Get Married Before You Turn 23

I got married when I was 19 years old. I was dumb, poor, and not incredibly mature (I know, hard to believe). With all of those things true, I would do it again. Below are a few reasons why every young person should at least strive for getting married young. Obviously, many of these are interconnected.

  • Marriage is meant to be a cornerstone, not a capstone to adulthood. The prevailing thought of, “Get your education, get a career, get money saved up, etc. and then get married” is a line of thinking that is damaging and misunderstands the purpose of marriage. Don’t wait until you think you are mature to get married, let marriage mature you. Don’t wait until you have your plans figured out, figure out your plans with the person you will spend your life with.
  • Adolescence is not better than adulthood. It is not good when you are 24, but live and function like you did when you were 18. Adulthood doesn’t just happen because the government declares you an adult on your 18th birthday. It pains me to see so many young people settling for 15 years of adolescence when it should be half of that. Life is too short for these games.
  • We are fighting for more than “stability,” we are fighting for holiness. Help me figure this one out, parents want their kids to wait until they are married to have sex. They also want their kids to have all of their ducks in a row (education, money, career, etc.) before they get married. This is a set up for failure. Look through history, the average age for marriage has never been as high as it is right now. This isn’t because we have something figured out that no one else did.
  • Everyone that is married knows, when you get married there are character and “baggage” issues that have to get worked through. Many marriages that end quickly are typically because they don’t know how to work through those things in a healthy way. The problem though, is waiting until you are 29 doesn’t make those things go away. Your character issues and baggage that you bring into marriage are going to be there whether you marry at 22 or 29. Nothing revealed my character issues like marriage has. I am glad I got to start working seriously on them at 19, not 29.
  • You aren’t your parents. Sadly, many young people need to hear this. The fact of the matter is most young people had either divorced parents or parents who stayed together, despite being miserable. You are not your parents. You are not your parents. Go into marriage not only committed to one another forever, but committed to making your spouse holy and happy. Don’t rob yourself the joys of marriage at a young age because you think you will have a better shot at it if you wait longer and have more in order. If divorce rates show us anything it reveals that it has nothing to do with how much is in order.
  • Being poor with someone is more fun than being poor alone. I love that in our first year of marriage my wife and I ate Totino’s pizza, ramen noodles, and cereal for 90% of our dinners. We also slept on an air mattress our first 3 months of marriage. Let’s not pretend THAT is what tanked the sex at the beginning.
  • Why not get married young? Seriously? I have never seen a good argument, despite numerous attempts. At the heart of them it is typically some sentiment of, “Life is short, spend your young years for YOU.” Ah, yes… life is short, therefore, be selfish. This line of thinking also has this strange sentiment that getting married means life is over. Where in the world did that idea come from? Life got significantly more interesting and more exciting when I got married. 19 wasn’t too young, at all.

64 thoughts on “Get Married Before You Turn 23

  1. My wife and I started dating in March, got in engaged in November, and then got married in June(I was 22). I had friends older than myself tell me “Why don’t you date/be engaged longer before jumping into marrage?” with the implication that it would make for a better marriage. When we got married, we were awful at marriage, just terrible. But we got better at it, because you can’t get better at something without practice, and I know for a fact that dating for years wouldn’t have made one difference in resolving the issues we had after we got married. They were issues that we would never had known existed until we got married.

    • Andy,

      I am literally going to add the point you just made to my post! The character issues that you work through when you get married at 22 don’t simply go away because you wait until you are 29. Great point man.

      Meredith and I met at our college orientation when I was 18. We went on our first date 1 week later (she couldn’t resist my charm), got engaged 8 months later, and married 8 months after that.

  2. One argument I hear against early marriage is that you don’t know who you are at 20, and you’ll change, so you shouldn’t get married then lest you and your spouse “grow apart”.

    Which is nonsense, because we constantly change throughout our life. I’m not the same person I was at 24 that I was at 18. I’m not the same person at 39 that I was at 32 (if anything, the most drastic shift in my worldview, outlook, and behavior has happened in the past three years as I approach 40.

  3. Thanks for saying this. I got married at 23 (my wife was 20). I was given the cautionary words that I would be changing a lot in the following few years and that maybe we should slow down a bit. We got married anyway. So glad we did. We’re coming up on 11 years of marriage soon. I’m already talking to my 7yr old and 5yr old daughters about how I intend to help them get married while they are still teenagers. I would love to see more parents training their children from an early age in order to prepare them to be married in their teen years. Part of the problem with the status quo paradigm is that people aren’t ready to marry in their early 20s because their parents didn’t train them and prepare them for it.

