Getting Married: Thoughts and *Vent*


Ok, this is isn’t a full on vent. My vents usually take the forms of rants and (:bigyikes: ) trolling. But I have some thoughts that I need to share, some of them negative, about how the older generation (Boomers, this means you!) and how it deals with the younger generation, in regards to marriage and issues of sexual purity.

First of all, I think that Boomers sometimes do not realize the very difficult state that many people in my generation are facing, in regards to these issues. People in my generation grew up in an incredibly sexually saturated society. The sexual revolution of the 1960’s is now the acien regime, so we no longer have the social expectation of remaining virgins until marriage. One of my friends was telling me how shortly after she got her first boyfriend, her mother took her to the gynecologist for a Pap smear and a prescription for Birth Control Pills. As if this wasn’t enough, my generation is waiting longer for marriage than previous generations. A 12 year old American boy who wants to remain a virgin until marriage, can expect to abstain from sex for 15 years on average, during the years when his sex drive is at his peak. A 12 year old girl will wait almost as long, 14 years on average. The average age of marriage for women is now about 26, which means by the time she marries, her fertility is already beginning to decline. It’s almost as though set up to fail.

In addition, I think that the advice that older people give sometimes represents a skewed view of marriage. I remember someone offering consolation to single people by saying that a single person can go backpacking around Europe. I wondered if this person would console an infertile couple with this platitude. When I heard this comment, I thought that it represented a skewed philosophy. The comment seemed to imply that life is about traveling and money. “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Now, I expect this kind of philosophy from the world, where material comfort is the only purpose of living, but I worry that many people in the church have absorbed this mentality. They may give these kinds of platitudes meaning comfort, but they are also expressing values of personal comfort over personal sacrifice. Venerable Zelie Martin, the mother of St. Therese, wanted her children to remain single, but not to become rich and tour the world in style, but so that they could serve God.

I’m not really looking for pity, what I’m looking for are people in the older generation who look at this situation and recognize that something is seriously wrong, and are willing to do their part to changing it. I’m also not saying that my generation is blameless, we are certainly far from that. But I kept thinking about these issues, and I just wanted to express my ideas. I’m sure I’m not the first person to say something like this, I just wanted to add my voice to the mix.

Ok. That’s all for now. Thanks.


I don’t think it matters if you spend your most fertile years celibate, or those that you’re at your ‘sexual peak’…I mean, what do you suggest? Marry younger, or…do as the ‘world’ does?

My dh and I were almost 30 when we married 7 years ago and we were both virgins. I know it ‘shocked’ :eek: a lot of people, but honestly, having SOME self-control sets you in good stead for your WHOLE life (not just your sex-life). I don’t think I ever ‘missed’ sex when I was single (he was my first and only boyfriend, we met when I was 28), and he says the same. I think it’s all about what is more important to you: obeying God’s Laws, or the worlds’:shrug: …

Anna x


From a baby-boomer male:

First of all, congratulations on having your priorities straight. “You are in the world, but you are not of the world.”

I sometimes wonder if Generation X-ers, in the next 10 years, will start lining up old boomers and shooting them. We boomers are the most self-absorbed, spoiled rotten, whining generation the US has ever produced.

We’ve spent the nation’s budget into 9 trillion dollars of debt, ended the traditional family, fomented drug abuse, addicted inner-city parents & children to welfare, ruined the schools, spread STDs, sexually abused children, cheated on marriage vows and aborted babies in the name of “freedom,” all while complaining that someone else is responsible for our problems, and that the government is not “meeting our needs.”

Worst of all, many boomer parents are teaching these horrors to their children.

If anything drags the USA down to destruction, it will be the pathetic wimpiness of the boomer generation.

I sympathize with your plight growing up in this warped world. I’m glad I’m not in my 20’s or single anymore.

Perhaps we can look to the Gospel, which is designed to transform contemporary culture, rather than be accommodated to it. In desperate times, God raises up saints to renew the faith. Let’s pray that those saints arrive soon.

A lot of this “boomer madness” has infected the Church, but it won’t last forever. The Church has always overcome heresies. We have a good Pope, and I have hope that the world and the Church will be better after I am gone.

On behalf of the wimpy boomers, I apologize to the young people of today. This mess is not of your making, and you did not deserve it.

