No, I'm not mad at That Man. Yet. The day's still early. ;)
This started when a friend of mine, Lisa Samson, posted this article on her Twitter. I love Lisa, and she always posts stuff that makes me think. The trouble with Twitter is the inability to have a discussion that lasts more than 140 characters. My Twitter feeds to my Facebook account, and a friend posted his thoughts on the article, which led to me FINALLY able to discuss my thoughts on the article, and then I realize that rats on Facebook don't give me enough room to have my full say.
So here you are. Be prepared for a longish post.
I think it's easier to, as Jesus talks about, look at the speck in our neighbor's eye rather than the plank in our own.
There are a lot of threats to marriage, mostly because we as individuals are looking so hard for something to blame externally rather than getting the gumption internally to make our own marriages work.
My favorite quote from the article is, "Most young Americans no longer think of marriage as a formative institution, but rather as the institution they enter once they think they are fully formed."
The reality of marriage is that in the context of that relationship, we grow, change, and develop as people. I am a different person BECAUSE of my husband. As a couple, we can choose to grow together or grow apart. I don't like all of the lessons I've learned as a result of being married, but they are obviously lessons I needed to learn.
Because we treat marriage as an end, and not a process, I think too many people give up on the process.
What I saw in the article that I don't think was stated as overtly as it needed to be (and maybe he didn't want or intend to), so I will...
Each of these things is viewed as an end. You succeed if you remain a virgin until marriage. You succeed if you get married. You succeed if you stay married. But that's not the point. It's not why God established marriage. If that were the case, there'd be a little checklist in each of our Bibles that tells us exactly what we need to do to get into Heaven. Well, I guess there is one. Follow Jesus. And nowhere in the Bible do I see Him giving the moral imperatives that we try to impose on everyone around us.
One of my friends sent a quote over Twitter today (sorry, don't remember who originated it, since it's been passed among everyone I know today) that sums up this very issue: "A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself." AW Tozer
It's easy for us to look at "issues" rather than in our own hearts. I wonder if the delay in marriage and the idea of waiting to be fully formed before marriage is the idea of perfection society has imposed upon us. We want to wait until we are spiritual enough, wealthy enough, educated enough, experienced enough, thin enough, etc. These are just smokescreens for avoiding the state of our hearts and the realization that God loves us just as we are. And, if you want to cling to the romantic notion of the "perfect" mate, it is the person who recognizes what God sees- someone who is imperfect, but still worthy of their love.
I will say, I really hate the title of the article. I don't think there should be a "case for early marriage." Love the subtitle, "Amid our purity pledges and attempts to make chastity hip, we forgot to teach young Christians how to tie the knot." Truly, I think that embodies what is wrong with marriage today. We are given mixed messages, unrealistic expectations, and do not have the tools to deal with imperfection in an inherently imperfect relationship.