Can't Wait for Sex? Just Get Married, Some Say

I think this is interesting because the evangelicals in the article fail to mention anything about the contraceptive culture (which they are fine with for the most part) that has delayed marriage for many people and led to the decline in size of Christian families. I think in a few years, evangelicals will see the wisdom in why artificial birth control is counterproductive to the Christian cause and start preaching against it. Of course they will never make mention of the Catholic Church upholding its teaching against ABC for 2,000 years, but heck you can’t win 'em all.

Can’t Wait for Sex? Just Get Married, Some Say
Monday, August 10, 2009

When Margie and Stephen Zumbrun were battling the urge to have premarital sex, a pastor counseled them to control themselves. The couple signed a purity covenant.

Then, when the two got engaged and Margie went wedding dress shopping, a salesperson called her “the bride who looks like she’s 12.” Nonchurch friends said that, at 22, she was rushing things.

The agonizing message to a young Christian couple in love: Sex can wait, but so can marriage.

“It’s unreasonable to say, ‘Don’t do anything … and wait until you have degrees and you’re in your 30s to get married,’” said Margie Zumbrun, who did wait for sex, and married Stephen fresh out of Purdue University. “I think that’s just inviting people to have sex and feel like they’re bad people for doing it.”,2933,538701,00.html?test=latestnews

“I think marriage is just a fantastic institution for people who think rightly about it, have realistic ideas about it and put the requisite work into it.”

The median age for first marriages in the U.S. is about 26 for women and 28 for men, the highest figures since the Census Bureau began counting. Solid data on evangelicals is not readily available, but research suggests they marry only slightly younger, Regnerus said.

High-school sweethearts Megan and Jay Mkrtschjan planned to marry at 20. But the suburban Chicago couple waited an extra year to finish college under pressure from Megan’s parents.

There were few doubts in their minds about marrying young. They had found each other. Why wait?

“For me, it was really a trust issue,” Megan said. “Marrying right out of college was showing our friends, showing the people we were acquainted with, that we trusted our lives with God.”

For Jay, a songwriter and guitarist, “the sex issue” was the best argument for early marriage. “By getting married young and dating for a shorter period of time, it leaves less room to sin sexually,” he said.

Now four years married, the Mkrtschjans say their relative youth helped them through early trials, which at one point took them down to $26 in the checking account.

“We were going through these hardships together,” said Megan, a fifth-grade teacher who owns a cake-decorating business. “It made things easier because we weren’t stuck in our ways. We were open to what each other had to say.”

Many young adults today view their 20s as a time for fun, travel, career-building or finding themselves — not for settling down.

Among evangelicals, there’s a tendency to wait because many believe God “is going to deliver me a spouse right to my door,” so they don’t actively seek one, said Glenn Stanton, director of family formation studies for the evangelical ministry Focus on the Family, a young marriage promoter.

Then there’s what Stanton calls the “eHarmony philosophy” — the belief God will deliver someone perfect.

Stanton doesn’t blame the abstinence movement. “I don’t think that it’s so much to much focus on abstinence, but the silence on marriage makes the abstinence message sound so much louder,” he said.

At Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., associate pastor Michael Lawrence emphasizes that marriage is a covenant, not a convenient arrangement, and offers advice to young couples on overcoming arguments over money, sex and family.

“We probably haven’t served our young people well by on the one hand emphasizing abstinence, but on the other hand telling them to wait to get married,” Lawrence said. “It seems to be setting them up to fail.”

Like most proponents of young marriage, Lawrence does not set an arbitrary “right” age for marriage. Waiting until after college might be advisable if the alternative is crushing debt or dropping out, he said.

Supporters of abstinence programs promote them as both marriage-preparation tools and longer-term support systems for those who don’t marry.

Jimmy Hester, co-founder of True Love Waits, part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources, disagreed with the argument that abstinence past a certain age is too much to ask.

“There are too many examples of people who have done it,” he said. “And not out of their own strength, even, but out of a relationship with God who gives them strength.”

Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin, who studies families and public policy, said young marriage is a tough sell. A half-century ago, when people married earlier, fewer people attended college, high school graduates could get good-paying factory jobs, women became mothers right after school and families were larger, he said.

“Most evangelicals, as well as most Americans, realize how expensive it is to raise children these days,” Cherlin said. “The most important rationale for early marriage — having a larger family — has disappeared.”

Some single evangelical women want to marry young, but the numbers are against them: single women outnumber single men in churches 3 to 2, and the available men are postponing growing up, Regnerus and others say.

Skeptics, meanwhile, suspect early marriage backers want to turn back the clock on gender roles.

“There is some rolling of the eyes, especially among women … ‘Why are you giving up your 20s and going back to the 1950s and June Cleaver?’” said Jay Thomas, college pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Ill.

Other evangelicals simply want to wait and cite their faith as motivation. Valerie Strattan, 24, of Chicago, has a serious boyfriend of 2 1/2 years. She believes that for now, God has called them to focus on separate pursuits: he’s a musician, she works in refugee resettlement.

“We don’t feel the rush to marry,” Strattan said. “If I am listening to God, and he is listening to God, then God isn’t going to lead us in separate places if he does truly want us to get married.”

