Thursday, July 10, 2014

What Do You Think?

Way back in June (that seems so long ago to me) I started a new series on my blog to get some 'back and forth' conversations going with my readers. I am interested in what you think. So whenever I am pondering anything I am going to come on here and ask:


"What Do You Think?"

I was born in the early 1950's. 1951 to be exact. I went through school all through the 50's and the 60's. When I was in high school I didn't dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I already knew what I was going to be. I didn't dream about college and dormitories. I didn't dream about education and degrees. I didn't dream about working and careers. I was going to be a wife and a mother. End of story. That is what all of us girls who were born in the 1950's did. I don't think I had a single friend from high school who went on to college as soon as school was out. In fact, most of us already knew exactly when we were going to get married. We already were either engaged or getting ready to become engaged. We already were planning out weddings. I did attend a 'business college' for a few months, just to occupy my time until that diamond ring was placed on my finger.

Now the average age of new brides is 27 years old. Heck by that time I already had two babies, a tubal ligation, and a divorce. But many of the girls that I graduated from high with are still married to those same 'boys' they walked the halls with, holding hands. In fact, other than myself, I don't know any of them that aren't still married to the same guy. I just chose poorly!!

So tell me what do you think? Are girls of 18 today ready to be wives. Or is it by far wiser to wait. Why is it different now than it was back then. What made me, as an 18 year old, more ready for marriage than an 18 year old of this generation? How old were you when you got married? Inquiring minds want to know.

22 comments:

  1. Well, I got married as a 20 year old back in 1977 and I can tell you that I was nowhere near ready to be a wife! Although I am still married to him and he is the love of my life, we could have saved ourselves a ton of grief by just waiting until we grew up a little! My daughter is 33 and just now getting married, and I am so glad she waited!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now see, that is where we differ. When I got married in 1969, not only was I ready to be a wife and a mother, I had spent all my teen years getting ready. I loved staying at home raising kids and cleaning and cooking. My dad died when I was only 7 so my sister and I took over cooking and cleaning. And so did my brother's. I think we coddle our kids too much now days

      Delete
  2. Well I was 16 with a one year old LOL. I didn't have time to think about what I was going to do, the decision was made for me. I think that we did not have the same options in our day as the women do now. Now you can hold a high salaried job, travel unaccompanied, buy a house and a car.....things that we thought we had to have a spouse to do. I don't know if it is better or worse, the divorce rate is about the same I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness. Yes, you didn't have to make that decision. I cannot imagine ! But you are right. We had far fewer choices then than girls do now. I haven't looked into the divorce rate then compared to now. Living together back in those days was definitely a huge "NO NO" Wonder how that figures in. You will have to share your story sometime Wendy. It sounds fascinating. Or maybe novel-worthy! LOL

      Delete
  3. I have had these same ponderings lately, as I have two kids - one about to be 19 (a daughter) and one that just turned 21 (a son). It is very much a different day and time with this generation. Not only are they NOT ready to get married in that age range (18-21), most will flat out tell you - they do not want to grow up/move out.

    I got married at 20 (1991) (I WAS in college at the time - going into my junior year just after my wedding) and then had my first at 22 (incidentally, I had my son a week before college graduation - BUT I DID IT!).

    One major difference is that at that age - I WANTED to move on. I was ready to be out on my own, and it wasn't because I had a terrible home life I was trying to escape. I just had the inner drive to become a full-fledged adult. Kids now do not.

    Friends and I have discussed this, and we aren't exactly sure what it is that has caused this overwhelming delay in maturity and motivation for kids to be on their own. I tell mine - legally you may be considered an 'adult' but that term, in my book, is when I person is completely on their own and fully self-sufficient. It is almost as if there is an additional stage now, to add to growing up - one just after the 'teen' years but before TRUE adulthood (i.e. self-sufficient).

    This would be an interesting research study.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right. The kids we are raising today are NOT ready to leave home at age 18. I was ready to leave home and stand on my own. Although I really didn't totally leave until I was 20. I know many whose kids go to college and then come home to live again with their parents. They want everything their parents took years to get....they want right now.

      Delete
  4. My husband and I got married when I was 35 and had lived together for 4 years before that. We had our kids when I was 37 and 40. I would not recommend waiting this long for most people - but God definitely knew what he was doing with me. I was far too selfish and spontaneous to be a parent or a good wife earlier in my life. I wish I had matured or settled down or whatever you call it earlier - it would be so much easier to care for mom if my kids were older or off to college or on their own. But that's not how it was meant to be. I went though lots of boyfriends - I was even engaged in high school to my high school sweetheart, but had to break it off in the spring of my senior year - I was so not ready. He was - found someone new and they are still married. I was a gypsy and I was good at it. I hope my children have their kids earlier so I get to meet them and they can be younger and closer to the age of the other parents. I get mistaken for a grandparent occasionally at my kids events. My best friend in high school's oldest son graduated high school the year my son was born!!! I think if I had stayed in my home town I would have been more likely to marry younger, but I had places to go and things to do and jobs to conquer. Now, at 52, I am as happy as can be to stay home and be a mom.
    I think my son will take longer to move out, but may marry younger than my daughter. She will be gone as soon as she can (I am guessing) to college and medical school - she has wanted to be in the medical field for as long as I can remember - maybe she will find the cure for Alzheimer's!, but will probably marry older. We'll see!!! We talk about it a lot - I want them to think about their decisions. To make a plan for their lives. I want them to understand some of the rules and expectations. They are learning to earn their privileges and get rewarded for being responsible...hope it doesn't backfire! My parents put me to work at 11 and we were so busy running our businesses that we never really got around to talking about my future - I just went off to figure it out on my own...that's probably why it took so long!!! Wouldn't change many things - because all my adventures led me here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How I would love to hear about all your adventures Lisa. It's not so bad that you waited. You lived first. That is important. I think I missed out on so much. But I wouldn't change where I am today for anything!

      Delete
    2. That's what's important? Isn't it? That we are happy with our decisions...because what is the point of regret? Today me might tell 20-something me how to avoid a couple of things, but mostly today me knows that 20-something me had to have those adventures for me to appreciate and be here today!

      Delete
    3. Oh I have lots of regrets. But you are right, what is the point?

      Delete
  5. I think financially it is harder to get married young these days, at least here in Southern California as one cannot live on minimum wage here, even two salaries of minimum wage. I got married at 22, hubby was 26. We had 6 years before the kids came along, and we played in those 6 years, traveled, ate out, didn't save any money (wish we had), but I was ready for the kids at 28. Wouldn't have been as ready at 22. Son is 25 and in no way ready to be married financially or maybe even mentally. I keep reminding myself that he is still young and one day might tie the knot (not that I'm encouraging him to do it earlier than he is ready). I think these days it is more acceptable too to have children in your 30s. My mom got married at 32 and had us three within 5 years and she always felt when she was pregnant that she was too old to be so (of course she was of the generation that everyone got married young, 18 years old, etc). Good question Paula!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the generations are definitely different, aren't they. I think if people wait until they can afford to be married, they will never get married. I used to tell that to my sister and brothers about having kids.....if you wait until you can affford them you will never have them...and THEY didn't!

      Delete
  6. I graduated from high school in 1983. Prior to my senior year I was certain I would marry my then boyfriend as soon as I could, but I knew I'd have to do some college first, to satisfy my parents. I decided I would go to a "business college" (like you) and a one year program there. Sometime in my senior year I changed my mind about wanting to be married and I broke the boy's heart. I went ahead with my business school plan and got in another long term relationship that I thought I wanted to result in marriage, thank God it did not! I finished school and just couldn't wait to move out and be on my own! I got a job and shared an apartment with a girl friend. It was during this time that I met the man who would become my husband. I married at 23, which by today's standards is a little young. The timing was good for me. I went to college (short as it was), got a job, lived on my own, paid rent, bought a car, and went back to school while still working -- all before getting married. When I got married we bought a little town house and I was delighted to "set up housekeeping", but I didn't want a child for a long time. We were free to travel and buy things and have experiences that I had longed for. It was a very good time in my life. Nine years, another house and a few promotions later, we were set and ready to have a baby (if it happened). The baby is now 16 and we just celebrated 25 years.

    I don't know why today's young folks are not ready to make their own way in the world, but I don't like it. I think it is because parents are too involved in their kids' lives, trying to make everything perfect. I was just speaking with someone who was stressing about her son's college studies and social struggles. I remarked that I really do NOT plan to still be having those kinds of conversations with my child when she is in college. In fact, she has already cut the apron strings as far as my involvement in her school work. She is completely on her own for managing her studies. The only time I check in is report card time. She knows she can come to me if she needs, but otherwise I am uninvolved. I've already been to high school, this is hers to do! (And, amazingly enough, she says she can't wait to set out on her own!) I am constantly amazed at the level of parental involvement with high schoolers' academics. Everyone wants their child to be the best! I abhor this trend and I refuse to join it! I think this may be part of the reason kids are not responsible enough to move out and be on their own! They are used to being coddled by their parents who make everything perfect for them. Stepping down off my soapbox now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I graduated from nursing school the same year you did from high school. With a divorce under my belt and two young boys to take care of. I agree with you about parents being too involved in their kids lives. I think it is why so many can't make it out there on their own. They never had to!!

      Delete
  7. Well this certainly is an interesting thread that generates detailed conversation. I might just try this out on my blog as I am stalled again.

    I was 22 when I got married and I married a week after college graduation (marriage delayed until after graduation because my dad didn't support girls going to college - said I was going just to find a man! So graduate first was my stubborn choice.)

