Quoting Quiverfull: Reasons For Young Marriage?

Quoting Quiverfull: Reasons For Young Marriage? July 19, 2013

by Von Ohlman at True Love Doesn’t Wait  – Marriage for reasons other than purity

So let me be very, very clear: there are dozens of reasons for marriage. And all of these are better when the spouses involved are young. Let’s examine some reasons:

1) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;.

And this was said, in paradise, in Eden, before there was any question of fornication.

2)Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 

Obviously the later we marry our children the less they can do this.

3) Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. 

Why would we want our sons to wait for this favor? Or our daughters from providing it?

4) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; …(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 

Marriage and family are the training ground for eldership (and deacons). At what point do we want to start that training?

5) And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 

God desires marriage in the youth in order to seek a Godly seed.

6)But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15For some are already turned aside after Satan. 

God commands younger women to marry, bear children, and guide the house… that they may give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. Paul says unmarried women had already turned aside after Satan.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Vaughn Ohlman

    7) they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    The older women are to teach the younger women to love their husbands. Which implies they have husbands

    8) Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.

    The one who fears the LORD and walks in his ways will have a fruitful wife, and see his children’s children.

    9) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

    Children are an heritage of the lord, the fruit of the womb is his reward.

    10) Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

    Sexual satisfaction, in and of itself, is seen, in Scripture, as a good thing.

    So no, marriage is not just an issue of sexual purity. Sexual purity is the area that is massively under attack right now, so I spend a lot of time in those trenches, but it is not the only issue, nor even the most important.

  • Madame

    1. Timothy 5, 11-15 is talking about widows, not single women who have never married. Paul counsels them to marry because they are still young and may very well long after a sexual relationship, and when they do so, they would be violating their commitment to the church.
    In Paul’s time widows became dependent, unable to provide for themselves, so the church, relatives, or a new husband would have to do so.
    Another thing we have to bear in mind is that these instructions are in a particular letter, sent to a particular church. What was going on in that church? it’s quite obvious, but just because it was happening in that church and Paul gives specific instructions, doesn’t make it a rule for all eternity.

    Vaughn, I don’t really think we can make a case for Paul teaching young marriage as the godliest thing. He presents marriage as the solution if a man or woman is wanting a sexual relationship -which leads me to believe there were many who were struggling to keep a vow of celibacy-, and he warns that those who marry will be somewhat divided, with their commitment to a spouse and their desire to serve God.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I’m pretty sure sexual purity has been under attack from the very beginning. It’s just now out in the open in ways it never was before. Did you know that the earliest pornography in existence dates more than 30,000 years old? Predates Christ. Sexual purity is an ideal to try and measure up to, but there will always be those that slip and fall, slip and fall, confess, ask for forgiveness and try to live righteously. I think the difference now is that fewer people view it as something wrong.

  • AlisonCummins

    Vaughn, just how young are women to marry? I got my first period when I was 11, so I was probably capable of childbearing by the time I was twelve. Can you see any reason for me to have delayed marriage beyond that time?

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    “we marry our children”….the attitude is that marriage is under the control of parent. When it happens, who it happens with, and why.

    Forced marriage doesn’t always happen at gunpoint. If you start at an early age with isolation, crippling fear of authority, crossing of all of their physical and emotional boundaries, teaching that Satan can attack them if they leave the umbrella, limit their education and forbid secular college, insist that only ungodly women seek work outside the home…controlling marriage is just a matter of carefully applied manipulation and a fear of being shunned by church and family.

    Forced marriage has another name.


  • Vaughn, since you read here, please answer Alison’s question. I will “like” the comment to get it closer to the top, so everyone can see your answer, and whether you are brave enough to honestly answer it.

  • Trollface McGee

    The Bible also says we are to be good shepherds over the Earth. Being too fruitful causes devastating effects on the environment like deforestation, extinction – that isn’t being good stewards. Being too fruitful has had the much observed Malthus effect (too much population -> plague/famine/disasters due to poor environmental stewardship -> mass death -> repopulation). With modern advancements in birth control we should be able to slow or prevent this cycle but otherwise it’s an inevitable outcome of overbreeding.

    Early marriage was a good thing where birth control was unreliable, where girls were tradeable property and getting rid of one asap was a financial boon, where girls were stoned to death for being “impure” and widows had no means of supporting themselves so you wanted to marry young so you had sons that were old enough to support you if you were still alive when your husband croaked at the typical age of 30. Taking the Bible out of it’s historical context really does lead to some screwy results.

