May 29, 2013 2 Comments
Megan McArdle gets into the discussion about whether it’s a good idea to marry young. Her focus, as has been true with the rest of the cultural sturm und drang on this issue, is on the impact for women (TL;DR – she says “yes”).
That’s well and good, and I think her points are well taken, and well considered. I’d like to look at the issue from a different perspective: that of men, or at least this man.
I may be a tad unusual among men, or at least I don’t fit the stereotype, because I wanted very much to get married young. Part of this may stem from overly romantic notions (à la Lloyd Dobbler, perhaps) – and another part could be influenced by spending my teenage years in Utah.
In Utah, it’s pretty common for young Mormon men to get married not too long after they return from their mission at age 21, while they’re in college. A few of my friends were married shortly after high school, which I’m certain is an uncommon thing to say in my current social circle (where marriage in one’s mid/late 20s is normal, and that’s “young” relative to the rest of the city).
I eloped at age 20 with someone I barely knew, and it was a complete disaster (shocker, right?). We divorced while she was in prison a year and a half later. I was not a very good husband (although to be fair, nothing I did was bad enough to land me in prison…)
I met Sarah not too long (6 months?) after that (talk about trading up!) and immediately knew that I wanted to be with her. We married when I was 26 and she was 22, after dating for almost three years, and have been married for 14.5 years, through some rough times, but not a single day of which would I trade away without a fight.
To me, knowing that Sarah is there for me (and I am there for her) is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. Actually, far better than sliced bread- I know that no matter what happens, be it illness, loss, grief, triumph, success, joy, pain – it’s always better when I can share it with her. I think the closest word in English for that is love.
My dear friend Gordon zt”l died a couple of weeks ago, and he was only one year older than me. That to me is a great example of why it is foolish to wait to get married: marital happiness is something which should never be put off. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
So I think those people who are advocating the MRS degree are right on the money- except that I would also say the same thing to the men (although there is no equivalent term). I would say advise a person in college not to put their career before love. After all, which one will be with you in the private moments?