In the communities that make up my area of the country there is a strong current of young marriage. In the homeschool community that’s pretty common. In the Mennonite community that’s pretty common. In the ex-Amish community that’s still rather common. In The Church (the Body of Christ) it is common to get married young. It fact, the common thread, the more “religious” the younger the marriage.
You know how young I mean. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Honestly any age before 25 I’m going to judge you. (haha!)
It works for some. I won’t deny that. It was almost me. I almost married early and young. At the time it felt right. It felt like it was something God honored. Like it was something I was supposed to do. I was told for so long that getting married, having kids, being a mom, making a home, being a housewife was the highest calling and what God expected of me. In many ways I’m thinking this is really hitting home for some of you. I thought this was supposed to be my calling.
In a way, it absolutely is. But in God’s timing. Not in mine. And not right out of high school. Just because you’re dating someone your senior year, and everyone else around you expects you two to get married DOES NOT mean you need to get hitched. Yes, this includes adults around you whom you trust and admire and respect.
What’s the rush?? And don’t say you don’t know what else could be next. THERE IS SO MUCH.
We do some of our most important growing and changing in our 20s. When people told me this when I was 17 and 18 I hated hearing it. It was so upsetting. What was I going to do in that time?
My advice to you and even 16-18 year old me is simple:
Honey. You grow you to astronomical proportions. Grow you. Grow your independence, your knowledge, your education, your knowledge of culture, your knowledge of the things you disagree with. Question everything and find out what makes it right or wrong. Figure out as much as you possibly can about the world. Notice everything you can. Love the people around you. Live like the perfect wife you will be, but don’t expect it to come along right when you want it. Because like it or not, marrying young is almost always a mistake. I’m not saying there’s a magic formula with the right age on a recipe somewhere. I’m saying don’t EVER limit yourself to what you THINK should happen as opposed to what God has yet to tell you and show you about your life with Him and the people around you. I wish there was a more sound and solid answer for this. But the fact remains that its different for everyone.
To put this in perspective:
-I’m in my early 20s and my entire graduating class is already married and the majority of those have at least one child.
-Every girl I went to school with (between the grades 4 and 6) have already had children (married and unmarried)
– 60% of the engagements announced on my facebook feed (this is of the 400 unmarried individuals I know) are broken and not reunited. Half of those who broke it off were married to another person entirely within 12 months. **(First of all I’d just like to ask on behalf of the rest of us– HOW ON EARTH?! How do you meet someone, fall in love with them enough to want to marry them, have it go south enough for you to end it, and THEN meet someone entirely new, fall in love all over again, and get engaged all over again?! How?! I’m lucky to find someone worth talking to -lets not even start with worth dating- in 12 months. What the hell. More on this later. I promise)
(These are rough averages but I’m confident enough in them to actually share them with you here. I don’t intend to mislead you in any way.)
A little more than half of these are going to end in divorce as well.
Let that sink in a minute.
Just because you two are Christians going into a marriage does not mean you are immune to the bad in the world. It doesn’t mean he won’t cheat. It doesn’t mean one of you won’t have an issue with porn. It doesn’t mean you’ll both communicate like pros. You have got to be ready to handle all that together as a team. Even when it doesn’t feel like a team after a while.
There is so much to learn about people and men in general before you do any kind of marrying.
The Mild Millennial