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Saving Yourself but Rushing Into Marriage?

I have a high school friend who was raised in a church-going family and got married right out of college. In her late 20s, she admitted to me that while she and her husband have a great time together, most of her other friends are still single or living with their boyfriends. "I don't really know why we got married so young," she said.

What I wanted to say — but didn't — was "Because you wanted to have sex!" For some couples, saving themselves for marriage means getting married sooner rather than later. Not surprisingly, some evangelicals are encouraging couples to marry younger, but modern-day, abstinence-practicing lovebirds sometimes find it difficult to balance that with their peers' tendency to get married later in life. To discuss this dilemma,


Think of it as a wholesome twist on the traditional shotgun wedding, with its own complications:

The call for young marriage raises questions: How young is too young? What if marriage is viewed as a ticket to guilt-free sex? What about the fact that marrying young is the No. 1 predictor of divorce?

A recent story in Christianity Today, titled "The Case For Young Marriage," acknowledges that it's unrealistic to expect couples to save themselves for marriage if marriage isn't happening until their late 20s or early 30s. But the article doesn't endorse premarital sex; it merely suggests that the abstinence message may be coming on too strong.


Megan and Jay Mkrtschjan also got married right out of college, and the groom says it had a lot to do with sex. But now the couple says getting married young may have helped them, since they worked out their early hardships while both were still maturing, rather than getting married older, when both were set in their ways.