Hang in there… - Rob in Oregon


Well, you’ve made some pretty good points. The younger generation has constantly been told over and over in words and in actions, on TV and film, radio, magazines, and internet: Here are the pills, here’s the condoms, here is the sex-saturated culture. We know you can’t control yourselves, so just be safe, don’t have sex till the second date, and whatever you do, don’t get pregnant. But if you do, well, a woman has rights over her own body. And never have more than two kids, even after you’re married.

That’s been the message. Why should we be surprised when people meet our expectations?

As for traveling around Europe, I recall talking to an aging boomer about his early years. He actually did travel around Europe. ‘The one thing that I kept thinking,’ he told me, ‘was that I wish I had someone to share this with.’
Nothing wrong with early marriage. Age 21 or 22 would be fine, but nothing wrong with 18 either.


Hey Rob in Oregon (or anyone),

I know laying blame in one particular area will do no good, I’m wondering if this question might be one to dive into…

Who raised the baby boomer folks to be the way they are? Or did they just become this way on their own?

Is it the idea of wanting to provide financially for the family after the depression? Was this the motivation? Is this a chicken and egg question? At what point was there a change in priorities/morals? Is there a source?


sorry, we boomers grew up in a sex saturated society, being smacked in the face with it in jr high, HS and college years, in the very time when values changed 180 practically overnight. we are also the first generation to learn first hand the deadly effects on our marriages, personalities, physical, emotional, spiritual and family health that come from believing the lies that spawned the sexrev, beginning with Sanger, Kinsey et al, through Masters & Johnson, Dr. Ruth and so forth. They lied. we are paying the price. you can benefit from our experience, or you can turn us off with the glib dismissal of “boomers don’t know nuttin about sex”.

any generalizations you make about my generation, or yours, or in between are likely to be way off the mark, so why not start with just stating your beef, why you feel your opinions is justified, and asking for input, with labelling people by artificial demographic labels.


On this, I think Catholic Colleges could do a bit more to encourage responsible sexual lifestyles. I’m only a couple years out of college and I can tell you that the Catholic colleges that I had most contact with really had no accomidations for married students.
The average marriage age used to be early 20’s. Now, many people think and are told that they should graduate first…but why? Who decided we need a degree to get married?

After I graduated, I ended up in a new community and the college there had a very decent area of “Married Student Housing” and amazingly they were’t full of 40 year olds going back to class there were many couples 20, 21, 22…one couple were both still teens. And they acted very mature. They had BBQ’s, they played frisbee, they did their school work.
And those that I knew there never did the Keg parties, obviously weren’t having pre-marrital sex, and most of them seemed to have a better vision of why they were studying in college.

So, yeah, I say add some decent Married Student Housing to all the Catholic Colleges and encourage those in serious loving relationships to get married while in school instead of waiting the extra 2 or 3 to wed with a degree in hand.



To quote a famous boomer, “I feel your pain”.

It’s certainly possible that it was influenced by the depression menatlity, but it seems to me that what happened was that in the 1960’s, EVERYTHING went haywire. You had the political assassinations, civil rights movements, race riots, Vietnam War and the associated protests, the women’s movement, the student movement, the misperceptions of what Vatican 2 really changed, etc. That was simply too much for society to handle/fight against in one decade. And add to that new birth control pills and the “free love” movement, this is where the sexual revolution found fertile ground. Then, in the 1970s, the “children of the 60’s” entered the workforce, but retained much of the attitudes of the 1960s. Now, with birth control, one could have fun in bed without having to worrying about getting pregnant (at least until AIDS came along in the 1980s) and interrupting one’s career. Then came the “no fault” divorce laws and Roe vs. Wade. Put that together with the emphasis on career and the availability of ABC that allowed for sex without getting pregnant, the “you don’t need to be married in order to have a fulfilling life” mentality set in. Unfortunately, in my observation, many of the “children of the 60s” also made their way into lay leadership of the Church, and instead of the Church fighting the problem, many of the lay leaders seem to have been duped by it. Additionally, since Vatican 2, there was a roughly 25-30 year period in which there was no working Catechism (Baltimore Catechism fell into disuse as teachers felt it did not reflect any updates of Vatican 2, and the new Catechism was not promulgated until the 1990s). Another thing that has influenced the church is the rise of televangelists. All one has to do is look to some of the attitudes that your life, careers, and spouses are preordained before you are born, and that when God is ready He will send you a spouse of His choosing (never mind the fact that this is questionable theology in light of what is written in the Catechism).


I just wanted to expand upon this comment.

