Should I Dump My Parents So I Can Get Married?

My boyfriend and I have been dating 7 months, and we’re now preparing to get engaged. I’m 21 and he’s 26. We’ve talked to both of our families about our intentions, and my boyfriend even asked my parents’ permission for my hand in marriage. We’ve made a special effort to get to know each other’s families, as we believe family intimacy is invaluable. We are both studying and have one year until we graduate so we can get full time work. However, my dad thinks that we’re not ready for marriage even though he gave us his blessing. He thinks we should wait, but we plan to get married in 6 months as our relationship is moving forward and to stop things would feel unnatural.

It’s a given we will struggle financially as students, but we’re determined and committed to each other. My boyfriend is my best friend. We share the same values and know where we are going in life. I couldn’t be happier when I am with him! My mum thinks that he isn’t handsome enough for me, which is upsetting – I think he is gorgeous. Am I caring too much about what others think? Do I need to ‘divorce my parents?’ I love them very much, but I fear I’m letting them intrude too much on our plans to get married. Yet I can’t let go of their opinions, and I feel it’s putting a strain on our relationship.


Aw, man. I’m already afraid of becoming a parent. The dichotomy of trying to protect your kids and allow them to make their own mistakes; I don’t know how people do it.

And as much as I believe that you’re in a healthy relationship and want to side with you, I think your parents are right, and that “divorcing” them would be a big mistake.

Here’s why:

“Divorcing” your parents would be a big mistake.

You’re 21 years old.

You’re still in college.

You don’t have independent sources of income.

And, most importantly, YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET MARRIED NOW.

That, to me, is the big blind spot here.

Everything you write sounds like a rational adult woman, except for this one line: “Our relationship is moving forward and to stop things would feel unnatural.”


Couldn’t someone say that at 15 years old? Couldn’t someone say that after 2 months?

Just because going to church, signing papers, and throwing a party seems like a “natural” extension of the love you feel for each other, I will make the bold prediction that if you can hold out for 5 more years, absolutely NOTHING will change in your relationship.

And THEN you can get married, just as you plan to do right now.

If waiting that long makes you feel uneasy, ask yourself why.

Is it possible that your relationship will NOT be the same in 5 years?

Is it possible that you’re going to change and develop into a different woman?

Is it possible that he’s going to change and discover that he hasn’t had enough experience with other women?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It’s all very possible.

If your relationship is solid, then there’s no risk in NOT getting married in your 20’s.

75% of marriages where the bride is under the age of 25 end in divorce.

ALL of them thought that they were mature enough to be married.

¾ of them were WRONG.

The truth is, if your relationship is solid, then there’s no risk in NOT getting married. You can move in together, start your careers, go through the ups and downs of being young adults in your 20’s, and then, when things stabilize, start a family.

But if you get married now, have a baby in 2 years, and struggle financially, odds are that your relationship will not be able to take the strain.

And if all of this logic isn’t getting through to you, let’s try it this way:

Remember when you were 16, Sarah? What did you know about life then?

NOTHING. And it was only 5 years ago.

The EXACT same thing will happen to you when you look back on 21-year-old Sarah in 5 years. And when 31-year-old Sarah reflects on 26-year-old Sarah. And so on.

I’ve been writing this blog for the 3½ years that happens to coincide with my relationship with my wife. I can’t even remember who I was five years ago!

You don’t need a wedding ring. You don’t need to lock him in. You don’t need a baby. If you think you do, it’s all because you’re afraid you’re going to lose him.

But if your relationship is that strong, you won’t lose him, right?

So don’t divorce your parents. Don’t do anything except get your degree, get a job, and agree to love each other unconditionally. Marriage will be there later.

Because while you’ll change and he’ll change over the next five years, the one thing that definitely WON’T change is marriage.

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  1. 31
    Karl R

    Hadley Paige said: (#25)
    “I reject the accusation that I am cynical. What I am is a realist.”

    When I was young and cynical, I though of myself as being a “realist” too. As I got older and wiser, I realized that cynicism was no more realistic of an outlook than optimism.

    L.K. said: (#27)
    “Sometimes reality is a bit cynical.”

    Def’n – cynical:
    distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.
    2. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, esp. by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
    3. bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

    Reality is incapable of being cynical. Reality simply is.

    People can be cynical.