Do you think that abstaining from sex leads to earlier marriages? And if so, is there really anything so wrong with getting married young?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
cburch cburch 7 years
Carrie Sue, I completely agree. I'm in college and still dating my high school boyfriend. Although it's hard, we are both waiting until marriage to have sex. It is completely feasible. Yes if our relationship goes this distance (fingers crossed) we will probably marry younger than most of our friends, but we also will have had a longer history, time to grow independently (we attend different colleges), and a stronger foundation. So maybe couples waiting to have sex may be getting married younger, but has anyone checked to see exactly how long they've waiting to marry that person? When everything is said and done, if I stay with my boyfriend (my love) we will have been dating at least six years and been best friends for eight. Now compare than to couples who are getting married at thirty after only two years of dating. Age may not be the leading factor, time together may be a more important variable.
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 7 years
"A recent story in Christianity Today, titled "The Case For Young Marriage," acknowledges that it's unrealistic to expect couples to save themselves for marriage if marriage isn't happening until their late 20s or early 30s." I haven't read the article from Christianity today yet, butif they really said that? I'm extremely disappointed. It's absolutely feasable that a person can save herself for marriage even into the late-20's and beyond. It's a matter of why you're doing it. In such a sex-oriented culture it's certainly harder anymore to keep your mind clean (not to mention your body), but not impossible.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I don't care if people PERSONALLY want to wait until they are married for sex. I think there are a lot of good reasons to. But getting married for sex is a slap in the face of marriage. I have premarital sex, but I wouldn't get married until I knew I was good and ready for it (ie out of college) because I want my marriage to work. Though, as far as my philosophy for sex goes: "would you buy a car without test driving it first?"
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I had sex before marriage (and not to my husband) and I never regretted it. I don't see a problem in doing it before marriage if you are responsible about it. I never slept around or anything like that, but part of discovering who I was, was discovering what I liked and wanted sexually out of my partner. I think it's a bad idea to marry someone before you have had sex with them. What happens if you are not compatible sexually - you divorce? She's too small for him or he's too small, or any other of the reasons that sex would not be pleasurable for the partners. I just see no reason to wait when that can be such a deal breaker in the end, regardless if you are married or not.
fashion_doll24 fashion_doll24 7 years
I totally agree with bekkachan: the most important thing, in my opinion, is waiting for someone you really care about, who you feel cares for you and will stand up in case something unexpected happens. Whether or not you choose to wait until you're married to that particular person, is a very personal matter. Personally, I don't see myself getting married anytime soon (I'm 22) but me and my guy have been together for almost six years now, which is more than some people who get married at a very young age will last together. I strongly believe that people can truely commit to each other without having to be married.
crimson-scarlet crimson-scarlet 7 years
I lost my first fiance because someone else was willing to have sex with him and I wanted to wait until we were please my father! People blamed by boyfriend and told me I was lucky to lose him, lucky to "find out" what he was "really" like. But over the years since then I've matured and now I think that tragedy was really the pressure we were under not to have sex because of our families. Realistically most people want sex, maybe especially young guys, and waiting can make people rush into marriage when maybe they're not ready and can also lead to dramas like we went through. He lost me and regretted it. Next time round I didn't wait. It took a lot of soul seaching and determination to break out of my family's expectations of how I should live, what was right and wrong. Sex before marriage can be enjoyed responsibly and it's a pity so many (Christian & other) people still want to control people's sexual behavior.
PontNeuf PontNeuf 7 years
I have nothing against waiting until marriage to have sex as a personal choice. The way abstinence is pummelled into evangelicals, however, is unethical. People meet and often (but not always) hormones take over and decisions are rushed. From my graduating class in the Christian school I was raised in, 100% ended up marrying before 21 - either before or after they had become pregnant. Only 1 couple has stayed together.
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
Yes, I've known people that have done this too! Although I think they found someone they really love, they definitely rushed into marriage for the sex. I think marriage is much more than love, it's also a decision to become responsible adults, which I believe is very difficult at a young age. Being 21 myself I just don't see how I could marry someone right now and make it work with all the stress involved when I can still love who I'm with and have sex... without the bills and other expenses of being married. Kudos to those young couples that manage it, but sex is definitely not worth the paperwork in my opinion lol.
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 7 years
I definitely know people who have done this, even if they didn't say it in as many words. People who expect you to wait until marriage generally will shun you or shaft you socially if you don't. In my case I just wanted to wait for the right person - someone who I felt would be willing to commit to me, truly cares for me and would stand up and be there for me and whatever decision I made if I got pregnant. I did that, and regardless of the fact that we've been together for two years already and he wants to marry me, my very conservative parents still look down on me and don't trust me with major life decisions because I had sex before marriage. It's completely ridiculous.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
Many couples get marry young and they had premarital sex. I don't believe in sex until marriage, I think is important to see what kind of person he is in bed. I know many people that scrutinized sex before marriage but been marry more than 4 times. Vicvicvictooria I agree with you 100%. On thing is waiting until your sure of your relationship and other is waiting until marriage. Its important to know your partner before you are legally bound with that person and your sex life its so horrible that you have to get a divorce.
VicVicVictooriaa VicVicVictooriaa 7 years
Prior to dating my current boyfriend I had never had sex (i was 20 at the time and waiting for the right person, although all my friends had already lost their virginities). I started dating Eric and 2 weeks after we first kissed, we had sex. A year and four and a half months later I do not regret this decision. I waited until I was ready and thought I found the right person. I may not have sex with another person, but it doesn't matter. I waited until I was ready with nothing else telling me what I should or should not do. I am extremely happy in my relationship and we experiment all the time to see what we like best. I can learn now what I want out of sex rather than being legally bound. I think abstinence is great, I think waiting for marriage is ridiculous in this day and age.
a-million-suns a-million-suns 7 years
I definitely think that abstinence leads to earlier marriages in many cases. Most of the people I know who are getting married right now are religious, and I have a hard time believing that sex is not at least a big influencing factor, even if they won't admit it.
miss_english miss_english 7 years
Chrstine, yes! I totally agree with you (last statement, too)
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
I can understand the waiting for marriage, but getting married just for the sake of having sex guarantees a diaster down the road. All of the religious people may not get divorced as early as the run-of-the-mill people who aren't religious at all (1st divorce at 29 years old!) but still, if they married for a dumb reason, you know by 29 they'd want to. There are tons of people who marry young and don't care about the sex. Your friend might not have cared about the sex, but just wondered why she thought about marrying young when she had plenty of time. If people truly want to save themselves, they will save themselves -- regardless of how long they have to wait.
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 7 years
Agreed, Sourcherry. Pushing abstinence vs. safe sex makes for hasty decisions.
sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
That's why I think pushing abstinence on teens is unrealistic. Waiting until you're a little older and mature, sure, but waiting for marriage is definitely not for most people. People in their 20's are going to have sex, period. So yes, if they religion tells them that they have to be married for that, they'll be a lot more likely to rush into marriage. As for marrying young, no, I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but I do feel that it takes away a lot of opportunities for the individuals, like traveling, focusing on their careers, etc.. You can't explore all the choices you have as freely when you're thinking about another person's future as well. And that's not considering kids, that you're more likely to have at a young age as well...
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 7 years
Exactly, Ameliorate, People accuse me of getting married young a lot just because I "wanted to have sex". It wasn't the case.
Smilesp Smilesp 7 years
I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to wait until you're married to have sex, but getting married early just so you can have "guilt-free" sex is ridiculous. I think it puts too much emphasis on the importance of sex in a relationship.
amelioratelj amelioratelj 7 years
And by long, of course I meant young. Doh!
amelioratelj amelioratelj 7 years
I did not wait to have sex with my husband and I married very long. Obviously it wasn't because we wanted to have sex, because we already were doing it. We got married because we wanted to be responsible adults and commit to each other in a meaningful way.
cakeshinigami cakeshinigami 7 years
The mormon leaders here in utah encourage members to get married and have children as soon as possible, trapping women at home forever.
Smilesp Smilesp 7 years
I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to wait until you're married to have sex, but
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