Not only does this represent a skewed view on marriage, but also on singleness. It seems that the whole “single vocation” craze was invented as a consolation prize to make unmarried people feel better about not being married (and in some extreme cases, to “shut up” singles who are looking to get married and make them feel guilty they are not in accord with God’s will), when in fact biblically singleness/celibacy (yes, we have to emphasize celibacy here) is supposed to help you serve God without the distraction of family obligations. As you pointed out, Ven. Zelie Martin appears to have the proper understanding.


I don’t see a problem with getting married later. I’m going to be a doctor and I’ll be in school for quite awhile. And I’m a virgin.

I’m 18 and maybe I’m physically mature and fertile, but I’m nowhere near mature enough for marriage. My confidence and faith need to grow, besides, there are a couple issues that have recently come to light and that I need to deal with before any relationship is possible.

Not to say anyone’s wrong or right, just that situations are different.


Yep, those of us who were teens in the late 70’s early '80s have no idea what sexual promiscuity was like :rolleyes:

Remember, we were in that slot between the free love 60/70s and the Safe Sex generation.

Every generation thinks that the old folks have no idea what it was like, but, in reality - sin has been sin has been sin has been TEMPTING since the garden.


I think what the OP is trying to point out, at least in one part, is a biological factor that other generations haven’t had to deal with.

The problem with that is the boomers did have to deal with it… just not as long and it’s getting “worse” with each generation.

That problem is 2 fold in that children (and I use that word appropriately) are going through puberty much younger now and it seems to be getting worse.

Lets go back about 100 years since that is “about” then things started to change. Men or boys usually went thru puberty about age 14 to 16 then. Considering many were getting out of school or didn’t go through a full 12 grades, they were ready to “settle down” within a few years or right about the time the urge to procreate really got rolling.

The same was true for women, they were going through puberty about the same age, possibly a little earlier, and were thus ready to get married and have kids in their mid to late teens. Often they would wait until late teens but most were married by age 20… truly within a few years of having those desires.

Now we are faced with a children, again I use that term, who are going through puberty younger and younger with each successive generation. It’s not uncommon now for girls to start their cycle around age 10 or 11. (5 years earlier than 100 years ago). Boys are still a little behind but are starting about 11 or 12 to develop.

At this same time we are then telling our children that people shouldn’t get married until they are “ready” because it’s such a HUGE committment (sometimes implied burdon).

Thus if a person graduates HS at age 18 then goes to college for 4 years (5 in most public schools now) they are at least 22 maybe 23. Then they have graduate school and or need to get their career going before settling down (another 4 or 5 years).

Thus were people were getting married within 1 to 3 years of being phycially “ready” they are now getting married 10 to 20 YEARS from being ready.

This is NOT the same or a small problem.

Add to that our sex laiden culture and you have an even bigger problem when telling someone they should remain chaste.

While I’m not advocating that everyone starting giving up their morals I would suggest we evaluate how we got here…

First of all, I believe society is taking the wrong look at marraige and we as parents are encouraging that. I was told by my parents to wait until I got married and to wait to get married. I believe a lot of this was driven by divorce rates. No one wants to see their kids marriage break up and our secular conscience tell us that if people wait long enough, they are less likely to break up… I’m not so sure that is the case. Rather I think we are forgetting about God and the fact that marraige is sacramental.

I was told, as since I was schooled as a psychologist I learned, that people change a great deal between ages 18-23 so that is another reason… is it? It might be if romantic love is the only reason to get married but we know better.

I believe that part of our answer, in regards to the divorce rate and promiscuity is to encourage our Youth to prepare for marraige and educate them in what that means then support them when they are ready for that. When I say “ready” I’m not meaning 10 or 11 I mean after High School… if they are ready then. While that still gives them 5-8 years of “feelings” it’s a lot better than 10-20.

We also need to teach them what marraige is and what it’s not. We need to help them to understand the true Scramental nature of this and why it’s a life long bond.

That being said society is going to keep telling them that if they didn’t sleep with others how do they know they are turly fulfilled sexually? This message along with the ease of divorce and the lack of education regarding the sacramental nature, are why so many people stray and end up getting divorced. Negatively effecting the children and perpetuating that problem.

