I think quite often about the scourge of divorce in our culture. Things have changed a great deal in the past 75 years or so. Parents are not intimately involved when their children choose a mate. Young women are groomed for the market place rather than the home, and marriage is viewed as an addendum to a full life rather than the beginning of adulthood itself.
There are many obstacles to successful young marriages in this climate. Alte outlines in great detail the hurdles standing between young men and marriage in this post. The lack of incentives to marriage for young men have caused many to check out. In addition, we have young women delaying marriage* until they are ready to bear children and then setting out to find a husband to get that item checked off their list.
With this lackadaisical approach to marriage and the ease with which even Christians divorce, this is a disastrous path that we must discourage our daughters from taking. It is not the foundation for lasting marriage. The primary foundation is Christ, first and foremost.
However, I left these sentiments (expanded a bit here) at Sunshine Mary’s recently because I think it is also pertinent, given that women initiate 2/3 of the divorces in this country:
There are two types of women who marry. Those women who want to be mothers and set out to find a man to marry. They are often quick to say that they “love children” on the first date. They are often well educated and have done quite well in their chosen careers.
And then, are those women who meet a particular man, want him and want to have his babies. The marriage is the way to sanction their ability to fulfill that. They want him and are prepared for all that goes along with that.
The latter group is a better marriage risk in 2013, this age of decadence where marriage is more often initiated by feelings rather than love in its truest sense.
It’s one of the very reasons I am vehemently against women building careers and personal monuments before considering marriage, even if they are chaste while doing so. That path treats marriage like an afterthought, children as accessories, and men as a means to an end. It also makes it much easier to dispose of the marriage when the checklist has been fulfilled.
Marriage and motherhood is a vocation all its own.
College and the marketplace will always be there. The vitality, fertility, and the openness of heart and mind that comes with youth will not.
There is a monumental difference between being open to marriage and meeting someone you are prepared to give it all for and spending years pursuing personal ambition and grabbing any poor sucker to inseminate you and give you your coveted babies. But if you do that, as a Christian you are not exempt from all the responsibilities and standards required to be a godly, faithful wife simply because you are suddenly not in love anymore.
Marriage is more about making us holy than it is making us happy anyway. Believers used to know that, which is why even arranged marriages managed to last and produce many children. But times have changed, and we largely choose our mates with little to no family assistance driven primarily by emotion.
This new system means that early marriage is a net advantage rather than a disadvantage. Better to marry when you’re young, naive and horny than when you think you have it all together and know who you are. The former person is teachable and able to grow. The latter, not so much.
Children are not a fashion accessory that we pick up on the way out the door as an afterthought because we were so busy we “forgot” to do it sooner. We need to change the way we do things. Oh, did I mention that this modern trend undermines chastity? Well it does.
* I realize that there are women who desired to marry young for whom it didn’t work out that way for various reasons despite being attractive, faithful, and eager. This post speaks to the current trend of parents discouraging their young people from marrying young and building a life from the ground up with the mate.