Inside Out 23: Early Marriage

11.24.10 | Martha Manikas-Foster

io-regnerusI couldn’t get it out of my head: Mark Regnerus’s August 2009 cover article in Christianity Today titled “A Case for Early Marriage.” What turned out to be a follow-up article to his April 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed piece unsettled me. Did this associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin really think that parents and pastors should encourage men and women to marry in their early twenties ---before they finished their educations, before they began to pay off debt, before they established their careers?

Under the right circumstances, Regnerus says yes. Regnerus’s ideas buck the trends of the culture. They could, however, bring hope to those out-numbered young adults committed to a chaste life who despair at the thought of waiting for sex until they wed on the eve of their 30th birthdays.

Join us for our Inside Out conversation. You’ll find that Regnerus is a big fan of marriage. Along the way we talk about welcoming the possibility of love at college, the role of marriage in our growing maturity, and how adults can help their children think positively about marriage and sex.

To read Regnerus’s Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, follow this link. For his Christianity Today cover article, click here.

Regnerus’s book Premarital Sex in America will be published in December 2010, following up on his 2007 book Forbidden Fruit, in which he studied the intersection of sex and religion in the lives of American teenagers. Regnerus is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a faculty research associate of the university’s Population Research Center.


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 11.24.10 Cynthia Bell commented

Hi Martha! I was interested in your report today on marriage. I think the most important thing is not age but is the couple's commitment to the Lord and to each other. That said, I am a proponent of early marriage. In 2011, my husband Steve and I will both turn 60 years old and we will celebrate our 40th Wedding anniversary!! We really "grew up" together, and with the Lord at the center of our lives, we have had a wonderful marriage. I did not hear your report on the Empty Nest and have not had time to read it, but we recently became empty nesters. Our family is spread out in age and we homeschooled our youngest so I was worried as the youngest was launched in life, that I would really miss mothering. But, Steve and I have been having a wonderful time, doing things together that we have not been able to do through the years of parenting and finding new adventures too. Now, we've never fallen "out of love', but he says this new life is as exciting as falling "in love" all over again! We are enjoying each other even more than we did in our early years of marriage. After almost 40 years together, we enjoy and treasure each day that we have together. I ask the Lord to grant us many more years together!
Good report. Thanks!! God Bless- Cynthia Bell (Advisory Board Member)
Side note: one of our children married early at 19 years old, one married late at 30 years old, and we have a single 28 year old! The two married ones are happily married.

on 11.24.10 Melanie Pike commented

Next Wednesday, December 1st, will be our 31st anniversary. My husband was 5 days shy of turning 23, and I was 3 months shy of turning 21. We were NOT Christians at the time (I'd never really been to church, except for Sunday School when I was little); my husband returned to faith about 8 years or so ago and I joined him just over 7 years ago. We raised 2 great kids, who are both married to wonderful people, and we have 3 grandchildren. We're both very active in our small church and love it.

Our daughter got married at age 22 (very nearly 23) to a young man 2 months older than she; they met at college. Our son married at 21 1/2 to a young woman who was almost 20; they met at church. They all struggle, but overall they're happy in their marriages.

I've seen "young" marriages in my family which have ended in divorce (one sister, at 19, married to escape our house; one brother, at 20, married his first wife, and he has been married twice more since).

I do wish that more people would take their vows much more seriously and realize that marriage is hard work and deserving of that hard work.




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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