  4. Great blog, Matt, and I do not disagree at all but one particular statement really hit me and expanded the direction it went for me. One of the best statements I think here, Matt, was “At the heart of them it is typically some sentiment of, “Life is short, spend your young years for YOU.” Ah, yes… life is short, therefore, be selfish. This line of thinking…”. This is what is perpetuated in our society but the truth is NONE of our years are for US. They are for the glory of God at every age. Often , it seems, youth and the single generation mistakenly feel that time in their lives is theirs to do what THEY want… Experiment, live it up but God desires to use them and continue to prepare them and make them holy, using all their relationships, not just marriage if they marry young. Generally speaking, so many years and lives and opportunities are wasted for this younger generation because they are focused on pleasing themselves and not striving to become like Christ or allowing Him to use them at their young age. Sadly, we are partially to blame by not training our kids to listen to God and realize their calling as a Believer doesn’t begin when they are an adult but when they saved, whatever the age. God has done (just look in scripture) and continues to do powerful things through young people who have decided His plan and His desires were worth Surrendering to, over their own. Can you imagine how the gospel would go forth and future generations saved and changed forever if this kind of heart transformation stirred a movement of obedience and surrender to Jesus, instead
    of self, beginning in those younger youth/single years?? Wow! The potential
    is unfathomable.

  5. Matt,
    As someone who is 20 and starting their junior year in college, I cannot even fathom what it would be like to be married right now. I know that I can only commit to being 100% a student at this time in my life. The thing that I read out of this article (granted I am a girl with incomplete developed frontal lobes who rushes to rash judgement very quickly at times) is that I am broken or that I am making a mistake by not wanting to be married at this time in my life, or anytime in the near future. I know myself and know that God has not even made marriage an option in this season of my life because I, in fact, do not have a single clue about who I am. I am not wasting this time by “finding myself,” but instead am learning how to be the Proverbs 31 woman that my future husband deserves. I am not secure enough in who I am in Christ to begin a partnership at this time in my life.
    I understand the point of the title of this blog post( to grab the attention of readers) but at the same time, it can lead to a defensive reader.

    • Sarah,

      Thanks for the comment. I am sorry that is how my blog post made you feel. It was not my intention.

      My encouragement is simply to realize that the Bible never has this idea that we have to “know who we are” to get married. Learning about ourselves and growing as a person is always good. I am not sure why you feel like this is better done outside of marriage, rather than striving to find someone you want to spend your life with and allowing them to help you in that journey.

      • Matt,
        The reason why I feel like it is better to have some concept of who I am outside of marriage is because at this point in my life, I have no idea what type of person I am. I am aware of my basic characteristic traits. I know that I am an introvert. But I have no idea how to use that for God’s glory at this moment and am striving to learn how to do so. Before partnering with a spouse in marriage for ministry, I believe that it will be best for me to understand how to do that on my own and know what I can bring to the table in a relationship. Seeing as I struggle, and am working through issues of fear of rejection and being confident and not dependent on others for my happiness, I feel that working through those issues apart from a marriage is only healthiest for me. I know that I will never completely know who I am due to the finite capabilities of the human mind.

        I think the main thing I have in opposition to this blog is that it appears very generalized and seems to neglect that every person is completely unique, as you can see when comparing thousands of testimonies. No one has the same story and no one is identical to the next person. While it was God’s timing for you to get married at such a young age, maybe others are supposed to wait and have individual life experiences before becoming someone’s spouse. As a product of the “right now generation,” I find value in being okay with waiting for a spouse instead of doing everything I can to pursue a wedding. Instead of wanting everything “now, now, now,” I am choosing to sit back and wait.

        • It is interesting that our culture is very “now, now, now” except for when it comes to marriage. The message then becomes “wait, wait, wait.”

        • Let me also say, while I fully believe every word I have written, I do recognize that there are exceptions. Sometimes God puts people in a place in which marrying young might not be best… with that said, the reasons that are typically given for postponing marriage are usually selfish and not Godward.

          Thanks again for your perspective.

  6. This may be true for some people, probably more for Christians especially, but not for everyone. I have MANY friends and coworkers who are younger than me and have already gone through a divorce. . . We live in an age where young people are extremely immature, especially concerning life skills and relationships. Instead of having the “old fashion” model where a family lived and worked together. Where men took boys out in the field and taught them the value of hard work, Gods word, etc. Where women taught girls how to keep a house, be a woman, etc. now a days the model of a family is broken, disconnected, selfish. People do not mature and are not ready to build families as early as they used to be.

    Also, I went to a Christian college and some people met their soulmated their freshman year, some dated throughout college and met their soulmate their senior year, others were engaged and broke it off and are now happily married to someone they met later. I don’t think you should tell everyone to just marry the person they are currently in love with and then just pray and work at it. This may be Gods will for some, but not all.

