The Benefits of Marrying Young

MarriageIn his recent book, Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage (Cook) pastor Ted Cunningham joins a conversation that hit the media spotlight a few years ago with Christianity Today‘s cover story “The Case for Early Marriage,” which I responded to on Her.meneutics.

This February, sociologist Mark Regnerus, author of the cover story, broached the subject again in an interview with Katelyn Beaty, where he discusses his new book on Premarital Sex in America (Oxford).

Cunningham adds insight from his own experience pastoring Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, Missouri Cunningham, coauthor with Gary Smalley of Great Parents: Lousy Lovers (Tyndale), encourages couples to not let youth inhibit marriage. Couples considering rushing into marriage against the advice of godly parents and friends, while dating new believers, or while in high school should be cautious, Cunningham says; yet if you’re considering delaying to, say, finish a college degree, he says, “Why wait?”

Her.meneutics’ Ruth Moon talked with Cunningham about his pro-marriage philosophy.

What was the impetus for this book?

It was based on our marriage ministry at Woodland Hills. The more I started meeting with 20-somethings, it made me realize you guys just need somebody to picture a special future for you. Your parents didn’t do it; your colleges didn’t do it; the churches you grew up in didn’t do it. They didn’t tell you that marriage is a great thing, something to look forward to, and something you’re going to enjoy. You’re delaying it because you’re doing exactly what you were modeled and taught, so I want to give you a different perspective.

Your book is geared toward a very specific demographic: people who are young and in love, and people are saying they’re too young for marriage. What can other demographics — like young singles — get out of the book?

I’m not pushing the book on people who want to stay single and selfish — which is who I meet most of the time. I get the I Corinthians 7 argument. I totally understand it. I don’t meet many people in their 20s who are staying single out of service to Christ. Most 20-somethings I meet are pursuing independence, which has become a socially acceptable term for selfishness. It’s, “I want more years with me. I want more years to do my own thing, to be my own person, to care for myself, to buy things for myself, to consume.”

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Source: Interview by Ruth Moon, Her.meneutics | Christianity Today

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