  • persephone

    He’s never answered one of my questions. I think he’s scared of people, especially women, who can think

  • persephone

    But, but, the Bible is the inerrant, unchanging word of God, isn’t it? Nothing whatsoever has changed since a shepherd saw a bush burning and started hearing a voice in his head. I mean, we’re all living on tents, hauling water, herding sheep and cattle, dying regularly from excessive childbirth, bad water, food poisoning, the local chieftain of the slightly bigger tribe raiding our camps, stealing and raping our women and children, yada, yada, yada.

    Vaughn is a small man with some very big issues (having to settle for Miss Notsoperfect instead of his dream girl, working as a nurse and unable to make ends meet). He has a chip on his shoulder the size of a railroad tie.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I would like to know the answer to this question also, Vaughn. I would also like to hear you respond to the concerns I have raised on other threads regarding the potentially devastating health effects, injuries, even deaths that can come from very young girls getting pregnant and giving birth. (These apply to both mother and child, btw.) These are even more likely when a girl is having serial, closely-spaced pregnancies, when she is giving birth at home (all births to young teenagers are considered high-risk and should take place in a hospital). Would you support these child-brides giving birth in hospitals, with well-trained medical personnel right there to deal with the complications that could well arise? Would you, at the very least, insist that a home birth to such a young wife be attended by a Certified Nurse-Midwife and not just some random woman with bogus credentials, even if that CNM were not in your particular Christian fold?

    We’re all very curious, Vaughn. Quite the bible-quoting and the pontificating and let’s get specific about exactly what you’re talking about here.

  • Madame

    Do you want to bring back levirate marriage? And polygamy?
    Both are biblical.

  • Nightshade

    See here http://truelovedoesntwait.com/topics/answering-objections/

    ‘But while I am at it there is an (8) that she seems to think I am proposing, it is:

    8) Marriage, Biblical marriage, consists of only one man and one wife.

    So, just to clarify, I don’t believe that. I believe that Jacob was
    married to Rachel, and that David was married to Abigail, and indeed to Bathsheba. I don’t doubt that those were marriages. The extent to which they were ‘Biblical’ marriages would depend on the extent to which they fulfilled God’s goals for marriage, as listed above.’

    Looks like polygamy at least isn’t entirely off the table according to Mr. Ohlman.

  • Madame

    The thing with polygamy is that it’s not abolished anywhere in the Bible. There is even the passage in the NT that states that only “husbands of one wife” are eligible as elders -and I know this has been interpreted differently, but let’s just take it literally-. If only the men who were married to one woman were eligible, it’s possible that there were polygamous marriages in churches as well, right?

    Personally, I don’t think polygamy was God’s design, but he didn’t condemn it, and the Bible even speaks of men being “blessed” with more than one wife, even if having more than one seemed to be problematic in some cases (Hannah- Pennina, Rachel-Leah, off the top of my head)

    Anyway, I’d be interested in reading what V.Ohlman has to say about polygamy in the 21st century.

  • Nightshade

    If he doesn’t answer, would it be safe to assume that he thinks Alison should have been married off at the age of 12?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Just to set y’all mind at ease, however, I believe that ‘young’ means fully capable of sexual reproduction, including the full (or, you know, reasonably full) development of secondary sexual characteristics. I believe that I would recommend an age that is after what is currently legal in most states (I think Texas is good with 14). I think most girls are not fully developed by then.

  • NeaDods

    I believe that ‘young’ means fully capable of sexual reproduction

    We know. We know it’s all about pumping out babies for you. However, there being only one way to get babies and by saying that you only “believe” that you recommend marrying girls off “after what is currently legal” and then cite one of the lowest legal ages in the entire country doesn’t do much to counterbalance the impression that you believe in trafficking very young teenagers for sexual purposes.

    If you have a daughter and if you plan on shipping her off as a teen for sexual use without her having a say in the matter, I hope the cops get called.

  • 1) Not necessarily a reason for marriage – this was said when the man was the only member of his species, and anyone who is not a total recluse is less alone than he was – we have other members of our species.

    2) Said to Adam and Eve, not us – today there are enough people that they can have dominion over the animals (note: dominion over people is not mentioned), and more will not cause better obedience to that task.

    3) To answer his questions: We will want our sons to wait until they can be a blessing to a woman and the blessing will not be one-sided. We want our daughters to not provide this good thing when they can do better things for the Lord elsewhere. (The Bible say that those who have no partner can do more for the Lord.)

    4) He could wait to start that training until he showed himself a good, caring man who convinces a woman that he can give her love and goodness and nurture,
    that she will be better off with than without him. After all, if a man cannot convince a woman to love him and trust him for nurture for her and their future children, how can he even start to prepare for a position where he has to give love and nurture to the church, where they can trust him?

