Men Must Marry by 23?

Men Must Marry by 23? August 24, 2019

Doug Wilson of Blog and Mablog is on a disgusting roll today. He thinks that men must marry before 23? Why? Babies. Popping out the babies is what it boils down to primarily. But he has 7 reasons why he thinks this. We’re going to look at his 7 reasons why men must marry by 23.

Skipping most of the Word Salad, and only using his original statements on the way.

Gives me the shivers in a bad way to think about his 23 rule considering most of the young men I know or have known that young were nowhere near ready for a permanent life long relationship with anyone but themselves.  Doug is upset that people are waiting till nearly 30 now to marry, not understanding this has more to do with important things like education, financial readiness, and a pile of other good logical reasons.

So here is my suggestion. I think we ought to agree together than young men ought to be expected to find somebody cute and godly by their 23rd birthday. That should be the baseline social expectation, and we will reluctantly make exceptions on a case-by-case basis as they arise. How about it?

Cute is his measure of standard? Not compatible. Not chemistry. Not mutual interests, or anything else. Sweet Tic Tac on a cracker that’s a very bad idea. People are not interchangeable and marriage is hard enough when you love the other person.

Let’s look at reason one.

1. There is no such thing as gift of singleness. That is not a Bible thing. Paul does teach that there is a gift of celibacy.

For starters it’s really hard to be celibate if you are married. If you actually bother to read Paul’s words he makes singleness seem like the standard to aspire to, not boom marry the first person and crank out those babies!

2. The temptations of porn do not disqualify men for marriage. Rather they qualify men for marriage. God has a solution for sexual temptation for those not gifted with celibacy. That gift is called sex, bounded and surrounded with covenant vows.

He completely ignores the fact that many users of porn are married Evangelical men. This is one of those arguments that does not belong here. Porn is not stopping or delaying anyone from marriage. Marriage never stopped any man with the desire and opportunity from looking at porn. Marriage is not the solution.

3. Men need help, and they need help as soon as they have assumed the full responsibilities of adulthood. Women were given by God to help men because men needed the help, and that help has to do with their vocation and calling. If a woman is called to be the wife of a doctor, she can step into that calling by being the wife of a med student. God does not say “it is not good for man to be alone after grad school.”

I pity anyone foolish enough to be the wife of a med school student. Not that I think it cannot work out, because it can. But because of the insane hours away from home the typical intern or resident must pull is going to leave nothing for the spouse at home.

It’s true people need help, it’s not gendered, but that help can take a multitude of forms, family members, friends, a supportive community. Doug acts like a man cannot be trusted to wash out his dirty draws post college.

4. Marriage is a wonderful way to deal with false ideas of the self. Who we actually are does not unfold out of us over the years like we were unpacking a suitcase. Who we actually are is who we become in long-term relationships with those appointed to us by God. In other words, I am not the same man that I was when I married Nancy, and she is not the same woman she was. We have become who we are now together, and this is the central way that God does it. Put another way, a large part of me was imported from my relationships.

That can work both ways, for good and for bad being influenced by your spouse. It’s better to wait until you know who it is you are, what you want out of life, and where you’re going, and then marry someone with like, or complimentary life goals. Being immature just does not ever help anything, and people forced into ill-fitting roles they are not emotionally prepared to fill is a recipe for disaster.

5. Children take a lot of energy, and children are one of the central reasons for marriage. Why did God make them one? Because He was seeking godly offspring (Mal. 2:15). The work that is involved in this is intense, and those parents who are carefully planning to have their eldest hit kindergarten when they are in their mid-thirties are not, shall we say, “thinking ahead.” Delayed marriage is problematic pacing.

This is always rich when you consider the advice from Quiverfull enforcers comes usually from folks without enough children to qualify from the zero population folks hit list. I do not know how many children this man has but I suspect it’s a much lower number than what he’s proposing here.

There’s not a thing wrong with having a kindergartner when you are in your mid 30s. Hopefully you’ll be mature enough to cope with the complex mind field that is child rearing without your own meltdowns. Saddling very young people with enough children to staff a baseball team leads nowhere but poverty.

6. If we had an expectation for our young people to marry young, this would help head off unrealistic standards from developing. The longer men and women live apart from one another, the easier it is to get crotchety, or even persnickety. This affects many areas of life, but one of them is the area of evaluating the looks of others as though one were a refined and discriminating connoisseur of feminine pulchritude. But you can’t actually become a real connoisseur by walking briskly through every restaurant in town.