    • BeckyLee,

      Thank you for the comment.

      I agree with most of what you say. The purpose of the post it to show why young people should be striving for marriage by 23. It is not as if they are a failure if they don’t. Yet, you hit a major issue in my post… maturity. You are right that young people aren’t as mature as they were in generations past. One thing that I think helps that greatly, and part of the reason for this post, is maturing by preparing yourself for marriage and striving after it.

      “I don’t think you should tell everyone to just marry the person they are currently in love with and then just pray and work at it.”

      I don’t think that is what I have done in this post. I don’t insinuate, at all, that you should simply marry whoever you are with. But, no matter who you do marry you will have to pray and work at it.

  7. And what do we say to Paul who said it was better not to marry and never married? Telling everyone their life goal should be to get married by 23? You are setting people up for failure. Our goal should be to become more like Christ and pursue Him.

    • BeckyLee,

      Obviously, my post assumes those who desire to marry- which Paul says should happen if that is the desire.

      I’m not sure how encouraging people to strive to be married while young is setting them up for failure. I think the trends in our society with prolonged adolescence is what has been proven to set people up for failure.

      Yes, our goal should be to be more like Christ and pursue. Nothing I have said negates that, at all.

  8. Can I be direct? Christians who remain celibate before marriage will have a very natural desire to get married.

    The longer a couple delays marriage the less likely they are to remain pure.

    To me, sexual purity is one of the best arguments for early marriage.

    And, from the testimony of an old fogey pastor, young marriages tend to work pretty well among Christian young people with a biblical worldview.

    • I couldn’t agree more, just walk through the commons of a Christian college and the sexual tension will hit you like a wall. Making “eye babies,” getting as close as you can without breaking the rules, etc. these young kids are getting married fast so they can fulfill sexual desires and be blessed by the church. I don’t know many young people who really truly are looking for a mate so they can emulate the Christ and the church.

      • I think a lot of young Christians are looking for both! 1) Fulfill sexual desires in a healthy, biblical way just as the Apostle Paul says 2) To start a family and emulate Christ and the church.

        That definitely described me. Not ashamed of that at all.

  9. I think we miss often miss this issue because: 1) Our culture has a horrible theology of marriage 2) We have allowed that view to influence us more than we realize 3) We allow our bad experiences to trump a biblical approach to marriage

    I really believe if we will rightly embrace my first bullet point in my blog post the rest of it works itself out. That applies to Christians and non-Christians.

  10. How would you respond to girls who do not get asked out? How are they supposed to get married? I’m 30, and have had 1 date in the past 11 years. (And yes, I am “putting myself out there.”) I’m thankful that I am able to trust God’s timing, otherwise the whole dating game would seem completely hopeless for me.

    • Jane,

      I would tell you to do what you are doing. Continue to trust in the Lord and be proactive in finding a spouse.

      The point of the post isn’t that there is something special about the age of 23. It is about the intentionality young people ought to have towards marriage!

      I am grateful for your comment and transparency. 🙂

    • I would add that you can ask out a guy! there’s no reason to wait for a guy to ask you… be proactive and ask him yourself

  11. I got married at 25 but I definitely desired to find my wife before that. In thinking of the years between the ages of 18-25, I can say that those years were full of wrong choices and general stupidity. Most of the regrets that I have to this day are a result of choices made during that time period. I would assume that I am not alone in this.

    Many would say that it is a good thing that I wasn’t married during those years because of the level of immaturity that I so proudly displayed. I could not disagree more. One thing that I have noticed in the almost 7 years of marriage that I have under my belt, is that marriage forces you to look at yourself in a way that you simply never have before. I believe that if I had been married when I was younger, many of the mistakes that I made would have been avoided.

    I wholeheartedly agree with dmille3098 when he says that “the longer a couple delays marriage the less likely they are to remain pure.” This is why I believe that long engagements are nothing more than unnecessary periods of trial and temptation. Sadly, our culture frowns on short engagements and thereby ushers our young people into one of the most difficult times of their lives, expecting them to come out on the other end unscathed and somehow better prepared.

  12. Pingback: The Case for Marrying Young

  13. Being blunt but I just find it obsurd to tell everyone to strive to marry before 23 because you did. If there is chapter and verse in NT, that supports or commands this, great. But Phil Robertson told a teen he should marry a 16 year old and gave similar reasons (a little less eloquent though). You can’t take a personal experience or opinion and use it as the foundation for what everyone else should do. That’s like a smoker saying “I’ve smoked for 80 years and I’m in perfect health, you should do it too!” Not every 18-23 year old is spiritually mature, had met another spiritually mature person who also loves them and is attracted to them. Could God want that for a lot of people? Sure! But let Him do the guiding! You wouldn’t believe the number of young Christian kids that are coming from broken or abusive homes, have been raped or molested, is not spiritually mature, etc.