I don’t see that part changing so it again goes back to education… education and example. If we want our kids to grow up to respect the Sacrament of Marriage, then we have to as well. If we want them to see marraige as a wonderful blessing, we have to teach and show them that as parents and as Christians. That to me is the best way we combat this problem. We as parents may have to also help them a little longer if they do get married earlier (since they won’t have much money). We can do that by watching our grandchildren rather than having them pay for daycare. We can do that by helping them make wise financial decisions (regarding credit cards etc…). Perhapse part of my point is that I believe the lack extended family support in much of America to be part of that big hurdel. :slight_smile:

Just my opinion… feel free to disagree.



Seems the US Census has a different view of the ages for first marriage:

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census; Web:

Median Age at First Marriage, 1890–2003

Year Males Females
1890 26.1 22.0
1900 25.9 21.9
1910 25.1 21.6
1920 24.6 21.2
1930 24.3 21.3
1940 24.3 21.5
1950 22.8 20.3
1960 22.8 20.3
1970 23.2 20.8
1980 24.7 22.0
1990 26.1 23.9
1993 26.5 24.5
1994 26.7 24.5
1995 26.9 24.5
1996 27.1 24.8
1997 26.8 25.0
2003 27.1 25.3


I agree with the post that says sin is sin is sin. These things didn’t just start happening- its just in our present world things happen that make these sins seem more prevelant. Both parents working outside the home makes situations of temptation more readily available for kids, society shoving sexuality down there throats is wide open and the secular humanist world we live in is telling them that they know the difference between right and wrong in themselves so they don’t need to worry if it “feels right”. So it does seem worse in the present but how many of you could take a real close look at your own families and find quite a few 7 pound "premature babies " . I can count 9 months and I know quite a few from past generations in my family. Not saying that it is any more wrong or right now. I believe that we need to pray first and foremost and then secondly we need to educate- educate our young people from early on to have so much self-respect about their own bodies as a creation of God that they will do everything they can to keep it safe and special.


I confess as a GenXer that the thought has sometimes crossed my mind. At least until a I realized that much of what you describe actually took place while the so-called “greatest generation” was in charge. On reflection, I conclude it’s probably not a coincidence that the most screwed up generation in American history had an awful lot of fathers who had to see their best friends heads blown off or intestines spill out while in a foxhole when only 19 or 20. No surprise if these weren’t the most touchy feely dads…

But I do look forward to the day y’all stop dominating American culture and politics. Sadly I expect you to make the AARP a LOT more obnoxious than it already has been in politics first.


Oh please. Perfect little Gex X & Y!!! Big, bad Boomers!!! The “Greatest” Gen of WWII on the heels of a world ward and the Great Depression!!!

Everybody tries to do the best they can, with the information they receive from the co-called experts, and keeps going from there.

Please don’t be so sensitive because you encountered a couple insensitive or idiotic people. There are enough of those in all generations to make life a pain.


Well, what an interesting thread.

Is the thrust of Lucy’s post that, since her generation has made the choice to get married later that they shouldn’t be held to the same standard of sexual sin that previous generations were?

My generation (I’m at the tail end of the Boomers) is not responsible for when YOUR generation gets married. We are NOT responsible for the life choices you make. You are.

Every generation thinks the previous generation had it easier/better and screwed it up for them. Well, that might be partly true. It seems, from my observation, that the Gen X/Y kids just whine a lot. I know that’s not true, but it sure seems that way.


Well there are some boomer parents who are just hoping to have the kids leave the nest sometime before the age of 30.


This is true, but the ratio of income to housing prices doesn’t help that matter. Average home prices rose dramatically (even after the now deflated balloon with dropped prices) in comparison to incomes. Add college loans and other debt just to get to and from work, well, it isn’t as easy as when my parents bought their first home. Heck, back then, women’s incomes weren’t allowed to be factored into the mortgage b/c if they became pregnant, that income would cease to exist, so loans were only approved based on one income. Now, in many metropolitan areas two incomes are necessary to afford a roof over the family’s head (unless one parent makes a considerable amount of money where that isn’t needed). Heck, I have an uncle (who is one of those fortunate people to make a lot of money where his wife can stay home) who’s property tax each year is $28,000 and he’s not even on an acre of land. I myself have to move over an hour west of where I work just to afford a roof over my head. A two bedroom condo down the road costs more than the house I’m buying (and that’s without their $350/month association fees).


Actually, I’m GenX and I’d agree that my generation has a tendency towards whining and lack of ambition, sense of direction and self-discipline. Maybe its cable TV and video games. I dunno - I never had either growing up and don’t regret it.

My message to my peers: Get roomates and get outta Momma’s kitchen!

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