Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mariage, Puberty, and Society Today

Here's an interesting discussion going on in the newsgroup for one of the classes I am taking right now through the online program at Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs. The original post is from a classmate and my reply is below that. Enjoy...Steve
Original Post:
"Jewish men regularly married by eighteen, Romans by twenty-five, but Greeks often not until thirty. Girls of all three cultures, however, were usually wed soon after puberty, in their early to mid-teens." (Blomberg, 63).
I have often wondered, because I know this holds for many if not all other societies, if the western world does not place unreasonable expectations on their young people. I speak with particular reference to the "born again" church. We want our children to be well educated, preferably before they are married and ignore the very natural physical urges that previous societies did not have such a battle with.
Being engaged in scholarly pursuits does not remove the physical impulses from human beings. Marriages are no longer arranged and many of our church young people do not have the physical control necessary for the celibate life. We tell them not to date non Christians [and we should] but in many churches the females greatly outnumber the males. Then in Trinidad, where I live, the females are doing exceptionally better than the males in school. Some of the young women ask- Where are we to find suitable husbands? There are few single ministries. What should the twenty first century church do to meet these challenges in addition to pointing out what God's Word has to say about purity.
I think I am going to enjoy reading your stuff! : ) This is a great question--and a real problem. I was just reading in a Psychology class last semester about how the stretch of time between the first pangs of puberty and marriage has lengthened so considerably in the West in recent decades. No longer do girls marry at sixteen-eighteen; they go to college, start a career/ministry, and often wait until their mid-twenties to get married. The author I was reading also pointed out that many girls in today's Western society are physically ready for marriage at an earlier age than their great-grandmothers were; this fact, coupled with the other fact that many families are unstable (i.e. fatherless), have lead to an increase in pregnancies and poor relationship choices early in girls' lives.
In my Christian community, the problem is not so much a lack of desire to be married, but the absence of any suitable men. Thus, many of the young women I know that are not married are in that state because they cannot find a Christian man who will support them (and/or, sometimes, live up to their dreams).
Like you, I feel that there is a situation here that needs addressed. Abstinence is important, but for some girls (and guys) marriage is needed--and before college is over! It's like Paul says, "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Cor. 7:8, 9).
And elsewhere, "It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband" (1 Cor. 7:1-3). These are immoral times, and God's servants need mates to help each other. Arranged marriages are out-dated (and unfeasible in independent, Western culture!), but I think churches should have teen singles counseling on the subject of marriage. Some kids can go to college just fine and stay pure, but many need to fill their need (and divine calling) of marriage before or during college. It depends on the individuals, and that is where counseling would probably be useful.

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