Engaged & Underage

Are you engaged and underage? Then you could have the final week before your wedding day caught on camera for all the world to see. MTV is doing a show they call ‘Engaged and Underage” which documents all the drama for these young couples leading up to the big day. If only they had done this show two years ago, Cami and I would have qualified! Here’s the trailer:

MTV’s website has lots of information about the show including the ability to watch past shows. The first show is about two Christian virgins from different backgrounds who are excited about having sex for the first time. The second show is about an interracial couple who can’t quit arguing.

The question that this should have all of us asking is, why would MTV choose to do this show?

There is an agenda behind every show. So, why would the channel that epitomizes the perpetuation of sex-saturated adolescence want to produce a program that flies in the face of that perspective? Only two options come to mind.

First, they want to use the show as a platform to mock this option. As a way to advocate for prolonged adolescence, they could just show the fears and pitfalls of marrying young as a deterrent for people who are considering the option. Throw in some drama and some humor and you have the recipe for a great show.

Second, they want to use the show as a way to draw attention to a counter-cultural trend. Since nobody else is marrying young, people might be interested in seeing what life is like for those who do marry early. It’s the marital equivalent of the channel Animal Planet–it allows people to see all the danger and drama of the wild without having to experience it firsthand.

What should we think about a show like this? The first thing that comes to mind is that, prior to the last 50 years, this show would have never aired because almost everyone was engaged when underage. The show is only novel because marrying young is unique in our culture. People would rather prolong their singleness so that they can live the way they want on their own terms. However, this concept is nowhere supported by scripture or history.

The next thing that comes to mind is that, whether this show harms or helps the cause of younger marriage, it will at least help to put the option back on the table for some. Those who never considered marrying young as an option may watch the show and begin to think about the possibility.

The bottom line is that ‘Engaged & Underage’ may draw attention to marrying young, but it doesn’t do it in a way that will cause people to come to a better understanding of God’s intention for marriage (not that we expected something produced by MTV to do so).


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