You’re Too Young To Get Married – Just Have Sex!

Mar 3, 2014

A dear friend of mine recently got engaged. She and her future husband are wonderful people, and I couldn’t be happier for them! They are each bright, hard-working, and considerate, and they love God immensely.

They are also only 20 years old.

They have many of the basic characteristics of adulthood, and the capacity to achieve the rest. More important, they have something many young people don’t: an amazing faith and trust in God.

But they’ve been catching grief for their decision. Certainly there are people who wish they had better-paying jobs. Or more money in the bank. Or a few more years of adulthood behind them.

I understand that. We all want them to have the best possible chance of success, and older is associated with wiser. Or at least, more self-sufficient.

However, my favorite {can I use “favorite” in this context?} objection to their marriage has been, “You’re not old enough to get married – you should just have sex instead.” You see, this sweet Christian couple takes the Bible’s view of marriage seriously and they have chosen not to have sex before their wedding.

I understand when other 20-year-olds say things like this because their experience is lacking as well. But many seasoned adults have voiced this attitude – including Christian adults. This baffles me.

Regardless of your view of abstinence, how can one think someone is too immature to get married, but mature enough to have sex? On what planet does that even make sense?

How is taking responsibility for your own reproduction by assuring your children won’t be fatherless immature?

How is taking on adult responsibilities – like getting full-time jobs and managing your finances – immature?

How is opting out of the club-scene dating experience immature?

When did we turn into a society that thinks someone who is too immature to get married and raise a family is mature enough to have sex? Isn’t sex the very prerequisite for starting a family?

Our culture and society already encourage young people to have premarital sex and to eschew adult responsibilities. As Christians, let’s encourage them to maintain their moral stance by supporting them in their decision to marry. Even if we wish they were a little bit older. No – especially if we wish they were a little bit older.


  1. Susan

    A lot of people assume Christians marry young or fast because they want to have sex.

    • Kendra Burrows

      You’re so right, Susan! We assume young people who don’t abstain are getting married for reasons other than sex. Why would we assume young Christians are marrying just because of the sex?! Although biological pulls are undeniable (God built us that way!), they are not what motivates all of our behaviors. They are just one part of the picture that is enhanced by the other parts – the loving, Godly relationship. In this world that bombards us with provocative images, it can be difficult (even for Christians, at times) to remember that sex isn’t what it’s all about. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Melinda Lancaster

    I’m so glad you shared this, Kendra. You ask many good questions!

    Marriage is hard work at any age. We “the church” should spend more time preparing young people for the responsibilities of life, and less time imitating “the world.”

  3. Paul Robinson

    My wife and I are 68. We met at 16. We were engaged at 18, married at 20. We grew up together. I think that’s a lot more conducive to a happy marriage that two folk very set in their ways remembering all the things they had to give up to marry someone else also resenting the same thing. All our memories are WITH each other.

    Makes a big difference. Oh Yes, I had a garage, and flipped real estate by the time I was 22. We worked hard doing up the houses we sold/rented together. We lived in some just a few weeks. I DID go to university, but at 41.

    I think this irrational concern with marrying late causes more problems that it solves.

    • Kendra Burrows

      You make great points, Paul. Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. Hannah J

    My husband and I got married at 18. We heard many of the same responses. The funny thing is… we had money. People said that we would never be able to support ourselves without our parents help…. but since we were both such savers, we had 4k in the bank already, and both had pretty good jobs(for our expenses)…

    We’ve been married almost 3 years. We have 1 son, and 1 child on the way. No one says we were too young anymore. We are now looking for a house, hoping to buy one close to outright with our savings…. but we were “too young” to support ourselves. =) We’ve never regretted marrying “too young”

    • Kendra Burrows

      Thanks for sharing your story, Hannah! It’s such a blessing to hear positive experiences. Good luck on your house hunt and congrats re: your new little one!

  5. Debbie Simorte

    Well said, Kendra! Perhaps these “seasoned adults” forget that not long ago, everyone got married young.

    • Kendra Burrows

      I suspect some might recall they got married young and it didn’t last. I got married young (21) and my marriage didn’t last, but it’s not because we got married young. It’s because we stopped working at it 17 years in. Big difference.

  6. Laura Hile

    A year ago at Thanksgiving, my youngest son approached me. “Um, Mom,” he said, rather bashfully. “Isn’t there a diamond ring that Mimi has?”

    He meant my grandmother’s diamond in my mom’s safety deposit box. At nineteen, in his second year of college, he wanted to marry his sweetheart Jessica, whom he has loved since he was fourteen. The objections you mention came surging forward.

    And then, like you, I stopped myself. What was I thinking? They are sincere believers in Christ, and they know one another well. Both have decent jobs, both are in school full time. They are not afraid to work. Besides, all around them are students shacking up and sleeping around. My Ben wanted to do the honorable thing, and I was giving him grief?

    Another factor I should mention is that Ben works at Costco and has excellent benefits.

    They were married in August–ha, and since neither of them was twenty-one, they couldn’t rent a car. So they rode motor scooters around Maui. Their lives are busy, but they are happy to be together. And they’re even pulling A’s in school. And…taking a missions trip overseas during spring break. Who knew?

    It’s their life, and they must live it. Even if I think I know better. 🙂

    • Kendra Burrows

      That’s the trickiest part of “parenting” older kids – it is their life, their decisions, their consequences. But we can still worry! 😉 The other part of that though is that the stronger we come out against something, the more determined they become to do it anyway. Always better to season objections and distribute sparingly so they know we’re on their side.

      Incidentally, this young couple really appreciates constructive feedback but gets frustrated when someone merely says, “You’re too young.” They would much rather hear actual concerns (“we feel like you don’t understand how much money it takes to live on your own”), so they have a starting place for learning and preparing. A very mature attitude in them and a good lesson for all of us when objecting to anyone’s life choices.

      I’m so glad you stopped by and shared your experience, Laura! Thanks.

  7. Denise Jackson

    Nicely written. Make no apologies for your writing!

    • Kendra Burrows

      Thank you, Denise! I’m glad you stopped by.


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Hi, I’m Kendra

I help bright, successful over-thinkers change their negative thoughts using Scripture and the science of how God made you.

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