Undue delay of marriage

Status
Not open for further replies.

Stargazer65

Puritan Board Freshman
I've been thinking about this for a while, but a recent CNN article brought it to my attention again:

Why young Christians aren't waiting anymore – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

Obviously there are various sins causing this trend, I could list many. But I highlighted a particular sin in Q139 of the larger catechism:

Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,780 are, adultery, fornication,781 rape, incest,782 sodomy, and all unnatural lusts;783 all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections;784 all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto;785 wanton looks,786 impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel;787 prohibiting of lawful,788 and dispensing with unlawful marriages;789 allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them;790 entangling vows of single life,791 undue delay of marriage,792 having more wives or husbands than one at the same time;793 unjust divorce,794 or desertion;795 idleness, gluttony, drunkenness,796 unchaste company;797 lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays;798 and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.799
Society as a whole seems to be moving in a direction that delays marriage for selfish reasons. But my real concern is that Christianity is following suit. Young Christian men are plodding along through college, dragging their feet, spending their years of singleness in endless pleasure seeking with no real goal in sight. Young ladies are left waiting forever with no suitors and end up pursuing single careers. I'm sure that premarital sex is a natural outcome of this trend.

Do you agree that undue delay of marriage is an increasing problem in the church? Why, or why not?
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Yes I do. It fits in with the whole elongation of adolescence in our society. The age that we consider the beginning of adulthood as a society is getting older and older.

My wife and I were engaged for 18 months and waited until she graduated from college to get married. Looking back we both agree that was not only a bad idea for us but it also served no good purpose.
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
I was listening to some Christian radio station in the Delta the other day, and Al Mohler was qouted for the proposition that marriage is too often delayed among Christians.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Sometimes a person delays marriage because he has no-one to marry or because he thinks marriage would be unlikely or inappropriate in his reduced circumstances e.g. through ill health.
 

Stargazer65

Puritan Board Freshman
My question would be what determines whether or not the delay is undue.
Good question. There is no exact time frame. It's more of an attitude towards when to get married that is a problem. If someone has a desire for marriage, then I believe they should pray about it, and prepare themselves for it. When a man and a woman who would be equally yoked are willing and able to be married, then they should not delay it for selfish pursuits.

My wife and I both fell into the modern societal trap of thinking that "the older the better." We regret the delay, it was for no good reason. Now as we approach the twilight of our child bearing years, we wonder what other children and blessings we could've had.

---------- Post added at 11:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:01 AM ----------

Sometimes a person delays marriage because he has no-one to marry or because he thinks marriage would be unlikely or inappropriate in his reduced circumstances e.g. through ill health.
That would be a due delay then. That is not a sin according to the catechism. Of course, sometimes I think people have no-one to marry because people are not preparing themselves for marriage.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
One problem is that young people today aren't nearly as likely to have the ability to be self-sustaining because of a lack of skills and foolish cultural pitfalls (i.e. loads of debt from college). But on the flip side, we also have such a high standard of living compared to the rest of the world that our "bare necessities" are better than living the good life in a third-world country, which means that marriage is often delayed until the couple can afford all the comforts they deem necessary. I'm against all that and consider them undue delays of marriage because of one poor choice or another.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I've been pondering these very issues for a long time, especially since I have a daughter who is nearing marrying age. As mentioned, our society not only encourages young people to delay marriage and having children, but it also encourages young people to to delay taking on responsibility. The worst thing we can do for young men and women is to let them act like children until they are in their 20s. If young people don't learn to be responsible for caring for themselves, but have everything handed to them on a silver platter until they are 22 or 23, they are not going to be emotionally ready to handle marriage and children.

A group of us was discussing this topic a few weeks ago, and we were reminded that years ago, when two responsible teenaged individuals wanted to marry and didn't have the means to start on their own, they would figure out a way to set up house on or near the family property so they could go ahead a marry and have at the very least the moral support of the family until they could be completely on their own.

I know a few young couples who are doing just that, renting a few rooms from the family, renting a small apartment down the road from the parents, etc. and going ahead and getting married rather than waiting. I know of one young couple (this was years ago) who moved in with a grandmother who needed to be cared for, and paid rent and cared for the grandmother until she passed, and then bought the house. They still live there 31 years later.

