Here’s a swatch:
Interestingly, in a 2009 report, sociologist Mark Regnerus found that much of the pressure to delay marriage comes from parents who encourage their children to finish their education before marrying. One student told him that her parents “want my full attention on grades and school.” But such advice reflects an outdated reality, one in which a college degree was almost a guarantee of a good job that would be held for a lifetime. This is no longer the case. Furthermore, with so many students graduating from college with knee-buckling debt, they have worse than nothing to bring into a marriage. Indeed, prolonged singledom has become a rolling stone, gathering up debt and offspring that, we can be imagine, will manifest themselves in years to come in more broken, or never-realized, marriages.
Looking back over a marriage of nearly three decades, I am thankful that I married before going down that road. Now as a college-educated, doctorate-holding woman, I can attest that marrying young (at age 19) was most beneficial: to me, to my husband, and to the longevity of our marriage. Our achievements have come, I am convinced, not despite our young marriage, but because of it.
This is a welcome essay, and a somewhat surprising one. It sometimes seems to me that The Atlantic is the only mainstream cultural publication taking massive social issues seriously today. This is especially true when it comes to womanhood and marriage. I certainly don’t agree with everything the magazine is publishing on this front, but I’m thankful for serious thought on these weighty issues.
In this case, I think Prior is right (she’s an English professor at Liberty University, and I’m glad she’s writing for this outlet). It is good to marry young. It has its own challenges, of course. But it’s good for us in many ways, not least of them togetherness, bonding, support, mutual edification, and the excitement of building something big together (in this case, a shared life). Young marriage, contrary to what Hollywood often suggests, correlates with financial stability and happiness. It’s good for you, in other words.
Much to chew on here. It’s hard to encourage people to be sharply counter-cultural, but churches and Christian organizations need to do so, in order to promote personal health, stability, and especially the glory of God as displayed in the typological institution par excellence.