*Long post alert*, …. Like they’re not all long se ok, I’m going really controversial here and I tell you, I’ve had many discussions/arguement about this, in fact, one lady got so angry with me
I found myself having this conversation/argument with a group of people; I did not even know I felt so strongly about this issue till I was put in this situation.
The story was that two 19 year olds who had been dating since they were 17 decided to get married, they’re both Christians and believe they should not have sex before marriage, they have both managed to keep themselves this way in their 2 years of dating and now they are struggling to continue to do so, hence they want to get married as Paul admonished in the bible. To be clear, their sole reason to want to get married is not just to have sex, they have dated for a while and decided they want to spend the rest of their lives together.
They informed their parents and as expected, the parents kicked off saying no way, they are yet to finish school, get a job, get their own place e.t.c. Majority of the people agreed with the parents but I totally disagreed, not even because I wanted to be controversial as I can be sometimes . It’s because I genuinely don’t understand why the parents excuses should stop them from getting married, my question was, how will marriage stop them from doing all that their parents listed? I couldn’t get my head round how marriage will stop them from getting their degrees, getting a job or their own place?
Somebody said having children could stop them, I said they don’t have to have children, what with all the contraceptives that the world has come up with, I mean not being married can’t stop them from having children? I thought the only criteria for having children is having sex, if these two are not allowed to get married and they start having sex, they could have children anyway, how much better if that happened within a marriage albeit they don’t have to start having children especially if it would be an hinderance to them achieving their so called parents dream e.t.c.
Another person asked, how will they support themselves? are you saying once they get married their parents should stop supporting them? so it’s only if children remained unmarried are parents required to support them, so marriage has become the line post where parents should no longer support their kids, I had naively thought that this should only happen when the childen can stand on their own feet not when they get married. Now if the girl was to fall pregnant outside of marriage, will the parents stop supporting her?
Another question that came up was that at 19, how are they sure this is what they want? not only did I find this insulting to the couple but I think it also proves the dumbing down of the generations that comes behind mine or maybe it’s the pessimisitic view at which marriage is looked upon, to say a 19 year old cannot make an important decision like this is bizarre to me, I mean people are allowed to join the army at 16, they are taken to war by age 18, no, not during world war I or II, there are 18 year olds in Iraq and Afghanistan, what greater decision is this than a 19 year old deciding if they want to be married or not.
I questioned the view that we level at marriage sometimes, I remember back at college, one of the girls was getting married, it was such a hot topic at the time as rumours went round that maybe she was pregnant, maybe it was for papers e.t.c, someone said why would she want to go to prison so early? so marriage is now seen as prison. I partly blame this on married people who go around with stories of woes and doom, I mean a gentleman at my hubby’s church told us “not to do it” he meant not get married, we were both so shocked at the packed emotion at which he said it despite the fact he was married, I think people like this put out such bad views about marriage that the society now sees it as a doomed feat, funny enough yet many people want to get married. I’m not trivialising the hardwork that goes into marriage or that it can be challenging sometimes but like everything in life, you want it good, you work at it and I’ve seen many good marriages, also there are many other challenges in life that our children may go through whether we like it or not.
Anyway I digressed a little, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all 19 year olds should get married, God knows there are many 19 year olds who don’t know their left from their right, even so, I’ve met 40 year olds that I won’t leave a rat with let alone another human being but I choose to believe that there are some folks out there who are mature enough to make such decisions as marriage even at a young age, when I see elderly couple’s in their 80s and 90s still holding hands, I am sometimes brave enough to ask how long they have been married, many would say 60-65 years, that means even some of them got married as young as 16, is the society dumbing down our young ones by assuming they cannot make important or responsible decisions, I am of the opinion that if you want a child to grow up to be responsible, you’ve got to have an expectation of them that allows them to do just that.
As for Christian parents who bring their children up to avoid having sex before marriage then allow them to date at the age of 14, 15, 16,17, then ask them to wait till they are 25, 26 to get married, how realistic is it that they will wait 10 years or more before they start having sex, what did Solomon mean when he said ”Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires”, if you know you don’t want your children to get married in their late teens or early twenties, then don’t allow them to date in their early teens or teach them that they must wait for marriage to have sex, to do this and then tell them they cannot get married young should they choose to do so is simply unfair and what you will end up creating are children who will go ahead and have sex and then live in guilt.
Someone then asked me if I would have gotten married at 19? I said if I believed if I was with the right person, then yes, I personally don’t believe that my core person has changed from the person I was at 16, yes I’ve grown or so I’d like to think but is that because of age? No, I’d argue, but because of life experiences, if I was married at 19, would I be a different person now if my life experiences remained the same, I doubt it, to think of it, there are some things I’ve only learnt by being married not because of age, if I did not get married till my thirties, I still won’t know the things I refer to.
Guaranteed not many people will meet the person they want to marry in their teens and nor feel ready to but if there are people who do, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this, maybe I’m simplifying it too much eh… Thank you.