    • BeckyLee,

      I don’t mind bluntness. But I am not arguing that people should do it because I did it. Hopefully, even if I didn’t do it I would argue it because I believe it to be true and good- that young people out to strive for and pursue marriage.

      I am arguing for it based on my points above, not my experience.

  14. We need to see something that I am finding interesting in this discussion:

    Secular society says: “Hold off on marriage until your education, finances, career, etc. are all figured out.”

    Many Christians say: “Hold off on marriage until you have grown to this certain point and are spiritually mature enough, etc.”

    My primary point is a biblical case can’t be made to hold off on marriage until all of those things are figured out. This is the fundamental difference between viewing marriage as a cornerstone or capstone.

    All I am saying is- If you find someone that, for good reasons, you want to spend the rest of your life with you ought to pursue marriage. You can grow spiritually and emotionally with them. You can figure out your education, career, finances, etc. with that person.

    • Glad you finally cleared up the details to what your actual message was. 🙂 I’m still looking for a verse that says to get married early, that being married causes you to me more spiritually mature, that you should figure out your career and education with them rather than with your parents and/or God, etc. again, I still think you are taking a personal experience that was God’s will for YOU, and trying to turn it into a devotional for young kids to follow.

      • BeckyLee,

        1) In Bible times they all got married much younger than we do today.

        2) I think a biblical theology of marriage clearly lays out that marriage is to be viewed as a cornerstone, not a capstone.

        3) The Bible says when people get married the two become one flesh… that is a pretty good reason why it is good to figure out those big things with a spouse.

        • 1. In Biblical times they also had arranged marriages, dowaries, etc. A lot of those things were cultural and necessary.

          2. Can you provide more clear definitions for cornerstone and capstone as well as scripture to support those definitions?

          3. All biblical examples of marriage, God calls one spouse, almost always the man to a place, an occupation, etc. and the wife submits and follows. So why don’t all Christians get married BEFORE college and the wife just follow along and be the help meet?

    • actually, a biblical case CAN be made to hold off untill you are older.
      biblical marriages were generally older male (upper twenties or even thirties) to younger female (mid teens to early twenties). and the marriage didn’t take place untill the husband had his education (apprenticeship in his field of work) a steady job (farm, carpentry shop, etc.) and a place to live. once this was all figured out and setup, THEN he would return to his bride, get married and start a family.
      so, biblical examples of marriage are actually contrary to your viewpoint.

  15. Since my husband and I got married a few months before our 19 birthdays and have just this last weekend celebrated 17 years of a successful marriage, following the Lord and a wonderful ministry to many hurting women and children around the world… We Would only bolster you concepts here and agree… We are proof of this type thought!

  16. I think my whole point that as a pastor there is a lot of danger in taking a life experience that was Gods will for you, made sense, and worked out and then applying it to everyone. There are a lot of Biblical truths that when applied to ones life may end up with someone making the same choices and having the same result, but just because something was Gods will for you doesn’t make it so for everyone. This is where the Pharisees went wrong, they took Gods commands and added on to them and then pointed at their own lives and said “Look at me, I’m obeying all the rules, this is how you live, this is what God really meant. Young people don’t need to hear “get married before you are 23” they need to hear about purity, pursue Christ, share the gospel, get in God’s word, love each other, obey your parents.

    • BeckyLee,

      It does not matter how much you keep saying it… oversimplifying my post as, “You are simply mandating your experience on everyone” does not hold any water.

      They DO need to hear, “strive and pursue marriage.” Not, “marriage can be thought about when you have everything figured out.”

  17. I’m not oversimplifying. Look at each of your points. They each say,” I did this and it worked out and that is why you should do it too.” And I’m not saying to do the opposite and tell youth to NOT think about marriage and NOT be talking and teaching about marriage. Just don’t make a blanket statement and don’t push them towards something unless they are ready. And at least girls anyways think about marriage PLENTY starting very early without any prodding!

    • You aren’t even being fair to the post now. I infer experience in only 2 points and my experience isn’t ever my main argument.

      We probably need to simply agree to disagree at this point.

  18. And if you are a pastor telling anyone to do anything. Where is the scripture?!? I have yet to see you give a chapter and verse or a specific example to support this.

    • BeckyLee,

      I am a pastor. That doesn’t mean I at all feel the need to proof text every point I make. It isn’t a helpful practice.

      A good theology of marriage (which is taking all the Bible says about marriage and putting it together) is what leads me to my first point… If someone grasps my first point the rest fall in place. You want a text? Get all of the texts about marriage in the Bible and put them together.