So.. this is the weirdness one yet! Lower your standards because you’re young and ignorant? Laughing here. There’s nothing wrong with having personal standards, knowing what will and will not work for you and enforcing that. It’s not related to age at all.

7. Feminism is a toxic mess. The best and only complete answer to it is for men to find a woman early, love her completely, feed and educate her children, and bring her as much happiness as you are capable of bringing someone. As one Puritan put it, and man should first choose his love, and then love his choice. Young Christian men should marry in such a way as to make celebration of a 75th anniversary a much greater likelihood.

Oh Doug, that’s the best you got? Calling feminism – the thought of equal rights and equal pay a hot mess? I suspect Doug hasn’t actually been out and about around young people these days. It’s just as possible for a man or woman to be an ardent feminist in their teens as not. Young marriage will not help this!

And there you have it folks. A glimpse into the word-salad-y mind of one Doug Wilson, a guy who must be living in a very sheltered bubble of privilege without anything other than clueless white Evangelicals around him!

I would venture to say that following his rules for marriage makes you much more likely to divorce than waiting to marry when you are ready.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • CollegeKid

    I was born and raised Mormon, and of my married siblings, the oldest at the time of marriage was 24. Most of the wives are stay-at-home moms (although one of those has a work-from-home job she does during the school day). The one woman who wouldn’t be happy staying at home doesn’t. The marriages all seem to be happy. My parents were married at 21 and 23, and they’re still happily married 36 years later. Young marriage isn’t always a problem.

    That said, there’s nothing wrong with waiting either. I’m older than 24, and I’m still single and not ready to get married any time soon. But I don’t think I’ve made better choices than my siblings. They’ve chosen a life that is fulfilling for them, and I sometimes envy the support that being married gives them.

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    Oh dear.

    1. My dad is a feminist.
    2. When my parents married my mum was 21 (June birthday) and my dad was 23 (December birthday)
    3. My parents had been in an exclusive relationship for 7 years by that point. Neither of them ever had another partner.
    4. My parents also had been living together for about 4 years by then.
    5. To this day neither can remember who proposed to whom.
    6. Despite all assumptions from friends and family they married because the WANTED to, not because they HAD to. (I was born 15 months later)
    7. Both my parents were self sufficient and worked while they studied and they both only had the thesis left.
    8. My parents are still married.
    9. My parents knew how to work birth control, unlike either of their siblings, and had me because they wanted a kid. I’m the only first born who ISN’T an oops baby.
    10. My parents are both atheists by now.

    So, the reason my parents’ relationship worked out and others’ who married similarly young didn’t?

    My parents had known each other for almost 10 years by the time they got married. They had lived together. They knew they were sexually compatible and knew they could live with each other’s eccentricities. They are always willing to listen to each other and work things out together.

    Basically, my parents relationship is the anti thesis of what Wilson promotes…

  • Saraquill

    Of the people I dated, one was Protestant, bigender and PoC. The next one was a Jewish atheist, and the one after that a Buddhist PoC. I’m married to a white guy, but he’s Catholic. I doubt Doug would approve of any of those relationships.

  • steveiam

    Are they all racist, anti-Women’s Rights, anti LGBTQ, Trump minions, greedy money worshippers like their fellow LDS lemmings?

  • Robin

    I am a Christian female and I’ve become aware of Facebook pages by men who are calling for the return of the patriarchy in all its male-centered glory. I’ve had to restrain myself from posting on their pages as I feel I’d be wasting my argument on those who have no desire to hear from any female who doesn’t parrot and tow the patriarchal line. They also have the ability to shoot down most arguments against what they’re proposing — they use scripture as a means of controlling women.

    A scripture passage did come to my mind one day — John 21:18-22. In this passage Jesus is basically telling Peter how Peter is going to die for Him. Afterwards, Peter, (who, if he was like me wouldn’t be all that thrilled to hear something like that) sees John, the Apostle who was particularly close to Jesus — Peter then asks Jesus “…and what shall this man do?” Jesus basically tells Peter that “it’s none of your business what I want this man to do….follow me.”

    My point being that if you are a Christian, male or female, it’s between you and Christ what your path will be — marriage or to remain single and serve God in whatever way you know you are called. I think that some of this push to marry has fear behind it — a fear of dwindling numbers and ending up being the minority in society. And some of the fear is “who will take care of an older population when we can no longer take care of ourselves?”

