Marriage should be banned before age 25


#1

This article literally turned my stomach.

huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-nagy/why-i-believe-marriage-sh_b_1547156.html


#2

Why? She has a point.

Quite a few Catholic theologians argue that too many Americans don’t understand marriage, and TV seems to bear that out (look at all the wedding shows: it’s all about the wedding, and never about the marriage).

I’m not saying that I agree that marriage should be banned before age 25, but it’s an interesting topic for discussion. Perhaps the Church could require extra Pre-Cana courses for young couples, or extra-long engagements, or what have you.

How many teenagers have you met who thought that the world would end if they didn’t get married to such-and-such person, when in reality they moved on just a few weeks or months later? Ask any 30-something: they are not the same person they were ten years earlier. The simple fact of the matter is, most (not all) of us change greatly in our teens and early twenties, and in my experience the vast majority of that age group have trouble comprehending what “together forever” really means.

So why not impose an extra hurdle for the young’uns to master prior to comitting to marriage forever? After all, if having to wait an extra six months would kill the relationship, then it was doomed anyway.


#3

It’s amazing to me why the author of this article can’t see the real reason why her marriage failed! The writing is almost humerous! It’s like listening to a person who smells strongly of rotten eggs explain that they couldn’t get a date because no one wants a girl with glasses!


#4

[quote="Godfollower, post:2, topic:286841"]
Why? She has a point.

Quite a few Catholic theologians argue that too many Americans don't understand marriage, and TV seems to bear that out (look at all the wedding shows: it's all about the wedding, and never about the marriage).

I'm not saying that I agree that marriage should be banned before age 25, but it's an interesting topic for discussion. Perhaps the Church could require extra Pre-Cana courses for young couples, or extra-long engagements, or what have you.

How many teenagers have you met who thought that the world would end if they didn't get married to such-and-such person, when in reality they moved on just a few weeks or months later? Ask any 30-something: they are not the same person they were ten years earlier. The simple fact of the matter is, most (not all) of us change greatly in our teens and early twenties, and in my experience the vast majority of that age group have trouble comprehending what "together forever" really means.

So why not impose an extra hurdle for the young'uns to master prior to comitting to marriage forever? After all, if having to wait an extra six months would kill the relationship, then it was doomed anyway.

[/quote]

I've met a good number of young people who have a much more realistic understanding of what a marriage is supposed to be than many 40-somethings who are going about it the second or third time round. The issue isn't age or even emotional maturity, it's the couple's attitude about marriage in the first place. It's being willing to make sacrifices and compromise. It's realizing that a happy home and family is the goal, not the perfect wedding, house, romance, or neighborhood barbeque. The author of this artical STILL doesn't get it if she is blamming it on age.


#5

Precisely. Not to mention it is better to marry rather than to 'burn.'


#6

I agree 100% :thumbsup:


#7

I guess I could see asking under 25's to go through a more comprehensive Marriage Prep... but if you are going to make theirs more comprehensive why not make everyone's more comprehensive? Yes, there are probably more immature 20 yr olds than 30 yr olds, that doesn't mean there aren't immature 30 yr olds. If a more comprehensive marriage prep will help the immature 20 yr olds it will also help the immature 30 yr olds. :shrug: So why only offer it to those under 25?

Whatever people might think, the idea of banning marriage for those under 25 is a horrible idea. I know many young mature couples under 25 who are well aware of the sacrifices entailed in marriage and are willing to make them. What is necessary is better catechesis and marriage-prep, not age restrictions on the sacrament.


#8

And I've met 26-year-olds who were mentally about 15. So they should be "allowed" to marry simply because they've lived another 12 months?

Instead of tossing around chronological age as some kind of metric for marriageability, how about talking about teaching people to know themselves enough to be able to say, "Hey, you know what? I'm not ready to get married quite yet."?

One of my pet theories about why our divorce rate is what it is is that we've (wider society, not Catholics) turned getting married into an industry - a 40+ billion dollar industry in the US, in fact. Everybody from professional photographers to the hotels and airlines - even entire tourist-based economies - are in on the game of trying to make a buck from two people getting hitched. That's a lot of marketing pressure to put on people, and not all of us have the wherewithal to withstand it. And when you lack the self-awareness to know that you're not ready for a lifetime commitment, I think you're even more susceptible to external forces pushing you down the isle.