I wonder at times if the reason why so many marriages fail is because they don't have the family support needed to get the marriage off of the ground. When young people graduate from high school, go off to 4-6 years of college and move away from home, they don't have the same kind of family support as they might had they married earlier.

This doesn't mean that this is the answer for everyone. I didn't marry until I was 31, because I didn't meet anyone I wanted to marry. Having said that, while I trust that God knew what He was doing with me when He kept me single all those years, having children at 35 and 40 was not ideal.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
If there are no prospects, you aren't delaying: you're being hindered (assuming the lack of prospects isn't due to wrong thinking).
 

smhbbag

Puritan Board Senior
Young Christian men are plodding along through college, dragging their feet, spending their years of singleness in endless pleasure seeking with no real goal in sight. Young ladies are left waiting forever with no suitors and end up pursuing single careers. I'm sure that premarital sex is a natural outcome of this trend.
I actually think the causation goes the other way. Pre-marital sex isn't the natural outcome of young men being worthless. Widespread pre-marital sex makes men worthless. To get sex, you used to have to 'pay' in responsibility and commitment, which would preclude dragging your feet and aimless wandering in work and education.

When the price of sex goes down (because the available supply goes up), women lose. If a man can drag his feet, accomplish nothing, make no commitments, and have a roof, video games, food and sex....what do we expect him to do? In misguided human terms, that's a pretty good life.

Of course, I speak from the cynical side of an unbeliever, but the analysis reveals something important. The sanctity of marriage, and the sex within it, channels the fleshly impulses of men toward productive things. When that is lost, you get men who know they can get all they want without doing anything for it.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Young Christian men are plodding along through college, dragging their feet, spending their years of singleness in endless pleasure seeking with no real goal in sight. Young ladies are left waiting forever with no suitors and end up pursuing single careers. I'm sure that premarital sex is a natural outcome of this trend.
I actually think the causation goes the other way. Pre-marital sex isn't the natural outcome of young men being worthless. Widespread pre-marital sex makes men worthless. To get sex, you used to have to 'pay' in responsibility and commitment, which would preclude dragging your feet and aimless wandering in work and education.

When the price of sex goes down (because the available supply goes up), women lose. If a man can drag his feet, accomplish nothing, make no commitments, and have a roof, video games, food and sex....what do we expect him to do? In misguided human terms, that's a pretty good life.

Of course, I speak from the cynical side of an unbeliever, but the analysis reveals something important. The sanctity of marriage, and the sex within it, channels the fleshly impulses of men toward productive things. When that is lost, you get men who know they can get all they want without doing anything for it.
Bingo!

It is something that frustrated when I was a young woman looking toward marriage. The men I knew (even some in christian circles) were not interested in making a commitment but wanted the pleasure of the relationship. Based on what my daughter and friends tell me, it's far worse now than it was when I was a teen.
 

Stargazer65

Puritan Board Freshman
Young Christian men are plodding along through college, dragging their feet, spending their years of singleness in endless pleasure seeking with no real goal in sight. Young ladies are left waiting forever with no suitors and end up pursuing single careers. I'm sure that premarital sex is a natural outcome of this trend.
I actually think the causation goes the other way. Pre-marital sex isn't the natural outcome of young men being worthless. Widespread pre-marital sex makes men worthless. To get sex, you used to have to 'pay' in responsibility and commitment, which would preclude dragging your feet and aimless wandering in work and education.

When the price of sex goes down (because the available supply goes up), women lose. If a man can drag his feet, accomplish nothing, make no commitments, and have a roof, video games, food and sex....what do we expect him to do? In misguided human terms, that's a pretty good life.

Of course, I speak from the cynical side of an unbeliever, but the analysis reveals something important. The sanctity of marriage, and the sex within it, channels the fleshly impulses of men toward productive things. When that is lost, you get men who know they can get all they want without doing anything for it.
Bingo!

It is something that frustrated when I was a young woman looking toward marriage. The men I knew (even some in christian circles) were not interested in making a commitment but wanted the pleasure of the relationship. Based on what my daughter and friends tell me, it's far worse now than it was when I was a teen.
I think this is a valid point. It would probably cause an amazing transformation of the culture if all women everywhere would withhold all physical affection outside of marriage. But I also think it goes both ways, one is not strictly the cause of the other and vice versa, there is a synergistic effect going on.

