I love weddings. Christmas is great and birthdays are fun, but I love attending weddings. I have already attended four weddings to date this year and have another three to attend before July hits. That's a lot of weddings, and a lot of cake.
The most common remark I hear from friends as of late is, "Another wedding?!" This is confusing news to a lot of people in my life. I daresay there are many other Christian young adults like myself who hear the same response when they announce yet another one of their friends is engaged and they are to attend yet another engagement party or wedding.
It is totally understandable that some people cannot comprehend the popularity of people getting married at a young age, after only dating for 2â5 years and before living together. Is this just a trend? Are these young people taking it as seriously as they should be?
Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us the trendy thing for Australians to do is live together before getting married and wait until you're 29â31 years of age before tying the knotâthat is if you want to get married at all. The length of time people are married for before separating has shown a steady decline over the past five years. Is this the way it has to be?
Why do Christians get married so young?
The majority of my Christian friends getting married are between the ages of 20â25. To many people this is quite young, and there are legitimate concerns as to whether these individuals know what they're getting themselves into. In addition, there is concern that most of these couples haven't lived together and don't know how hard cohabitating is to adjust to.
Why does anyone get married? From my understanding, it is because they have found someone they want to spend the rest of their life with, and have spent adequate time getting to know that person's character, values and lifestyle. This is no different for young Christian couples.
Often, the one thing setting Christians apart is that God and his words (the Bible) are of utmost importance to both individuals, and it impacts the decisions they make about getting married. As Christians, we believe in the Bible and therefore when it says marriage is good and is God's design, we go with that option, because we believe God when he says it is the best way.
Speaking from my own experience, I was always excited to get married, and, like almost everyone in the world, I was excited to find the person with whom I could spend the rest of my life.
Why the need to get married though?
When a couple choose to get married, they make lifelong vows to each other that are spoken for their friends and family to see and hold them accountable to. Getting married is a serious commitment. I know many young Christians who enter marriage with the intention of sticking it out through thick and thin. Divorce is simply not an option. You work hard on your marriage and even when you feel like giving up, you stick with your spouse and do your part to make things work.
How do you know it won't fall apart?
Speaking from experience, most of these couples will undertake some sort of pre-marriage counselling with a pastor before getting married. This involves identifying your major differences in things like communication, how you interact with your families, your love languages and your personality differences.
The dating relationship and things like pre-marriage counselling are the pre-season, getting you ready for the big match ahead. Of course, marriage isn't something to be entered into lightly, so many couples I know seek the wisdom and advice of those around them on when is a good time to get married.
There are also all sorts of books couples can read about marriage. These give couples the opportunity to think about their differences, to consider the meaning of marriage and to make sure they have realistic expectations about marriage.
Why do most Christians choose not to live together before they get married?
As mentioned earlier, God and his word are of utmost importance to Christians. It is important to note the Bible doesn't say you shouldn't live together before you get married.
However, it does say sex is best when it takes place in a marital relationship. This is one reason why many couples don't live together before they get married, because living together would present a massive temptation to engage in something God says is best kept for marriage.
Christian marriage can be confusing to those who don't understand the motives of those getting married. Next time someone mentions "Another wedding?!" use it as an opportunity to explain the value of Christian marriage, the things Christian couples believe about marriage and the things considered before entering into it.
Sarah Young is completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology and loves spending time engaging with young people. She spends her spare time writing songs, running and going on adventures with her husband, James.
Sarah Young's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sarah-young.html