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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Why hurry to the altar?

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Author Topic: Why hurry to the altar?
Heather
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In light of a handful of topics here recently, I just went and rechecked some statistics to make sure I wasn't going to shoot my mouth off stupidly. [Smile]

But, as it turns out, I wasn't. Which is good.

In any event, the divorce rate among people 18-22 is nearly DOUBLE the national average in the states. That alone: for those interested in marriage (not weddings, marriage) why rush in?

If one feels something is absolutely, positively going to last lifelong, then what's the hurry? You'd think there'd be no hurry at all, if that's truly the case.

(Obviously, another factor comes into play for those who can ONLY have partnership within marriage per their religious traditions, but that applies to very, very few of our users here.)

Mind you, I'm 36. I remember full well thinking at 20 that a loooooooong time had passed per finding someone who might feasibly be a lifelong partner, and of course, in retrospect, I think myself silly. Even ten years, twenty years part that isn't a long time, when it all comes down to it, especially when you've other goals and life dreams you're invested and involved in fulfilling.

In retrospect, I also remember the very first time I lived with a partner and the discovery of how very different -- even in a great relationship -- daily life was than how even a young adult as relatively savvy and worldly as I was imagined. How much of a challenge it was fitting romance in with bills, chores, time constraints, work, school, trying to mes two people's life goals and make both work, dealing with the inevitable decrease in partnered sex, the works.

Mind you, for almost-exclusively feminist reasons, I'm not a fan of marriage as an institution. But I can appreciate the desire for long-term partnerships, I can appreciate the desire to find and keep a partner for life: even when it's NOT romantic, even when it's a lifelong platonic friendship.

(And also from a personal perspective, being now with someone at my age who I think very well be a lifelong partner, even if the relationship changes per romance, I have to be honest and say that we've both felt, very clearly, that even though both of us had some lonely times, we're so darn glad we didn't find this thing early in our lives.)

Daily here, I walk a tough line. No one wants to be the person to tell a young person in love that the chances of their teenage relationship lasting, happily, or at all as a romance, for years and years are practically and statistically really small. It's a great feeling to FEEL that way, so on some level, nobody wants to harsh that buzz. At the same time, it's tricky, especially when we see users whose relationships clearly aren't even all that great, or where they're clearly not seeing obvious potholes, NOT to say anything, especially when our job is to do what we can to serve the best interest of our users.

So, I turn the question to you: what's the rush? If you do plan to marry a partner, or have something lifelong in your head, and are under 21, how do you reconcile the fact that it's impossible for ALL of you to defy the data we have on what usually happens? How do you balance knowing that -- and really getting that, if you do -- with the plans you're making? What do you do to be as sure as you can that your feet are on the ground? What feelings do engagement and the like give you to make it worth the risk (and the insane cost)?

And how ready are you, really, to nip things in the bud when it does or has become clear things are NOT going to go the way you thought? How do you think you might deal with that? At what point do you change course, or do you only think you'll change course if a partner does first?

Where do you glean your perspective? In other words, how many long-term -- let's say, over six months --relationships have you had to have some personal perspective? And if you don't have it yourself, on whose do you rely?

Lastly, what brings you to this decision in the first place?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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-Lauren-
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Very interesting topic, Miz Scarlet! I guess I'll be the first to pipe in.

If one feels something is absolutely, positively going to last lifelong, then what's the hurry?

I really, truly couldn't agree more. That's the exact phrase I'm always throwing about. It seems that young people who rush into marriage are looking for something that reassures them that what they're embarking on is real and lifelong-- despite the high divorce rate. Marriage is patronized as the "true" symbol of love, and I suppose that draws some people into thinking that they must be married in order to prove the validity of a life partnership to everybody.

No one wants to be the person to tell a young person in love that the chances of their teenage relationship lasting, happily, or at all as a romance, for years and years are practically and statistically really small.

But I'm glad you do. Let's face it, some people have their heads in the clouds, and it may set them up for some major disappointment. My younger sister has a boyfriend who turned down a full scholarship to one of the most prestigious music school in the united states; he turned it down to stay with her. Won't he feel sheepish if things don't work out as planned? (You can guess that these two I mentioned ARE in a rush to marry.)