    So many of my choices at that age were reactions to my home life and the culture. I was raised to think that I would be married and have children. And I did sincerely want that as well - and as a child of the 50s that seemed to be our female future. Choices for girls were slim and an alcoholic fathers doesn't typically produce a trailblazing daughters. I dated seldom in high school. I met my husband in college - and I loved him, but if I wasn't so unhappy at home I might have waited to marry later. My one regret in life is that I left my parent's home to live in my husband's home, never having a chance to just be me and take care of myself. Thankfully I was ready at 22 to be a wife and mother - and I had a significant other lined up - not the best way to chose the rest of your life but those were the choices I made.

    But my life has been good since leaving home - mostly through luck I guess. If I had delayed marriage and picked a husband later in life without the push of an unhappy home, my choice might not have been as good. I really think my guardian angel was working double time then.

    My children have taken an entirely different life path. My son married at 39 and my daughter now at 38 is not married and there are no "possibilities" waiting in the wings. Marriage and a family of her own are not high priorities. Both kids did struggle a bit and bounced home more than once. And my husband and I provided a stable home base that allowed that to happen. That was never an option for me. Both kids are now very successful. Happy, productive and independent. If and when they become parents, they will make great parents. They are the best products of my own life. In some ways they are living the life I would have chosen for myself if the pressures of my family and 50s culture hadn't impacted me so much. Would they have been ready at 22 for spouses and children ... NO! They didn't have to grow up as fast as I did - and probably that is the real decision point. Do you have to be an adult now or can you hold off?

    Previous generations - even prior to 1900 - had to grow up fast. So they did - no late in life spouses and children. I don't think delaying adulthood is a bad thing in our current time line because getting on your feet independently is hard in this economy. And adulthood isn't really all it is cracked up to be in my opinion. But by 30, you should be out from under your parents wings, and flying on your own. Delaying your adulthood beyond 30 is another problem.

    Interesting post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is my one regret as well Elaine. I wish I had tried living on my own first. We had a rule at our house that once the boys left home they could come back once (with the exact same rules in place as when they left). They both came back once. My oldest only stayed 6 weeks the second time. He didn't like a curfew after he had been out on his own. I told them we aren't a hotel and the door isn't a swinging door. I am telling my grandchildren the same thing.

      Delete
  8. We don't teach our children the sanctity of marriage anymore. Kids nowadays treat marriage like a high school dating scene. If they get bored with the one they're with, they go find another...either while still married or get a divorce just so they can hop on the next dating train. Many find that if it's too hard, they go and find something that isn't. It makes me sad.

    I grew up in the 70s and 80s. I dreamed of going to college, in the Air Force, and then maybe getting married. Pretty much in that order. My parents taught me consequences for my actions, that marriage is sacred, and your word is your word!

    Now, my life didn't happen the way I dreamed. I did graduate high school but with a year and a half left in college, I got married (age 20). I still completed college because I knew I needed the degree and that had been instilled in me since I was very young. We got married after only a month knowing each other and it was best to get to know each other before children.

    Looking back, it was rough, yes. But, we were soul mates and were so much in love. It took us 10 years before we decided to start a family, and another 3 to conceive...with the help of a doctor (sad, but blessed that we were able to once).

    we've been married nearly 25 years and after my husband became disabled, I never once thought about leaving him. Now that it's been 15 years with the steady worsening progression, I see so many people with less problems to deal with (and more) that just give up and quit. My vows did say through richer and poorer, in sickness and in health. And I stick by those vows.

    Why can't we teach our children this anymore?

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    Caring for My Veteran
    Be Positive in Life and Writing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am still teaching that very thing to my granddaughters...make sure you mean those vows before you say them. Because in God's eyes it's serious business. I guess I should teach that to my grandson as well. I just don't see him not taking vows lightly.

      Delete
  9. Oh my goodness ... is that you on your first wedding day, Paula? Your smile sort of reminds me of Harley's!

    I graduated just ahead of you ('68) then started college in the Fall .... having absolutely NO CLUE what I wanted to do or be. Just that it was 'expected.' In all honesty, I was scared to death of winding up an 'old maid' -- mind you, I was NOT at all attractive -- that I married less than a year later to the first fellow who asked. Since our marriage didn't survive it's toddler years, I sometimes wish it never existed -- except, of course, my now 44-y/o son wouldn't have existed and I can't imagine life w/o him! Unlike their grandma, his daughters - now 20 and 16 - are more self-assured and happy 'as is.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA HA..no that is not me Just a picture I borrowed from the internet. But Harley does look the way that I looked as a young girl....or so people say. I don't believe for one minute that you were not attractive because you are beautiful now!

      Delete
  10. I was 19 when I got married. I had plans of going to college and becoming a vet. Instead I became a wife and mother. I can't see my daughter getting married at 18 or 19. I don't regret the choices I made, but i definitely wished I would have travelled and did more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My oldest son married at 19. And didn't last a year. At least you are still at it!!!!!

      Delete

I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!