    5) God makes one to seek a godly seed. And men married in their youth should not cheat on their wives. That don’t mean you have to marry young to get “a godly
    seed.” But the point of this passage is “I am unhappy with your way of treating your wives” not “marry young and procreate.”

    6) Firstly, “young” in this passage mean younger than 60. It also is about widows – previously married women. This is not about the 18-year old maiden.
    Vaughn say: “God commands younger women to marry. But the words are “I (Paul) will (want to – not command).” And the Greek does not contain the word “women” – “I will that the younger marry” is in the context of widows, so he wants younger widows to marry. Paul also say elsewhere that unmarried woman can serve the Lord with undivided attention, and contrast that to the married who need to serve a husband too.

    7) It is implied that younger women had husbands, because in that culture (the culture known for being liars and gluttons, see chapter 1) they usually had.
    But just like: “She should teach the the students to do CPR” does not mean every student should find someone not breathing to save, but only that the student should know how; “older women should teach the younger” does not mean every younger woman should be doing it, just that they should know how.

    8) Obviously this is not biologically meant for all. Many believers had no children, but saw their Christian work bear fruit, and those affected by it bear fruit. Jesus and Paul, to mention but 2, were blessed without biological children. Vaughn’s “marry young to force the Lord’s blessing” reminds of Abraham who could not wait for God’s time, but took Hagar. If it is God’s blessing, it will happen regardless
    of whether you or anyone tell men to give their daughters. Fathers of daughters cannot prevent God’s blessing on young men.

    9) Children are from the Lord, yes, but the Bible also say singleness is better. Marrying off someone who does not want to marry to get children from the Lord is
    a wrong focus.

    10) Sexual satisfaction is a good thing for both genders, so forcing a daughter to marry when she is not attracted to him (and may not be attracted to any man yet) is not in her interest. It is sexual exploitation, not sexual satisfaction for her.

  • “I believe that I would recommend an age that is after what is currently legal in most states”
    In most states? You will encourage girls to marry at an age that is illegal in some states, and you call Texas good at age 14? You will marry off a 14-year old daughter and not even care what she thinks of the guy?
    By the way, would you want your sons to marry at that age too?

  • Lolly

    Vaughn has good company in Nigeria where a senator who married a 13 year old child attempted to reverse marriage age restrictions.

    To quote the article:

    “Mr. Yerima insisted that under Islamic tenet, a woman is of age once married and countering that order as already stated in the constitution would be discriminatory and in violation of another section of the constitution directing the National Assembly to steer away from Islamic marriage.”

    Masking tendencies towards pedophilia, spending way, way too much time inappropriately and boorishly contemplating the activities of teenagers, by couching it in religious terms and TRADITION and dredging up snippets of blah blah blah fruitful and multiply to justify it, isn’t just for Christians.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Well, I think it would be more accurate to say that it isn’t just a Christian thing. But it clearly is a Christian thing for some people…

  • Saraquill

    I had my first period when I was 10. What you say is appalling.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Here’s the thing: You can’t actually tell if a girl is “reasonably full[y]” developed enough (whatever that means) to safely handle pregnancy and childbirth just by ogling her secondary sex characteristics, though it seems pretty obvious that you try pretty hard, Vaughn. For example, you can’t tell by the external width of a woman’s hips if her pelvis can accommodate a birth, which is why even some broad-hipped women need C-sections sometimes and some petite, narrow-hipped women have no problem with vaginal delivery. A 14-year-old is quite a bit more likely to have an underdeveloped pelvis that would result in obstructed labor, even if she does also have an ass you like looking at and breasts. Also, premature birth and low birth weight are also much more common in babies born to girls that young. “Fully capable of sexual reproduction” does not mean that sexual reproduction is safe.

    So I repeat, do you, at the very least, support girls this young having the extra medical support and possible intervention that is necessary for high-risk pregnancies, including plenty of prenatal care, hospital birth and, possibly neonatal care for the infant if necessary? Do you support universal healthcare? Because hospital births are mighty expensive and neonatal care astonomically more so, and I can’t imagine most families, even couples who are still living with their parents, could possibly swing it on their own, particularly when those parents, in your ideal model of families, are quite likely still caring for a brood of younger children.

    Normalizing a model of marriage that involves the marrying off of girls the moment they outgrow their training bras so they can begin the process of squeezing out as many children as possible in the 30-40 years before menopause would greatly increase the need for medical support. Home births with non-certified-but-sufficiently-Christian midwives is not going to cut it. Once again I ask, do you support these families having that access to that medical support in some way?