If you do plan to marry a partner, or have something lifelong in your head, and are under 21, how do you reconcile the fact that it's impossible for ALL of you to defy the data we have on what usually happens?

Marriage really isn't all that important to me. My family is pressuring my boyfriend to propose to me, and it truly puzzles us. My sisters (for the record, both 21 and younger) are both engaged, and they think it peculiar and "sad" that I'm not, considering I've been with my current partner the longest. Two years really doesn't seem like enough time to make such a decision to me.

Could he be a life partner? Maybe. Could I get married to him in the future? Perhaps, if I need to get on his health insurance or something. However, I'm not going to move in with, or make an engagement with anybody until I learn to live on my own. That means having a steady income and being happy with my own life.

And how ready are you, really, to nip things in the bud when it does or has become clear things are NOT going to go the way you thought?

I hope I'm prepared for that. It really should be stated though, that going through a divorce REALLY makes that part much harder. That's part of my reason for putting it off. Sometimes things just don't work out.

Where do you glean your perspective?

This is another reason I'm wary. My previous long-term relationships took place through the internet when I was very young, so I've not counted those. I consider this my first serious relationship, so I know I should be especially open-minded and pliable with the way things go. I don't want to set things into stone until I'm sure that this is right for me.

And even then, I wouldn't be certain.

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Jordan
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I agree with what you saying but keep in mind that we (teens seeking help and guidience)[sorry about my spelling] are really just in a way kids and usually don't think befor acting in any particular way. From one point of view one would want to get married as soon as possible just to sucure the position as "soul-mate","lover",ect...just so no one else could possible steal their partner away.

And from another point on might just simple relax having complete fath in the ability that their relationship will last and ther will be no need to hurry anything about it.

Then when marrige doesn't work out...devorce can be really expensive, alot of people don't take that into consideration either. Unlike true adults most of us lack the ability to be calm and truly think of the consequences of our actions and where the can lead us.

Very intersting topic to chat about:) Thanks for bringing it up:)

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Life is only what you make it...nothing more, nothing less.

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DarkChild717
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I plan on marrying my partner. I have for sometime. Though, the conversation had always focused on the arbitrary "someday".

I'll admit, we've had our fair share of issues that come with the relationship territory. But we get through them by talking. We've never had an all-out yelling fest, or resorted any other means besides simply talking. Oddly enough, the biggest issue we've had was caused by lack of communication. It took time to bounce back, but we did.

We've grown together. We've grown in different ways, but the core things have stayed the same. We have similar interests, but different views. We have enough respect for one another to talk civilly about those different viewpoints.

Also, for reference, we've been together now for nearly 4 and a half years. I began dating him my second quarter of college. He's seen my best and my worst, and he's stood by me during my darkest times, and I through his.

Now it's gotten to the point where marriage is a serious conversation. We've talked finances, bearing and raising kids, combining households, all of that necessary stuff. But the wedding itself is where the tension lies, not because of us, but because of our families. We each have someone very close to us that we really don't know how long they'll be on this earth. We really want them present on that day, whenever it may be. That’s the driving force right now.

And of course, a lot of this is waiting for me to find that elusive steady job and get stable for myself before I jump into anything with both feet. I do have things I want to do in my life, and marriage is a backburner to some of them. Or, really, they can work hand in hand. Traveling is more fun with a buddy, anyway.

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wobblyheadedjane
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I've been mulling over this topic for a few days now, and I think I've collected my thoughts enough.

I'm 22, and engaged to my fiance (27) after about a year and a half of exclusivity, half a year of dating, and three years of knowing each other through school and work. We've also been living together for a year come May. Unlike me, who's taking the academic stream of theology, my fiance is in the Divinity stream, meaning he'll be ordained within three years if all goes well.

While we are both totally committed to each other without the symbol of a wedding ring or ceremony, the church has certain ideals it has to keep up. My best friend went through something similar with her husband prior to their marriage - he couldn't be seen parked outside her house after certain hours, that sort of thing. This was even before his ordination, but as a seminary student, you're often doing placements in parishes and serving under an archdeacon, so the church's eye is very much on you during those years.