    Hadley, I’d say your posts on previous topics make even better examples of cynicism than the ones you’ve expressed in this thread.

    Would you like some reality? If someone is a cynic (distrustful of the motives of others), it’s highly likely that their own motives aren’t trustworthy. It’s almost impossible to believe that everyone is untrustworthy if simple introspection shows you that at least one person is.

    It’s natural to believe that most people are like us.

    Steve said to Sarah: (#26)
    “We aren’t any smarter than you, we are walking on the same road and are just a few blocks ahead of you.”

    I agree.

    My girlfriend and I have been dating for about 15 months. I intend to marry her, and I’ve believed that that was the inevitable course we were on since the 6 month mark. But I still thought it was worthwhile for us to go slowly, since our relationship has continued to change even over that short period of time.

    The intense feeling of being “in love” is caused by chemicals in our brain. Those chemicals wear off sometime between one and three years into the relationship.

    Hadley (#5 and #25) is advising that you marry quickly, while your boyfriend’s decision is still being influenced by chemicals. That way, if he changes his mind when the chemicals wear off, it will cost him a lot of money to leave you.

    Evan (and most of the rest of us) are recommending that you wait, so you aren’t making that decision while influenced by chemicals. For me (and presumably my girlfriend), they’re already wearing off. We still have a strong relationship (even though it feels less intense). That’s something that I can count on for the next 40 years.

  2. 32

    Hadley #25, so what I’m hearing from you in this post is that a woman should not marry a college student 😉 since money is an important factor, and all he has right now is a ton of student loans and no definite future. His career may, or may not, work out – there’s no way to tell at this point. So, um, from that standpoint, why should she “keep him”? Your post appears to contradict itself.
    Also, nice assumption that women only work/have careers when the man cannot put enough food on the table: ” If she wants to raise sane, unstressed children who have been adequately nurtured by their present (love by phone from the office doesn’t count), loving, unstressed mom > being adequately supported while the kids grow up is (and should be) a major consideration.” Is it OK with you that some of us are good at what we do, like our jobs, and set positive examples for our children by being fulfilled in our work? Or should we go back into the kitchen?

  3. 33

    #33 Goldie

    I see where you are coming from, I have always been career oriented and enjoy the challenge of a career.  I was also lucky enough to have a period of 4 years when my kids were young to stay home during the day and work a flexible part time job at night.

    Having both worlds (full time work in a careeer vs. part time work to bring in money), I believe the BEST situation for a marriage and the children is if the wife (or husband if they don’t mind the role reversals, although I do think that’s a tall order in the long run) stays home and runs the household and raises the children.  It is much less stressful and more harmonious.  That doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t contribute or help with the house or the kids. 

    It was tedious being home, it’s the same thing day in and day out, and I had a busy social life with my kids so it wasn’t like I was at home 25X7.  It’s volunteering at the school, it’s errands, it’s making meals and cleaning up after meals.  These were the best years of my life and indeed, were the less stressful for me in regard to keeping up the household stuff and raising the kids and having a calm family life.

    Eventually I went back full time because I needed more of a challenge in regard to the work I was doing.  That’s just the kind of person I am and I also wanted a better life for my family that I knew my husband was not going to be able to provide.

    Everyone is different, and I’m sure there will be some that will balk at this, however, I don’t think my experience in regard to being home is so unique.  And I also don’t believe that mothers, who have had the opportunity to stay home and not work, would not say their households didn’t run better, their marriages were happier and stress levels were less. 

    I also have to say I’m a traditionalist 🙂

  4. 34

    Hadley is (or at least has previously said he is) a man, not a woman. 

    Alimony, in the traditional “1950’s gold-digger” sense, is very rare in America today.  In most states, it won’t be awarded if the spouses are both capable of supporting themselves; it will often only be awarded if one spouse was economically dependent on the other during the course of the marriage (and it’s less likely to be awarded if the marriage was short); and it is often awarded only for a specified “rehabilitative” amount of time — so the receiving spouse can get the education/training needed to be self-supporting. 

    (If there are young kids in the picture, some states will occasionally award alimony — apart from child support — to the custodial parent, on the theory that it’s better for the child if the custodial parent can be at home.  Again, though, I don’t think that typically lasts for the entire legal childhood of the kid.)

    The old stereotype of “marry the old guy, put up with him for a few years, dump him, and then be set for life” hasn’t been widely accurate for a very long time. 

