Our firstborn got married this past July, and we are overjoyed for him and his wife. They’d dated long-distance for two years. After hours-long Skype conversations and scads of money spent on air travel, they were more than ready to tie the knot and start their life together.
All four of us newly minted in-laws are in full support of this marriage. We have watched our children bloom within this relationship. We see them bring out the best in the other. We know they are earnestly following Christ.
And they are very young: He is 20, and she is 21.
These details have garnered more than a few raised eyebrows. Surely they would have been best served by his finishing his undergraduate degree before they married. He may want to attend graduate school. Isn’t it a bit early for marriage?
Weighing the Risks
We live in a highly educated area with several universities just down the road. My husband and I both have graduate degrees. The truth is, we don’t come from a demographic that generally supports marriage at this point in a person’s life.
Marrying this young isn’t just odd for our demographic—it’s countercultural across the board. Men have typically waited until their mid-to-late-20s for marriage, and the common marrying age for women has been on the rise for a century. According to The New York Times, “the median age for marriage in 1890 was 26 for men and 22 for women. By the 1950s, it had dropped to 23 for men and 20 for women. In 2004, it climbed to 27 for men and 26 for women.”
Then in 2013, the Knot Yet Report revealed that those averages are higher still: Couples now are postponing marriage to age 29 for men and 27 for women. The delayed marriage trend appears to come with some ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more