Should Getting Married Before 25 Be Illegal?

A recent article in the Huffington Post tried to make the argument that getting married before 25 should be illegal.

should getting married before 25 be illegal?

Note: This post was originally published in June 2012. I thought it was time to get this out of the archives to help squash the young marriage myths!

Jennifer’s argument revolved around her own personal experiences. She met her husband at 19, was married at 24 and was divorced by the time she was 29. She begins by saying, “Age is just a number… except when it comes to marriage.”

She says that “I was enjoying the freedom of drinking and partying legally for the first time  (I live in Canada where the drinking age is 19).” She didn’t know who she was or what she wanted in life and ultimately this is why her marriage ended.

I read articles like this and my first reaction is anger. Don’t they understand? But then I realize, no, they don’t understand. And then I feel sad for people who criticize young marriage like this because they didn’t get to experience the wonder and blessings that I have. 

I see why, to the world, young marriage seems a bizarre and immature thing.

For the writer, she was busy drinking and partying at 19. What was I doing at 19? Not partying, and not drinking. I was finishing up my first year at a Christian university while my husband to be was finishing his junior year. I was planning my wedding and preparing for the future. I was learning and studying God’s word as to what it means to be a Godly wife. I was married when I was barely 19 and my hubby 21.

The writer states, “I had yet to figure out who I was or what I wanted in my life. I was naïve and impressionable…” The writer looks back when she was 19 and feels that she had no idea who she was. She was partying but really didn’t know what she wanted with her life. I have heard this argument before and I think it is simply a cover up for selfishness.

You don’t know what you want with your life? You don’t know who you are? Well, at 19 I knew a lot about myself. I knew that I was a daughter of the King. I was a Christ follower and that was the most important thing in my life.

I knew God was calling me to be a Godly wife and hopefully future mother. I knew the Lord was calling me to serve my family and that He was calling my husband to provide and lead our family.

Did my husband know exactly what career path or employer he would eventually work for? No. Do we each have some interests that we didn’t have three years ago? Of course. But what is all this nonsense of not knowing who we are? The only important thing in our lives is that we are Christ followers.

Everything else is just likes and interests. Well, why can’t we grow in those likes and interest together? I didn’t blog before we got married. It is a love that I developed after we got married. That doesn’t mean I am a different person than when I got married. I simply developed a new interest, and you know what? My husband developed that interest as well.

He spends time learning what is exciting me this week. He takes the time to hear me tell him all about my blog world. He has learned to love blogging and I likewise, do the same with his new interests.

Many times I wonder and think about what is wrong with our culture. Since Adam and Eve, the “norm” wasn’t to get married at 30. The “norm” was to look for a spouse in your teens. I am not advocating that we should be marrying 13 year olds. BUT it has only been the past 20-30 years of ALL of  history that we decided that 20 was too young. 20 year olds are babies now. Little more than children, they can’t possible make important life decisions.  But other places in the world today, and throughout history have considered 20 year olds adults. Why are we making a society of children adults? But I digress…

The writer of the article also shares that after the excitement of planning a wedding they settled into married life and “because we had started dating at such a young age, he [her husband] was marrying someone who had absolutely no idea who she was and what she wanted in her life. In short, it was a recipe for divorce.”

Can I just ask…how is that a recipe for divorce? So you didn’t know what career you wanted to go into? I know that for my husband and I, we have grown up together! We have learned what it means to actually have a little extra money coming in! We have learned together what it means to be careless with our money and also what it means to figure out how to save money.

We have learned through tears and fights what it means to work things out. We have learned together what life is like graduating from college and starting careers. And know we are learning together what it means to be parents and eagerly anticipate the arrival of our first bundle of joy. And you know what? I am 22 years old.

I know my husband and I both have a lot of learning and growing to do in the years to come, but we are excited to walk that journey together. I can’t wait to see how the Lord molds my husband into an excellent father and leader of our home. Will we change over the years? Of course. God calls us to continually grow in Him and walk in Godliness.

I know many 19-year-olds who are NOT ready for marriage, but I also know selfish immature 30-year-olds who are not ready for marriage either. So in all, yes, marriage IS just a number. And I am so thankful that the Lord brought us together at such a young age. We have a strong and solid marriage and can’t wait to welcome a new addition to our family later this year. I would’t have it any other way. If the author of that article had her way, I wouldn’t be married for another 3 years. I would have missed out on 6 fabulous years with my husband, that is something that makes me very sad to think about!

You can read more posts I have done about young marriage {It’s somewhat of a passion of mine}

Should Getting Married before 25 be illegal

Photo by Marta Starbucks ♣

The Intent of the Heart {Biblical Modesty}

A discussion of Biblical Modesty must first begin with Scripture. The Bible is sufficient for showing us how to live our lives and there is no exception when it comes to how we dress and act.

The Intent of the Heart - Biblical Modesty

We are called to live modest lives, whether that is in dress, character, or actions.