    Despite what you read on those “never marry an American woman” web sites . . . ;

  5. 35

    I would love to see a reference for this statistic:
    75% of marriages where the bride is under the age of 25 end in divorce.

    The 75% just seems too high to me. Maybe I’d buy it if it said brides under age 18.

    1. 35.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Lilli See Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow up to “Eat Pray Love” called “Committed”. There’s your 75% statistic.

  6. 36


    I am 22, just graduated from college. One year ago I was ready to marry my boyfriend. I loved him, he was crazy about me, and I wanted nothing more but to start my life with him. He was an amazing man and I an amazing woman, so why wouldn’t we work out together?

    College is a great little bubble, especially for relationships. My guess is that you guys live within walking distance from each other, can meet during the day, have pretty in-sync schedules, can participate in the same activities and share a group of friends.

    All of this changes the moment they hand you a degree. Your bubble bursts and your world changes. The stress of finding a job is enough to break up even the best relationship. Bursting the college bubble will be a great test for you guys, and honestly, by the way you talk you guys might have a really good chance of staying together.

    But then comes the job itself, where to live, are you going to have to move, is he? Who’s going to be the one to give something up to accomodate? Then comes the friends. He wants his guys friends, he makes friends at work, co-workers, you make your friends and all of a sudden your completely in-sync lifestyles are seperated. But lets say you guys make it through that too…(again, very possible).

    Now you’re starting your career, and he his. You gotta be focused, make a good impression, work longer hours just to impress your boss into giving you the pay you deserve. You barely see each other between conflicting work schedules. You have bills and fights about bills and more bills because you’re new to this whole living on your own with a job thing and it’s stressful, very very stressful. Do you know how he handles stress? Does he know how you handle it?  Unless you know each other in this state and understand how each other deals with stress and anger and frustration, then you could confuse a back handed comment stemming from bad day at work for a spiteful insult meant to hurt you. Which leads to more fighting and more stress. Yadda…yadda…yadda…

    As you can see, my boyfriend and I didn’t make it. We dealt with stress differently. Our careers tore us apart because neither of us wanted to give up our career for the other’s.

    My advice: take a couple years. And don’t take them as a delay for marraige, take them as a pretest. If you two can make it through all of that, then you have a very strong chance at marraige. It’ll be a comfort to know if you do get married that you have made it through a tough time together. 

    If he wants to put a ring on it, then let him put a ring on it. Long engagements are very in right now. But just wait to make sure you know what and who you’re saying I Do to before you walk down the isle.

    Being in love is great. But being smart about being love is even greater.

    Good luck with everything, Sarah.

  7. 37

    🙂 Denise #34, wow we do have a lot in common. I lost my job after I had my oldest child and didn’t go back full-time/permanently until the youngest was 18 months old, i.e. if you don’t count part-time and temp jobs, I stayed home for 4 years. I’m afraid my staying home was one of the things that killed my marriage 🙁 It’s a long story that’s not for a dating forum.
    Also, my career took a pretty big hit because of this 4-year break that I took (involuntarily). I had to start over as an entry-level at 30. My kids will both start college and need cars over the next few years and I guarantee you I could use a bigger paycheck, but what’s done is done. I put a lot of work into raising the kids and there were definitely benefits to my having stayed at home, but there were downsides as well. FTR my mom only stayed with me for five months and I think I turned out fairly well 😀
    Anyway, it’s an individual decision that each family makes for themselves based on what works better for them. I just saw an implication in Hadley’s post that really rubbed me the wrong way – that by default, women should stay at home, unless their husband doesn’t earn enough. That’s a weird thing to see on a site for “smart, strong, successful women”. I know many women who make a real difference at their workplace – some of them were (and still are) my children’s doctors and teachers that had a great influence on them. Going back to Sarah, she’d probably be surprised to find out that, if she marries her BF now, her career (that hasn’t even started yet) should end in a few years, as soon as the kids come. I’ll bet money she hasn’t been planning on that 😉

  8. 38

    #38 Goldie

    Wow, it’s like we were living parallel lives!  It sounds like the biggest difference was I thought being home made my marriage better because I was taking care of the household things during the day, so weekends and the one evening I had off could be spent in a leisurely way – maybe it was because I worked at night too :). 

    Like you, my career took a hit as well–although I would never trade the decision I made and the time I had with my kids for anything, sounds like you feel the same way.

