Monday, December 30, 2013

Young Marriage

Any college student may notice a trend...on Facebook. Some of their classmates are getting married. :O GASP. But here's the deal. Most young people aren't marrying early. This blog post: Wander On Wards seems to think that's the case, even citing an article from 1987. If we're to believe Fox News, then the average age of marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. Huh...you mean not 23? No. Most people, especially those with a college education, are waiting longer to get married. In fact, because we see our classmates and friends getting married on Facebook, we may use the availability heuristic and think young marriage is more common than it actually is. It's true that people who marry younger are more likely to divorce, but it's also true that the 50% divorce rate is a misconception. 50% of all marriages don't end in divorce. And did you know that someone who divorces once is more likely to get divorced again?

Now that we've acknowledged that divorce and marriage statistics are skewed, let's acknowledge another fact: everyone is at different development levels (I prefer the term plane, as in different geometric planes that way it's less hierarchical). Some people know themselves more than others. I know that I want to go to a paralegal program after college, but other college students don't even know what they want classes they want to take next semester. I don't think anyone has the right to judge the development plane in which someone is in at the moment. Let's admit it, some people don't value marriage and they'll probably never get married. Other people value love and monogamy and would do well in marriage. Both can be correct. It depends on the person's attitudes and beliefs. The time at which someone gets married probably depends more on their circumstances rather than their age.
Planes of Identity
Another constant misconception is that after marriage, people automatically choose one house and settle down. Then nothing changes. Not the case. I've seen many married couples rent houses and transplant their families as they change jobs. Some couples take their children around the world with them on vacations or even live overseas for their jobs. It's more expensive to travel as a family rather than as a single person, yes, but it's not impossible. You can still have new adventures with your spouse and family. In fact, I want to grow, develop, and change with someone. I don't think I can be with someone who thinks people don't change. I want to experience and share the world with someone I care for.Who doesn't?

I find the idea that you have to "find" yourself before you marry is bogus. If you're to have a good relationship, I do believe you have to find someone with similar tastes who shares your most important values. You don't, however, have to have a completely formed identity. In marriage, you'll have to learn how to adapt to your partner. If you're stuck in your ways, then that'll never happen. I'm sure there are many older people out there who can explain to younger people that your identity changes as you age. It changes as you encounter new experiences and marriage is one of those experiences. Identities are somewhat stable but never truly solid. Even my 50-year-old parents are still changing over time as they adapt to their lives and sometimes aren't sure about what they want. Life is fluid, probably more fluid than the ocean.

I think whom you marry and when you marry should depend on your values, and those values are different for everyone. It's not our place to judge those who prefer to marry early, in the middle, or late.

If we really want to talk about marriage, I prefer this article on Huffington Post: True Love Need Not Wait.

Instead of telling young people, "Don't get married," we should tell them, "I'm worried about you getting married young. Have you thoroughly talked this over with your future spouse and talked about marriage with experienced couples?"

I'll admit when it comes to marriage, I don't know much since I've never been married. I can only rattle off statistics I've learned from articles and the classroom. I can only describe what I think and learn from watching married people grow. Besides, only about two of my cousins, uncles, and aunts have ever gotten divorce. So I'm not very learned in terms of divorce. Maybe I still have marriage fantasies going on in my head, but I don't think glorifying later marriages should be our only option.

4 comments:

  1. You've got a lot of provoking ideas in this post, lady! By which I mean, there's much food for thought and, as I'm lazy, it's rather exhausting to me. ;-)

    I think anyone who marries, regardless of age, should consider whether s/he feels good in and of her or himself, like a complete, whole person, OR if the Other is meant to "complete" him or her. Because, while I do very much agree that growing individuals change throughout their lifetimes, I feel there should at the very least be a core of sense of self that doesn't depend on another person.

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    1. Yeah...and if you're not careful, you can lose yourself in someone else. It sort of makes you wonder what you're living for if you're not you. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not, but it's like if you don't have a solid identity and get lost within someone, you might break down at any hint of disapproval. Besides, when or if you break up, I think that makes the break up a lot harder.

      I've definitely felt had that problem in a relationship before, and it was very unpleasant.

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    2. "It sort of makes you wonder what you're living for if you're not you."

      It doesn't just make sense, it's really rather brilliant.

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