Articles:How do you know if you should marry the person you're seeing?
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Back in the time of Jesus, girls would marry at the onset of puberty. Back in the 1940's people would marry in their teens, and plenty of them are still together.
But nowadays, I think there's a lot of wisdom in waiting quite a bit longer. Dr. Laura (a popular radio personality and counselor) says that she has found that the healthiest marriages seem to come from couples whose ages add up to at least 50. In other words, he is 26 and she is 24, etc. This seems to be backed up by research, as you can see in the divorce stats, here.
When I was 19, I started dating a girl at my college. After two years together, we ended up looking at wedding rings. Now, she's married to a friend of mine. A year after we broke up, I met and started courting another young woman. After a year and a half, she and I started talking to her parents about our hopes for marriage. Her folks agreed that we had a good relationship, but they wanted her to finish all her college goals (2 more years) before marriage was in the picture. I was frustrated, but now have come to see their wisdom. Now, she is also married to a friend of mine!
At the time of these relationships, I really didn't want to wait another day (or year) to jump into marriage. But I firmly believe that love is patient, and time is on our side. If it is real love, and it is God's will for two people to be together, then taking more preparation time for marriage will only strengthen the union. We tend to be pretty impatient and a bit afraid that we'll miss out on love. But I think if we follow the advice of parents and take the situation to prayer often, God will guide us.
I should also add that research shows that the place in the brain where reasoning and judgment take place is not fully developed until a person reaches his or her early twenties . When it comes to choosing a spouse, you want your full brain capacity to be at work! Besides, just take a look at how your tastes have changed in who you liked over the past five years. The same change is likely to occur over the next five years as you continue to grow, mature, and discover your identity. Take your time.
. Jay N. Giedd, "Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Adolescent Brain," Adolescent Brain Development: Vulnerabilities and Opportunities 1021 (June 2004): 7785; Medical Institute for Sexual Health, "Maturation of the Teen Brain," Integrated Sexual Health Today (Spring 2005): 29.