The Modern Woman’s Pre-Marital To-Do List

Note: This entry has probably little to do with fashion, but I personally view fashion as having a part to play in everything.

When asked what the essence of being a woman is, one contestant from the 1994 Miss Universe pageant answered very profoundly. The lovely Ms. Sushmita Sen, who ended up winning the crown at that year’s pageant, replied that the essence of being a woman was to be a good wife and a mother. Although I am not promoting beauty pageants, this answer was precisely to the point and quite biblical.

Proverbs describes a virtuous woman as a good wife and a mother. The bible doesn’t give prerequisites for who gets to be a wife and who has to be single for life. I believe the book of Proverbs was written for all women regardless of ethnicity, religion, or economic status. The problem with modern and progressive thinking, even among the church, is the unwritten standard of who gets to be a wife, often involving a sort of mental “to-do list” before a woman gets married. This list usually includes having a steady job, a few years of living independently, and a college degree. I doubt that God had these requirements in mind when he created Eve.

Women’s Roles

While there is no enumeration of things to be done before marriage, God did however allow governments to form in order to set laws into place, including marital laws (1 Peter 2:13-17, Romans 13:1-3). The Bible’s principles and the government’s laws are explicit, uncompromising, and mandatory. Unwritten contemporary notions of the aforementioned checklist, however, aren’t. Biblically, women were not meant to live independently for the rest of their lives, nor were they meant to be the main workers and bread winners (1 Corinth 11:11, 1 Corinth 11:10). In some cases, this might happen because of circumstances within the home or the life of an individual, and that is perfectly fine, and I believe, part of God’s plan. In His wisdom, He has allowed society to move in a direction where women can live alone or even raise a child on their own without constant fear of starving or being taken advantage of. This privilege and freedom, which can be such a blessing to a (voluntarily or involuntarily) single woman or a person from a broken home, has also created a flexibility of lifestyle that leads to a sense of empowerment. This should not be turned against women who want to get married yet do not have a job. A woman who has never had a job in her life or a college degree is as ready to be a wife as someone who has both.

Sure, a woman is better off knowing how to take care of herself in case anything happens to the husband. Knowing how to survive can be a learned process. It’s not something you can  just snatch from a textbook or become an expert about after years of living independently. Everybody is always learning and no one ever quite reaches the point of perfection. That is why being a novice cook, homemaker, or even a novice in romantic relationships when you get married should be acceptable.

Most single people say, “I am not ready to marry.” This usually implies that they are not ready to commit and want to enjoy their singleness with other people of the opposite sex, or it means that they do not have everything on the checklist marked off because of something like having a year and a semester to go before graduation. The latter reason is perfectly fine as long as that personal premarital expectation or goal is not projected onto someone else’s life.

Personal Combat

When I was married almost a year and a half ago, I had been hurtfully discouraged from being married as early as I did among my friends, family, and even church members. Their checklists were different than mine. They thought I was throwing my college education and career out the door because I wanted to stay at home and just do freelance. My family frowned upon my leaving our flourishing business and starting anew. To be honest, I really have never been happier. I get to do all the things I love in the comfort of my own home and at the same time fulfill my duties as a wife. It also rocks being with the sexiest man alive.

Maturity Through Age

Regarding maturity, one reason why there is discouragement for young people to marry is that they are fickle and their personalities change drastically over time. For the most part, this is true, but only when the decision to marry is based on feelings. Love is both a feeling and a choice. I believe you can be 18 and have a solid stand on both your faith and your decision to stick with your husband, for better or for worse, ’til death do you part. I personally know couples who got married much younger than I and are still going strong. Ironically, my own parents got married at a younger age than I, but that was merited by their parents and peers because of their college diplomas—whereas I got married while attending college. That’s not such a bad thing, is it?


Another good reason to get married as early as possible has to do with our sexual nature. We desire sex right when hitting puberty, and the longer we wait, the harder we burn deep inside. It took me a while to really admit this to myself. Marriage to me was just about the fairy tale feeling of love which included but was not based on sex. 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 confirms that marriage is about sex. Paul (the writer of this epistle) paints marriage in this passage as an institution for Christians who “burn,” which basically means those of us who essentially can’t contain our sexuality or “exercise self-control.” “This is a concession,” Paul says, “I wish that all were as I myself am.” Singleness is considered preferable. Women rarely think of sex as often as guys do, but I think the fact that we do think of it is prevalent and obvious in our clothing among other things. Women may not all be crazy about sex or crave it, but most of us love sexual attention. Advertising for almost everything, especially in fashion, uses sex because it is one of the top two basic human desires of human beings. Desire is probably the highest form of wanting, and it is synonymous to the acts of coveting and longing. To target this beautifully barbaric need gives an automatic response, and that is why ads that sell through sex do so well. Yes, sex is beautiful, but with the onset of AIDS and heartaches from having multiple partners, among many other complications, it has become painfully obvious that it is best to have only one. God wasn’t being ridiculous and coming up with laws for the sake of laws. He had a reason for each one of them, and some of them we might not understand even to this day.

Turning my back on my old “spiritual leaders” due to their discouraging remarks on my getting married at the ripe age of 22 made me feel like a rebel, but I knew that I had to stand up against personally or religiously biased opinions and checklists and look at what the Bible was really fundamentally saying. It doesn’t help that I look like I’m just 18 years old, which is about the mean (if not mode) age I’ve been mistaken for.

What do you think are the pros/cons on marrying as young as legally possible? Do you think a young woman is capable of raising a family? What are your experiences involving these things?

30 thoughts on “The Modern Woman’s Pre-Marital To-Do List

  1. Excellent thoughts, Rachel! You are always very encouraging. :^)

    I personally think early marriage can be a very good thing. I think it really depends on each individual.
    (I’ve seen early marriages go bad, and I’ve seen them be wonderful….) Usually the bad early marriages go aground because both or one of the individuals is not mature enough in their faith and purpose….

  2. I think it’s okay if to get married young if you’re fully committed to your spouse. I got married at age twenty and know it was the right thing. I know I will always have to work at it though. I had a friend get married at age 18 and she couldn’t be happier. I like the reasons you talked about. It really just depends on the person.

  3. I needed to read this Rachel. Thanks so much for posting it!

    As for my views on young marriages, I am not against it but I know a lot of my friends that got married as teens (17-19) and it didn’t work because they simply were not mature enough in character to handle it. Some of them were perfectly fine though and still have a great marriage. :) So I think it just depends on the person!!

  4. Hi Rachel, love the post…

    my deal in marriage at an early stage is naturally fine…as long as she is ready not only financially but emotionally and physically.

    there are some who are brave enough but in the long run they want to break free…

    every woman is strong…and that what defines her whether she has a family or not but if she has her own goals to reach and was able to achieve that despite all the bumpy roads I guess that is more important than dealing with age in marriage, sex and etc.

    you did a pretty good job with that…we do have some little actions that we regret in the past…but as long as we are moving on and getting stronger then that is the great IDEAL of success…

    am I making any sense???

    great post by the way dear!
    take care

    1. Financially, my point was that if the husband can take care of you, you don’t need to be financially stable before getting married as a woman. It’s best for you to both have money, but it’s not necessary if one of you (usually the male) is already stable.

      Being emotionally ready is only less than half of the marriage equation. Emotions change because they are just fleeting feelings. It’ll be eventual that you’re not going to always have that “lovey dovey” feeling when you’ve been married for a long time; although it is possible. So, it’s being more of ready to make a choice to stick with each other forever than just being ready emotionally is the key to marriage.

      As for physically, anyone is technically physically ready to have sex from the day a person hits puberty. Back in the old days, women got married in their teens, but that is not really the point I was making. It’s the choice that you make, and maturity with faith comes with that mindset. It’s the choice to be joyfully married to that person even if that person becomes unattractive, mean, sick, or sloppy :)

  5. Thank you for writing this. I have a friend who just turned 18 & had already gotten engaged. Many people that she knows have really been disparaging of her and her fiance’s decision to get married that young. But, she truly is ready for that step.

    I on the other hand am over 21 and not matured to the point where marriage would be a good thing.

    Thank you for this insightful article,

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Leah! Maturity really doesn’t come with age, and it was very humble of you to think that of yourself! I think that even though we might not think we are mature enough, often times, being placed in that situation may change us drastically… not just in marriage but in any area of responsibility.

  6. I think that maturity doesn´t come with age but by what you have learned based from your daily experiences in life. I got married very late (in my 30s actually) and it´s a choice on my part. I´ve done most of the check list above except the driving, saving up( I´m terrible at that) and the finding a rich guy. lol! I´m happy to say though that at this point in my life right now I´m contented although I had to give up a lot of things that I´m used to when I was still single. The most important thing for me right is being a good wife to the hubs. :)

    1. Being a good wife is really mostly, if not all, what you need :) Of course, being responsible enough to take care of your kids and the home. The whole list thing was just really sarcastic and not necessary.

  7. This post is so good, if I had a choice I would love to stay at home with my child and be involved at his school and do lots of motherhood things, unfortunately things did not turn the way I had planned (did things wrong) and so I’m glad that I was able to finish school and have a btter chance at supporting my son by myself. The other side of the story, or maybe taking this subject a little bit out of it’s context is the pressure to get married, young girls (in the 20’s) being worried because they haven’t married yet! I often feel the pressure that I should be married or that I should be looking for the “right guy” that “one day will come.” I’ve never been married but often married women look at me with pity when I tell them I don’t wish to get married. Not because I have a to do list, I just feel content the way I am for now. I trust that whatever God wants for me is the best but I don’t like to be pressured by people who think your should marry before a certain age. Those are just my thoughts. Great post Rache!

  8. I’ve only got one of those things on your list. Crap.
    I do want to be married someday. I want to fall in love. As for the rest, it’s just one huge question mark that torments me everyday.

    I’m always surprised when I see people getting married and starting families at a young age, and I would never think their were wrong in their choices, just that they aren’t for me.

    Honestly, if I had met someone who I was in love with and wanted to marry me, I would not have said, “no, I want to wait” (I’m 24). Both my brother and my cousin recently got engaged, so every family function we are at, the talk is 100% wedding, and I just wonder if I will ever get to be at the center of that conversation.

    1. Hi Lyddie,

      Actually that list was sort of meant to be sarcastic because people always have a list of things they should have done before getting married. What I was saying in this post was that none of those things are really that necessary to be done beforehand. All of those things can be achieved after marriage. There is no harm in not having a college education or a job at all. Those prerequisites were just made up by people. Those things are good to have, but they aren’t necessary because if the husband can take care of you, then you should be fine and you can think about those things after getting married. Both circumstances (list or no list) should be acceptable. People often have way too many things on their list so they end up marrying REALLY old or not marrying at all because of unrealistic or heavy expectations.

  9. you “rebel” you. I think it is good to not be like the norm. I think a big reason why so many people DONT marry young anymore, is because people are all living together first and end up feeling incomplete and go from live-in relationship to the next. I know a couple people my age who have lived with a few guys already and they are only 26! I was 20 when I married. I too was very discouraged by many people to not marry because I should “have some fun” . . our society is pretty much run down and emotionless these days to wanting to even try to be faithful and committed.
    Too many people think about THEIR DREAMS so much that they forget that God might have something for them. . .so I always tell people to follow God first and see what He works out for you as you do His will. Of course that wouldn’t make sense to people who aren’t dedicated to following Christ.

  10. Great post! I think woman can get married at a young age and still work. My sister for example accidentally got pregnant at 16. My dad wanted her and her boyfriend (now husband) to get married. Fast Forward 10 years and they have three beautiful children and are still married! Though they had a rough start they made it work and she is a wonderful mother and wife.
    I always saw myself getting married by the age of 25 (I hope my boyfriend proposes soon! hehe). Anyways I think that if you know in your heart that it is right then go for it. If he is the right one for you, he will grow with you and you will both learn from each other.
    When marriages don’t work out when they get married at such a young age is simply because they are not ready for such a commitment. Sadly some men are not ready to just settle down with one person just quite yet or the woman for that matter. Also there careers might not be in check yet and its just “not the right time” kind of thing.

  11. I love this Rachel!
    Really good job!
    I dont think anyone is ever “ready” to get married. I think more now about what kind of person I want to marry and try to be the kind of person he would want to marry.
    Im finishing up my senior year at a Christian college, its funny how many people are tying the knot as quickly as possible. At the same time, I actively tell my friends how excited I am to be a wife and mother and they think I am crazy! Weird!
    Id rather get married young and grow with a person. Younger is better, I say :)

  12. Rachel,
    As always, GREAT POST!
    I agree with everything you said.

    I think a very clear & biblical case CAN be proven. AND more than that, I think it’s high time The Church started teaching that.

    Luckily, I live in a rural area, and young marriage is widely accepted.

    Right now most churches & Christians are teaching their teens, pre-teens, & young adults about abstinence. But we are also telling them to ‘get established’ before they marry! It makes no logical sense! Hormones arrive full swing about age 15. So we are asking youth to stay pure in a corrupt word fighting all the way for a full decade or longer!!

    God made our bodies to work a certain way for a good reason. There is a reason men think different than women. There is a reason God made women more emotional & intuitive. There is a reason God gave man the want to work & be a success. He gave women the wants & desires of home and family. God made each hormone & each longing for a reason.

    Most women begin to lessen fertility at about 30-35 & are fully menopausal or pre-menopausal by 45.

    Our hormones kick into overdrive at about 15 and by 17 most women’s bodies are fully capable of maintaining a pregnancy that is healthy & happy for both mom & baby.

