About a century ago, sociologists and psychologists added a new stage to child development called “adolescence.” Before this time, there was no age called “teenage” or “adolescent,” you simply went from childhood to adulthood.
And adults (at the time, 16 year olds and above) can do awesome things. They can get a job and earn income, and help support the family. And you know what else they can do? They can get married.
Also, puberty hit later at this time. About a century ago, the average menarche would happen at 14 years of age (We guys don’t have a marker. We just wake up one day and realize, “my armpits grew hair?”). Now, the average menarche happens at…11. Now, what about the average age that people got married?
Copied and pasted from http://hubpages.com/hub/Marriage-in-America,
“What’s the average marriage age in America? The average age at which people marry in the United States has been steadily increasing over the past few decades – from a low in 1960 with averages of 20.3 years for women and 22.8 years for men, it has risen to 25.6 years for women and 27.5 for men.”
Let’s observe the difficulties for Christians trying to save it until marriage:
Date: Puberty marker (menarche) Marriable age Agonizing wait
1900 14 16 2 years
1960 12 20 8 years
Now 11 26 15 years
But why do we wait for so long before getting married? Speaking from the guy’s end, we don’t get married until we are prepared to survive in the market/economy, and provide for our family. And we spend years and years and years preparing (whether it is through school or through low-level jobs with advancement opportunities) to get a position where we can provide for our families.
So while some might say, “If God wanted us to stay virgins until marriage, why did He make it SO HARD?” He didn’t make it hard. In fact, God’s word basically says “If you are horny, go get married. That’s way better than just sitting there are being horny.” Or, more accurately stated…
1 Cor 7:8-9 (NIV)
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
God actually didn’t want you to just sit there and burn. He wanted you to get relief for your horniness, you poor, poor thing. However, the society you happen to be in makes you wait a long time.
So are you saying that we should get married younger? What I’m saying is that God didn’t want you to be in this predicament, but our society has dealt us those cards. However, research is really clear that earlier marriage means higher divorce rates. Which opens up another can of worms, but let me just shorten it into: A) Choosing your spouse is not actually a universal constant. Many cultures just give you a spouse, right? Nowhere is it written that arranged marriages are bad. You don’t choose your parents or your brothers, and in some cultures, a spouse is no different. B) However, since we can choose, choose carefully. In fact, best advice I can give: Whoever your mentor is (an older, same gender adult with wisdom), let them get to know your significant other. If they object, get out of there as fast as you can. They can see things that you can’t see.
Regardless, don’t miss the main point. God never wanted to torture you with unsatisfied horniness. He wanted you to experience a desire, and then satisfy it. Our “earn more buy more high standard of living” society just delayed the process.
Up next: Does the Bible ACTUALLY say premarital sex is bad?