  • SAO

    So, if a future doctor marries at 23, that’s right out of college at the start of 6 very grueling years of training, famous for the hours a med student needs to put in. If he has kids promptly, the first will be in kindergarten before he has much time for them. In the mean time, he wife probably feels like a single parent.

    Does thus make sense when a little planning would produce a better result?

    Frankly, if you marry at 30, most people have plenty of time to produce 4 or 5 children, which is more than the average couple wants.

  • Ann Kah

    Hopefully, “your path” is between you (and Christ, if you insist) and the man you might choose. Men are not interchangeable parts, any more than women are. Remember, nobody is the same person at 30 as they are at 20. And since both of you are likely to change as you mature, it’s best to mature sufficiently that you have a good idea of what your expectations will be from him, and his from you.

  • Ann Kah

    Number 6 babbles about the perils of “unrealistic expectations” and “connoisseurs of feminine pulchritude”. And this from the same man who says at the outset “find someone cute”? I would say “is he that blind to his own prejudices?”, except that I see that yes, yes he is.

  • French Pandora

    “The work that is involved in this is intense, and those parents who are carefully planning to have their eldest hit kindergarten when they are in their mid-thirties are not, shall we say, “thinking ahead.”

    Does this imply that oldest children are to raise the youngest ?

    My sister has a teen son and a toddler daughter. My nephew’s place is with his friends, having fun.

    By the way, my parents had me in their early thirties. I am going to be 39 next November, do the math 😉

  • CollegeKid

    No, they’re not. And I say that as a trans man who should know. And even my very devout parents are horrified by Trump.

  • steveiam

    But, I would wager that they are very quiet about you, and do not debate the brethren about Trump. Mormons are hypocrites, but, to be sure ‘nice.’

  • CollegeKid

    Church leadership has actually taken a few stances that pit them against Trump. Most notably on immigration. And my siblings are not ashamed of me. I have one brother who has openly spoken out at BYU about his support of me. And that takes guts since his education was at stake. Stop assuming things about my family. You would be right about one brother, but wrong about all the others.

  • MuttsRule

    I went to school with a fundamentalist girl who arranged to graduate a semester early so she could get married ASAP. She was second in her class of about 400 people. She THOUGHT she was marrying a future doctor. Unfortunately for her, he washed out of college during his undergraduate years, apparently ending up in Bible college. Last I heard, he was a preacher in Georgia and they were living in a trailer.

  • Medalcollector

    Funny how right wing conservatives demand that you get married and have kids; however, they don’t want husbands and wives to have good wages, price controls on goods and services, free/affordable education and schools, etc.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Did anyone mention your family? Nope, we don’t know you. Stop assuming things about people you don’t know.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    And no one is mentioning the man who’s name must not be uttered here.

  • persephone

    Avoid them. They’ll start sealioning, then move on to threats and doxing. If you’re lucky, they won’t SWAT you, but don’t count on it.

  • Mimc

    The good news is they have reduced the maximum shift length for medical residents. But yeah it’s still very busy time of life.

  • AFo

    Doug’s real motivation: younger women are more likely to end up with men like him.

  • Clancy

    My wife and I married at 36/37. Our daughter, an only child, was born two years later. We were able to support her through nine years of higher education, culminating in an M.Div. She’s now the solo pastor of a small church in a progressive denomination. I’m still an atheist. Bet Doug would disapprove. Too bad.

  • persephone

    One of my mother’s cousins was married to a doctor whom she had put through college and medical school, as well as supporting him through his internship and residency programs.

    One day, she came home from work early to find some other woman’s shoes in the living room, and slap and tickle going on in her bedroom.

    She divorced him, got half of all future proceeds of his practice as the judge agreed he wouldn’t have the practice without her support. Since she was no longer having to deal with his whiny a552, she joined a gym and lost about 30 lbs, started buying nice clothes, getting her hair done, etc. She would go in about once a week to check the books, to make sure she was getting her correct share.

    The icing on the cake was when he asked her to remarry him and she walked out laughing.

  • persephone

    Older parents are usually more patient and more invested in their children. Young parents may have more physical energy, yet they’re often not financially as secure, nor have the time or patience to deal with small children.

  • persephone

    Per Wikipedia, Doug has three children, but 16 grandchildren, so those kids must be popping them out.

  • persephone

    The old Duck Dynasty guy recommended that men marry women aged 15 – 16 because that way they would put up with all the garbage their husbands gave them as they wouldn’t know any better.