  • Nightshade

    Another question, this one with wider implications than teen marriage: Do you believe in free will, at all?

  • AlisonCummins

    If I understand correctly, the only reason you can think of for a girl to delay sex, motherhood and marriage is that she is too physically immature to bear children safely. Since modern medical care is actually quite good there would have been no special biological reason for me to delay childbearing beyond age thirteen.

    In fact, there are lots of reasons that I wouldn’t have been ready for motherhood at that age even if that is what I sincerely desired. I would have had to forego ten years of education, meaning that I would have been unable to help my children with their homework — never mind homeschooling them. My basic understanding of science and psychology would have been so limited that I would have been an inadequate parent. My knowledge of the world would have been so limited that I would have been unable to make appropriate choices for myself or my children. I would have been unable to support myself and my children which would be a problem if I were to become widowed or if my husband were to abandon me. (Assuming that my husband would be a good ten years older than me — possibly thirty — widowhood would have been a real concern.) A twelve or thirteen-year old cannot be a suitable companion to an adult, so the scope of my relationship with my husband would have been severely limited.

    There’s the question of what would have happened if I had *not* sincerely desired marriage and motherhood, or not to this particular man. I might have hated children or been repulsed by the man and my motivation to overcome the huge obstacles facing me would have been very low. There’s the possibility that a man old enough to have the skills to support a family who was nonetheless interested in a young teenager or pre-teen would be immature — and would stay that way.

    And there’s the question of theology. Whatever the Old Testament says, the New Testament is explicitly anti-family. Jesus took the part of Mary over Martha: women are not to waste themselves on domestic labour and are under no obligation to serve men. Even Paul was very particular about the very limited circumstances under which divorce is not *required*: If a couple are already married AND they are both Christian AND they like being married, then divorcing is not necessary. Everyone else should either stay single or divorce. Oh, and unless you’re too horny or you’re a widow who can’t support yourself and would just get yourself in trouble otherwise. By giving a young daughter in marriage before she knows whether this is the only possible option for her staying out of trouble, you are setting her up to obey Jesus’ and Paul’s very clear directives to divorce. Which might be the most biblical thing to do but is messier than not marrying in the first place.

  • Trollface McGee

    Right.. so..consent? Her consent, his consent do not matter at all? Their consent to the choice of partner does not matter at all? Just physically ready (and “legal” as if forced marriage is ever legal). Oh and your interpretation of your religious book commands it?
    Damn, you make the Taliban look sane.

  • Madame

    I don’t follow your divorce reasonings, Alison. What Bible verses or passages do you base them on?

  • Madame

    I asked my Dh if he could imagine finding partners for our children and arranging their marriages. He asked, why would anyone want to do that? It’s their relationships, not ours. It’s their life, not ours. They are going to marry these partners, so they should get to choose them. If they want my guidance, I’m happy to offer it, but only if they want it.

    My father always told us that there comes a point in a child’s life when the parents have to trust that they have done their job and they have to let the child make his or her own decisions. That doesn’t mean parents can’t give advice, but it does mean that they allow their children to grow up and become adults. They let their children make important choices.

    I think both my dad and my husband make two very good points: everyone has to live their own life, make their own decisions and work out their own relationships, and parents have to trust that they have raised their children to be responsible adults capable of making the right decisions for themselves.

    Why would parents want to rob their children of the right to make such important decisions for themselves? Is that loving? Is that not provoking one’s children to anger, possibly causing them to stumble and even lose the faith?

    I think Mr. Ohlman is too busy straining gnats.

  • Madame

    It looks like Von isn’t going to answer our questions.

  • Teresa Rincon

    A 14-year-old girl can’t vote, enter contracts, drive, work a full-time job, or do any number of adult responsibilities, and for good reason. And you would trust her with a CHILD?

  • Teresa Rincon

    It is highly unlikely that polygamy is in purview in that passage. I Timothy 3:2 tells that the elder must be the “husband of one wife.” I Timothy 5:9 tells that the enlisted widow (a widow supported by the church) must have been the “wife of one husband.” The construction of these two verses is identical. They are written within the same context by the same author. Therefore, it seems that the two verses should be viewed similarly. If Paul is prohibiting the elder from the practice of polygamy, then he must have also been prohibiting the enlisted widow from practicing polyandry, (multiple husbands at the same time) a practice which is extremely rare.

  • Madame

    I see your point, but there is no record of polyandry ever being practiced when the Bible was written, whereas we have many examples of polygyny.