David C. Cook
Much of our culture, both inside and outside of the church, tends to believe that getting married young is not a wise idea. There are a number of reasons for this. Statistics tend to lead us to believe that marrying young will lead more easily to divorce. Counselors teach that persons need to get to “know themselves” before they enter into a marriage covenant, and thus should delay marriage at least until college is completed and a career has begun. Financial counselors warn that early marriage dooms husband and wife to poverty. Ted Cunningham seeks to tell us and then teach us that everything we have heard about the wisdom of delaying marriage is completely wrong. In his book Young and in Love, Cunningham argues in favor of Christian couples marrying young. He believes that young marriage is the most wise and God-honoring way to approach marriage, and that most of us have been lied to about the benefits of delaying marriage. Although I believe that Cunningham overstates his case, he does have many valid points.
Cunningham believes that teaching people to delay marriage demeans the institution of marriage on several fronts. He believes that delaying marriage increases the frequency of cohabitation. Then, as cohabitation increases so does divorce. Young and in Love also argues that “delaying marriage delays adulthood” (p. 68). As long as people delay marriage, Cunningham argues, they have a license to be selfish and “self-centered” (p. 70).
To Cunningham’s credit, he carefully acknowledges some of the ways that people rush into marriage, and some of the necessary delays for marriage. He is forthright about the truth that some people, especially young, chaste Christians, rush into marriage just because they do not want to wait to have sex any longer. He also wisely counsels against couples who marry young because it brings financial benefit (p. 85).
Young and in Love goes on, however, to argue against many of the prevailing arguments for delaying marriage. The arguments Cunningham disagrees with include increasing one’s financial health (pp. 102-104), and waiting until one is through with college (pp. 105-106).
I have enjoyed reading Cunningham’s arguments, although I think at times the book is overly repetitive. I agree with him on several points, and I disagree with him on others. You may agree or disagree with him, but I think if you read what he says you will agree with me that he has some intelligent arguments, and his point of view should be heard. Much of what we hear about delaying marriage is not value neutral, but driven by fears and agendas that may not be scriptural or godly. Personally, I got married rather late (age 34), but I certainly would not resent anyone or blame anyone for choosing to marry at a younger age if they were ready and had found the right partner. If nothing else, Young and in Love can challenge prevailing thought enough to rejoice with those who marry at a young age, and support them instead of gritting our teeth believing that their marriage has no chance because they are too young. – Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
In Young and In Love, pastor, author, and speaker Ted Cunningham boldly argues that young love should be celebrated, even promoted. Early marriages can be God's will and often provide the key to sexual purity. With this in mind, Cunningham shares the secrets to a successful early marriage with those in their late teens and early twenties who are in love.
This book suits anyone experiencing young love who struggles with naysayers who dismiss or hinder a God-designed relationship. It also addresses young adults who struggle with the teachings of other popular books on abstinence or on delaying dating or marriage. And it offers parents and pastors who feel concerned about a relationship a source of wise counsel that carefully prepares young adults for a godly marriage.