We Thee Wed
Christianity Today's August cover story, "The Case for Early Marriage," much impressed me. My husband and I commenced a life of hardship at ages 20 and 18, respectively. We married because we felt we were supposed to, and stayed together for the same reason. Family and friends believed our marriage was doomed.
Eight years later, I can see that all of our troubles were rooted in the curse words of marriage: opinions, preferences, and rights. If we train our children to lay these things down and devote themselves to showing their spouses the love of Christ, early marriage won't be so controversial.
Mark Regnerus does a great job of describing what's going on in Christian culture. But his solution—"weddings all around, except for the leftover Christian women"—doesn't correspond to the problem. This is because he fails to address the spiritual aspect of unchastity. Marriage may make sex okay, but it does not make a spiritual posture of disobedience okay.
That's why I found his dismissal, "It is unreasonable to expect [young Christians] to refrain from sex," so discouraging. In fact, our reasonable act of worship goes far beyond abstinence. We can't strengthen marriage until we encourage each other with the fact that we can resist any temptation. But who is telling unmarried Christians that it's not too hard to be a virgin indefinitely? By extension, who is telling them that a lifelong, faithful marriage is possible? And who is telling them that Christ trumps every other need in their lives? Sadly, no one in this cover package does.
CT Contributing Editor
Durham, North Carolina
Regnerus nailed the problem as articulately as anyone I've read. But outside of comments ...