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:1-4

Slow down, stop and read that verse again. There are a few very important lessons to take from this passage in 1 Peter.

Our modest behavior can have an effect on others

Peter began this section explaining to wives how they can have an effect on their husbands. As a wife, even if we have an unbelieving husband, we can win them to Christ by our behavior!

As women we are to be respectful and have pure conduct. This begins in our hearts. Luke 6:45 tells us, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

If we have a pure heart and practice good, then our conduct will reflect that pure heart. Likewise, if our heart is a black hole of deceit and sin, then our lives will eventually pour that out.

Our outward expression of a pure heart is modest dress, speech, and actions. And because the Lord commands it, we must do our best to follow it, even if we often stumble in this area.

1-Peter-3-1-4

The Heart is more important than the outside

There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress in a cute way or have some trendy clothing. At the same time, however, modesty can be made out to be an idol. Some can become self righteous when it comes to modesty and judge others who don’t feel the same convictions as themselves.

But this verse makes it clear that the focus should be on the hidden person of the HEART. It is not sinful to do such things as braid your hair or put on makeup, but that should not be your sole focus.

Your focus should be on your heart and that you are conducting yourself in a pure manner. Focusing on your heart will help you to produce the imperishable characteristics of a gentle and quiet spirit.

Your modest dress is simply an outpouring of your pure and modest heart. 

How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance. ~ John MacArthur

As MacArthur so eloquently put it, a woman who is more concerned with worshiping God and following his commands than pleasing man and her own selfish desires, will work on having a modest heart and the outpouring of modest dress, speech, and character. We will not always be perfect at this. And sometimes the Lord convicts women differently.

My sisters and I all have a strong desire to serve the Lord and honor him in our dress, and we disagree sometimes on certain modesty issues. But that is okay. The point is, we shouldn’t look at other women and judge. Some women are seasoned veterans in modesty and have walked closely with the Lord for years. Others are new to the Christian faith or have maybe never had an honest discussion about modesty.

I am not here to judge the way others dress, and we should be careful on how we look at those in the church. The Lord convicts each of us differently and at different seasons. 

But I would ask women to listen to the Lord. Just because we shouldn’t judge others for what they wear, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t judge yourself. Take an honest look at your clothing. Ask yourself (and your husband/dad) what is modest and what isn’t. But be careful, it is easy to lie to yourself and make yourself feel better about what you are wearing.

Proverbs 30:20 says, “This is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’”

Tomorrow we will look at the more practical side of modesty and delve into some of the nitty-gritty practical details and tips to help us dress modestly.

More in this series:

Cultivating a Modest Heart Series

A Modest Heart ~ A Biblical Approach

Modesty. Some of you who grew up in conservative churches and homes will roll your eyes at this one little word. “Oh no, not this again.” “Yeah yeah yeah…modesty, we know! We don’t need to hear it anymore!”

But I think a very large portion of the church has never had a real honest and open discussion about modesty. Maybe my perception of this is due in part to the fact that I just spent 4 years living in Southern California, but I don’t think so.

Cultivating a Modest Heart Series

I think that the modern American church has largely lost what it means to dress and act modestly.

I went to church as a kid. I was part of an active and thriving youth group in high school. But I had never had someone teach me about modesty.

I was not walking with the Lord in middle school, and God pulled me back to him during early high school. At that point, I knew I had to put away the miniskirts, but largely my dress didn’t change.

I never thought twice about my cleavage hanging out, or about what my appearance was saying about myself. This was not because I was blatantly ignoring the teaching of my youth group and church, or even living a crazy life while claiming to be a Christian.

No, I was genuinely trying to live for the Lord in high school, and yet I had never studied or been taught about modesty. Slowly the Lord took a hold of my heart and encouraged me to look into modesty. He showed me books to read and sermons to listen to. Little by little my heart was convicted of what modesty means and what it looks like.

As a result, I have a passion for sharing what the Bible teaches about modesty and encouraging ladies to look into the subject for themselves and to ask the Lord to convict their own hearts about their dress. But I of course do not have all of the answers.

I do not look at modesty in a legalistic way, and I pray that you do not either. I understand that some can take modesty and make it legalistic and turn many away from it. But Scripture teaches that we are to have a modest heart and appearance, and it’s not something we can ignore just because someone we know took it too far.

Modesty usually looks different for different people depending on how the Lord has convicted them. During this series I hope to cover the basics of modesty and also give some practical tips on how to dress and act modestly.

Are you ready to dive in? Read the rest of this series on dressing modestly below. And join in our discussions on Facebook!

More in this series:

A Heart of Modesty Series

I hope you will join me on this journey. And I want to hear from you! I know my own journey to modesty and my sisters’ journeys. But what about your journey? Did you grow up (or are currently in) a church that encourages modesty? What are your initial thoughts on Modesty?

Praying for our Husbands

Praying for my husband is something that I am good at sometimes, and terrible at other times. And yet, prayer in marriage is vital. It’s vital for our lives as women, it’s vital for our roles as wives, and it’s vital for the life of our marriages!

