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Virginity pledges. Chastity balls. Courtship. Side hugs. Guarding your heart. Evangelical discourse on sex is more conservative than I've ever seen it. Parents and pastors and youth group leaders told us not to do it before we got married. Why? Because ...

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Displaying 1–20 of 244 comments.

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Michelle Taylor

December 06, 2013  1:31am

Mark, I truly thank you for posting this. I am 21 and have been engaged to my fiance' for 3 years. God has been our strength in the pursuit of holiness in our actions & thought life. Speaking from a young adult's perspective, we can become a bit defensive when not taken seriously. My fiance' and I have heard a lot opposing our marriage due to time (or age) and it has at times caused us to want to defend ourselves, but that won't help. The thing we are to remember is to set an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity. We do believe that in the multitude of counsel there is safety and we never want to be rebellious. How marriage is perceived is in relation to how Barabbas in the sight of the people was worthy to be released unjustly and Jesus in their sight worthy to be captured & crucified unjustly - in other words we accept the bad over good. Nevertheless, it has so much more to do with just sex, but God called marriage honorable.

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Claire Guest

November 06, 2012  9:55pm

Benefits of marriage which promote a strong society: http://www.nationformarriage.org/atf/cf/%7B39D8B5C1-F9FE-48C0-ABE6-1029BA77 854C%7D/ProtestantEnglish.pdf

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Claire Guest

November 06, 2012  9:49pm

PaulT, are you implying the fact "that Israel himself had two wives" is a valid argument against monogamy today? Have you forgotten that Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah, that it was not his choice to marry anyone BUT Rachel? I do agree with you that "the entire institution [of marriage] has been so loaded with unrelated concepts that the original purpose is destroyed." I just think you didn't go back far enough. Christ Jesus confirmed God's will for His people re: marriage as shown in Genesis, in Matthew 19. Kudos to Scott Lachut - my experience mirrors his, and I praise God for it. Waiting years to marry doesn't prepare most people for marriage - only divorce, as they typically have a series of 'serious' relationships along the way, and the serial break-ups do not serve to prepare them to be faithful husbands and wives whose marriages reflect the love of God for His bride.

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Scott Lachut

August 25, 2012  8:53am

This article is an incredible insight. It's something I have pondered since even before my own early marriage (26 years ago and still going). I have never been able to articulate it like this. Our wider culture has completely lost the idea of the significance of marriage and it is leading us to the social chaos we are seeing around us. Thank you so much. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. (Pro 5:18-19)

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Paul T

August 09, 2012  8:57pm

The immature female mentality (Lose/Win) is no more mature than the immature male mentality (Win/Lose), and this fallacy that women mature faster than men is complete falsehood, as the final, mature human mentality is Win/Win, and neither gender makes it there quickly or naturally. I know too many women who have never (and have no intention to ever) grow up and learn Win/Win because of this oft-stated fallacy, and on the other side of the coin, there are greater and greater pressures for a boy to never grow into a man because of the massive load of laws and rules that don't allow him to make mistakes, which are the very situations that make him mature. The concept of marriage today is nothing like the biblical relationship, or for example, the Roman concept of monogomy would have no place in our arguments (or has everyone forgotten that Israel himself had two wives?). Basically, the entire institution has been so loaded with unrelated concepts that the original purpose is destroyed.

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Matt Thompson

July 31, 2012  11:33am

Martin Luther would agree: "Now, I speak of this in order that the young may be so guided that they conceive a liking for the married estate, and know that it is a blessed estate and pleasing to God. For in this way we might in the course of time bring it about that married life be restored to honor, and that there might be less of the filthy, dissolute, disorderly doings which now run riot the world over in open prostitution and other shameful vices arising from disregard of married life. Therefore it is the duty of parents and the government to see to it that our youth be brought up to discipline and respectability, and when they have come to years of maturity, to have them married in the fear of God and honorably; He would not fail to add His blessing and grace, so that men would have joy and happiness from the same." (Large Catechism, 6th Commandment, 217-218) http://www.bookofconcord.org/lc-3-tencommandments.php

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KV

August 14, 2009  8:57am

I think that growing together is a wonderful thing and essential in a good marriage. However, two people must grow as individuals FIRST. You can't have an immature spouse and one mature one; you need two happy and healthy adults that are ready for the commitment. You cannot gamble and hope people will fall in love deeper through dilemmas; yes, problems can make it stronger, but they must be able to deal w/ the problems! You need people to be rational, ethical, and serious about the institution before getting married. They must be compatible and share core values - they need chemistry and not just going through the motions. God wants us to be happy. A sacrifice occurs when you give up a higher priority for a lower one...there should be _no_ sacrifices when you talk about your spouse or children b/c nothing (not even that great football game on Saturday) should be a higher priority in your life! Marriage is far too serious to put words like "risk" or "gamble" anywhere near it...

