11 June 2005

Seems to be my week for this type of thing

Yet another blind-sider of an article for me. (H/T Titus 2.5 Catholic for the link).

A sample quote:

Teen pregnancy is not the problem. Unwed teen pregnancy is the problem. It's childbearing outside marriage that causes all the trouble. Restore an environment that supports younger marriage, and you won't have to fight biology for a decade or more.

It is impossible to express how intensely in love I was at 18. The boy was the dearest male friend I had before he became tall and handsome and came looking for me a year after high school graduation. I held back from revealing how much I cared because I had a constant litany of "you're too young" ringing in my ears. He was not thinking at all of marriage, likely having imbibed much of the same sort of cautionary messages. But, after some months, our relationship had nowhere to go, and another young woman, not so restrained as I, intervened. After he left, I was assured "there will always be someone else." There wasn't. Not even close.

(Never, ever, EVER say that to a young person. Ever. Please. It is as thoughtlessly cruel and untrue as it is to say to a grieving parent, "You can always have another one.")

A pattern of late marriage may actually increase the rate of divorce. During that initial decade of physical adulthood, young people may not be getting married, but they're still falling in love. They fall in love, and break up, and undergo terrible pain, but find that with time they get over it. They may do this many times. Gradually, they get used to it; they learn that they can give their hearts away, and take them back again; they learn to shield their hearts from access in the first place. They learn to approach a relationship with the goal of getting what they want, and keep their bags packed by the door. By the time they marry they may have had many opportunities to learn how to walk away from a promise. They've been training for divorce.

In my case, this was true. I married after ten more years, but by then I was unable to trust and kept a wary and wide emotional distance from my husband, as he did from me. I fully expected him to leave me at any moment, and there was nothing he could do to convince me otherwise. I hung in there 20 years. That's a long time to spend with someone you can't confide in, and who is afraid to get close to you.

In recent years, some friends have kindly suggested that I was fortunate to have lost my dear one, because "who knows what might have happened if you'd married and then he left you?" I think I would have preferred to be left at least with children and the experience of being with my dear one. But I was a respectful, obedient girl, and did as I was told, and put the thought of early marriage right out of my mind. "You have lots of time," they said.

Yes, lots of time... to cherish the memory of my six months of chaste dating with a very special young man as I live a quiet, solitary life in my 50th year.

(Thank you, Sara, for posting that link.)


Darwin said...

Thanks for posting the link here.

My wife and I married a month out of collage at 22 and had our first child within a year. There are definately very scary and difficult moments in marrying and having children ten years younger than mainstream society expects you to, but it's rewarding as well.

God bless...

MrsDarwin said...

I was so moved by the wistful, melancholy tone of your post that I had to comment, and what do I find but that my husband has already been here?

You make a very poignant case for early marriage, and I believe that there are many young adults who are in fact ready to take on that kind of responsibility.

God bless!