Wednesday, January 19, 2011
#207 Marrying young
Christian culture gets married young. The reason isn't entirely clear, but the general consensus is that it drastically lowers the risk of fornication. You just can't fornicate if you're married, and that takes care of that.
Fornication is Christian culture's natural enemy. Bible colleges (aka "bridal colleges" - what did I tell you?) require students to sign a convenant stating they won't drink, swear, be gay or have premarital sex. But even Christian students at secular universities roil under biblical sex mandates. When you combine guilt with evangelical horndogs you get a lot of marriage proposals and short engagements.
Even apart from the sex issue, Christian culture highly recommends getting married. The overarching message is "once you find the person God has chosen for you then everything will fall together, your life will finally start, your ministry will really get off the ground, and your problems will be solved." The notion that your problems could really just be getting started isn't even in their frame of concept.
When your earnest Christian ass graduates college without a boyfriend or girlfriend, you are peppered with questions by family members and people at church about when exactly you will get yourself an eligible Christian companion. Then once you have a boyfriend or girlfriend you are peppered about getting married already. The peppering is combined with concern that you are not "living right" and possibly Doing It outside the confines of marriage. The unspoken message is deafening.
The ideal marrying age in Christian culture is 22, when you're fresh out of college and haven't even been to Europe, lived away from home apart from a dorm, or paid one installment on your student loan. To people outside of Christian culture this is sheer madness. But the people in Christian culture are relieved that the fornication window is finally closed and they can now set busily about writing Facebook statuses that they're married to their best friend.
Soon after the guileless, low-budget Christian culture wedding you can expect them to start popping out babies. If they're not trying to get pregnant by their second anniversary, they may not be full-fledged evangelicals.
This post originally appeared at Beliefnet. The original post and comment thread can be seen here.