by Tim Sweetman
The National Post had an interesting article and interview with University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus. Mark encourages readers: “Do not wait so long; all your ducks do not have to be in a row before marrying.”
Marriage has become devalued and ridiculed, he says. As a result more people are marrying later in life, if they marry at all, are experiencing difficulty in having children because they marry past the peak fertility age and are splitting up because commitment to the institution has eroded.
His message is often directed at evangelical Christians, but he thinks society as a whole benefits from stable marriages. He notes the median age for a first marriage has shifted from 21 for women and 23 for men in 1970 to 26 and 28 respectively today. “That’s five additional, long years of peak sexual interest and fertility. And remember, those numbers are medians: for every man marrying at 22, there’s one marrying for the first time at 34.”
More from the Q&A,
Q Evangelical Christians, as you note, send mixed signals to their young: Wait till you’re fully ready to marry, but don’t have sex till you’re married. How is that working out?
A Not that great. Young evangelicals are urged to wait. They are told sex will be so much better if you wait until your wedding night. If you can hold out it will be worth it because the sheer glory of consummation will knock your socks off. That can lead to disappointment. The reality is when people are young they are going to get together — that’s as old as dirt.
Q So are you saying evangelicals should adjust their sexual ethics to fit with the times?
A I wouldn’t do that and nor would I want that. But they’re oblivious to the fact that there’s a marital breakdown here, and I’m frustrated with their blindness. Which is why I said people have to figure out a new marriage narrative and not just harp on sex. The question I want to raise is: How are you going to best enable your young adults to living fulfilling lives and keep their sex lives within the bounds of Christian doctrine. I’m not sure how they’re going to do that without either demanding celibacy or pushing the idea that early marriage is not such a bad idea.
You can read the full interview and article here.
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