Do both C. and I find this mentality a little ridiculous? Yes, we do. But both of us love our careers and our faith too much to make waves on something like this. I was studying for one of my exams last night, and found an interesting corollary in Paul's writings. He was writing to the church in Corinth, who's attitude towards not following the laws of Torah anymore (most early Christians were also practicing the Jewish laws as well, which Paul said wasn't necessary) thought that they didn't have to follow *any* rules at all. They were eating meat sacrificed to Greek and Roman gods, one guy was living with his stepmother, which was considered taboo in both Greek and Jewish society, and so on. Paul said that the more enlightened Christians knew that following rules and laws didn't bring them any closer to God than their faith already did, but that since less enlightened followers didn't get that idea, the more enlightened ones had a responsibility to make sure that all followers were on a righteous path.

I'm not claiming that we're smarter or better Christians, by understanding that a ring or vows enhance our committment to each other or our faith, but I do get a sense of what's being encouraged. It would be hard for my fiance to lead a congregation who didn't respect him because he was living with a woman he wasn't married to. Like it or lump it, outward symbols play a huge role in the faith I follow.

Even though we know we love each other, and are committed to our relationship, we're looking at the wedding ceremony to serve as a reminder of that committment that already exists, and as an outward sign of our committment to friends and family.

Does that mean I don't intend to question and shake up the status quo in the church? Of course not. But currently, not being married is a roadblock to what we want to do with our lives, and to us, it's a small concession to say outwardly, "Yeah, we're committed."

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summergoddess
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We became friends in 2000 and started dating in 2001. Just after we went exclusive with our relationship, we realized we were the "one" for each other. However, I was 17 and him 18 at the time when we became a couple and we weren't in any rush to get married or anything. We knew we were meant to be so a few more years wouldn't hurt. We got engaged on our three year anniversary in 2004 (I was 20 at the time, my partner being 21). We are about to be married in 28 days from now on our five year anniversary ( May 27, 2006). I'm now 22 going on 23 in June and my partner is now 23 going on 24 in December.

Like DarkChild, we also have had issues that have entered our relationship, but we haven't had a full out fuel fight. We have really good communication skills. We solve them by talking and comprimising on whatever the issue is.

We've grown together. We've grown in different ways, but the core things have stayed the same. We have similar interests, but different views. We have enough respect for one another to talk civilly about those different viewpoints.

^^That has occurred between my partner and I. [Smile]

We have had discussions about the finances, childbearing/raising kids, household stuff, and etc.

I was just asked last night at my second bridal shower by a few of the ladies, if I was nervous at all about the wedding or the marriage itself. I responded as a NO. I have been very ready and very calm from the start. I know we're doing the right thing. My partner feels the same way. We do not have cold feet or second thoughts at all.

We live together and will have been for exactly one year as of tomorrow.

All of our family and friends are so awesome in support of our relationship and our committment to get married. Everyone feels that we're a perfect match for each other. We've been very much in love with each other from day one and the relationship continues to blossom and grow more each day.

I feel very lucky that I had found my partner at the ripe age of 17 and decided to wait 5 years with him to begin a new chapter in our lives with marriage. We've felt married to each other for a long time now. We look at the wedding ceremony the same way as wooblyheadjane said, "to serve as a reminder of that committment that already exists, and as an outward sign of our committment to friends and family."

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~Jules

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likewhoa19
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Umm, out of curiosity, those of you who plan on marriage:

A) Before you met your fiancé, did you believe in some concept of "one" ideal person for you, whether you got this idea from your parents, religion, romance movies, etc.?

B) Do you believe it is better to be in a longterm monogamous relationship than not?

[ 04-29-2006, 05:09 PM: Message edited by: likewhoa19 ]

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Heather
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(Just in case it needs clarity per the topic, even though a couple of you who are en route to marriage are young, I don't think I'd personally consider marriage after several years of a relationship rushing, per se.

More in my mind when I posted the topic was a lot of users we hear from who are saying they're engaged at 16, what have you, usually to partners they've been with for less than a year. Of course, plenty of those won't ever result in marriages, but some will.