    I also agree that ‘it’s not a perfect world’ (one of my favorite sayings) and it is a decision for each family to make.  However, as we know, hindsight is 20/20 and wisdom comes with time.  The last two sentences of  your post are right on!

    #37 Stephanie

    I think this post is awesome and representative of how life moves through phases.  I can totally see school as being this ‘bubble’, then the realities of life set in.

    I also go back to being the age you are when you’re that age.  Be 21 when you’re 21, be 25 when you’re 25–just worried about yourself and making your way in the world (the generic  you BTW).  Prepare in case your husband is not around (death, divorce, disability) by getting a skill you can fall back on.

    On the other side of the coin, I have also noticed with on line dating the number of men who are older who have younger children.  There is also the situation where people wait for the ‘right’ person, get antsy because they want a family, and then marry and have children, only to find out that was not the right person.  At least, however, they are more financially set because they are older.

    So, it’s not a perfect world.  If I had to make a mistake, I’d rather make a mistake on the side of waiting til I got out of school and established a life for myself (with my man in it of course), then come together as equal partners.

  9. 39

    I dated a 28 year old student when I was a 20 year old student. He wasn’t rich then and he isn’t rich now. If I had married him, I’d be the breadwinner. Not that anythings wrong with that per se. Just sayings all, since the convo went in that direction.

  10. 40

    Lies, damed lies, and statistics:

    Don’t know where Elizabeth Gilbert got her information, but According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce, as opposed to 50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older. Most of the info I’ve found shows that a woman who marries younger than 25, without a college degree and lacking an independent income has a higher probability of her marriage ending in divorce.

    From Wikipedia: 81% of college graduates, over 26 years of age, who wed in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later. 65% of college graduates under 26 who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later. 49% of high school graduates under 26 years old who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later.[

    Here’s another interesting statistic: Children of divorce have a higher risk of divorce when they marry, and an even higher risk if the person they marry comes from a divorced home. One study found that when the wife alone had experienced a parental divorce, her odds of divorce increased to 59 percent. When both spouses experienced parental divorce, the odds of divorce nearly tripled to 189 percent.

    Second and third marriages have much higher divorce rates as well, 67% and 73%, respectively.

    1. 40.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      From Gilbert’s “Committed” p. 123: “The age of the couple at the time of their marriage seems to be the most significant consideration. The younger you are when you get married, the more likely you are to divorce later. In fact, you are ASTONISHINGLY more likely to get divorced if you marry young. You are, for example, two to three times more likely to get divorced if you marry in your teens or early twenties than if you wait until your thirties or forties…When we are very young, we tend to be more irresponsible, less self-aware, more careless, and less economically stable than when we are older. Therefore, we should not get married when we are very young. This is why 18 year olds don’t have a 50% divorce rate; they have a 75% divorce rate, which blows the curve for everyone else. The cutoff is 25 – couples who marry before that are exceptionally more divorce prone”.

      You can try to separate college grads from the conversation, but non-college grads make up 2/3 of the American population. The real point is that getting married before 25 is, statistically, a bad bet and it costs the O.P. nothing to continue to date her devoted boyfriend for 5 more years. By the way, I’ve met two amazing women in the past month who were with college boyfriends for 9+ years and recently broke up. People change – bigtime – in their 20’s. You’d have to be blind to suggest otherwise. Nothing good comes out of them getting married now. The defense rests, your honor.

  11. 41

    I went with my heart many years ago.  Didn’t listen to my parents or anyone who thought I was out of my mind. Big mistake.  I wish I could do it all over again.  Parents have experience and your best interest at heart.  Even though you sometimes don’t want to hear wha they have to say.  They are right more often then not.

  12. 42

    And for the percentage of marriages that don’t end in divorce, MOST of them ENDURE.  Which means, they are not happy, successful unions. 

    I’m with Evan, no harm in waiting, there is nothing lost.

  13. 43

    I got married under 25, and am still married over a decade later.

    I can’t believe I’m backing up Hadley Paige on a point (witness the scuffle we got into in the “Why don’t men like strong, smart, successful women?” post), but here it is.  When you find the right one, there is not much reason to wait.  The right one is one whose personality is compatible with yours AND is kind and willing to compromise.  Marry him.  Marry her.  Lest s/he slip away.