In my peer group, we were not delaying marriage because of any pre-marital sex going on. We just bought into the societal norm of waiting until you were older because it was commonly accepted.
 

Weston Stoler

Puritan Board Sophomore
My big issue is I would like to be able to have a place for me and the wife to live. After that I will think about it. Till then I am single. I want to be able to faithfully take care of my wife and not wonder where we are gonna live the next day.
 

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
My big issue is I would like to be able to have a place for me and the wife to live. After that I will think about it. Till then I am single. I want to be able to faithfully take care of my wife and not wonder where we are gonna live the next day.
Where do you live now?
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think this is a valid point. It would probably cause an amazing transformation of the culture if all women everywhere would withhold all physical affection outside of marriage. But I also think it goes both ways, one is not strictly the cause of the other and vice versa, there is a synergistic effect going on.

In my peer group, we were not delaying marriage because of any pre-marital sex going on. We just bought into the societal norm of waiting until you were older because it was commonly accepted.
In some christian circles this is the case. It has nothing to do with pre-marital sex, but waiting because "you're not old enough". When I think back on my family, it is surprising how many of my family members were married by age 20, and most of them before that. Most of the women (even those who had 5 and 6 children) were married at 18 or 19 and were finished having children at 28-30 years of age. Perhaps some of you remember being told that 35 was too old to have children?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Don
Where is "undue delay of marriage" addressed in the Bible?
1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband....
1 Corinthians 7:7-9. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
This text is also cited in connection with the Larger Catechism Qs 138 and 139, although I'd have to study it to see its relevance:
Genesis 38:26. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
 

Stargazer65

Puritan Board Freshman
In some christian circles this is the case. It has nothing to do with pre-marital sex, but waiting because "you're not old enough". When I think back on my family, it is surprising how many of my family members were married by age 20, and most of them before that. Most of the women (even those who had 5 and 6 children) were married at 18 or 19 and were finished having children at 28-30 years of age. Perhaps some of you remember being told that 35 was too old to have children?
I was saved at 19. The first ministry I was involved in expected that you don't get married until 25. If you were younger, you needed to dedicate yourself to single ministry. This was not writen anywhere, just passed down by tradition.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
My big issue is I would like to be able to have a place for me and the wife to live. After that I will think about it. Till then I am single. I want to be able to faithfully take care of my wife and not wonder where we are gonna live the next day.
Do you have a young lady in mind? If you don't, then you shouldn't worry too hard about it. If you do, then start making those plans. Eventually you're going to move out anyway, even if you're still single: so don't let the circumstances stop you. There's a Godly young lady in your life? Go for it, and work out the details together.
 

Weston Stoler

Puritan Board Sophomore
My big issue is I would like to be able to have a place for me and the wife to live. After that I will think about it. Till then I am single. I want to be able to faithfully take care of my wife and not wonder where we are gonna live the next day.
Do you have a young lady in mind? If you don't, then you shouldn't worry too hard about it. If you do, then start making those plans. Eventually you're going to move out anyway, even if you're still single: so don't let the circumstances stop you. There's a Godly young lady in your life? Go for it, and work out the details together.
So any idea of how people would do that while in college? it is mighty hard to keep a marriage in the best of circumstances. a couple in college both having to work jobs to make rent would be terribly hard. wouldnt it now?
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
My big issue is I would like to be able to have a place for me and the wife to live. After that I will think about it. Till then I am single. I want to be able to faithfully take care of my wife and not wonder where we are gonna live the next day.
Do you have a young lady in mind? If you don't, then you shouldn't worry too hard about it. If you do, then start making those plans. Eventually you're going to move out anyway, even if you're still single: so don't let the circumstances stop you. There's a Godly young lady in your life? Go for it, and work out the details together.
I certainly knew lots of couples in college and law school that managed to do it.

