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July-September

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Your Courtship Questions Answered
John Baer
Your Courtship Questions Answered

1. What is the best age range to get married?

Psychology Today, June 1, 2016, states that “statistical trends do suggest that it’s best to wait a few years. Divorce is 50% less likely for someone who is 25 years old when they wed as compared to someone who gets married at age 20.” It is best to get married when neurological, social, psychological, emotional and physical development is complete to handle all the responsibilities of married life.

In a letter to dear John, dated June 8, 1880, Ellen White writes: “I speak to you as one who knows. Wait till you have some just knowledge of yourself and of the world, of the bearing and character of young women, before you let the subject of marriage possess your thoughts” (Letters to Young Lovers, p. 36).

2. What are some personal requirements (character, financial, spiritual) for a boy and girl before getting married?

This question I believe is one of the most important questions to ask ourselves. Space does not permit the development of this subject at this time but allows me to give an abbreviated answer. Financial independence and practical knowledge of money management is very important. It is also important to have a clear perspective on one’s lifestyle, goals, and beliefs. One of the best personal pre-marriage development skills is the ability to communicate effectively. The ability to communicate well with peers, parents, teachers, pastors, and heaven is invaluable.

“Upon no account should the marriage relation be entered upon until the parties have a knowledge of the duties of practical domestic life.”—The Adventist Home, p. 87. This knowledge is important for both young men and women. The ability to be self-supporting as a consequence of education or developed skills results in healthy independent freedom. Chapter 13 in the book Adventist Home contains more great information worth reading. “Men and women may reach a high standard, if they will but acknowledge Christ as their personal Saviour.”—Ibid., p. 96.

3. What are some of the practical ways of maintaining a clear head for the purpose of making the right decision before falling in love with someone?

It is important to have clear thinking capacities as we relate to potential young men or women that we may want to court. The best way I believe this can be done is by maximizing our relationship on an intellectual, spiritual, and social level, while at the same time minimizing emotional and physical relations.

“Trust not to your own judgment, and marry no one whom you feel will not be an honor to your father and mother, one who has intelligent and moral worth.”—Letters to Young Lovers, p. 36.

“Love is a sentiment so sacred that but few know what it is. It is a term used, but not understood. The warm glow of impulse, the fascination of one young person for another is not love: it does not deserve the name. True love has an intellectual basis, a deep thorough knowledge of the object loved.”—Ibid.

4. What is the earliest advisable age for looking for a life partner?

There is a danger of seeking to follow the norms of our culture. This culture may be driven by what we see in our friends, church or world. Age is not the most important factor to get married. Therefore, there is no universal advisable age for looking for a life partner.

Ellen White gives us good advice on this topic, “The young affections should be restrained until the period arrives when sufficient age and experience will make it honorable and safe to unfetter them. A youth not out of his teens is a poor judge of the fitness of a person as young as himself to be his companion for life.”—The Adventist Home, p. 79.

It is a well-known fact that today people in the United States are getting married older than their parents did. Researchers found that today, the national average for marriage for women is 27.6 years. Men marry at a median age of 29.5. The U.S. Census figures in 1968 were 21 and 23 respectively. These statistics are shared not as a guide but only to show that people are seeking life partners later than their parents did.

Recent research has found that the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center don’t fully develop until age 25 or so. It is advisable in making life partner decisions that the pre-frontal cortex, the brains rational part be fully engaged.