    Please allow me to give a dose of unromantic (or romantic, depending on how you look at it) reality.  I really do believe that a couple that isn’t married is more likely to break up than the same couple that is married.  When you’re married, you try harder to make the marriage work.  And sometimes it fails, as divorce statistics bear out – but other times, thank God, it succeeds. 

    Denise #45, you speak of “enduring” as though it were something bad.  It isn’t.  Sticking with your mate even when times are rough means that when you make it through those rough patches, you’re closer and more deeply committed than ever.  There is value in COMMITMENT in and of itself, separate from romantic feelings.  There is security, trust, friendship, shared memories and laughter and tears.

    So, when you find the right one, don’t wait.

  14. 44

    Maybe I just can’t wrap my brain around it, but I don’t know how you can have a 189% chance of getting a divorce…unless you plan on getting divorced twice.

  15. 45

    “The right one is one whose personality is compatible with yours AND is kind and willing to compromise.”
    I agree in general. But, when this person is in his early 20’s, and you’re in your early 20’s, more likely than not his personality will still change, as will yours. You know that he, as he is right now, is the right one for you right now. But you cannot tell if you’re right for each other long term. Not only that, but most people in their late teens/early 20s do not have enough people skills, experience and judgment yet to accurately evaluate one another’s personality.
    Granted, some people are mature enough even at a young age to choose right, and to sustain a long term relationship. The LW, from her letter, does not come across as one of them.
    “I really do believe that a couple that isn’t married is more likely to break up than the same couple that is married. “
    I agree with you. That’s because, in a marriage, the stakes are higher. Separating is more time-consuming and more expensive that when you’re not married to each other. For the longest time, I thought I could not afford to get divorced.
    “Sticking with your mate even when times are rough means that when you make it through those rough patches, you’re closer and more deeply committed than ever. “
    Yah, either that or you come out on the other end hating each other’s guts, because one of you (or both) let the other person down when times got rough, and you know that if your partner did it once, he or she will do it again 🙁 I mean, there is compromise and teamwork and working through difficult times together, and then there’s the enduring that Denise is talking about, when people would give anything to get away from one another, but are stuck together for whatever reason (material, etc).
    Marriage is serious business, so why not ensure it has the best start possible. To me, jumping into it before you’re ready is like enrolling your child in an activity that he’s too young for, just because there’s an opening on the team now and there may not be one next year. Or like buying your dream house even though it’s ten times your current annual salary, because if you don’t snatch it, somebody else will. IMO it pays to wait. Worst case scenario, there will be other activities and other houses.

  16. 46

    #46 Helen

    Good for you for having such a great marriage!  You and your husband are lucky people, and I wish you nothing but the best for your future.   I too know people who were married before they were even legal to drink or just out of college and/or dated since they were 16.  From what I can see, they will never divorce.  I’m very happy for them as well, they are all friends of mine.

    I don’t think anyone is saying that it NEVER happens where couples who marry young survive and flourish.  We’re saying that statistically, long term, happy marriages are not the norm.

    I think if one has to get married so they don’t ‘get away’, that’s not a good place to start with either.  Why can’t the young couple date and get their lives established individually rather than as a married couple? Either living together or not?  If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.  Your marriage sounds like it’s strong AND was meant to be, so if you two waited a few extra years you’re saying there wouldn’t have been a marriage?  I think Goldie’s analogies are good, they point to a lack of patience (something I’ve struggled with in the past).

    Goldie mentioned the meaning behind ‘endure’ in her post.  Maybe it’s because you haven’t been single in a long time and haven’t been single as an older person, but believe me, there are plenty of marriages out there that ‘endure’.  Religious reasons, lack of confidence, financial reasons, staying for the kids, etc., etc.  None of these are BAD reasons for staying, but if the people in the relationship had a choice, they would not want to be with that other person.  They didn’t ‘choose wisely’ to begin with, me included.

    The point of endure in this context is that the statistics may say that 50% of people divorce, but that doesn’t mean the other 50% are happy marriages, many of them just endure. 

    You are so right about the ups and downs of marriage and life.  Any couple that can continue to stay in love and manage through them to come out stronger in the end, I admire them and that’s what I want for my life.  I bet those people would say their marriages are strong and happy and successful, I don’t think they say they ‘endure’.  I know it’s not the exact term, just taking some license with the definition.