Wow! I just put down my newspaper after reading this article and eager to discuss it with someone. Thanks for posting.

God’s church was right once again. How about that!

Here’s my anecdotal evidence. It’s 1966. Me … young, eager, naive, only 19 years old. Kneeling at the altar with my young, eager, naive, 23 year old college sweetheart and bridegroom. Thinking, “I’m bound to this man till one of us dies. God’s grace had better be sufficient as He promised.”

No sexual incompatibility - both eager, young Catholic virgins with the same expectations of love and marriage.

No jealousy - faithful to each other before we met

No sexually transmitted diseases - both virgins

No infertility problems - late teens and early 20’s are the height of fertility for healthy humans

No physical or emotional exhaustion - had the physical, mental, and emotional resiliance of youth

Nearly 50 years later, here we are … both still together. God’s grace was enough to lead us through, weak and sinful though we were. Not everyone’s path is the same as mine but it makes sense that God’s natural plan for most is to combine youth and powerful sexual desire with virginity resulting in stable lifelong marriages and peace and order in the human family.

Thank you for your testimony.

First, the stereotype of the 1950s is 100% false. My parents had kids in the 1950s and we were raised in a Catholic home. Societal pressures should be every couples last concern.

In the 1950s and most of the 1960s, dirty magazines were dirty and difficult to get. By the 1980s, even bridal shops were offering various things that took love away from marriage and made it all about sex. Today, in movies and on TV, boy meets girl and it leads to ‘just sex,’ like going to the bathroom, or they just live together in a no strings attached relationship that is being marketed as an alternative to marriage.

In the past, there was dating without sex, then, if both agreed, there was going steady. If things were still good, there was courtship where a serious discussion about a possible future together was discussed. Then, you met the other person’s mother and father. The father would sit the guy down, and knowing all about raging hormones from being a teenager himself, the father would ask the young man how he would support his daughter.

It was a long process for a reason. It was a process that brought up the practical issues long before the ceremony. Parents usually encouraged their daughter to not marry a lazy man or a substance abuser, unless he got help. It was about love and family, sex was last on the list, and for good reason.


Here’s a link to an excellent article in this month’s Christianity Today about the case for young marriage:

Christianity Today is the premiere magazine of evangelical Protestants. My husband and I were thrilled with this article.

We are supporters of young marriage. We were married at ages 21 and 22, and celebrated our 30th Anniversary this June. Our daughter married last summer at age 22 to her long-time boyfriend of 25.

For the record, I got married at 23. I am 25 now, smooth sailing so far lol.

The divorce rate was lower when people got married younger…

“There is some rolling of the eyes, especially among women … ‘Why are you giving up your 20s and going back to the 1950s and June Cleaver?’” said Jay Thomas, college pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Ill.

June seemed happy with her life, meanwhile Carrie Bradshaw spent most of her time on TV depressed, lonely and confused…

Well I think you certainly shouldn;t get married just because you can;t wait on sex. Besides as I am sure many here know marriage certainly isn;t no guarentee of sex! I however donlt see anything wrong with marrying young. As long as you trully understand what you are getting into.

Well St. Paul did mention in the Bible (can’t remember where exactly) that if you can’t wait, you should get married. After all it is better to do something possibly impractical than to fall into sin. You can get married in your early 20’s and be perfectly fine and happy, but if you give in to premarital sex it can ruin your life.

Also I agree that a lot of the time it is very unreasonable to expect a couple to wait until they are in their mid 20’s with a good job and everything. If you are ready to get married in the early 20’s , you are ready. There is no point in waiting. Ultimately whether a marriage survives or not is going to be between the couple and God, and has little to do with age.

Wow, getting married in your early 20’s is considered extreme? I got married at 23 with no regrets, and the way I led my life up until then… well, maybe I should have gotten married at 15.

I married young and haven’t regretted it after 24 years. Was I supposed to mourn for my lost youth? If so, that seems silly because I spent my youth with the man I loved!
For the record, all of our grown children have either married young (and stayed married) or are getting married young.

I wish I could get married sooner!

Burning in lust sucks, to put it succinctly, but I’ve got a little while yet before I can finish my Master’s and do something productive with my life; the GF has a year before her B.S. and then she’ll go on to get her Master’s, too, but I’m hoping to propose before then as her graduation gift. :slight_smile:

I too wish I could get married right now, but I feel I have too many issues, ranging from job issues to emotional problems. Of course, I wonder sometimes if back in the day (1950’s, early 60’s) a lot of people stayed married because it was expected even if they weren’t compatible.

I guess I feel this way because my grandparents were kind of like this. They had a lot of issues and while I think they liked each other, i don’t know if they loved each other that deeply. However, being married in 1950 i’m sure they felt they had to stick together. Not saying this was the case in a lot of marriages, but it makes me wonder.

Married at age 20…celebrating 27 years. We got married in the courts first and didn’t tell my mom, because she wanted us to live together first. We leaked the marriage to her mom to make her feel better about the situation. We had our marriage with the minister 6 months later. :stuck_out_tongue:

Our society is messed up.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit