What if I told you that the average age of marriage for American couples has steadily declined over the past century?
You might wonder why.
With more affordable education and housing, as well as more accessible job opportunities, it seems that young people today should have greater financial stability and independence than previous generations.
To understand this trend, let’s take a brief look at history.
From the Industrial Revolution to the digital age, countless factors have influenced how and when we get married.
But throughout all of these moments in time, Christians have continued to value matrimony as a sacred covenant between one man and one woman.
So why do so many young Christians rush to get married at such a young age?
And what’s the meaning behind it?
Why Christians get married so early
The answer to this question lies in our Christian beliefs about pre-marital sex, dating, and courtship that were shaped by distinctly biblical values.
There are a few reasons why Christians might choose to get married at a younger age.
First, many young Christians want to avoid the temptation of pre-marital sex.
They know that if they wait until they’re married to have sex, they won’t be tempted to sin.
Second, getting married at a young age allows Christians to start their lives together on the right foot, in accordance with biblical values.
And third, getting married young allows Christians to begin their lives together while they’re still in their “prime” years, before they start to experience the physical and mental declines that come with age.
What does the Bible say about sex, marriage, and relationships?
The Bible is clear that God designed sex to be enjoyed within the bounds of marriage.
In the book of Genesis, we read that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This verse lays out God’s blueprint for marriage and sexual intimacy, and it’s repeated throughout Scripture (see also Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31).
The Bible’s condemnation of pre-marital sex is also clear. In the Old Testament, Leviticus 18:20 says, “You shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her.”
And in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
These verses make it plain that God intended sex to be between a husband and wife, and that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sin.
This biblical view of sex, marriage, and relationships has shaped how Christians understand dating, courtship, and marriage.
What are the drawbacks of getting married early as a Christian?
Of course, there are also some drawbacks to getting married at a young age.
For one, many young couples may not be as financially stable, which can lead to financial problems down the road.
Additionally, young couples may not have fully developed emotionally, which can lead to difficulties in their relationship.
And finally, young people who get married may not have fully developed spiritually, which can lead to problems in their relationship with God.
Despite the drawbacks, many young Christians choose to get married at a young age because they believe it’s the best way to live out their faith with the person they love.
Christians and the Institution of Marriage
Christians have always placed a high value on marriage, regarding it as a sacred institution ordained by God.
In the Bible, marriage is often used as an analogy for the relationship between Christ and his church, and Christ himself speaks of marriage as a lifelong covenant in Mark 10:9.
For Christians, marriage isn’t simply a contract between two people who happen to love each other; it’s a public declaration of their commitment to each other before God and their community.
This commitment isn’t taken lightly, as divorce is seen as a serious breach of trust.
Therefore, Christians take great care in choosing a spouse and strive to make their marriages last a lifetime.
While not every Christian marriage is perfect, the high value placed on this institution ensures that couples will work hard to make their marriages succeed.
Dating Culture and Christian Beliefs
When it comes to dating, there are a lot of different cultures and beliefs out there.
Christians, for example, have some pretty strong views on the subject.
While there is no one “right” way to date, Christians often hold to some specific beliefs about the purpose and process of dating.
For many, dating is seen as a way to find a future spouse.
This means that dates are often approached with the intention of getting to know someone better with the goal of eventually getting married.
This doesn’t mean that Christians don’t have fun or that they don’t enjoy casual dating.
But it does mean that Christians usually approach dating with a bit more purpose and intentionality than other people might.
So if you’re interested in dating a Christian, it’s important to be aware of these beliefs and be respectful of them.
Who knows, you might just find that you share some of these beliefs yourself!
The Biblical View of Courtship and Cohabiting
In the Bible, God clearly lays out His plan for marriage.
First, a man is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife (Genesis 2:24).
This means that he is to make her the priority in his life, above all other relationships.
Second, a man and woman are to be married before they have sexual relations (Exodus 22:16-17).
This ensures that the two are committed to each other for life and are not simply using each other for physical pleasure.
Third, a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).
This means that he is to sacrifice himself for her wellbeing, even if it means laying down his life.
Finally, a wife is to obey her husband (Ephesians 5:22).
This does not mean that she is to be a doormat; rather, it means that she is to respect his role as head of the household and submit to his authority.
And he should be respectful of her without abusing his power or trying to devalue or making his wife feel insecure about herself.
When couples follow these biblical principles, they lay the foundation for a strong and healthy marriage.
Cohabiting, or living together without being married, goes against all of these principles.
By cohabiting, couples are signaling that they are not ready or willing to make a lifetime commitment to each other.
They are also more likely to engage in premarital sex, which can lead to all sorts of emotional and physical problems, while they are not married.
Cohabiting is not the biblical way to prepare for marriage; instead, couples should focus on growing closer to God and each other as they wait for the day when they can marry.
Christian divorce rate in America
While the exact percentage of Christian marriages that end in divorce is difficult to determine, it is safe to say that the rate is lower than that of the general population.
This is likely due to the fact that Christians tend to view marriage as a sacred institution.
For many couples, the vows they take before God are seen as a lifelong commitment.
As such, they are more likely to work through difficult times instead of simply giving up and getting a divorce.
Additionally, the support of a strong Christian community can play a vital role in helping marriages stay intact.
In times of trouble, couples can rely on their friends and family for prayer and emotional support.
This sense of community can be a powerful force in preserving even the most troubled marriage.
If you want to learn more about the divorce rate between Christians and non-Christians, this article might also help.
And this other article speaks to younger people marrying and having fewer divorces.
Do Christians have a lower rate of divorce?
There is some evidence that Christians may be less likely to divorce than those who do not practice any religion.
One study found that couples who attend religious services together are more likely to stay married than those who do not.
Additionally, research has shown that people who identify as religious tend to have more traditional views on marriage, which may make them less likely to get divorced.
Of course, there are many factors that can contribute to a successful marriage, and religion is just one of them.
However, it appears that being a part of the Christian community can play a role in helping couples stay together.
Christians often marry young because they believe that marriage is a sacred institution ordained by God.
In the Bible, there are many examples of couples who married young and had successful marriages.
For example, Isaac and Rebekah were both teenagers when they married, and their marriage was blessed with children and lasted for many years.
Likewise, Abraham and Sarah were also relatively young when they married, and their marriage was also fruitful.
In addition to believing that marriage is a sacred institution, Christians also see marriage as an opportunity to grow in faithfulness and love.
By getting married at a young age, Christians are able to learn how to be selfless and put the needs of their spouse above their own.
In short, Christians marry young because they believe that it is God’s will for them to do so.