So any idea of how people would do that while in college? it is mighty hard to keep a marriage in the best of circumstances. a couple in college both having to work jobs to make rent would be terribly hard. wouldnt it now?
I certainly knew lots of couples in college and law school that managed to do it and be an inspiration to us (then) single folks.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
So any idea of how people would do that while in college? it is mighty hard to keep a marriage in the best of circumstances. a couple in college both having to work jobs to make rent would be terribly hard. wouldnt it now?
Let me be clearer: I've known some couples where one graduated first, they married, and then the other finished school. I wouldn't say that waiting to graduate is an undue delay, necessarily. However, I'm saying that in some cases, waiting for both to finish might be an undue delay (I have a particular case in mind, actually). "Undue delay" is going to vary from situation to situation: but don't be afraid to think outside the box. The question boils down to: are you trying to honor God in your decisions, or are you coming up with excuses to delay. I'd say that if you're graduated and sure that a certain person is the one who God wants you to marry, then you should get married. Your finances, in fact, will get sorted out better with two people working than with just one.
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure:
Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.

The flip side.
 

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
So any idea of how people would do that while in college? it is mighty hard to keep a marriage in the best of circumstances. a couple in college both having to work jobs to make rent would be terribly hard. wouldnt it now?
Let me be clearer: I've known some couples where one graduated first, they married, and then the other finished school. I wouldn't say that waiting to graduate is an undue delay, necessarily. However, I'm saying that in some cases, waiting for both to finish might be an undue delay (I have a particular case in mind, actually). "Undue delay" is going to vary from situation to situation: but don't be afraid to think outside the box. The question boils down to: are you trying to honor God in your decisions, or are you coming up with excuses to delay. I'd say that if you're graduated and sure that a certain person is the one who God wants you to marry, then you should get married. Your finances, in fact, will get sorted out better with two people working than with just one.
Philip gives good advice. Unless your college provides free accommodation to singletons, for example, I can't really imagine how it would be cheaper to remain single.
I suppose I don't know much about health insurance, so maybe that could be an issue for some :-/
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
So any idea of how people would do that while in college? it is mighty hard to keep a marriage in the best of circumstances. a couple in college both having to work jobs to make rent would be terribly hard. wouldnt it now?
Brother, My Wife and I were Married while we both were serving in the US ARMY. We were both shipped to Saudi Arabia for our honeymoon. Not only that, we were then separated into different units! It was the right thing for us to do, and not only do I not regret it, nor can I think of one single reason for waiting, I believe if I did wait I would have missed far too much and would now have regretted the wait. Oh, how God has blessed us since then, and we have so much to be thankful for in not waiting. We would not have all that now.
 

Weston Stoler

Puritan Board Sophomore
So any idea of how people would do that while in college? it is mighty hard to keep a marriage in the best of circumstances. a couple in college both having to work jobs to make rent would be terribly hard. wouldnt it now?
Brother, My Wife and I were Married while we both were serving in the US ARMY. We were both shipped to Saudi Arabia for our honeymoon. Not only that, we were then separated into different units! It was the right thing for us to do, and not only do I not regret it, nor can I think of one single reason for waiting, I believe if I did wait I would have missed far too much and would now have regretted the wait. Oh, how God has blessed us since then, and we have so much to be thankful for in not waiting. We would not have all that now.
What if the dad ( who is catholic) says no?
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
In my situation it would not have mattered one jot, other than I would have had sorrow for him, and would keep him in prayer. My wife prior to marriage was an adult, serving in the military. Would she need the blessing of a papist to enter marriage as a protestant? Being brought to Christ since then, the situation would have been different as knowing what I know now, I would not unequally yoke with a Romanist.

Do you have someone in mind who in this situation (Father is RC?)
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
What if the dad ( who is catholic) says no?
Tough noogies!:eek: Seriously, in a Christian family, I believe this would fall into the wisdom of many. The honoring of our parents changes over time. An adult who sees no Biblical reason not to marry, should go ahead for the many reasons listed above. In either case, a father's disapproval should cause the couple to stop and think and perhaps pursue additional counsel via the elders or a trusted, older Christian.


we also have such a high standard of living
This came up in a variety of ways and I don't think it can be entirely brushed off as vanity. Finding an inexpensive apartment often means living in a dangerous area: the standard has become that people want the extra bedroom, dishwasher, clever layout, parking, etc. so everyone has to pay the price. If buying, when was the last time you heard the phrase: "starter home"?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top