I recently read about the growing trend in evangelical circles of couples getting married younger. When facing the possibility of the dreaded “sex before marriage,” some pastors and churches are trying to cut their losses and nudge young adults toward the altar even as many of their peers and parents are holding them back.
When Margie and Stephen Zumbrun were battling the urge to have premarital sex, a pastor counseled them to control themselves. The couple signed a purity covenant. When the two got engaged and Margie went wedding dress shopping, a salesperson called her “the bride who looks like she’s 12.” Nonchurch friends said that, at 22, she was rushing things.
The most recent issue of Christianity Today ran the cover story The Case For Early Marriage that looked at the current trend in the church toward younger marriages.
Better To Marry Than Burn
I’m not debating the damaging effects premarital sex can have on a marriage. There’s no question that no matter how many chastity balls we throw or purity rings we hand out, we’re losing ground. Over 90 percent of American adults experience sexual intercourse before marrying. The percentage of evangelicals who do so is not much lower. In a nationally representative study of young adults, just under 80 percent of unmarried, church- going, conservative Protestants who are currently dating someone are having sex of some sort.
Many christian leaders raise Paul’s argument that it’s “better to marry than to burn with lust.” (1 Cor. 7:9)
But at what point is marriage simply viewed as a ticket to guilt-free sex? What about the fact that marrying young is the single highest predictor of divorce?
I have my own opinions on this topic that are better shared over coffee than trying to condense into this post. I would however love to know your opinion.
What do you think?
Do you think pastors and Christian leaders are encouraging couples to get married too young? Or is young marriage the key to avoiding premarital sex?…Read More