Really interesting diverse answers, regardless, though. Just also want to make sure no one here feels like this as a post meant to have you feel a need to defend any impending nuptuals: not my intent at all.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Alice
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I'm having a baby in August, and planning to marry next summer, probably around July. I'm 18 and my boyfriend is 19.

I never wanted to get married, and especially not now. Even after I became pregnant, I wasn't planning on getting married, ever. But then he proposed, about a month ago. Now that I think about it, (like thinking about it right this very minute) people (friends and family) have been pressuring us, asking constantly when we're getting married... and if it wasn't for that, I don't know if I would have said yes.

I love him, but I don't believe that's the reason I plan on staying with him. It seems convenient, we'll have a child together. It makes sense.

If I wasn't pregnant, honestly I can't say we'd still be together today. We've been "going out" for about a year and 2 months... it feels like forever. We broke up last summer for two weeks, during which I "dated" an older, more interesting guy.

I'm sorry I'm not really answering the question very well... but to sum it up, I am one of those kids who's engaged so young but I still don't understand the rush. In my case it's having a child, but I have friends who are 16, 17 years old and show me their engagement ring. I just want to scream at them to slow down and smell the flowers and take birth control because having bills and waking up to the same person every morning isn't quite as romantic as it looks.

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Heather
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Hey, you answered it FINE. It's just a tough, truthful answer to have.

Because the truth is, our laws and protections are set up that when you are having a child, you and the child ARE much more protected financially, per your rights, when you ARE married. It's one of the many things that really sucks about marriage law/policy/ideology.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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September
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To answer Likewhoa's questions:

a)No. In fact, I was quite the cynic about all of this. I thought it romantic when other people were talking about the 'love of their life' and planning marriages, but I was 100% sure that that would never happen to me. It's not that I thought I'd never be in a functional relationship, it's just that I never felt like I was the kind of person who could stay with one partner for the rest of their life. All my previous relationships had been very short and very messy, and I somehow assumed it would always be like that. So this relationship I am in now wasn's something I was consciously pursuing. It developed, to the surprise of both of us, and we're just kind of following it where it leads us.

b)Depends on the partner, no? I'd rather be single than in a relationship that isn't balanced, stable and mutually beneficial. But I'd rather be in a stable, healthy, loving relationship -if there is that option- than being single. So no, I am not looking for a relationship at any cost just to be able to say that I am in a relationship.

And to answer the original question: I have been with my boyfriend for close to two years, we have known each other for closer to six years. We are in a long-distance relationship, which makes things complicated, and we have mentioned marriage as a way to get me back to his country. However, since we don't want to rush anything and take the risk of destroying what we have by going that route too quickly, we're trying to just be patient for now and let things progress naturally.

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-joey
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summergoddess
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quote:
A) Before you met your fiancé, did you believe in some concept of "one" ideal person for you, whether you got this idea from your parents, religion, romance movies, etc.?
^^I did believe that there was somebody that would be the "one" for me. So the theory of soul mates did exist for me and it does! My fiance believed the same way. We believe that God brought us together and that it was destiny. I have had this belief from everything that has surrounded me all my life, so that would include parents, the church, God, and etc.

quote:
B) Do you believe it is better to be in a longterm monogamous relationship than not
^^ For some people, singledom is the best and for others, it's not the the path to go. So i know that the decision to be committed in a long term relationship or to be married is different for every one. Just that I believe and chose to want to be with someone rather than having the single life.

I do believe that for me, I am meant to be in a long term monogamous relationship. When I started dating my fiance, I realized that I was done being single. I had found the love of my life, and that I was ready to commit myself to someone that I knew that I would eventually be married to. I don't regret being in this relationship. It's so amazing. I am very much in love with my partner and i love him so much. My partner is the same way. We wouldn't trade our relationship for the world. We love being committed to each other.

[ 04-30-2006, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: summergoddess ]

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~Jules

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bluefreak44
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I'm 21 and married (I was 20 when my husband and I married, he was 19). We had several reasons for deciding to marry when we did.

