Rush job?

As a rule I do not write about religion due to the fact that religion is a matter of faith and not logic. However I do write about societal trends and my observations.  I have mulled and mulled about writing this post for awhile. I have finally decided to just write it as I feel it and be done with it.

So here goes nothing..

In February, Mavuno Church had a series ‘Finder’s Keepers’ that was about matters love. In a conversation with my friend she commented on how shortly there would be a lot of weddings as a result of the series.

This comment got me thinking about marriage and the church and the fact that early marriages are more the norm than the exception with born-again Christians.

In December last year, one of my friend’s, who is a serious dada-katika-Yesu got married. She was twenty one. It was a shocker to me but apparently quite normal amongst her crowd.

At same point I used to go to a church and would get bemused at the fact that the pastor was interested in the love life of the congregation. If a boy started hanging out with a girl then he would have emissaries from the Pastor asking him what was his plan with the girl.

There was no just dating for the sake of dating, there had to be a reason, preferably a relationship leading to marriage. If the boy had no long-term plans then he was discouraged from “wasting” the girl’s time. If the boy said he had long-term plans then he and the girl were promptly enrolled in a pre-marital class or a wedding class. Most people in that church would normally date for less than a year and bang they were married.

I have asked around and apparently this is not unique to the church I attended but the norm in most churches. Given this background I got to wondering whether there was pressure to marry young for those who are born-again Christians.

For those who are not born-again or avid Christians, the answer as to why the “Savedees” married young was sex. They reckoned since the “Savedees” cannot partake of sex before marriage then that it follows that their first serious relationship is geared towards marriage where they can rightly engage in sex.

The ‘Savedees’ reject this and say that the reason why they marry young is because marriage is a key component of life, also that as opposed for the non-‘Savedees’, due to God’s presence in their lives they do not waste their twenties searching for their purpose in life and finally the role models of young Christians marry young.

Maybe I am looking at this from the prism of my reality, but marriage at twenty feels like a rush job. I look back at myself at twenty, I honestly had no idea whether I was coming or going. I shudder to think of myself as a husband taking care of myself, a wife and a family.

However I am reminded that my parent’s generation did marry young and they did turn out okay. Makes me wonder when the culture of marrying when relatively older and quite well-off financially and career wise started and why.

I am no expert in matters love nor do I have a manual or correct time as to when one should marry. Neither am I convinced that the age at one marries has any relational to the success to said marriage.

What I am pondering on is if I was a young man who was “Savedee” and I really liked Girl X but I was not ready for marriage, would I be accepted or ostracized by my church? Or if I was Girl Y and I had not found the right person to settle down with, would I be then be the odd one out? What if I feel marriage is not for me, will I find understanding or will I be considered less of a man? How many ‘Savedees’ get into marriages so as fit in?

Just random questions ping-ponging in my head.

I do hope that the churches apart from encouraging their congregation to get into marriages when young are also providing the young folk with a good enough support system to aid them in the serious institution that is a marriage.



9 responses to “Rush job?

  • Sienna

    I agree on the sex part. Far as i’m concerned its why they get married so young. I figure before you get married, KNOW yourself. You cant possibly become one with another when you dont know yourself. Def there are few who do but no way i’ll be convinced those few are the ones that take the leap. Why do you think after a year or two things get thick for them?

  • Corvinus Maximilus

    I have had the same questions, but I remember that whatever feels right to me isn’t what feels right to someone else. We are all different and the pressures we face based on our friends or socialization make a rather strong prodding stick. I certainly did not feel that marriage was an option for me at 21 years. Great article.

  • Saitonne

    Something I learned a few months ago Kairos, a greek work for time. Not just time as we know it but the right time/ moment, the opportune moment.
    The time we usually use say 2pm/8am is known as Chronos- measurable to an exact second.

    What I’ve learned too is that life never happens the same for everyone. Consider the girl who’s mother passes away when she’s mid teens say 16, there will be a shift in her. She ‘grows up’ faster (for lack of a better explanation. Her age hasn’t changed but she’s in a situation where she’s more responsible, cares for her siblings and worries for her father.
    This girl won’t be the same again, chances are that a number of things she may have indulged in because of youth won’t fascinate her.
    She’ll probably achieve more and faster than her age mates. We’ve all seen them people who understood life very early and adapted. ( It’s often interesting how they are at the top spectrum)

    Traditionally we’re taught that life must follow a certain pattern
    kindergarten->primary school->high school->University-> First job-> maybe marriage/serious dating-> figuring out-> settling down

    Truth is life absolutely doesn’t work like this for the majority of us. The couple that gets pregnant in uni will struggle but if they love each other and are committed work things out and get ahead of their peers in terms of marriage.

    The right time is never really determined by age, it’s determined by the right moment which is different for each of us. Something I wish I knew, I didn’t get to university immediately after forth as did all my friends and I spent that one year in such a deep depression. My friends didn’t get it and neither did I for such a long time. Right now it absolutely works for me that this is my path now. I wouldn’t change that aspect but had I known that and been ok with it, I might have done more with that period.

    The whole time is running out is what makes so many women desperate to get married by an age determined by numbers but not where they are. The end up in miserable marriages because of the belief that I should/must be married by a certain age. I venture to say that it also works the other way, when you meet the right guy but he hasn’t made it yet, is still struggling and because she believes a certain age and things go with marriage so she’ll turn him down. Later she’ll regret it because what society says is right isn’t a one fits all size.

    Right moment, not right age. Chronos vs Kairos

  • Saitonne

    Typo *fourth

  • 3CB

    I think it’s hard to look at a savedee issue from a non-savedee perspective. For that crowd, (and by this i DONT mean the ones who go to church once in a while) there is no dating for the sake of dating, so if you date, you marry. If you’re not ready to marry, you don’t date.

    If you want to hang out with the girl, you do it in church, at fellowsip etc and if you want to hang out with her alone, well, why would you want to except in the context of marriage? There are those who go to church simply to find a nice guy/girl’ to ‘socialize with’ so I guess the church has systems in place to ‘protect’ them.

    In this frame of thinking, marrying at 21 isn’t strange because at 21 you feel you’re ready to go exclusive, and the only way to do that is to marry. Whether or not you’re ready for marriage is a whole other discussion, but the church tries to help via wedding classes, premarital counselling etc which is meant to prepare you and give your marriage a good base.

    This is essential because in the savedee way of thinking, divorce isnt an option. So the church tries to give you skills to make your marriage work, and if for some reason your marriage doesnt work, you grin and bear it and show the ‘right picture’ to the outside world.

    I’m not being sarcastic, just acknowleding that its a completely different way of thinking. We may think they’re mad to marry at 21, but they think were insane to be a single mum or single dad at 40, or to have had 15 different parters at 25. They’re just different ways of thinking, thats all =)

  • Shekyn

    I enjoyed reading and listening to the Finder’s Keeper series even though I don’t attend Mavuno. I have been a savedee for about 12 years now and I have been a member of a local church for 10 years this year. At my church, young people are encouraged to only date when they are ready for marriage. My observation is that many people from my church marry very late. Not early twenties as you indicated. I’m talking early thirtees, early fourtees type-late. I feel that societal pressure should not be considered when one is entering a marriage. As Sienna rightly pointed out, marriage is about two people becoming one. I think that each person should be WHOLE to complete this Godly equation. So, if you are whole at 21, by all means get married. If you feel whole at 29. Go get married.

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