Christian Counseling: IS IT WRONG TO GET MARRIED AT 21 YEARS OF AGE?

The simple and easy answer is "No" it is not wrong to get married once you are of legal age, but is it wise?


The global trend toward marriage is to wait longer before committing to marriage. This is especially true in more industrialized nations where more women are working and attending college. The average age at marriage for males and females in 1900 America was 26 and 22, respectively. In 2010 it was 28 and 26. It is likely to continue moving in this direction for, at least, the near future.


I believe the breakdown in American families has resulted in adult children being overwhelmed by the painful experience of parents who divorced, distrust that a marriage will last and fear of additional hurt for themselves and their children should their marriage be one of the 50% who divorce (Christian and non-Christian). Psychologically, this is key to understanding why more of American's young people tend to put off marriage, as well as other commitments till later.  


Research has supported the idea that the later one marries the more stable the marriage, probably due to being more individually stable and mature. However, people mature at different ages, depending on many factors, such as life experience. Therefore, and for other reasons, I always strongly suggest to all couples, even those previously married, to get preengagement or premarital counseling before saying "I do." That type of counseling, beyond the usual, sometimes required pastoral counseling, should look at the two personalities, their personal histories and how they interact for good and ill, now and in the future (the counselor makes predictions). When a couple is more fully informed about themselves and each other they are in a much better position to make that important decision and, I believe, succeed in the relationship. What any couple should avoid is getting married while having considerable doubts or feeling unsure if it will work. Those doubts tends to linger and create instability. Couples need to begin the marital relationship with informed confidence. 


In the end, the question for me is not so much about what age a couple gets married, but how mature they are and how informed and realistic they are about themselves, each other and marriage.

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