It seems that, generally, by the time you really learn something, it’s too late to make use of the knowledge. By the time you figure out how to parent, your first kid is already screwed up. By the time you figure out what work you love to do, your career path is already established elsewhere.
The “starter marriage” is an attempt to take preemptive action from this realization, but ends up being a band-aid applied to the gaping wound of our difficulty and inability to mature from boys and girls into men and women – men and women worth being married to anyway.
Many have said, “Ah ha! I’ve got it.” Since I know I’ll be not good at being a parent, I’ll fix that by just not having any kids.” Though this is the just path for some, no doubt, for many this idea is even worse than the “starter marriage”. Now you are set on a stable trajectory of non-growth. You can easily be cemented in the comfortable fantasy land that is the American middle-class, rich in hobbies and entertainment.
Marriage teaches us to love. Children teach us to love. They are harrowing instructors, to be sure, but the very best and most effective. Some cannot withstand their force. (Count me among them many days.) This is why the church needs to preach grace even harder and clearer than ever. Nearly all feel, at times, as though they cannot withstand the reshaping. Christ’s resurrection is sufficient for even this.