What about society?

August 14, 2009  4:23am

I agree with the case for early marriage, but it is more than just a sexual issue. Although it was touched on, there is the case that earlier marriage lets couples grow together, as opposed to just joining together. Society also benefits - one comment said the twenties are for having "fun", as if marriage is nothing but a chore. But now "fun" is moving to the 30's - because all the "fun" is leaving people more immature. God did not mean for people to be shacking up, staying up late partying, spending adult life playing video games, and all the other "fun" people in their 20's are having. The Churches could do more to support young marriage - including more intergenerational events, making sure young married couples have older married couples to socialize with (many young married couples are influenced by single friends to keep up the "single lifestyle)", etc. They could also do practical things like subsidize married student housing at secular universities - which is in need.

ATAT

August 14, 2009  12:09am

This is so incredibly irresponsible. Young people aren't skeptical about marriage because of secular divorces, but because of divorce within the church, by their own pastors and parents. And then he claims that marriage is glorified? No - weddings are glorified. Everyone wants to have sex and a big party, but no one's actually interested in the whole sacrifice aspect till they've had fun in their 20s. Which is what your 20s are FOR. Heaven isn't guaranteed. The idea that two people should marry intentionally *because* they are both immature is ludicrous and could have extremely damaging consequences for the young people who get pressured into this (and then either quickly into a divorce, or into a life spent unhappy, which is a life wasted).

CM

August 13, 2009  3:19pm

Part of the bonding process occurs in the early years while you struggle, while you get established. There is an interdependence that develops and deepens as you struggle together. It is part of becoming one. During that struggle you learn to yield to each other, and to prefer each other, sometimes setting aside what you want/need to allow for the spouse to have what he/she wants/needs. That is sacrificial love, and if one waits to be completely established, one might find it harder to bend for each other. Trees that are planted very close together, such as the lilac in my back yard, intertwine and sometimes merge as one trunk. Trees allowed to grow to maturity without affecting each other may eventually have branches that touch, but that intermingling and shaping of the trunks to accomodate both happens when one is young and flexible. It's not a perfect analogy, but illustrates how growing together when young and flexible can establish a firm bond. Happily married 23 years

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PJ

August 13, 2009  12:04pm

Let us teach young people why the psalmist wrote, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. ” (Psalm 42:1-2) We are not “battling our creator’s reproductive designs”, we are battling our sinful nature’s desire to find fulfillment in something other than Christ. Our hearts were designed to be filled by God first. In His time, and in His strength, we want to be led into marriage.

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GH

August 13, 2009  8:27am

I am a 38 year old Christian man who has practiced sexual abstinence all my life and who, until very recently, has also wanted to be married all my life, but for various reasons have never succeeded. I have repeatedly tried to enter relationships with women and repeatedly been turned down, sometimes kindly, sometimes rudely. While I am under no illusion that I am without flaws and sins, I get a little tired of the constant refrain that the problem with marriage in the church is all about the men. Sometimes things just are what they are, and we find ourselves in places we did not expect to be in life. Why does it have to become a matter placing blame? Also, the claim that it is unreasonable to expect people to wait to have sex seems far more shaped by modern secular assumptions than it is by biblical ones. Dressing it up in spiritualized language about "fighting our Creator's design" doesn't change this. Have we totally lost any sense of spiritual formation in the evangelical church?

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Torben

August 13, 2009  8:22am

What I find interesting in this article is that - as almost always in Christian writing about relationships - it fails to mention (one of) the main reason why so many Christians end up having sex before marriage. Paul explains very clearly in his writings that the law will create opposition, and the fact is that the American churches, much more so than most other churches internationally, have created the opposition (people having sex before marriage) by focusing so much on sex, abstinence, etc. in youth groups and among young adults. When you focus solely on the NO and not the YES of wanting to live a life that's really worth living (abundant life) which does include abstinence when you're not married, the church at large has created a situation where people of all ages choose to rebel, because our flesh (Romans 7) convince us that since such emphasis is placed on sex it must be the greatest experience and something we have to try NOW and not wait...www.abrokencup.wordpress.com

Amy

August 13, 2009  12:03am

A good article, but Elusive Wapiti... "before [women] acquire bad habits"? "only to later build a career that you are just going to take a time out from anyway"? Why does being a Christian woman mean that you need to serve only your family, and not offer your God-given talents to the world at large? Why do women not need practical worldly maturity? Why can a woman not be financially established?