Luna


#9

[quote="Allegra, post:4, topic:286841"]
I've met a good number of young people who have a much more realistic understanding of what a marriage is supposed to be than many 40-somethings who are going about it the second or third time round. The issue isn't age or even emotional maturity, it's the couple's attitude about marriage in the first place. It's being willing to make sacrifices and compromise. It's realizing that a happy home and family is the goal, not the perfect wedding, house, romance, or neighborhood barbeque. The author of this artical STILL doesn't get it if she is blamming it on age.

[/quote]

Sure, the real issue is understanding what marriage is. That's why I said that the problem is that too many Americans don't understand marriage. I took this article to be a case of an author struggling to find her way to peace with the loss of her marriage; right now she's pointing to age, but I understood the problem to be deeper than that -- an issue not of age per se but of preparation for marriage (understanding what marriage is all about).

But, from an institutional standpoint, I think it's an interesting idea for a diocese to consider extra questioning for young engaged couples. Not every young couple is too young to marry; but, statistically, more of them are inadequately prepared for marriage than older couples. We're seeing teenagers kill themselves because two-month-long relationships have ended; no one could possibly think that they were ready for marriage. True, age isn't the true underlying problem; but it can serve as a useful datum in evaluating the couple.

"We've been dating for a year, so it's time to get married!" If you were asked your opinion on that statement, wouldn't you want to know the approximate age of the couple? Age is relevant when making relationship decisions.

The simple fact is that life experience helps you understand and prepare for life. The more experience in life you've had, the more prepared you are for life. That's why "Youth is wasted on the young" (Shaw?).

This doesn't mean that all older people understand marriage better than all younger people; but they do have more experience, and they have a better idea of what "for life" means.

I'm picturing a couple facing their 18-year-old who wants to get married to her first love. The parents' natural reaction is to think "But it's only her first love! It isn't the real one!" The 18-year-old wouldn't understand that; the 30-year-old would.

Even if, looking back, everyone agreed that the 18-year-old was one of the exceptions who really had chosen the right person.


#10

My grandparents married in their late teens/early twenties. Believe it or not they didn't have the luxury of "finding themselves" -- one grandmother even had to leave home at 16 with barely an education -- and they all had happy, lasting marriages.

I don't know, maybe the problem is that the youth aren't taking on enough responsibility these days?


#11

[quote="thewanderer, post:7, topic:286841"]
I guess I could see asking under 25's to go through a more comprehensive Marriage Prep... but if you are going to make theirs more comprehensive why not make everyone's more comprehensive? Yes, there are probably more immature 20 yr olds than 30 yr olds, that doesn't mean there aren't immature 30 yr olds. If a more comprehensive marriage prep will help the immature 20 yr olds it will also help the immature 30 yr olds. :shrug: So why only offer it to those under 25?

[/quote]

Because we already do offer it to everyone. That's what Pre-Cana is. It has two different versions: a weekend and a single day (the weekend is more thorough). And who wants to go through the single-day version because it's all a waste of time anyway because they'll never break up because they love each other and that's all you need anyway? The younger ones. Who tends to pick the full version because learning how to fight properly makes sense, there are serious issues involved in getting married, and it helps to discuss all that stuff in advance? The older ones. Doesn't that tell you something?

[quote="thewanderer, post:7, topic:286841"]
Whatever people might think, the idea of banning marriage for those under 25 is a horrible idea. I know many young mature couples under 25 who are well aware of the sacrifices entailed in marriage and are willing to make them. What is necessary is better catechesis and marriage-prep, not age restrictions on the sacrament.

[/quote]

And of course you can't ban marriage under age 25. For one thing, the Sacrament of Matrimony is a canonical right of every Catholic; priests have to have a good reason for refusing to witness the Sacrament.

