Why do American evangelicals marry young?
the other day i was having a meal with a good friend from college who is getting married – eventually with her boyfriend that have run a 13-year-long marathon romance with her.
the obvious reason for which it took so long was because his doctoral problem delayed his career which he just settled down as an electronic engineer at one of Taiwan’s main technological park at the age of 35.
‘settle down’ was the key word. in the asian culture marriage is hardly a thing just between two persons but rather is one that involves both families, the relatives, and even their respective friend circles.
it is like giving a public account of your life to all these people, as you demonstrate that you have a decent career prospect, the ability to take good care of your spouse, to raise kids and to receive the baton of carrying on your parents’ lineage.
i blew up my chance to get married 5 years ago because as a seminary student i think i was not ‘ready’ in that way (and later it has shown that i was actually not ready ‘in many other ways). and by comparing myself with my American evangelical friends who marry young (and happily ever after?), i came to realize that it’s the weight of too many societal expectations that we put on ourselves and prevent us from walking confidently the path of red carpet with the one we are dating and loving.
and the fact that we put societal expectations over and above God’s expectations of us (and the need to give them an account of our lives over and above the fact that God alone should be the warrant of everything in our lives) only in turn shows how we are spiritually and mentally immature for the divine institution of marriage.
for me, this is a lesson from life i learnt from the hard way, so it is never ever meant to be a word of judgment on those who marry late. all these single years of singleness are precious to me because i could see how God is pruning me into a better spiritual shape that is more suitable for the calling of caring other people, not for satisfying the vanity of giving people of secular mind accounts of secular accomplishments.
i hope to point young men and woman to see the beauty of faith in our walk of life with one another.