  19. I am going to jump in here and leave my two-cents.
    First, I am one of those girls who always wanted to get married young. (Right out of college) but the first time anyone even asked me out on a date, I was almost 25 years old. I know there are a lot of girls out there with the same story. We want to pursue marriage, but no one wants to pursue us. Girls aren’t left with many options in this case. I am finally getting married, but at the age of 28, several years after I had hoped when I was younger, but clearly in God’s timing.
    I agree with the main point of this blog. It is dangerous to encourage young people to put off marrying someone that they are in a relationship with, just because they are young. It is dangerous to discourage young people to do many things just because of their age. Paul encourages Timothy in this (1 Timothy 4:12). I think the danger can sometimes be that marriage is set up as the ultimate goal, so that then the people who want to be married, but can’t be (kinda hard to get married if no one is interested in you) can feel like there is something wrong with them. For someone who has been in my situation, the impression that I have (not what you intended, I am sure, because I know you) coming out of this article is something like “that is all great, but what if you can’t?” I know that church is one of the hardest place to be as someone who is single because marriage (which is an awesome God-glorifying goal) is set up as the best option. (I wrote a couple blog posts on that one) That and your point leave those who are single, but want to be married, feeling like they have the second-best option. I think it is important to find the balance between encouraging young couples to pursue marriage while making it clear that it is not the only/best way.

  20. In humor, I’m Glad to see my wife and I made the cut. She was 21 and I was 23 when we said the I Do’s! Enjoyed your post and the encouraging words to help fight against the immature beliefs about marriage and how it should be pursued.
    Unfortunately, society and most people in the Church have confused the pursuit of marriage in assumption it is burdensome (i.e. it is selfish to yourself to get married young). Last time I checked the spirit of selfishness never played favorites (i.e. never based on age), it was and will always be a heart issue. Marriage wont fix this, neither will staying single.

    I have always struggled with selfishness inside and outside of marriage. Waiting to get married until your “better” doesn’t fix this issue, the Gospel does. Seeing how the gospel restores all things back unto himself and redeems you in the midst of your brokenness in all of life circumstances (pre and post wedding) should be what allows us to confidently pursue marriage at a more right younger age. But waiting until you’ve fixed yourself, read enough books by famous pastors, was told by your mentor your ready to be married (FYI: I’ve had to tell guys they shouldn’t get married before, it does and needs to happen sometimes, doesn’t mean my Word is sovereign), or wealthy enough does not qualify someone to be mature enough to move forward. It should be and can only be the gospel that qualifies one and gives the confidence in knowing your identity is found in Christ and not in the person you are looking at on the alter. The issue isn’t maturity, security or age. If it was, then no one would be married if it was up to God, because we are all immature, I mean seriously, I’m commenting on a blog a 1AM that maybe just maybe will be read by two people (Matt-the writer-whom I had two seminary classes with and BeckLee-whom I don’t know-but has definitely made a name for herself on this blog comment chain, no offense BeckyLee). It is knowing whose you are through the gospel that qualifies a person for marriage, because they see what marriage was intended for. The Gospel is what qualifies two people for marriage, not maturity or life experiences, because even when two non believers enter into marriage, no matter how sinful it is or immature they might be, that marriage, by Biblical definition, will still glorify Christ’s redemptive work of salvation. Because the point of marriage wasn’t for a persons own selfish gain but God’s good pleasure of using marriage to display the mystery of Christ’s work of seeing a man and a woman becoming one flesh.

    It has been in my marriage God has used to bring me to my knees in repentance over my selfishness, not waiting till I was old enough and less selfish. So it wasn’t age and maturity that made me less selfish it was by living in a position for texts like Ephesians 5 to take root in my heart. Ephesians 5 didn’t fully make since to me pre marriage, it began to make since in marriage when areas of weakness began to show themselves in my life. One reason why I don’t think the argument works to say wait until you are ready or mature enough or stable enough is we will never be mature enough or ready enough or stable enough, that’s one of the points of taking steps of faith so The Spirit can mold us into his likeness while we are the weakest and in the most desperate need of Him (one of the biggest conflicts for non believing couples in marriages when things are bad they acknowledge they are weak and do whatever they can do to gain control so instead of turning to Him their natural sinful response is to turn to whatever that will give them the most false sense of security (shopping, porn, substance abuse, personal health, beauty, children, another person).

    Lastly, Why delay in preparing your children to live in expectation of marrying young and experiencing one the greatest gifts God has given man to share in? What I believe society and some believers are doing is holding children back from experiencing, what His Word says to be one of the biggest mystery’s and one of the most real ways to experience the gospel in life by submitting to one and laying down your life for the other (Ephesians 5:22-33, as I shamefully proof text my point 🙂 ). Sounds selfish doesn’t it.

