Marriage is rad, or so I’m told. But do you really need to be married, and married young that is, to experience some good character building life lessons? The author of this article: 3 Legit Reasons You Should Marry Young, seems to think so. And not only that, but you SHOULD get married young, because that’s best. Duh. And is totally within your control. Double duh. And if you’re past what is considered “young,” hey don’t worry, just keep working on yourself for that perfect person. Let’s all just put on the dunce hat together, okay? Now I think it’s clear that I have a lot of beef with this article. I’ve also taken into consideration that it isn’t based on a Christian faith, though there are some indicators that would incline me to believe so. Noted. But I think it’s important to look at this through a single Christian lense and to say why it’s okay to not feel this way and to disagree and talk about it.
As a female mid-twenty something and GASP! not married and without a prospect in sight, I’m here to tell you that I found this article a little, well let’s say ignorant and biased. The authors even admit so, “We’re a bit biased when it comes to discussing the ideal age to get married. Primarily because we were married when both of us were the ripe-old-age of twenty-one.” Clearly. Now it must be said that I am a bit biased myself when it comes to letting marriage happen when God intends it for you: young, old, eighteen, twenty-five, thirty-six or even shocker here, never!
For some reason there’s been this battle between singles and marrieds in the church and our culture. There’s an out cry and obsession for voicing which way of life is better or when you should enter into marriage and I think the author is operating in what they know and that’s being married young. I get it. It’s what they think is best and they tell you why. I think the author does attempt to bring balance. It’s all well meant. But it seems a little backhanded at times, and I do think some sensitivity has been lost. As a single, I got the vibe that you can only feel rich when you’re poor from the love of a spouse, or that if you’re not married your story is being withheld from you, but then let’s just retract all of that to make you feel better.
I’ve briefly talked about in another article how people skip life stages that others live through for a while, like singleness and delayed marriage, and how we as a church and society, we’re a bit obsessed with marriage and relationships. Consider this a continuation of that conversation. So I’m using this post as a rebuttal to the original authors and to clear the air and to bring it into a Biblical light. You don’t need to be married to experience any of the 3 reasons discussed in the original by the way.
And here are my 3 reasons not getting married young or much later in life or never is okay because you can still learn the same valuable life lessons young marrieds do:
1. You learn the value of a dollar and that money (or a spouse) will never equal happiness:
When I graduated college, I was poor. I eventually got a great job but then left it so that I could write and now I’m poor again. But I’ve learned the meaning of a dollar, well paying job or not, and what happens when I don’t stick to a budget. I’ve scrimped, saved, gone on shopping bans. I pay my bills. I’ve learned to stay away from debt. I’ve got friends with crazy school loans they’re paying back and I’ll tell you they know the value of money. I’ve had no time to accumulate a paycheck let alone a savings of any heft. I could probably count the total sum of my bank account on my fingers and toes. And you know what? God has used it all to teach me that my happiness is in no way linked to my bank account. Without a husband. Our happiness and ultimate joy rests in Jesus, not in money or marriage.
2. You become an expert in conflict, compromise, communication, and change:
Have you ever lived with roommates? Talk about getting a crash coarse in love. Since leaving the nest, I’ve lived with 15 different gals, all ranging in varying personalities, temperaments, faiths, and backgrounds. Dorms, apartments, 3 bedroom houses packed with six girls, and my favorite time: a 500 square-foot barn with two other girls, our three single beds cramped into the tiny loft space. Living with other people, there will be conflict, and you must learn the art of compromise, communication, and change. You have to learn to love despite your roomie constantly loading the dishwasher incorrectly. It’s back to front people. Back to front. It isn’t about being “entrenched in your own habits and ways of doing things,” but rather learning what it means to compromise, to communicate, and to change. These are tools that you can bring along wherever life takes you, whether that be marriage, living with roommates, serving in church, going on missions, or at your job.
3. You gain self-awareness and build long-lasting friendships:
I look back on college/post-college photos of me and my friends and think “wow we were young.” Lizzy of five years ago was a very different gal than the person before you today. So are my beloved friends. None of us had things all figured out then. Some are married now. Many of us are still single. All of us are still figuring things out. We’ve been able to grow and encourage one another through life. I’ve gone through so much with so many friends new and old who I am not married to. School. Holidays. Vacations. Engagements. Marriages. Deaths. Births. Job after job after job. Guy after guy after guy. The changing of the seasons. House after house after house. God has taught me that you don’t need to be married or even in a relationship to learn how to love people well or to feel like you have memories. And you know what? Since we took the time to connect and bond, we’ve created a friendship with deep roots that will in the long run, help be the support in our marriages. It’s important to have more than one significant person in your life, and your mother doesn’t count.
Being where I am and where I’ve been as a single has allowed me to learn who I am, who God has created me to be, and what His will for my life looks likes. I have gained a self-awareness that is priceless. Being self-aware and introspective allows us to review and renew our minds and hearts to better look like Jesus. You can’t change for the better if you’re not self-aware. I know someday I will be walking into marriage with a knowledge of myself that is invaluable. But right now, it has served me well in my work and social life and I am continuing to grow into who I am daily.
The thing is: God has the knack for growing and challenging His children, no matter what life stage we find ourselves in. You have the same opportunities, young, old, married, single, they just look a little different because we are each uniquely made and each living a unique story with Jesus as our hero. At the heart of it all, we should each be striving to be the best version of ourselves to further the Kingdom and to reflect the Father’s Glory, not for another person, though co-workers, friends, family, roommates, and spouses will benefit by proxy. Do not think that you need to be married young, or at all, in order to gain wisdom or learn life lessons like these! Let’s spread the word and help out our friends who may think otherwise.
Thoughts, questions, concerns? Tell me what you think! Let’s discuss! Leave a comment below. Get a little heated. Agree. Disagree. Throw your opinion out there. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. It doesn’t really matter, it’s my opinion anyway. I’m just glad you decided to join the conversation.