“Marry Younger,” Says Sociologist

According to a sociology professor at the University of Texas, people should consider getting married when young even if all the details aren’t worked out.

Mark Regnerus has contributed to scholarly works on the sociology of sex, specifically premarital sex, in America, and he believes that the tendency of people increasingly to put off marriage until “all their ducks are in a row” is destructive to society. His reasoning is based in part on the fact that, biologically, people are especially geared for sexual activity in their late teens and early twenties, and without the institution of marriage to regulate those impulses, they engage in behavioral patterns that have a negative social impact.

Regnerus directs his appeal to Christians in particular (the article doesn’t say, but I assume he is a believer of some sort), but says that secular people should also rethink this issue.

Of course, for this idea to have a prayer of working, our culture needs to prepare young people, particularly boys, to take on adult responsibilities by the time they reach those years of peak sexual interest. I don’t see much of that going on except in certain segments of the homeschool movement.

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About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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6 Responses to “Marry Younger,” Says Sociologist

  1. Rachel Wishum says:

    One of the professors here at Faulkner has told me every time he engages me in a conversation that he thinks people should marry earlier, and that students who are married tend to be more responsible than students who are not. I’ve talked with Russ about how I think the inner city ministry would benefit from taking a serious look at providing classes specifically geared toward marriage to the teens and encouraging them to find Christian spouses early; it would make such a difference to so many of them to have some responsibility put on their plate and to have someone to be close to. We find that even the most serious spiritually-minded young adults at the Inner City Church have a very difficult time overcoming sexual temptation once they hit those late teen and early adult years, and I would venture to say a big part of it comes from the fact that they are lonely and have a difficult time finding someone to “date” that is willing to hold to Christian standards. Of course, I would never suggest encouraging young people to marry unless the church were ready to provide some serious spiritual leadership and support both to young people who want to learn about becoming a Christian spouse and to young Christian couples, especially to those who are not coming from families with strong marriages.

  2. Ginger says:

    Your blog was a serendipitous find for me. Thank you for your point of view on this issue. I hope the idea of early marriage once again becomes an acceptable part of Western Society. When I married at 18, even many at my church frowned and stated that I was too young. One of my daughters received the same if possibly more blatant treatment, when she married at age 19. Yet, here we are all these years later happy and healthy.

    Additionally, your ‘great books’ quest is inspiring me to persevere with these difficult works. While Robinson Crusoe is not difficult, many of the readings are. As a teacher, I am attempting to incorporate many ‘great books’ into my curriculum. Incidentally, I found your site searching for information on Plutarch to help me better discuss Romulus and Theseus with my students.

    Thank you again.

  3. Alethia Clark says:

    I married at 19 and my husband and I are convinced being married is what helped us do well in college. I also thought about the natural age of child bearing for women and when it starts to decline. A woman’s healthiest time to have children is her 20s and possibly her early 30s. Obviously people can have good experiences after that age, but the statistics show 20s is the healthiest.

  4. It’s not for nothing that the Apostle Paul said “It’s better to marry than to burn.”

  5. Jenny Tyree says:

    We were able to interview Mark Regnerus at CitizenLink awhile back, and his Christian faith is implied. You can read, and listen, to it here:

    http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/03/05/citizenlink-audio-friday-five-marriage-analyst-mark-regnerus/

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