After reading this post today by one of my favorite singer/songwriters and bloggers, Vicky Beeching, I decided to stir a discussion over here on my own blog. It's one that is not unfamiliar to me. In fact, I wrote a post three years ago (TO THE DATE! FREEEAKY!) on this exact topic. I now have three years under my belt, instead of five months, so my perspective may have shifted... slightly.
What is the ideal age for marriage?
Come on, I'm sure you all have one. Somehow we naturally find ourselves setting up "ideal" ages for events in our life. Society has already put a set number on a few - driving, for example, happens at 16; adulthood, at 18; drinking, at 21. And these ideals are only for America. Other countries have come up with their own. Which leads me to wonder, is there really an ideal age for anything in life?
Let's pretend there is. Marriage wouldn't be excluded would it? Perhaps your first instinct is to say that there isn't an ideal age for marriage - well then, would you be okay if your ten year old daughter, brother or sister decided to wed? I'm guessing not. So we agree, there are some standards engrained in us. Which leads me to ask...
What needs to be accomplished before marriage?
The most common request I hear from parents before their son or daughter marry - is that they finish college. My parents were right in there with them. Well... I didn't. Finish college before I was married, I mean. I walked down the aisle having completed three full years of college, with one more (which would turn into three) to go. It was ideal for my parents that I finish college before I was married. They knew it would be tough for me to finish once I had a husband and house to tend to, especially on top of working part-time to pay for our new married life expenses. And they were right, it was tough. But, I would do it all over again in an instant.
The goal to succeed in life and rise to the next level, is encouraged now more than ever before in history. Determination. Drive. Competition. Rare is it to find anyone in your line of speciality that is an encourager and not a critic. And for the first time in a century, this does not exclude women. Both men and women are now pursuing higher education to achieve higher job statuses. What happens when you have both men and women fighting for the same job positions? More competition. So, back to school to get more degrees we go. The result of all this? Later marriages.
I knew that marriage was something God created me for and there was no need putting it off to get a piece of paper telling me I can work a job I probably never will. Why? Because I desire to have a family, to stay home (or work part-time at the most) and raise children to love the Lord. To me, this was what success was all about.
What are the benefits of being married young?
Being married at 21 has it's perks. First off, you get to enjoy learning together about the important things in life - paying bills, buying a house, building credit, etc. I cannot tell you how much easier it is to save money when you have two incomes working together to achieve this. (If you start young enough, Dave Ramsey says you could be a millionaire by the time you hit 40! :) Another plus in being married young, is having the opportunity to enjoy a few years together before starting a family. And yes, there is also the obvious advantage of being able to maintain purity if you marry sooner rather than later (and in this sex-driven world, this is getting more and more difficult). Ironically, most people that put off marriage claim to be waiting for the right spouse. Yet, the pool of eligible men/women tends to shrink the longer you wait. So when you marry young, they call it having the "pick of the litter" if you will.
I was blessed to meet Josh at 18. I knew there was something special about him. I just didn't know it would hit me so fast. But love has a way of progressing when you spend nearly ever day with a person. We couldn't stand to be apart and the only solution to being together for every waking moment, would be to get married. So we did. ;)
What are the benefits of being married older?
I think the most obvious advantage of being married older is discovering yourself. Figuring out what makes you tick and what doesn’t. I still believe I am learning these things about myself. There are times when I have to go tell Josh that something bothers me and I didn’t realize it until just now. He laughs at me when I do this. Which kinda makes me upset, because I'm… well, serious. But we talk about everything, pray about everything and forgive everything, which I believe is really the key to our success. Other advantages of being married older are greater economic security and stability, more active together as a couple and better educated. These things all result in a lower divorce rate.
I think it is important to point out that if we wait until we are ready for marriage, we will be waiting forever. There is never going to be a time in our lives when we have it ALL figured out. The goal is to try and become the person you are looking for in a mate. And while you are waiting, seek the Lord and His plan for your life. And marriage may not be for everyone. The Bible definitely encourages singleness and talks about it being a gift. I am not here to assume that everyone is going to be married. But for those of you who are, or will be, or hope to be, please feel free to give your input for each of these questions. I would love to hear your thoughts!