But the idea of encouraging more discernment for younger couples is an interesting one. Check out canon law in other areas: bishops have to be 35 years old (canon 378); priests have to be 25 (canon 1031); permanent deacons must be 25 if unmarried and 35 if married (canon 1031) (but note that, in the U.S., all permanent deacons must be 35); a religious must be at least 17 (canon 643); and, of course, men have to be 16 and women have to be 14 to marry (canon 1083).

Apparently age is accepted as a surrogate for "readiness" (or preparation or whatever you want to call it) in other areas; what would be wrong with the Church saying "Okay, you have the right to get married once the guy is 16 and the girl is 14; but we're going to require extra preparation / checking in on you if you're under age ____, just like we require extra preparation / checking if it's a second or third marriage, or if there are kids, or if it's a marriage of disparate cults, etc."?


#12

Maybe it is a good idea to ban marriage before 25, but I also think that we should ban divorce after 25. Within a couple of generations that would force a cultural growth about the understanding of marriage. ;)


#13

[quote="Bezant, post:10, topic:286841"]
My grandparents married in their late teens/early twenties. Believe it or not they didn't have the luxury of "finding themselves" -- one grandmother even had to leave home at 16 with barely an education -- and they all had happy, lasting marriages.

I don't know, maybe the problem is that the youth aren't taking on enough responsibility these days?

[/quote]

That's probably part of it; but honestly I think that a big part of it is the underlying assumptions of the spouses. Today, everyone is raised to think that the wedding itself magically begins "living happily ever after," just like in the fairy tales. Check with any divorce lawyer; the "It'll work out once we get married / buy a house / have a baby / have another baby / get the kids out of diapers / get all the kids in school / etc." scenario is frighteningly common. Plus, these days, everyone (I speak broadly, here) is raised to think that divorce is okay, just move on and marry someone else.

The truth is, It'll all work out once we start working on working it out. So start working on working it out. Say a prayer or three. Together. And start from the assumption that marriage is for a lifetime. In fact, start with that assumption before you get married. And don't be afraid to call off the engagement (or call of the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship) if you realize that you aren't meant for each other.


#14

[quote="Cristiano, post:12, topic:286841"]
Maybe it is a good idea to ban marriage before 25, but I also think that we should ban divorce after 25. Within a couple of generations that would force a cultural growth about the understanding of marriage. ;)

[/quote]

Let me get this, I was married at 24 so I shouldn't be married 26 years later? both my sisters were married at 21 and are still married 30+ years later. My late parents married at 21 & 24 and they lasted 50+ years. So now we will allow same sex marriage, have "reality" shows glorying polygamy yet this bitter author wants to ban marriage before 25. But the biggest hindrance to a lasting marriage living together and sleeping around is not being discussed.


#15

[quote="Cristiano, post:12, topic:286841"]
Maybe it is a good idea to ban marriage before 25, but I also think that we should ban divorce after 25. Within a couple of generations that would force a cultural growth about the understanding of marriage. ;)

[/quote]

I wouldn't ban divorce; there are legitimate reasons for ending a marriage, starting with abuse.

But you're right; we need to raise our children to understand that marriage is forever. Without that rock-bottom, fundamental understanding, they can't (or least can't without major difficulties) form a lasting, workable marriage.


#16

[quote="robwar, post:14, topic:286841"]
Let me get this, I was married at 24 so I shouldn't be married 26 years later? both my sisters were married at 21 and are still married 30+ years later. My late parents married at 21 & 24 and they lasted 50+ years. So now we will allow same sex marriage, have "reality" shows glorying polygamy yet this bitter author wants to ban marriage before 25. But the biggest hindrance to a lasting marriage living together and sleeping around is not being discussed.

[/quote]

I think that you did not realize that my post was being sarcastic.


#17

[quote="robwar, post:14, topic:286841"]
Let me get this, I was married at 24 so I shouldn't be married 26 years later? both my sisters were married at 21 and are still married 30+ years later. My late parents married at 21 & 24 and they lasted 50+ years. So now we will allow same sex marriage, have "reality" shows glorying polygamy yet this bitter author wants to ban marriage before 25. But the biggest hindrance to a lasting marriage living together and sleeping around is not being discussed.

