My girls were sitting on the couch with me yesterday evening looking at pretty wedding dresses on Pinterest…
…and chatting about what kind of weddings they want some day. The eldest girl declared, unprompted by me, that 20 is the perfect age to marry. I was pleased to hear her say so, especially since this is a girl who is highly competitive, plays a lot of sports, is involved in many extra-curricular activities, and takes honors classes. She wants to attend college and knows that we will pay for her to do so provided she lives at home, attends one of the universities within driving distance, and majors in something very practical. I wasn’t sure how much thought she’d been giving to marriage, especially since she jokes sometimes about boys being too complicated and how she’s planning to just grow old with a lot of cats. But apparently she has been thinking about it, and if while she is a student a suitable Christian man approaches her father and me for permission to marry her before she finishes her degree, permission most likely will be given.
Her comment about 20 being the perfect age to marry made me remember a recent post by Cane Caldo, in which he writes:
The marriage/divorce stats show a (morally) positive correlation between a woman’s achievement of a bachelor’s degree, and a continuance of marriage. Because of this, the idea has been put forward that this correlation centers on a (supposed) “future-time orientation”; i.e. the ability to delay gratification. Do we know how soon after graduation the women (who do not divorce) marry? I’m wondering how future oriented they are. Isn’t is possible that the ones who follow this pattern have made a decision to marry as soon as social pressures allow?
[…] Isn’t there the possibility that the women who are the most maritally stable are those women who both submit to the narrative of their leaders and media, and who also are really focused on (that is: strongly desire) marriage so to love a man? Is it possible that, given another set of priorities–or even just the removal of the bachelors degree notion–that those same women might do just as well marrying younger than 22 simply because that’s the demographic that wants to be married, and is also willing to listen to their authorities; that they wanted to marry earlier, and they only put it off as long as they needed to be respectful members of society as they were instructed?
I think this is quite possible. This certainly describes my own situation. During the summer between my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college, my then-boyfriend gave me a pearl promise ring and said that we would get married as soon as we graduated from college. However, we went to separate colleges in the fall, which stressed our relationship, and even though he switched schools to
keep an eye on be near me, our engagement ended early in my sophomore year in part because I had swallowed the feminist poison (and also in part because we really weren’t terribly compatible).
Nevertheless, my big secret shame in college was that all I really wanted to do was find a man I loved and get married. Though I would never have admitted it, I knew that one of my most important goals while an undergrad was to find the man I would marry. I met my husband during my senior year in college and briefly pretended that I was too independent to need a husband while secretly hoping he’d see through my faux-feminist blathering bull-pucky and marry me anyway, which thankfully he eventually did. But I really had a mental block, as most young women now do, against the idea of marrying before I finished that degree.
When I was in school, marrying your college sweetheart shortly after (but never before) graduation was fairly common; many of my college friends did so. However, the wait was really a mere formality, and if girls are going to go to college, there is no reason they should not marry while they are there. But they often don’t, and nowadays they seem not even to consider finding their future husbands while they are undergrads. I presume this is so because modern girls are being taught to see their post-Bachelor career or graduate school plans as paramount and are told they ought not become tied down to a place or to having to follow a husband where his job or school plans may lead.
The majority of college girls who wish to be wives would ultimately do better to marry while still in college and put their job and school choices lower on the priority list. It’s not that they cannot get a degree or have a job, it’s just that they should put their supposed future time orientation to work and see that what they probably secretly want more than a demanding career is a happy family, and the best way to have that is to assign a higher priority to family formation and their husbands’ education and job prospects.
It’s not like this would be some big sacrifice on the young woman’s part. She could still finish her degree and get a job (which feminists absurdly call “having a career” as if it were on par with “having a family” or “having a life”, which it isn’t), but it would ultimately benefit her to have a husband who could provide well for the family once the children start arriving so that she could focus on what women generally do best, which is mothering and overseeing the management of the home.
Presently a college girl who wishes to marry at 20 will be pressured to wait, but I hypothesize that encouraging girls who wish to marry to feel free to do so to an appropriate man before finishing their college degrees will not increase the divorce rate one bit. The only girls who would likely marry at 20 are the ones who would prefer marriage and family life; the party girls and the hyper-driven future career girls won’t feel any pressure to marry in college and so will not. I see this as a win for everyone.