Learning how to pray for our husbands!

Prayer as a habit

When I worked full time, I made it a daily habit to turn the radio off in my morning commute and focus on some time for prayer. But now as a stay at home (and work at home) mom, with two toddlers under foot, I hit the ground running in the morning and don’t slow down until my feet hit the bed at night.

I still do make time for prayer, but it’s usually prayers filled with “Lord help me get through this day without losing my temper again!” or “Lord WHY can’t my twins learn how to share?” It’s not often that I slow down enough to take intentional prayer time for my husband.

Life can get so busy and chaotic that such a vital thing as praying for my husband gets lost in the shuffle. Slowing down long enough to take some intentional time to pray for my husband takes the focus off of me and helps me to appreciate and love my husband more.

It’s an intentional time that I can unselfishly come before the Lord and focus on my husband. So I am challenging myself to pray more for my husband and to make it a daily habit.  And you know what? I have noticed a pattern.

The results of prayer

Prayer works!! Yes, my prayer for my husband actually works and has tangible outcomes. Please hear me say that I am in no way implying that God is manipulated by our prayer, or that prayer always gets me what I want. Okay now that’s out of the way… When I pray and ask that the Lord mold my husband into a leader of our home, over time, I notice small changes and ways that the Lord is molding him into and encouraging him as leader of our home. The Lord listens to our prayers.

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. ~Matthew 21:22

Do I think that the Lord will give you ANYthing you ask for? If you ask for a million dollars and a new car will they be on your door step tomorrow? Probably not. But if you seek salvation and the good things of the Lord then he will supply all your spiritual needs. By praying for our husbands each day we can  encourage them and help them. How does our praying for them help them?Praying for our Husbands

Our Prayer Helps Our Husbands

1) They know we are praying for them

That right there gives my husband encouragement. It warms his heart to know that I am taking the time to think about and pray for him. It also encourages him to pray for me! 

2) Praying puts me in the right frame of mind

When I am constantly trying to be in deep prayer for my husband, it helps me to be thinking right thoughts about him. When my husband forgets to pick up the milk I asked him to get after a long day at work, it’s easy to get frustrated with him (which is just code for angry with him, which is sin). But if he has asked me to pray for him that morning because he has three stressful meetings and a busy day, then I can be more understanding of him when he forgets the milk.

3) Praying for my husband draws me closer to God

When I am intentional about praying for my husband, this is linking me deeper with the Lord. Most of the time I start out praying a quick prayer for my husband and before I know it I have spent 20 minutes praying for others in my life.

4) God listens to our prayers for our husbands

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great as it is working. ~James 5:16.

When our husband feels safe to come to us and admit his sin or shortcomings, we have the beautiful opportunity as wives to pray for them. When we ask the Lord to lead our husbands and mold them into men of God, He listens to that. The Lord knows the pure desires of our hearts {Psalm 37:4}. Will you join me in intentionally making time for praying for our husbands. It won’t happen by accident and it does take work and making time for it, but in the end, it’s so worth it for our marriages and our walk with the Lord!

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. ~Colossians 4:2

Enjoying Autumn Together

By Anna Radchenko, Contributing Writer

October is my favorite month of the year!  Autumn has arrived, the leaves are changing color, and the air is getting cool and crisp.  Everything about this month beckons me to spend time outside, relishing in the beauty of God’s creation.

Ideas for Enjoying Autumn Together as a Couple

Original Photo by: Ilya Radchenko

My husband and I are constantly seeking ways to spend time with each other (without spending much money!).  One of the ways we do this is by going for walks.  October is the perfect month for us to walk outside as it’s not too hot, not too cold, and the gorgeous views of the season are romantic and inspiring.  Before the busyness of the holidays approach in November and December, take time this month to get outside and breathe in the beauty of Fall.  Even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood after dinner, or taking a full day to hike up a mountain, have a picnic in a park, etc. use this time to get some fresh air, (perhaps even a fresh perspective), and simply spend time with your spouse.

Philippians 2:2 states, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

 

Use your walks as a time to talk about the present and the future.  Ask each other questions, seek to become more intimate and of one mind.  These walks could be just what you need to fully be present with each other without any distractions.

Ideas for bonding together during Autumn

Photo by: Ilya Radchenko

When I was in college, I spent many afternoons taking walks with those I was interested in.  Even if you’re not married yet, walking with someone you’re interested in marrying one day can help you get to know if they’re who God would have for you!  Always be sure to walk while it is still light out, and public places such as a neighborhood or park can deter temptations.  Use those times to get to know the other person and compare in light of Scripture if they are someone you should continue to pursue.

Enjoying Autumn is one thing, enjoying it with your spouse is even better!

How will you enjoy the season with your spouse or significant other this month?

This post is part of our Date Your Spouse series! The contributors here at A Biblical Marriage have teamed together to bring you 30 days of intentionally dating your spouse! To read more in this series visit the series home page.

Date your spouse!