Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spiral Notebook Sunday: Friday, February 18, 2005

The other day, Daughter-Only asked if she could get married, presumably to her long-ish* term boyfriend who was sitting beside her at the time. I assumed she was joking about getting married at 17 because to assume otherwise would send me into a spiral of emotional turmoil from which I might never recover--and, also, because she really seemed to be joking.

My answer, by the way, was "Absolutely not, but thanks for asking."

This week's Spiral Notebook offering is another conversation I had with Daughter-Only about marrying young. She was about 10 1/2 at the time. We never really finished the conversation started in this excerpt. In light of recent (joking!) events, I kind of wish we had.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Last night, Daughter-Only was reading over my shoulder while I was working on the essay about marriage. She was stunned by a line about my being three weeks shy of my nineteenth birthday on my wedding day. I'm not sure how my age on my wedding day has escaped her attention up to this point--other than the fact that, as her mother, the details of my previous existence are of limited interest to her at this point in her life. In any case, it had apparently not crossed her mind that in order to have been married seventeen years at the age of thirty-five, I must've been eighteen on my wedding day.

She was appalled. She said, "That's horrid!" several times. She didn't bother to expound further on the topic--probably because I was on the phone with Pasta at the time. (So I was writing, talking on the phone, and fielding commentary from my ten-year-old daughter all at the same time. Multi-tasking is spectacularly overrated.)

Daughter-Only has some firmly held, no-nonsense definitive opinions on the matter of romantic relationships, which she's always been generous about sharing, so I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for an explanation on the precise nature of the horridness of marrying at eighteen.

*Everything's relative. Except them. They're not relatives. Yet. And, let's hope, not for a while.


  1. I have to say, I am still gagging when my 24 year old daughter starts throwing around the m word. At the moment, there is so Mr. Special in the picture but I have hammered it into both of my kids: what is a good age to get married? THIRTY - they can both give me that answer! Now that they are almost 27 and 25, I am resting more comfortably about the getting married young thing.

  2. For women of my generation, the early baby boomers, 18-21 was the ideal age to marry. I think that may have had something to do with the belief that having children past age 30 was risky.
    Having a divorce rate of 50% in this country may have something to do with baby boomers being a large part of the population who did marry young.
    Perhaps, because it has now become quite acceptable to live with someone before marriage, couples don't feel pressured to marry at such a young age. And it is also reasonable for women to be pregnant for the first time after age 30.
    According to a Pew Research Center analysis of census statistics just 51% of all adults 18 or older are married. That represents a drop from 57% from the 2000 numbers.
    Now I wonder if that will have an effect on the divorce rate.

  3. In the Mormon culture, marrying young happens a lot. Many of my high school friends married the summer after we graduated. I married at 25 and felt like such an old maid until then. Now, I would love if my daughter was at least that old before she gets married.

  4. In my mind, it;s ok for people to get ready when they are mature enough to understand the commitment and consequences involved in such a decision. If someone is ready at 18, I see no issue with it. Don't know how I'd feel about my own kids being that young though. I was married at 23 and had my first child 2 weeks after my 25th birthday, but most of my friends are either just getting married or still contemplating marriage. We definitely are not the majority.
    On the other hand, I've finished having my kids before the age of 30 and will be able to laugh at how exhausted they are as they begin their families at 10 years older than I was. There are definitely some advantages to being younger, energy being a key factor. I suppose that has something to do with the smaller family sizes these days as well.

  5. I married my first wife at age 20, but ONLY because I was in the military, and came home on leave midway, and took my wife back to Korea with me. Had I not been in the military, I would never have done that. Annie sent our three sons the same message. Our oldest is 29 and on the brink; our middle son was 24 for a very short, ill-fated charter-boat run, before settling down with his firefighter-when-he-met-her-wife, at the age of 27. Lito still going strong at 26, though he has a "keeper" now. They are so romantically inclined…

    Yesterday, I garnered Casey's undying gratitude when I shared with him the secret for getting into his partners best graces, and that was to spit-polish the bathroom. Unless I miss my guess, that would make most females smile.

    His eyes glazed over for just a second, but he brightened and said he got it.

  6. I got so carried away, I forgot to "comment" that I think your daughter was horrified at the thought of marrying at the age of eighteen, for the same reason that we would be horrified: it's too young. Smart girl.

  7. I wasn't anywhere near ready to think about getting married until I was in my mid-30's. Now, at 40, I'm ready to think about it - in theory. I MIGHT be ready to actually get married in another 10 years or so.

  8. I think that any 10-year-old who uses the word "horrid" is ready for whatever life might throw at her. I will just die if mine get married as young as I did. I wasn't as young as you were, but still pretty young. Only semi-horrid.