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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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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