  21. I love the post. I was not able to be married by 23…rather 26. However, it was my desire to marry earlier. My wife on the other hand is 22. She was 19 when we got married. The Lord has taught me more about “who I am” through her than I could have ever learned on my own. She has helped support me through incredibly difficult times that I would have never been able to come through without God using her in my life.

    I prided myself in how much I had grown with The Lord and how mature I was before marriage. Boy was I wrong! I have learned so much more through living the married life than without.

    I took that as the point of the post. You can do ok on your own in life…but until you get married and go through life with another person you will never be able to fully understand what growth and spiritual maturity are. No offense meant to those who are unmarried. It is just the truth though. When you have someone helping you with your personal development emotionally, physically, and spiritually you will grow WAY MORE than going through life trying to figure it all out on your own.

    Great post bro. As a married man I can say that I see where you are coming from and agree.

  22. Steve – first off, what a hurtful thing to say to another Christian brother. Second, I’m Matt’s Lead Pastor and the unity of Spirit he fosters in our body is remarkable. While Matt’s a gifted man all-around, a pastoral fostering of love and unity in our body is arguably his strongest gift.

    • Josh, Steve and Mark clearly didn’t read the commenting policy! lol

      Steve and Mark- you were first time offenders… I don’t ban people for leaving comments like that their first time. If it happens again you will simply be spam to this blog. Plenty of people above disagreed with me in a productive way. Try the same.

      • This is a fairly generalized post… I think you’ve made some valid points, but I’m wondering if you haven’t expounded fully on what you mean by your message of getting married young being better than getting married later. Do you mean that in the context of a dating relationship where you intend to marry each other, it’s better to get married sooner rather than, say, dating for 7 years? Or are you just saying in general that getting married young is virtuous and everyone should strive for that? This post comes across to me as saying, “Get married young, quick! It’s the best and only way,” without taking into account how God leads individuals, and how everyone has a different story. I married my husband when I was 23, but my parents didn’t even meet until they were in their 30’s. You’ve left some gaping holes here that I think you could flesh out more to better articulate your point.

  23. I’m glad to see some verses to support these personal experiences finally. And I have yet to invalidate your personal experiences and say they can’t be true for someone else. But the people who should be encouraging kids to get married (early, to whom, etc) should be their parents and their church. If a young man is taught growing up what a healthy marriage looks like, is taught how to treat women, taught about being a spiritual head, etc. and then a young woman comes along who has also been the same as well as how to be help meet, then their parents can guide and direct them into the proper time to get married. But I don’t think you can make a blanket statement that everyone should strive to get married by 23. There are many people out there who (like waitingbutliving) are desire to be married early, but there isn’t a march for them at their youth group, their college, their young adults class. Philipians 4:11 encourages us to be content in whatever position we are in. There are tons of singles in churches among young couples that are being made to feel incomplete or lesser than because they haven’t found their mate yet. Should they give up on marriage? No, but don’t begun depressed and bitter, use this time of freedom to go on missions trips, volunteer, take classes, etc. This advice needs to be on a case by case basis, some people really aren’t ready for marriage early and need to take time to grow up, if you are going to be someone’s spiritual you need to have some level of spiritual maturity. Just like someone should say in a mass context, everyone needs to wait to date or get married until after you have graduated college and started your career, the other extreme is true as well. As far as compiling examples of marriages, there are many that imply couples were older as well as younger, their also examples of polygamy, lifelong celabacy, etc.

  24. Pingback: Marrying Young and Drowning | Just Thinking

  25. 60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce. ” National Center for Health Statistics

  26. Pingback: Why the ‘Early Marriage’ Crusade is Probably Not Going to Work (PART ONE) – Veritas

  27. Sarah,
    You are absolutely correct! If that is what you feel and you are seeking God in it, then you are doing just fine! I applaud you for your courage in speaking up. Matt, as for you, You have some years to go and wisdom to gain.
    If you feel that is what God called you to do then that is good that you obeyed. Not every single person will be led in that direction. I have a child close to your age and I think she has alot of growing to do before planning a wedding. This generation is way too immature in my opinion, even at 23. They are so dependent on IPhones, and social media, video games etc..
    I personally think unless you are clearly directed by Christ, you should get out of your parents home, go to school and hold a job before saying I do. I myself was 28 before I married. Now, when I was 15 I moved out, went to work and juggled high school. By the time I was 19 I had responsibilities and had lived on my own a while. Alot of 19 yr. old kids now days can’t even do simple math without a calculator. I truly believe God wants you to be able to care for a wife in all ways before settling down to play house.

    • Tiff,

      Thanks for your comment and input.

      You actually seem to agree a lot with me. You point out the immaturity of most young people and my post was all about NOT settling for immaturity in adolescence, but rather intentionally pushing forward to adulthood (GROWING UP!). Marriage plays a big part in this.