  • Talos2264

    Oh dang i got married at 26, and my wife was 24 at the time oh darn. Plus i already had a son from a very short relationship before i met my wife( I have full custody because his mom didn’t want to have children at all.) oh well that’s life. My dad was about 37, and my mom was 33 when they got married. My dad was 47, and my mom was 42 when i went to kindergarten, and it didn’t effect them in anyway. Plus why would i want my wife going around saying she is the wife of a kitchen manager of a chain restaurant? If anything i should be going around saying i’m the husband of a dentist. People should date for at least three years before they get married.

  • SillySLP

    Actually steveiam DID say some unkind things about CollegeKid’s family, including wagering that they are ashamed of CollegeKid. Both you and stevejam owe them an apology.

  • WallofSleep

    “I think we ought to agree together than young men ought to be expected to find somebody cute and godly by their 23rd birthday.”

    Sorry, but I don’t find the ‘godly’ to be ‘cute’, especially these days. They’re more likely to be hateful and ugly.

  • WallofSleep

    “That gift is called s*x, bounded and surrounded with covenant vows.”

    Sounds like I’m gonna need a safe word. No thanks.

  • WallofSleep
  • Mimc

    Good point. An older but financially stable parent probably has more energy for parenting than younger parents that have to work two jobs to scrape by.

  • Karen Cox

    Wilson’s list is all terrible, but the one that really infuriates me is the one about ‘having reasonable standards.’ He’s saying that young men and women should just lump and take whatever person is nearest without regard to whether they find that person even remotely attractive. Because it’s always excellent for a long-term relationship when one the husband thinks about his wife “well, she’s ugly and I don’t really like her company but she’s the best that a loser like me should ever expect.”

  • Polytropos

    I’m 34, and in no way ready for a committed relationship with anyone other than myself. My advice to young people of any gender would be not to marry until you’re at least 30, because you’re not the same person at 30 that you were at 20.

    As one Puritan put it, and man should first choose his love, and then love his choice.

    In reality what this means is: stick it out, even when it’s not working and both of you hate each other. It’s terrible advice. All of Doug’s advice is terrible, and anyone who follows it is set up for a lifetime of dysfunctional misery. This is why he needs to trap people into his broken system while they’re still too young to know better, and he knows it. He might pretend it’s all about preventing young people being sed&#8203uced by the evil world, but in reality he knows he can’t sell this garbage to people who have developed some life experience.

  • Friend

    Surprise, surprise, he contradicts himself:

    Who we actually are is who we become in long-term relationships with those appointed to us by God.

    …does not match…

    young men ought to be expected to find somebody cute and godly by their 23rd birthday.

  • Jennifer

    Glad you’re family’s so cool.

  • Jennifer

    Oh Lord, he must be getting senile.

  • paganheart

    I would ask at what age Dougie believes women should be married, but I’m not sure I want to know the answer. “Cute and godly” could well mean “as young as the law will allow.” And in Dougie’s home state (Idaho) there is no minimum statutory age for marriage, so long as parents or the court give permission. Yuck…

  • WallofSleep


  • Zeldacat

    There was a recent attempt to establish a minimum age but it didn’t go through, because of horrible people in the state legislature. The argument apparently came down to keeping it legal to force pregnant teenage girls to marry older men because there obviously is nothing else to be done in that situation.

  • WallofSleep
  • Saraquill

    That’s assuming said path involves marriage.

  • Zeldacat

    If it’s any consolation my state reps (from the odd blue bit of the state) were as horrified if unsurprised as I was.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    This started and went in a very inappropriate direction quickly. Nothing doing. Please shuffle off to where ever before I move the entire lot of you to Jerks 4 Jesus. The topic is readiness for marriage, not Mormons, not Trump. Very off topic.

  • WallofSleep

    Interesting. It seems that one started a brand new disqus account this afternoon specifically to make that comment. The suspicious part of me smells a sockpuppet.

  • tatortotcassie

    How lucky for my best friend, then, that she and her husband got married when they were both 22. Oh wait, except they’re also both areligious/atheist and have made a very conscious (and successful) effort to remain childless for the past 15 years. Oopsies.

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    My dad liked to say he pursued my mother for four years, which is kind of true, but doesn’t cover the facts. Raised in a household with a father who drank too much and raged uncontrollably when drunk2, my mother was extremely skittish about romantic relationships. However, she really liked the gentleman who would take her to dinner, and perhaps give her a goodnight kiss at her door, when he was in town. She was working as a server at a bar/restaurant, and he worked for a small grocery chain that kept sending him to various locations to manage the starting of new stores. But WWII happened, and he asked her to take a bus to Oregon to see him off to war in the Pacific Theater. She did so, and he proposed the night she arrived. They were married the next day by the base chaplain. He was 29, and she was 22.