    God commanded his people to multiply. He calls children a blessing.

    When we wait to marry we are fighting against God’s obvious plan. Fighting his timing & that makes the challenge of purity all the more difficult.

    (besides, why on eath- especially true for ladies- would you want to establish your self in a life, when, once married your life is be part of your spouces life?!)

    That being said, The Church & Christian community needs to do MORE to support young married couples. We MUST stop looking down on them for doing what God planned. Youth should be taught that credit & the instant gratification culture are not going to have a place in their young marriage. I see so many my age going into debt to haveva fancy TV & furniture & appliances, nice trips, & to live lavishly. Then they fight & divorce over money issues. We need to make sure young people know things arevsuppose to be a bit of a struggle when you first marry. This helps grow your relationship. You cling to one another & God. Our parents can live comfortably now because they ‘paid their dues’. You just can not expect to live the same way as a newlywed. The church & elders need to council, support, & help these young married, be their guide, give tips, a bit of ‘shoem ’em the ropes.’

  13. Just wanted to say thank you for writing this post!
    I got married at age 18 (my husband was 22 at the time). 11 years later we are happily married – the love is deeper and raising our daughters has only encouraged that. Yes, it can be difficult. Many worthwhile things are. ;)
    We had no money when we married and we still don’t make a lot. We drive one car instead of two. We make choices based on what we think is right (and right for us in a given situation) instead of what others might thing we “need” or “have to have”.
    My favorite thing about our marriage starting young is that our memories are with each other instead of multiple other people, and I don’t just mean regarding intimacy. I mean things like our first trip to Europe or living in a tiny apartment with very few things and still being perfectly happy. We’ve grown up together and I think that is one of the keys to a successful early marriage.
    Just my (slightly more than) $.02!

    1. Karen,
      I love what you said!
      ‘My favorite thing about our marriage starting young is that our memories are with each other instead of multiple other people, and I don’t just mean regarding intimacy. I mean things like our first trip to Europe or living in a tiny apartment with very few things and still being perfectly happy. We’ve grown up together’

      My best friend got married right out of high school. Her husband was her first & only boyfriend. They met at 14! Every story & memory she has is with her husband! What a beautiful thing! To grow up together!! I honestly think THAT is the ideal situation! You experience everything together!

      I honestly see no reason to do it another way! God intends for the two to become one. That must be MUCH harder the older you get. And even more difficult if you’ve worked to become independent or to ‘make a life for yourself’! You can’t be independent or have a life that’s just for yourself & be one. It almost sets young ladies up for a failed marriage. To me, it almost seems like practice for divorce, not cleaving to your spouse.

      Congrats to you & your husband on a happy successful marriage!! And thank you for encouraging others!!

  14. Hello Rachel! Thank you for this interesting article. While I might not agree with everything you said, I definitely believe that God leads different people together at various ages and levels of maturity. I have a cousin that got married on her 19th birthday. I was like, “Yikes, that is young!” But the more I thought about it, I knew that she was capable of running a household and raising a family. Then I’ve seen people older than that get married and I think, “What? THEY are getting married?? They ought to try growing up first!” =P

    In reference to your note at the beginning, I thought you might enjoy this excellent sermon. “Women as Wives.” I know you are a busy woman but I’d love to hear what you think of it! =) Also if you follow this page you will find links to a whole series on the PURPOSE of marriage. Enjoy! :)

    1. Thank you! I will definitely check it out. :) My reasons aren’t only based around age, but I was just supporting those who have been ridiculed for wanting to marry young but are mature in their faith, such as myself. I, for sure, agree that there are much older people that do need to grow up too!

      1. Yes, I realize that you were not speaking solely of age. I guess I was just reinforcing the fact that age and maturity are not synonymous. (Which you have already pointed out.) :] I agree that it is fine for people to marry young if that is Lord’s leading in their lives. It is sad when people are discouraged to marry for that reason alone. God bless you!

  15. I think it depends on how you were raised. I was raised by a feminist single mother in a chaotic household: I did not believe* I was prepared to be a wife until I was 26.

    *It seemed more acceptable to live with my boyfriend at 18 than to marry him. We lived as if we were husband and wife for 4 years, but we lacked the deep commitment necessary to resolve the minor challenges that ultimately ended the relationship. We would have had a much better chance at success if we had simply married at 18 and matured together as husband and wife.

    I did have a very enlightening year from 23 to 24 where I lived alone in a little house with a yard and cultivated my inner homemaker (yes, I have baked an entire apple pie for 1!). That was really make up for deficiencies in my upbringing, once the experience lost its novelty I was lonely for family and companionship. We were not meant to walk this world alone.

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