      I never say, “No matter what, get married before you turn 23.” The point is that young people ought to be striving for marriage at a young age as they seek the Lord and grow towards adulthood.

  28. Pingback: Why the ‘Early Marriage’ Crusade is Probably Not Going to Work (PART ONE) – Veritas

  29. I’m not settling for immaturity in adolescence. Sadly this world is set up to accommodate the “man child.” Instead of taking their sons to play a game of football with friends ( encouraging healthy socialization) or reading a really good series together ( encourage time alone to think) Instead they are camping out in front of the TV with video controller in one hand, and Siri in the other. That is the way this society is headed- In Christian homes, and Non- Christian homes alike. Same thing w/ woman. Young girls need to be playing sports, helping mom do things around home etc. not out at 16 trying to find Mr. Right. These girls now days seem focused so much on growing up way too quick and being “His Wifey.” Personally, I think this has become worse since woman started trying to take the “man’s” role, or trying to match him. Kids need a parent at home, or they are gonna look for guidance elsewhere. My point is that only God can change hearts and people. And only Christ can lead a person to marry, and at what age that will be. It is pointless to wage a personal war against settling for immaturity in adolescence when that is what the world is creating in kids minds. Pray for them, Pray for parents, but most importantly be a steward for Christ. He will do the rest.

    In Peace and love

  30. Matt,
    I did not see the mean comments ( and I’m glad I didn’t) what I did see was a show of grace on your part. Made me smile. Your right, we can disagree in a kind manner pleasing to God. I am thankful you are you. And let me just say, If most 23 yr. old were like yourself and seeking God earnestly I would absolutely trust that they were just as fit to be married as any old fogey 🙂

  31. This is my first visit to your blog, and I’m joining the conversation late, but your post has touched a chord with me. I agree that a person shouldn’t avoid getting married young for selfish reasons, because they want to “get all their ducks in a row”, or they are afraid to because it is generally countercultural. There are no special qualifications for marriage, and plenty of “on the job training” that follows the wedding. 🙂 My husband and I were married in God’s timing at 21. I am so glad we married young. My husband is a wonderful blessing, and God has used him and our marriage to teach me so much and help me become more mature in my walk with Christ.

    However, I also heartily agree with waitingbutliving. I think the danger comes when you set up marriage as the ultimate goal, or a “cornerstone to adulthood”. Doing so risks alienating those Christians who are called to singleness (and that call from God is not necessarily a call that a single person asks for) because it infers that they are not complete or something in their life is missing without that “cornerstone”. I don’t think it’s helpful to use the analogy of marriage as a cornerstone simply becuase biblically, Jesus Christ is our cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). Saying “there are things in our character that simply don’t come to the light until marriage spotlights them” undermines the power God has to work in our lives to mould us to be like Him, regardless of our marital status. It basically says that without marriage, God can’t work on all our character flaws. This was probably not your intention, but reading through the comments, that is how your argument comes across. If we are pursuing Christ wholeheartedly, he will bring to light what needs to be seen whether or not we are married.

    You state in a response to BeckyLee: “All I am saying is- If you find someone that, for good reasons, you want to spend the rest of your life with you ought to pursue marriage. You can grow spiritually and emotionally with them. You can figure out your education, career, finances, etc. with that person.” Amen! I agree wholeheartedly! But your emphasis in your comments that we MUST teach young people to strive for (young) marriage contradicts your point above. Your response to Jane: “Continue to trust in the Lord and be proactive in finding a spouse” contradicts that too. Your argument that we need to strive for marriage is problematic because just because a person desires marriage, it does not mean that marriage is a part of God’s plan for their life. (See Matt. 19:10-12, and 1 Cor. 7) This kind of response can set single people up for failure and disappointment. I am not single so I will direct you to the personal experience of one blogger who is: http://gracefortheroad.com/2012/02/03/idontwait/

    I agree that prolonged adolesence does no good. Parents (myself included) must raise their kids to be mature, functioning adults that contribute to society. I also don’t see the point in a Christian couple dating/staying engaged for years and putting off marriage. As you and others have said, it is putting yourself in temptation’s path. As parents/Christian leaders we should teach young people not to be afraid of young marriage, but I don’t think we need to tell them to pursue marriage or strive for it. Yes it is good and wonderful, full of amazing blessings, but putting all the emphasis on marriage, and excluding a discussion on the biblical benefits of singleness is how you set people up for hurt and disappointment. We need to teach our young people a balanced biblical view of the pros and cons of BOTH marriage and singleness. We need to teach our young people to pursue Jesus wholeheartedly, because when they do, “out of his glorious riches he may strengthen [them] with power through his Spirit in [their] inner being, so that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith. And I pray that [they], being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that [they] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:16-19) There is nothing more blessed than that. 🙂

    • Thank you, April. I basically just made some of the same observations in my post which is below yours on the page. I am over 40 and had wanted to be married but find myself still single, and I find the non stop obsession with marriage by evangelicals and other Christians to be wrong headed.

