My friend, Jody, decided he wanted to marry and be a father by age 25. At the time, he wasn’t dating anyone. He was 23.
He’s 24 now, and in three months will wed a beautiful young lady who actually loves him. Of course, as they are Christians, that baby may now arrive “on time.” From the first day they started dating, Rachel knew Jody wanted to marry as soon as he could find a suitable woman. And she wanted that, too. They dated for four months before Jody proposed.
“I believe that marriage, and being a parent and a child simultaneously, is the natural end of mankind,” Jody told me. “And that the prime of life is called that for a reason. I wanted to marry for mutual support, for a good woman to raise children with, and because I love well-ordered souls.”
Most young people nowadays have nowhere near this kind of clarity (and, perhaps, this touch of insanity). Most also will find a Jody-esque pursuit confusing and impossible; but I’m about to argue for several blog posts that a degraded culture, economy, and morality are creating a Western world where fewer and fewer people grow up. And adulthood, of course, is not physical maturity but the requisite societal maturity formerly conferred upon marriage and parenthood.
These were once obvious statements. But I expect quite a bit of shock and anger in response, partly because I know this appears to an audience of young people in a world where the average age of marriage is 28 for men and 26 for women, children seem merely an option (and that “option” celebrated for “liberating women”), and similar ideas enter Christian minds to little or no resistance.
In the context of capitalism and Christianity, these weakening social ties and maturity are eroding public morality and threatening national prosperity (if you care for that latter sort of thing, which you should, because it makes for fewer hungry, sick, and destitute people). The poorer you are in America, the less likely you are to marry, and the more likely you are to need marriage.
I plan to discuss this in three segments: 1) Core reasons for marriage 2) core reasons young people aren’t marrying and 3) the social, religious, and economic implications of this trend.