Have you ever noticed that many Christian couples seem to get married after 1-2 years of dating whereas many non-religious couples tend to put off getting married to 3-5 years of dating?
This begs the question – what’s the rush for the Christians to get married?
I suspect two reasons – the first is some sort of feeling that “this is who God wants me to marry.” Anytime you add religion into the equation it makes things seem so much higher and righteous and holy, and so a good relationship can seem like God has put his approval on it. And if God approves, then let’s get this ball rolling!
But, more importantly and more pressing I think Christians get married so quickly because of sex.
Christian values emphasize waiting until marriage to have sex – something that very much so sets us apart from the rest of our culture. Sixty years ago waiting until marriage was more mainstream – now it’s a fringe idea. And with the average age of marriage continually being pushed higher that means, for Christians, longer and longer until they have sex. Longer and longer they have to try to suppress or control their hormones and instincts in order to hold out until marriage. It ain’t easy.
In our society it’s socially acceptable to have sex outside of marriage. I’d say practically expected. So quite frankly the non-Christian couple isn’t in a hurry to get married – they’re probably having sex and they aren’t experiencing that same sense of urgency. And so the marriage doesn’t happen until they’ve been together several years and they’re quite confident in their relationship.
And from what I’ve seen, not sure about you, their marriages tend to be healthier. The long wait could ensure they are totally compatible and interact well. The romantic glow has long worn off and they are simply a couple that fits well together.
I think Christians are obsessed with sex because we can’t have it! I think some Christians get married so quickly because they aren’t sexually active. I won’t say that’s the primary reason, of course love is, but the hormones combined with the religious mandate impress a strong urgency.
I’m fascinated by this issue in Christianity. I don’t think Christianity has figured out how to deal with our natural hormones and instinct to have sex. Our values tell us to wait, but more and more this means waiting a decade after they begin experiencing them to act upon those urges (assuming most enter puberty around 14 and don’t get married until they’re 25). So what the heck do we do?
Clearly I’m not suggesting we should just act upon the instincts, but I also think it’s important to address those urges and tendencies – especially if they could be leading them into marriage too quickly. I’m writing this to see if anyone else has noted it, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and discuss it with you in the comments!