[/quote]

No offense, but it seems to me that the biggest reason you married at 24 and your sisters married at 21 and you're all still married three-ish decades later is the fact that your parents married at 24 & 21 and lasted 50+ years. In other words (arrogance alert: I'm about to psychoanalyze three complete strangers based on one Internet post :p ), you understood that marriage really is forever; so you didn't marry until you were ready, and when you ran into problems during the marriage you worked on them until they were resolved, because you understood what "until death do you part" meant.

In other words, you were properly catechized about marriage -- at least in major part because of your parents' example.

But not everyone has that benefit. So exploring the possibility of extra education / preparation for younger couples is an interesting concept, even if you are a happy exception.


#18

Seems like a dumb idea to me.

I was 25 + just shy of 1 month old when my wife and I married. She was 22. We did, indeed, "find ourselves". We found ourselves needing to make a living and to have a household. We had otherwise "found ourselves", knowing, as we did, who we were already. What were we supposed to do, wait and see if we could "find" some other kind of self; perhaps a worse one?

I think it's pretty well recognized that, after age 30, womens' fertility drops off sharply. So how is this "rule" going to work out exactly. Women marrying at 25, working for awhile perhaps, then finding fertility a problem. I don't think this makes a lot of sense except to "zero population growth" folks.

Imaginably it would be better if society required that people grow up with a little more dispatch, perhaps shortening "extended adolescence" so that it didn't last beyond, say, age 18. After all, 18-year-olds can vote. If they can be trusted to do that responsibly, they can be resonsible in other ways as well.


#19

[quote="Godfollower, post:9, topic:286841"]
Sure, the real issue is understanding what marriage is. That's why I said that the problem is that too many Americans don't understand marriage. I took this article to be a case of an author struggling to find her way to peace with the loss of her marriage; right now she's pointing to age, but I understood the problem to be deeper than that -- an issue not of age per se but of preparation for marriage (understanding what marriage is all about).

But, from an institutional standpoint, I think it's an interesting idea for a diocese to consider extra questioning for young engaged couples. Not every young couple is too young to marry; but, statistically, more of them are inadequately prepared for marriage than older couples. We're seeing teenagers kill themselves because two-month-long relationships have ended; no one could possibly think that they were ready for marriage. True, age isn't the true underlying problem; but it can serve as a useful datum in evaluating the couple.

"We've been dating for a year, so it's time to get married!" If you were asked your opinion on that statement, wouldn't you want to know the approximate age of the couple? Age is relevant when making relationship decisions.

The simple fact is that life experience helps you understand and prepare for life. The more experience in life you've had, the more prepared you are for life. That's why "Youth is wasted on the young" (Shaw?).

This doesn't mean that all older people understand marriage better than all younger people; but they do have more experience, and they have a better idea of what "for life" means.

I'm picturing a couple facing their 18-year-old who wants to get married to her first love. The parents' natural reaction is to think "But it's only her first love! It isn't the real one!" The 18-year-old wouldn't understand that; the 30-year-old would.

Even if, looking back, everyone agreed that the 18-year-old was one of the exceptions who really had chosen the right person.

[/quote]

I agree with this.

I didn't get married until age 29. Thought I was ready at age 23 and hindsight being what it is, I realize I had no clue what I was thinking at age 23. I don't think there should be a ban or anything, but there is some wisdom to the idea that marrying after the age of 25 might advice to at least take under consideration.

One of my best friends got married at age 18, they've been married 25 years. She even says she should have waitied a couple of years or so to get married. She says she would have married the same man, they are perfect together, but getting married so young saddled them with finances and other responsibilities that they were not prepared to handle. She says she wishes they had waitied until they were both out of college and had steady jobs. She has said getting married so young made the early years of their marriage much harder than they needed to be.


#20

Age has very little to wheather a marriage fails or not. I know of one well known singer that was married when she was 13 and her husband was about 20. The marriage lasted antil his death; they were married at least 55 years. One of my grandfathers was a few mounths past his 22 birthday when he married my grandmonther (age29). :) BTW, I'm over 40 and never been married. :D


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