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Early maturity

Early maturity

The Walter family (Handout)

Valentine’s Day notwithstanding, some young men and women are reacting to the baby boom generation’s poor divorce record by planning not to get married. Others are waiting until their 30s before seriously considering marriage.

A dozen stories of couples who worked through problems and have been married for at least 35 years are now online at:

worldmag.com/topic/marriage_longevity. That series will continue, and we are starting another on couples who married young and are in the process of raising young children. We will usually be interviewing in person those we profile, but here’s what Robert Walter, a Navy officer in Afghanistan beyond our staff’s ready reach at the moment, wrote us recently:

“Having children tends to mature one like few other life events. My wife and I were married when she was 21 (almost 22) and I was 25 (days before turning 26). Despite doubts from friends and family bordering on disapproval, we view that decision without any regrets—in fact great gratitude to God for giving us so many happy years. We became parents 14 months later although that was not our original plan—we were going to wait for at least a decade while my wife finished medical school, residency, etc.” 

Walter continued, “I know that having our son did more to ‘mature’ me than anything else in my life and thereby greatly improved our marriage. We have gone on to be blessed with eight children, which has been such a tremendous blessing (though making life complicated at times), and having such a huge family would be less likely if we waited until our 30s to have children.”

We all know, of course, that in God’s providence some folks will not find the right mates until they are older, and some are called to singleness. Let’s hope, though, that most Christians see the value of marrying when they are closer to 20 than to 40. If some couples wait and wait until they are “mature,” they may miss the experiences that would have matured them.

Comments

  • Anonymous (not verified)
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:08 pm

    Keep these stories coming! Marrying in your early twenties is a good thing. My wonderful husband and I were married at 21 and 22, and I would not change a thing. My sister joked the other day that if we take really good care of ourselves, we could potentially be married 75 years. Such a lovely thought! I hope we live to see that day together.

  • Anonymous (not verified)
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:08 pm

    I have known many early marriage that have indeed brought maturity and still stand to this day.  But I worry that some people may confuse a "lack of maturity" with "immaturity."  In that case, simply viewing marriage as a means to an end (maturity) can be a dangerous state to be in.  Even more dangerous is using parenthood as a means to maturity, because that can have far-reaching consequences.  I think we need to encourage selflessness and maturity in all other areas of life (and at earlier ages) before encouraging early marriage.  For some it is a blessing, but for others it can make things far worse.  I know this article is short and does not go into the pros and cons but I felt I should point that out, as one who is very glad that I "waited" to marry!

  • Sawgunner's picture
    Sawgunner
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:08 pm

    I feel the church should support early marriages as best they can. Marriage matures you but it requires a level of maturity and sacrifice which many collegiate singles and recent college graduates lack. The sacrament of marriage is one the church should have been harping on long before the same *** marriage issue popped up on the radar screen.

  • Buddy's picture
    Buddy
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:08 pm

    My first wife and I married when she was 18 and I was 19 and neither of us went to Church. The marriage lasted for 12 years until she went to work at a factory and liberal women there turned her away from God and me. Four years after the divorce I remarried in the Lord and we have been married for 30 years. We go to Church three times a week. I give God all the credit for keeping us together because we are both strong willed.

  • shevrae
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:08 pm

    My husband and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this summer.  I was 20 and he was 21 when we married 2 weeks before the start of our senior year of college.  I wouldn't necessarily suggest that, it probably would have been better to have married earlier in the summer and given ourselves a bit more time to adjust, but that's how we did it.  We became parents 3 years later, and now we have 4 lovely daughters.  Marriage and parenting have definitely been the biggest maturing factors in our lives - they quickly show your shortcomings!  I would not mind my daughters marrying young as well, should they meet young men who love Jesus - a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Eccl 4:12).

  • Becky F's picture
    Becky F
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:08 pm

    I was 21 and my husband was 23 when we married almost 7 years ago. Our first child was born 13 months after we were married, which also was not our original plan, though we only intended to wait 2 or 3 years before having our first child because my husband was a Seminary student. We will be having our fourth child in March. I never had any intention of waiting years into my adulthood to marry, as my parents and grandparents didn't, so I am very thankful that my husband and I met when we were young. We also didn't face any opposition from our family or friends, thankfully. I hope that we raise our children in the same way that we were raised, that they see the value of marriage at a "young" age, and that they find godly men and women to marry when they are young so that they don't have to wait for years.