Julie

August 12, 2009  5:59pm

I highly suggest that everyone read The Theology of the Body commentaries of Christopher West. Pope John Paul II was a brilliant man and filled with the Holy Spirit. The TOB are from a series of talks he gave at an earlier age as pope. Therein lies the answer to your dilemma. I have seen his dvd's and if you google him you can find much on this topic. The answere are straight from God. It is "deep" but worth examining. If all people learned this truth, the devil would no longer have a foothold on sex. Enjoy!

r b-j

August 12, 2009  4:00pm

I feel some affirmation with this article. I married just before I turned 30, my spouse nearly 6 years younger. I was *very* unhappy about my marital state throughout my 20s. I was feeling unloved (by a woman) because I wasn't being loved (by a woman). Advise from Christian friends and "siblings" (in our church community) that my recognition of this fact reflected only impatience and immaturity and that I should be content with the state I was in all rang hollow. When my fiance and I started to set a wedding date, we were repeatedly counseled to maybe wait until the next summer and have more premarital counseling. We didn't follow that counsel. Some doubted our marriage would last. Nearly a quarter century later (and two kids) it continues, with some blessings and some problems. It may not be the *perfect* Christian marriage, but God blesses it and our commitment trumps our compatibility (or lack thereof).

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Elusive Wapiti

August 12, 2009  3:59pm

Regnerus is right on when he advocates for earlier marriage. Mid 20s is probably a good time for men to consider marriage--as they are more financially established and have acquired some practical worldly maturity--but women should aim to marry much earlier, in their late teens or early 20s, before they acquire bad habits through serial dating, become too old to easily learn interdependence, and acquire tons of needless debt for a degree of questionable market value. If marriage and family is their objective, women should marry earlier and have their family first when they are more physically able to cope. There will be plenty of time for college and career later, why waste the best years of your life in a worldly college environment, only to later build a career that you are just going to take a time out from anyway? I gave this article 2 stars because of all the anti-male shaming language. Women are 50% of the marriage problem, focusing solely on men doesn't solve the problem.

Mrs. Lewis

August 12, 2009  9:35am

I found this article honest and fortright. In our church there are young men who lack the desire to get married i've always wondered why well now i know from this article; the women on the other hand are getting older and single. I feel for them and i pray that the Lord will provide. I got married at age 28, my husband was 27; a year and a half ago. We dated for five years because we just couldn't afford to get married before then; our parents were'nt in the position to help either. It was hard to abstain from sex and we made out quite a lot to compensate. We are happy and in love; my only regret about marrrying so late is that we had to start thinking about starting our family before i hit 30; bummer. I'm pregnant now. And just a side note sex is NOT great on your honeymoon, when your'e a virgin. We need to stop telling young people that lie. As the article said we had to "learn" to make love.

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Cybro

August 12, 2009  9:01am

This aritcle is full of the usual male shaming language that women love to hear. Listen ladies if you want to be married in your lifetime you better do it young. The reason most men have fled marriage is because we see it for the scam that it has become. All benefit to women and all risk to men. You can call us imature all you want and it will only serve to drive off the few that are still left listening to your whining. Forget about all of this waiting on the Lord business and get off your high horses before you turn thirty, before you are past your expiration date. Most men have seen the carnage of the family divorce court system by then and want nothing to do with marriage. Nothing is being said about any of this in any church so men keep slipping under the radar while the rest of you pine away about no good men being left. All the more reason why women need to marry younger. The competition only gets worse for you as time goes on.

Lucy Goosey

August 12, 2009  12:39am

Just to remind singles: The article is titled "The Case For Early Marriage" and NOT "The Case For Get a Man or Woman Quick Because Your Biological Clock Is Ticking." In many responses on many Christian blogs about the topic of early marriage, older singles seem angered in their response, and understandingly so...as if the second "article" subject matter is included in the article on this page. People can follow God into a marriage and NOT follow God into a marriage...people can follow God into singleness and NOT follow God into singleness...whether married old or married young...whether single old or single young...Married Young doesn't equal Holy no more than single old equals Sinful.

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Displaying 1–20 of 244 comments.

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