  17. 47

    Goldie, we’ve discussed various topics in different posts, so I know you have a wise and an experienced view on these things.  Yet, I’d like to throw out a few contrary ideas and questions:
    1. I am not as doubtful as you about the ability of young 20-somethings to discern character, nor do I think people’s personalities change that much over time. Even in your early 20s, you know in your gut whether another person is a good person. If you DON’T have that basic level of discernment, then I don’t think that maturing another 5 years will necessarily give much more insight.
    2. People who wait too long often (not always, but often) get more desperate and are more willing to get married at any cost.  This, more than finding “the one” at a younger age, seems to me to be a greater risk factor in choosing the wrong person.  Lori Gottlieb’s messages do make a great deal of sense.
    3. I don’t think we readers can really be the judge of whether or not an anonymous 20-something is ready for marriage. “Worst case scenario, there will be other activities and other houses…” Not always, and not that easily.  Among my single or recently married girlfriends, the complaint is or was that they let someone go with whom they knew they could have been compatible, thinking someone better would come or that they should wait – and now they regret it.
    The problem is that it works both ways.  We can’t be overly cautious, nor should we be completely heedless of others’ warnings.  Look before you leap, but he who hesitates is lost. I would say, both apply here.

  18. 48

    I was really surprised recently to read divorce statistics for different marriages. 45% of first marriages end. 60% for second marriages and 73% for third marriages. Presumably one is older (and has more life experience) by the time they enter a second or third marriage, yet it would appear that the chance of getting divorced may be greater than marrying for the first time in one’s 20’s.

    If one marries for a third time in middle age, the odds are much the same as marrying for the first time at 18.  Maybe the problem isn’t with age, maybe it’s with the insitution of marriage itself.

  19. 49

    Denise #49, thanks for your viewpoints.  I have to say, after reading what both you and Goldie wrote, I can’t help wondering whether marriage isn’t the best institution, and whether we should all just have “bondings” that are separate from the state so as to avoid some of the worst tragedies associated with divorce.  Of course, it’s not just the state; it’s also the complications associated with having children.  You know, there just is no easy answer to any of this.

  20. 50

    I also don’t understand this “marry him before he gets away!” position. If he loves her why would he want to “get away” if she doesn’t marry him within the next year? And marriage isn’t ownership. If he wanted to get away at some point he would, married or not.

    The 20’s is the decade of greatest change for many if not most people, but maintaining a happy marriage appears to be a crapshoot in any decade of life as well.

  21. 51

    There seems to be an unnatural bias here against marriage in one’s 20s. Lots of people want to get married young and start a large family, and why isn’t that okay?
    I do think one should be financially responsible and independent, but let’s take our (liberal) biases away. Plenty of people get married young and are happy.

    1. 51.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Actually, Amy, 75% of the people who get married young (before 25) to start their large families end up getting divorced. It’s perfectly okay and legal for you to get married when you’re just out of college. History shows that it’s usually not a wise idea.

  22. 52
    Sam P.


    “Lots of people want to get married young and start a large family, and why isn’t that okay?”

    What is okay isn’t always smart. There’s absolutely no moral criticism in saying “Don’t get married when you’re 22,” it’s only a concern about how long a marriage initiated in youth is going to last. 

  23. 53

    #54 Amy, actually this blog, of all places, would be most likely prone to “an unnatural bias here against marriage in one’s 20s” – just because a lot of people on here did get married in their early 20s, to young men or women that were also in their early 20s, and where did it get us? we’re here on this site, aren’t we? learning how to date in our 40s and 50s, trying to explain it to our teenage kids and not die of embarrassment in the process, instead of enjoying a happy, long marriage like we’d prefer to. (With a few commendable exceptions, I must add, Helen :))
    We just don’t want the next generation to screw up like we did. That’s all. Especially here and now, when there are so many alternate options available to them that weren’t available to some of us when we were that age. At the very least, they should give it a heck of a lot of thought and not rush into a major life change that a marriage is.

  24. 54

    #52 Goldie

    One of my favorite sayings “It’s not a perfect world” 🙂

    Ultimately, I do believe that marriage is the foundation and fabric of society–and the best thing for children.  I didn’t choose wisely Goldie, and I think a lot of people are in my same situation, no matter what their age by the way!  (I am NOT speaking about any kind of abuse or neglect, that’s a whole separate thing.)  I married a good man, he just wasn’t the right man for me.  Some people decide that it’s best the two people go their own separate ways, regardless if there are children or not, and some choose to wait it out, sometimes forever. 

