In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?
“Viewpoint” allows the expression on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say.
Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders.
Timing is Everything
There’s danger in marrying too early or too late
By James N. Watkins
Timing may be everything in comedy, but it may also be important in marriage. There seems to be a sweet spot between being too young and too old to wed.
According to new research, the most successful time to marry is in your late 20s. That’s the conclusion of Nicholas H. Wolfinger, professor of family and consumer studies: “Although teens still face an elevated divorce risk relative to older adults, my analysis of more recent data shows that those who tie the knot after their early thirties are now more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late twenties,” he says.
Wolfinger also observes, “For instance, someone who marries at 25 is over 50 percent less likely to get divorced than is someone who weds at age 20. Most youthful couples simply do not have the maturity, coping skills, and social support it takes to make marriage work. In the face of routine marital problems, teens and young 20-somethings lack the wherewithal necessary for happy resolutions.”
But this doesn’t mean that delaying marriage leads to fewer divorces.
“Congenitally cantankerous” couples?
Statistically, those marrying in their late thirties see their odds of divorce increase five percent for each year marriage is delayed. Wolfinger notes, “The kinds of people who wait till their thirties to get married may be the kinds of people who aren’t predisposed toward doing well in their marriages. For instance, some people seem to be congenitally cantankerous. Such people naturally have trouble with interpersonal relationships. Consequently they delay marriage, often because they can’t find anyone willing to marry them.”
Wolfinger found that the age of first marriage that correlates with the lowest risk of divorce is in the late 20s.
Are love and marriage inevitable?
Wolfinger also suggests, “It’s possible that some of the modern alternatives to marriage are too successful at siphoning people out of the marriage pool. Maybe some of the thirty-somethings who would have made good spouses now feel perfectly comfortable being single or living with partners out of wedlock.”
Numerous secular university studies have documented that those living together before marriage dramatically decrease their chance for happiness and increase the chance of divorce.
For ten years, Dr. Nancy Moore Clatworthy, a sociologist from Ohio State, has been researching couples who have lived together. In every area, the couples who had lived together before marriage disagreed more often than couples who had not.
Dr. E. Mansell Pattison, chairman of the Department of Psychology at the Medical College of Georgia, believes the lack of commitment is the reason sexual relationships are the most common break up factor. In marriage, couples have time to work through sexual problems (and sex is never problem free)! But, in a live-in situation, the partners can simply go looking for other willing partners.
Sociologists Jeffery Jacques and Karen Chason of Florida A & M did not find one couple who felt living together prepared them for a lasting relationship. The researchers found the average live-in commitment lasts nine and one-half months. (At least most marriages that end in divorce last over six years.)
All dressed up with no place to go?
So, what is a Christian single to do? The age of sexual maturity is at its lowest and marriage is at the highest age in history.
On average, girls begin puberty at ages 10-11 and become sexually mature between 15-17. Boys begin puberty between 11-12 and reach maturation between 16-17. In recent history, puberty has begun two to three months earlier each decade.
During the time of Christ, the Romans allowed for marriage of girls as young as 12. And as late at the 12th century, the Roman Catholic Church allowed for marriage without parental consent for girls 12 and boys 14. In theory, young people were marrying before complete sexual maturity.
Donald Joy, professor at Biola University, makes a very interesting claim that early marriage is preferable to extramarital sex and living together outside of marriage. He believes that if a teenage couple had parental and church support, this could be a very viable – and godly – alternative.
So, maybe the apostle Paul’s advice is the answer: “For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:9) Something to think . . . and pray about!
Today, pray that:
- Those considering marriage would seek God’s will
- Churches and pastors will teach young people God’s plan for marriage and the family
- Christians will model godly marriages to their neighbors and in their communities
James Watkins is the author of three books on love and sexuality as well as contributor to a fourth. He’s been married for 41 years this month.
The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
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