a bad idea and the “experts” tell us that we need to spend a decade or more of our adulthood “finding ourselves” and learning to love ourselves more.
You will most likey get to experience the joys of :
3. Child Support
4. Getting married again
5. Grandkids know grandparents more time. Wish my daughter did.
How about this?
It allows you to get that first divorce early while you are still young and can find someone else hopefully seriously the second round?
you can have your kids on welfare longer
I was engaged twice before I finally got married at 35.
I think that worked out right. Saved myself two divorces by today’s statistics.
Though I don't disagree with the author's premises about the benefits of early marriage, economic growth as a couple is a relic of an age when politicians actually wanted the US economy to grow. We have now ushered in a new Age of Redistribution, so it is entirely possible young couples are just going to watch themselves get poorer and poorer with each passing year, unable to make progress against the Leviathan State.
I don’t see anything wrong with the median ages... 28/29 for men and 26 for women. I was 26 when I married. I met the right person to spend the rest of my life together. IMHO marriage is a huge step in one’s life and they should make that decision based on maturity. I’m not saying that a 21 year old can’t make a mature decision. I am simply saying that marriage shouldn’t be on some societal imposed age requirement.
Married at 17, hubby was 20!
Going to celebrate 54 years of marriage this coming February.
EVERYONE of my sisters who are older than me,(3).... along with my parents who married at 16/19 .....celebrated 60 plus years.
The secret?? GOD first in the marriage.
Here's one that I'd say is rarely true:
A decade or more of doing whats best for me and learning to love and complete myself is not the best way to prepare for the sacrifices and selflessness required to be one half of a couple.
I believe that it is best to get to thoroughly "know thyself" - warts and all - before trying to enter into a life relationship with someone else. For some, it is only through being alone that they will eventually realize just how selfish they actually are - thus permitting them to recognize and address the problem.
My only regret is that I'll probably be ancient before I can dandle my grandkids on my knee.
I'm a very young grandfather and very young looking. Strangers all think I'm the father -- not grandfather -- of my 12-year-old grandson.
Another plus in being a young grandfather is that I DESTROY him (still) in all sports -- including basketball.
I like that. Lol.
Men and women are different species. As a general rule, women reach their peak of desirability in their 20s and it goes down from there, though the steepness of the downward slope varies. In contrast, men are all over the map. Some men who are studs in their 20s are unrecognizable by 40 (and not in a good way). Others who are “nerds” when they are younger get much more desirable as they age. But, the bottom line is that women have a much shorter shelf life than men in terms of being viewed as a prospective mate.
Many young women fall into the trap of having a boyfriend for 5+ years who has no intention of ever marrying them. I realize that they might love these guys, but they are wasting the best years of their lives on someone who is essentially using them. On the other hand, I think having more experience helps a man stay married. In that way, he won’t feel like he’s missing out on something when he gets older.
There is a rule for men that states: marry someone who is half your age + 7). I think this is a good rule for both men and women.
“As a general rule, women reach their peak of desirability in their 20’s and it goes down from there...”
Really? Men “are all over the map?” Either you look good for your age or you don’t. Let me guess... you are under 30?
Being the day-care sitter at the age of 45 while single daughter/mom has to work
And for a guy who waits till late in life before getting married, chances are it’ll be to a divorcee with kids of her own who are ultimately going to hate you.......
I think you’re missing the point. Its not that people can’t look good for your age. However, all else being equal, men find women 20s more desirable period. They may deny it, but its true.
I am sad to say, very sad, that my eldest daughter is one of those young women. She spent 3 years with one guy, and it didn't work out. I told her don't do that again, waste 3 years on someone who will never commit. She did anyway. There was also a high school guy that she wasted a few years on.
So, now she is 29 with three broken hearts and no prospects at the moment for the future.
She is a highly intelligent young woman; but, she went from high school, to college, to grad school, to working for a university. So, a very smart girl, with some very silly ideas. I think the culture, and the educational system, fill these girls with ideas that the most important thing is to have a fulfilling career. When they realize that they actually do want a husband and a family, they are at an age where getting both of those things are problematic.
I got married at 22. I’ve been married 20 years. We had kids at ages 26 and 30.
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