“Why are you traveling to Europe?” asks the man behind the counter.
“We are here on vacation for our tenth anniversary.”
He lifts his head up from our passports with an awkward stare of shocked disbelief.
“You two aren’t old enough to have been married for ten years,” he says, struggling to ascertain the real reason we are in his line at immigration control.
“We got married young. I was twenty, she was eighteen. We are thirty and twenty-eight now, with four kids and number five on the way!”
His look of shock turns to a sarcastic smirk, as he laughingly says, “That’s insane. I’m thirty and not getting married anytime soon. I can’t understand why anyone would want to get married so young, let alone have kids. Have fun in London.”
He shakes his head, stamps our passports and waves us through.
And with this singular encounter, I have just summarized the last ten years of our lives – full of confused stares and awkward questions.
So in light of ten years, I want to offer ten reasons why it’s not only okay, but can be very good to get married and have children young.
- Because you get to grow up together AND grow old together.
- Because you are fighting for holiness. Despite our culture’s broad acceptance of sex outside of marriage, co-habitation and more, God has given us a right and better way to enjoy sex within the meaningful and satisfying confines of covenant marriage. When you’re young, your hormones are going nuts and you’re a lot more likely to make stupid sexual mistakes that could potentially cause a lot of physical and emotional damage to yourself and others. I’m not saying marry just anyone so you can have sex, but if you’re “burning with passion” (1 Cor. 7:9), getting married young helps protect and empower you as you contend for the holiness of yourself and your spouse.
- Because you will never really find the right person and if you do, you’re probably not the right person for them – at least for long. I don’t mean this to sound fatalistic and this doesn’t mean just marry the next person you date because you’re not gonna find “the one.” Certainly you should have standards that honor God and set you up for a fighting chance to win at marriage. But you’re both gonna change a ton over the years. Both Amanda and I are completely different people than we were ten years ago. We have both gone through various phases of personality and passions. It is like my wife has been three different women over the last decade. I have loved all three versions of her, and she has loved most of the eight or so versions of me. The inevitability of change is one of the key reasons we make a promise to love, honor and cherish each other’s future selves.
- Because you’re never really going to be ready. You will always want to make more money, do more things, and go more places. Getting married and having kids young just means that you get to do all those things with the one you love by your side as your partner. Sure, you may have to get creative and work hard, but you’re gonna have to do those things anyway if you ever want to accomplish anything worth doing.
- Because few things can sanctify you like a spouse and children. God the Holy Spirit uses these gifts to mature and help you grow up; changing you for the better. Nothing confronts your selfishness and depravity like putting the needs of others before your own needs. Marriage is hard work. Parenting is no walk in the park (though it sometimes involves walks in the park). It’s fun and rewarding, but in no way is it easy or comfortable. Yet God has not called us to comfort and ease. He’s called us to die to self and be made into his image and few things help us do this like our spouse and kids.
- Because having kids is better than having dogs. Dogs can’t laugh at your dumb jokes or tell you they love you in just the right way to melt your heart for the millionth time. They can’t take care of you when you’re old. You will never be your dog’s hero. Your dog will never come to you for advice. You will never watch with amazement as your dog comes to saving faith in Jesus. You will not spend eternity worshiping Jesus with your dog.
- Because having kids doesn’t mean life as you know it is over. When you get married and have kids young, you are a lot less likely to make your entire life about your kids. You still have things you want to do and having children young doesn’t mean you have to put everything on hold until those little guys are out of the house (they don’t stay little for long). They are not running the show. Your spouse is the most important person in your life and will be there after your kids are out of the house. So do yourself a favor and don’t make your life all about your kids. Date each other, do fun things together, go on vacations together and enjoy life. I’m not saying ignore your kids or be irresponsible, or that there won’t be seasons that you need to ratchet back, but your kids won’t die if they aren’t the center of attention.
- Because when you’re young, you have more stamina and vitality. This is incredibly helpful both biologically when it comes to starting a family, as well as practically when it comes to the many complex and amazing aspects of marriage and parenting. Sleepless nights with a newborn, rolling around on the floor, playing ball, wrestling or carrying kids on your shoulders for hours on end – all are much easier when you’re in your prime. Not to mention how much more you will enjoy your grandkids when you’re still young and your kids start bringing those little guys into the world.
- Because you don’t want to be confused for the grandparents at your kids’ graduation, but it might be nice to be confused for the parents at your grandkids’ graduation.
- Because having kids young means they graduate and are out of the house when you’re still young. Only instead of being young and broke, you’ll be young with money. You’ll likely have spent years establishing your career and finances, and will have the finances and freedom to do many of the things you always wanted to do.
Obviously this is not for everyone. God calls different people to different things and not everyone is called to marry and have children young. But by all means, this is appropriate and good for many and just because it is strange to the culture we live in doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s an adventure and adventures take courage.