Manhood and Young Marriage
My wife and I married a month after graduating college and I'm glad we did. Besides having babies we were able to navigate the 20s together, going through the ups and downs of learning what it means to be an adult out in the world. I think we're stronger for it.
The most important contribution made by Mark Regnerus is to raise this issue in such a bold way. He is certainly correct when he asserts that the church "has already ceded plenty of intellectual ground in its marriage-mindedness." Beyond this, he is even more profoundly right when he argues that "while sex matters, marriage matters more." As he observes, "The importance of Christian marriage as a symbol of God's covenantal faithfulness to his people -- and a witness to the future union of Christ and his bride -- will only grow in significance as the wider Western culture diminishes both the meaning and actual practice of marriage. Marriage itself will become a witness to the gospel."
Yet, marriage has always been a witness to the gospel, even as it existed in anticipation of the gospel. From the very beginning of the Christian church, marriage has been an important dimension of our witness to Christ and to the covenant of our salvation. In so many beautiful ways, marriage points to the very character of God.
The vast majority of Christians who have gone before us would surely be shocked by the very need for a case to be made for Christian adults to marry. While the New Testament clearly honors the gift of celibacy for the cause of the Gospel, the eight out of ten evangelical young people admitting to sexual intercourse before marriage are clearly making no claim to the gift of celibacy.
The only downside is that I did not spend enough time and energy setting us up for success as a young married couple. There were sin issues inside me that plagued me and bogged me down as a leader and husband. We lived a bit loosely financially and are to date paying back on some of the mistakes we made.
I think that is common among young people, especially men, who have bought into the lie that the 20s are the 'fun' years and that they can get to the serious parts of living later. On the contrary, Christian men should be growing up, getting mentors, and building a solid foundation for manhood, marriage and fatherhood as soon as possible, so that should the Lord bring him a spouse at a young age he will be ready.