    There ARE people like you however that did choose correctly, maybe it was that you were more mature than many of us, maybe it was luck–who knows?  The end result though is that you are in a good place.  I’m sure not everything is 100% rosy all the time, but you have that underlying love that allows for a couple to decide that it’s better to stay together to work through it than to leave.  I would counsel anyone that if there any glimpse of love, to stay the course and work it out. 

    Honestly though, I think most people can say that who they were at 20 is not who they were at 30 or even 40.  Someone said that the father gave his blessing and that was an important fact, I agree with that!  No one is saying the young man isn’t a good man or the young woman isn’t a good woman–it’s just that the reality of the situation is most marriages of really  young people don’t work out too well.  What’s wrong with waiting a few years, saving money, putting yourself in a good financial positions to make life easier and give yourself choices (the generic ‘you’)?

    #57 Goldie

    Couldn’t have said it better Goldie!  And we remember when we were young, we knew ‘everything’.   We live longer today, women have more options and choices, women seem to be able to have babies at any age :), etc.–these are good things that are available, why not take advantage of them?

  25. 55

    Denise #14
    i agree with the thing about wanting to have a “real life”. It’s very short sighted.
    personally i think, i am going to have that “real life” all my life. And the busy life after a job+marriage+kids doesn’t leave that much time for friends, more so since they will have their own husbands, jobs and kids to take care of. Its much better to have fun now so that when you really want to marry you have experienced life.

  26. 56

    #59 Shalini

    Good point, I would also clarify that having a family is a wonderful experience, with our without children.  In my opinion, there is not one stage of life that is ‘better’ than another, they are just dramatically different. 

    Someone is 21, just out of college.  Why not experience the early 20s being single and carefree, not worrying about anyone but yourself (not considering any kind of sick relative or elderly parents).  Then perhaps marrying at 25, 26.  There is NOTHING like just being concerned about yourself and no one else.  Once marriage and/or kids come, that time is over, and really, that time is over forever–there will always be another human to consider (unless there are no children and a divorce).

  27. 57

    Joe #47
    <<Maybe I just can’t wrap my brain around it, but I don’t know how you can have a 189% chance of getting a divorce…unless you plan on getting divorced twice.>>
    I’m not a statistician, just copied this directly from the study. I did preface my comments with the old chestnut about statistics!
    Also from the same study: “the risk of divorce is far below fifty percent for educated people going into their first marriage, and lower still for people who wait to marry at least until their mid-twenties, haven’t lived with many different partners prior to marriage, or are strongly religious and marry someone of the same faith”.

    Selena #51

    Perhaps divorced people who re-marry are carrying the same unresolved issues into their new relationships?

  28. 58

    If these were my children I would advise them to wait until they’ve dated for at least 2 years before marriage.  But I think it would be okay for them to get engaged after the first year. 

    But my one caveat would be that they should not get married until after they’ve both graduated from college and found jobs.

  29. 59

    I’m with you Maggie16.

  30. 60

    I agree with Jane #9 & Lily 15.  I think this couple is waiting on marriage to have sex.  The rapid pace, the asking of the father’s blessing for the marriage, etc.  It also rings a lot of bells in terms of other relationships I’ve observed where people did not want to have premarital sex.
    As Maggie (#62) just said, waiting a full year before getting engaged is important.  Sometimes people have seasonal depression or other issues that develop.  At one point I had been seriously dating someone and had started talking about marriage 6-7 months into the relationship.  9 months in a serious issue arose that was a complete shocker and not in line with the previous time period.  We ended up working through that issue and are now married, but it would have been a very scary thing for that issue to have arisen after we were already married, or even engaged.
    So regardless of one’s age, there is a purpose in waiting, even if you don’t want to wait 5 years as many of the other posters have recommended.  But waiting long enough to find out what issues you are likely to face in your marriage and see if those are issues you’re willing to work on together, or if they’re dealbreakers.  And I’d recommend waiting on telling people you’re engaged, or at least wait to start actually planning your wedding.  Just as many people have a difficulty initiating a divorce because of cost issues, many people have a difficulty initiating a breakup when a lot of money has been shelled out for a wedding or when they’re afraid of not meeting others’ expectations.

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