    Not only did they not have lots of children, they couldn’t have any. She was 28 and he was 35 when they were finally able to adopt me.

    And yet, far from such supposed anti-Biblical behavior ruining their marriage, they were devoted all their married lives. Mama had some issues after her own mother died, and took her distress out on Dad for awhile, but he just rolled with it. Eventually, she calmed down again. She died at the end of 2002, and he missed her terribly until his own death in the summer of 2006.

  • Jennifer

    Well, CollegeKid explained how marriage at certain ages worked for some people in his family and not others, then someone attacked his faith and randomly said they bet his fam members were cruel to him, so he naturally defended his family. The argument pretty much came out of nowhere.

  • Jennifer

    She’s my hero.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Steveiam appears to have turned up simply in order to be an a-hole.

  • SillySLP

    Actually, I’m a left wing liberal feminist who has been reading this blog since before Suzanne took over, waayyy back when it started. I don’t comment anywhere on the net very often. I just found this so out of character and unusual. So I created an account. I’m a speech language pathologist, hence “SLP”. Just a quiet one 🙂

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    I hear that’s a common thing: med students finding a woman to “date” and take care of rent and food while in Med school. The moment they get a practice and on their feet they leave/divorce the support and find their trophy wife.

    What you mention seems like a common scenario. The woman that was with them when they were broke in school probably liked that person. The trophy wives may only care about money/status.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Sometimes when I get in here and the comments are out of order and I find someone commenting things that are just way way out of line I will either just removed them quietly, or say something. I thought his comments were just weirdly out of order for what we were discussing. Sorry if you were offended, but if I have a day where I’m dealing with major drama on FB on NLQ, multiple crazy emails and here I tend to be a whole lot less lenient.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I guess I need to spank the attacker. This is what happens when you moderate the comments and they pop up out of order.

  • Friend

    I don’t know how these young parents do it: maintaining priorities, keeping to schedules, constantly adjusting. Intriguingly, they don’t know how I do it either: watching it unfold, mentoring, showing up every time I am wanted (and letting that “wanted” part matter).

    It’s fascinating to share insights with much younger adults who have much younger children. Likewise, it’s valuable for families who have only girls to learn from families who have only boys, and vice versa. A lot of people don’t have a big, understanding extended family to draw on, so it helps to develop non-judgmental friendships and share stories.

  • lady_black

    That’s likely to be the reason they have remained married for 15 years.

  • lady_black

    My husband and I dated for a year before we got married. But he was 33 and I was 28. There was no reason to wait. Neither of us was getting any younger, and we wanted to buy a home and get out of the city. Children (other than the ones I already had) were never going to be part of the picture, so it wasn’t a matter of waiting to be ready for that.
    I would say more than dating for at least three years, you should marry at the right age and the right time, and at your leisure. If you are both over age 25, not much is going to change.

  • steveiam

    Of course, LDS Stakeholders LOVE Immigrants…this adds to the flock, and eventually to the Bottom Line, all important to the Elders. Money talks, shouts, with this gaggle

  • steveiam

    Is that ‘man’ Joseph Smith the Con Man?

  • steveiam

    ‘…inappropriate direction…’ ? ‘College Kid mentioned Mormon early on. However, ‘readiness for marriage’ was the topic at hand, and it is hard to envision how these cult religions factor readiness since they disdain dating, pre-marital sex, et al. Of course, they do push to pop little hypocrites out, ready or not.

  • steveiam

    I am sure in your Mormon Enclave you meet a lot of a-holes.

  • Yeah, that’s far too k!nky for my tastes.

  • Ew.

  • Saraquill

    I can’t help but think of Betty Broderick.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I was thinking about Betty when writing that. She sure helped get her husband educated and then he dumps her for a newer model. Has to be crazy making

  • Jennifer

    I was thinking how unremarkable his number of kids is. Sadly, looks like only the son has any normality in character.

  • MuttsRule

    It’s much safer to go to medical school yourself if you want the career and income of a medical doctor. That’s possible now.

  • persephone

    Of course, not. You’re supposed to be breeding cheap labor to abuse in factories and farms, and use as cannon fodder in their endless land wars in Asia.

  • Medalcollector

    Husbands and wives are also to be used as cheap labor and be used as cannon fodder around the world.