Monday, May 04, 2009

Marry in Your Twenties

Everyone in the pro-marriage racket has been promoting Mark Regnerus' fine piece in the Washington Post, "Say Yes. What Are You Waiting For?" I agree entirely. I see my students putting off the thought of marriage right after college because they think they should get all their ducks in a row first. And they have lots of ducks.

The best line from Regnerus:
"Marriage actually works best as a formative institution, not an institution you enter once you think you're fully formed."

8 comments:

Kerri said...

what about marriage when all your ducks are out of school?
("school" being the key, vague term here).

devilscarpet said...

What you say about the pressure is incredibly true. The other day in the car with a professor and some other students going on an academic field trip, I mentioned in passing that I had ideally wanted to have my first child somewhere around the ages of 25-27. Everyone, including the professor, turned around shocked and aghast that I would say such a thing. One of my friends say, in a tone of horror, "Wow, slow down Victoria..."

Gruntled said...

Marriage and school can go together well. I think that if you already know who you want to marry, and the feeling is mutual, then the more formative experiences you share, the better for your subsequent life together.

(Oh, if you do have marry young and have kids early and it works out, your later life is richer and easier. More years with the grandkids, too).

Rebecca said...

I second Regnerus. Marrying in my early twenties while continuing to go to graduate school has enriched my life and, in unexpected ways, made it easier.

If what you want is more time to work on your career or write your dissertation, thanks to the "division of labor" I'm quite sure the average married person has MUCH more time than the average dater, or even non-dater. Yes, I usually make dinner, keep the house respectably clean, and do the laundry, but my husband buys groceries, pays the bills, mows the lawn, maintains our cars, and, in general, earns the money that keeps us afloat--and keeps me from stressing about funds--a worry which plagues most of my single grad school pals. Sooo, that means marriage can help you complete your graduate degree faster (or get where you want in your career) with less debt, better home-cooked meals, and more sexual satisfaction. Win-Win!!

Admittedly, even if you marry someone supportive of your ambitions, you will still have to make compromises...as to where you live, what you do on Sunday afternoon, etc. But if you show me a marriage that doesn't run on compromises, I'll show you an egomaniac and a doormat! And God forbid the members of our over-exposed, self-aggrandizing generation learn to be a little, well self-less.

Mary Jo said...

Tell my boyfriend.

Rebecca said...

Well, there's always the Lysistrata strategy. :-)

Black Sea said...

People delay marriage in part because of the desire to at least sample the sexual smorgasbord before "settling down." However, I suspect that for both hormonal and experiential reasons, this makes a strong and durable conection between two people more difficult. At some point, sequential relationships that eventually collapse become the norm, and the expected norm. This obviously makes commitment, trust, and patience less likely to develop. I get the sense (as someone in his 40s) that people in their 20s and early 30s are pretty cynical about the whole idea of making a life with another person, and people were cynical enough about it when I was younger (maybe they always have been).

There are obviously other physiological factors. Men are most likely to fall in love with a woman when she is at her most sexually attractive, and that is not at age 35. Women may be less focused on youth in a partner than men, but it is still a consideration. Finally, most people just don't fall as deeply in love (whatever that means) in their 30s as they might in their 20s. Everything in it's season, and perhaps nature has arranged for us to fall in love and procreate before we really know TOO much about ourselves and each other.

Heather Ann said...

As someone who married at 19 and is still happily married 16 years later, I say "Amen!"

But...we also need to stop expecting marriage to be "happily ever after..." as mentioned before - it needs to run on compromise! ^_^