      It makes many never married, celibate, adults over the age of 30 feel ignored, neglected, blamed, shamed, and marginalized. Already, too many evangelical, Reformed, fundy, and Baptist churches focus on marriage, with marriage-based sermons offered year round, nary a peep is spoken about celibacy or adult singlehood, and now some groups are pushing “early marriage” to boot? It’s too much. It’s too lop-sided.

      There are many adult singles in our culture now, and instead of catering to them and ministering to them, most Christians continue to just advocate and defend marriage, which does not do any good for those of us who wanted marriage, but it did not happen for us. I need to be supported as a single while I am single! Why do so many Christians not understand this?

  32. I find the support for early marriage to be misplaced, a little unrealistic and naive, and an indirect put-down of adult singleness and celibacy.

    Most who push for early marriage do so because they believe it will cut down on the amount of pre marital sex among Christians – the idea of early marriage usually has this assumption that Christians (and Non) are incapable of controlling their sexual behavior, the sexual activity is inevitable prior to marriage so one must marry early, which is false.

    I’ve blogged about the topic many times at my own blog – I assume if you click my screen name, “christian pundit” it should take you to my blog where you can do a search for my posts on the topic, such as “early marriage.”

    One of the biggest flaws with your view (and those by others of a similar mindset) is that people don’t have any control on if or when they marry. I had wanted to be married by age 30, no later than age 35, but I never met the right guy.

    I remain never-married in my early 40s. Just wanting to be married, and praying about it and trying dating sites and so on, is not guarantee you will meet a compatible guy and be able to get married by Age X.

    So it’s kind of simplistic and cruel to tell single ladies who want marriage to “Just get married by Age X!” Yeah, tell us something we don’t already know – but females out number males; there are not enough adult Christian single males for the ladies to marry – so we either must remain single, or marry a Non Christian.

    And, by the way, the Bible does not teach the concepts of “gift of singleness” or “gift of celibacy” – I have posts about that at my blog too, if you’d like to search for posts on them. In a nutshell, the New Testament presents whether to marry or stay single as personal life choices, not as Divine ordination.

    That is, God did not choose in eternity past who would marry, and who would stay single. I did not choose to be single, and God did not “gift me” with singleness. I am single but had wanted to marry.

    I don’t know if we are allowed to do links on your blog, but one post I wrote (among several) about early marriage is,
    Christian Early Marriage Position Advocates A Low View of Celibacy and Virginity and Adult Singleness – another example: Justin Deeter Blog about Early Marriage

    Instead of harping on early marriage, Christians need to support and teach sexual self control and respect adult singleness, and support adult celibacy. The answer is not to advocate that kids marry before they’re 25.

    You said, “Being poor with someone is more fun than being poor alone”
    – some of us have no choice. Comments like that are hurtful and a little insulting. I had wanted to marry but find myself still single past age 40, so I have no choice but to do a lot of things alone. Christians and churches needs to respect singleness more and worship and idealize marriage far less.

    Thanks for allowing me to give my opinion on your blog (assuming this is permitted to be published)

  33. I understand your view on marrying early rather than playing the dating game for too long, but that is not the reason that all single Christians are single. some choose celibacy, which is just fine. some have yet to find a compatible partner, i pray they can have the patience to trust God’s timing. but then there are those Christians like me: they’re gay.
    as a gay Christian who longs for marriage, there are a TON of obstacles in my way. depending on your view if homosexuality’s compatibility with scripture, a gay Christian is either forbidden to ever be married and therefore is forced into celibacy, or we’re stuck single untill gay marriage is made legal and the church decides te recognize same-sex unions.
    either way, the whole idea that I am supposed to be married by 23 is deeply hurtful and damaging. I’ll be 24 soon, so apparently I can never be fully in God’s will for my life because I wot. be married by then.

    • Josh,

      A couple things:

      1) I said early marriage is something Christians ought to strive for. I never said or even reasonably implied you are somehow outside of God’s will by not marrying at 23.

      2) I pray you will read your Bible and let God be God on his own terms, not on the terms our culture dictates. It will be a very sad day when the church recognized same-sex unions as legitimate marriages. The Bible is as clear as any literature can be on its stance towards homosexuality and all sexual immorality. We cannot strive for both holiness and embrace a sexually immoral lifestyle such as: homosexuality, premarital sex, adultery, pornography, etc.

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