Every once in a while, as I am channel surfing, I’ll accidently see a few seconds of Dr. Phil as my clicker gets stuck. Oh no, I would never intentionally watch more than point-two-five seconds of that show! But on those rare occasions that my clicker quits working temporarily, I might see some young couple on there in their mid-twenties who are engaged. And, of course, the all-knowing Dr. Phil berates them for being so stupid as to believe that they know anything about life and love, and think for a second that their marriage will be anything but a tremendous disaster.
Recently, I read this story written by a woman who married at the age of *gasp* 24. She laments about missing out on the single life at such a young age, and how their marriage was saved because they decided to wait seven years before having a child, and how she and her husband “grew up together.”
I am left to wonder, what makes getting married in your mid-twenties such a horrible thing? And then, does having children at a young age destroy a marriage (that was supposedly doomed to failure anyway, because only fools marry before they are 35)?
Well, I hate to tell you Dr. Phil (along with all your “expert” colleagues), but I happen to know boatloads of people that “married young”, even had children at “such a young age”, and yet they are getting along just fine.
Let me start with myself. I was barely 22 when I married, and my wife 20. We had our first child that same year. My wife was barely 21 and I was still 22. I’ll admit, it was hard, but we toughed it out. We had our second child four years later (at the ages of 25 and 26), and our third just a year and a half after that, two days after my 28th birthday.
We were dirt poor. Our honeymoon consisted of a room at the local Howard Johnson. Even then, it was only because of the generosity of my wife’s aunt that we even got that. Originally, our planned honeymoon was planned to take place in my parent’s basement, where we lived for the first few years of our marriage. For our 10-year anniversary, I finally settled things as I took my wife to Vegas for a second honeymoon.
If you were to ask either myself or my wife, we both have no regrets in getting married “early.” Frankly, looking back, I would have done it even earlier given the opportunity.
Being that I grew up in Utah, I am surrounded by people who got married “too early”, and yet are still together 10, 20, 60 years later. I had a high school teacher (who also happened to be a neighbor of mine) that married at 18, his wife just 14. They had a child, then another two years later (20 and 16 years of age respectively). They went on to have 11 more children. They are still together today, no regrets, some 40 years later.
Friends that I grew up with married at an even younger age than I. Several more married at roughly the same age, many more at 23 years old. Of them all that I have stayed in contact with, none have separated or divorced. All remain happily married.
Perhaps in Utah, we just simply take our commitments more seriously, and are more willing to work to make a happy home. Either that, or we are just better judges of our future mates. Yes, sometimes I see people getting married young that probably shouldn’t be. But “being young” in and of itself is no judge of whether a marriage will last.
Or maybe I simply live in a different world than everybody else. A world where I believe true love conquers all. Or perhaps it’s the idea us crazy Mormons have of marrying for eternity. Maybe we just take our decision to marry a little more seriously. That and that fact that unlike the 24-year old woman that wrote the story mentioned earlier, we don’t create lists of people we’d like to have sex with then chase after them, party with all sorts of promiscuous types, and “take advantage” of our youthful college years. We save ourselves for our eternal spouses and commit ourselves to them when we find them.
Yeah, that’s us, nothing but a bunch of crazy Mormons. Just one more reason not to vote for a Mormon for president: a strong marriage combined with an utter lack of promiscuity. After all, how can a man with strong morals and high ethical standards possibly lead a nation?!