First, we had dated for 2 1/2 years. Many people I know that are older than us didn't even wait that long. If we had been older when we started dating, we may not have even waited that long to get married. Also, I was going to have to move out of my parent's home anyway because I was transferring schools (done with the JuCo, on to the univerity). So I didn't feel I was rushing the moving out part. He also had a full-time well-paying job, which had been a concern of my parents. Also, if I would have transferred and moved without him, we would hardly see each other. Finally, it just seemed like the natural progression of our relationship. We were emotionally close, and reserved some of the physical closeness (such as sex) for marriage. Moving on just seemed like the logical next step.

I do understand the concern with rushing, however. Although we've stayed strong and stayed together through the past 3 1/2 years together, we both changed considerably after high school and have changed and grown even more now that we are on our own (together) for the first time. That's my biggest concern with young marriages--that the people involved with change and grow and the relationship won't be able to adjust. Beyond that, I personally believe that how long a couple has been together is more of an issue than how old they are. One of my friends recently talked about getting married within a few weeks. It worried me not because she is 19, but because she has only been dating this guy for a few weeks. Fortunately, after her boyfriend talked with her father about it, they decided to wait at least until the next time he is home from the military (around January).

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Gumdrop Girl
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y'know, i've been trying to put this together in my head for a while. i think i can put it to words...

I watched my best friend from elementary school get married a few weeks ago. it was a beautiful ceremony. I just got an invitation to attend the wedding of one of my closest friends from college. through the grapevine, I hear another one of my college friends is getting married.

Having been talking about my friends' wedding so much lately, my boyfriend asked me, "Who of your closest friends do you think will be the last to get married?" He said he used to think it would be a friend of ours -- a girl who had never had a boyfriend at the age of 25 -- but she met a guy online about 6 months ago and they moved to Boston together. We predict she'll be wearing a ring by Xmas.

I thought it through. I have a friend who wants to marry ASAP, but her parents don't approve of her boyfriend's lack of education. But I think she'll marry him anyway 'cause she's just that type. I have a friend who is a widow. Dunno if I can count her since she has been married once, but I think it'll be a while before she tries again.

I looked at him and said, "Honestly honey, I think it's going to be us." And he agreed, albeit with some hesitation.

We know we want to get married (I'm 25 and he's 26, so it's not like i'm jumping the gun), but WHEN is the problem. we're at ponts in our lives where getting married would be the worst possible thing we could do for our relationship. It would be a HORRIBLE CAREER MOVE for us both.

If I married him tomorrow, i'd have to support him singlehandedly 'cause I'm the one with a regular paycheck. He's in school. But then, I want to go med school, so that's 4 more years for me. Getting married will just screw up our financial aid. That doesn't even cover where we'd be able to go to school. It's hard to be married and at campuses thousands of miles apart.

What it boils down to is we have a lot of things we need to do before we can get married. Marrying right now would completely destroy our dreams for the future -- how can a couple have a happy marriage if their dreams are in ruins?

As much as I'd love to marry my boyfriend, and as exciting as that prospect is, I'm willing to wait another few presidential administrations until we're both at a point in our lives where we are better prepared for domestication. I guess that gives him time to save up for a ring. [Wink]

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-Lauren-
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Definitely time for this to go back up!
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Siloriel
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I'm glad I found this. I was considering writing a post about it, but I know I wouldn't have. I can just picture it...

"Hey guys, I'm 18 and want to be engaged. Thoughts?"
"Wait, there's no rush."
"...Yeah, you're right. It's only logical. Thanks!"

My boyfriend and I have been together 3 years, and he'll be a Junior and I'll be a freshman at the same college next year. I'm not going to go through a lot of Why Our Relationship is So Great stuff. It is, and we're happy.
I'm really happy with the way things are now. Which is why I'm so confused by my desire to be engaged to him. I think it might be that the timer in the back of my head has gone off and is saying "okay, you're in your prime childbearing years. Time to start having babies!"

I guess I also want the extra commitment and the unarguable certainty that, once and for all, he wants me, and only me, forever.
It's not like our relationship hasn't been exclusive since day one, and the only time I really had to deal with jealousy was in the year and a half of long distance...
However, I can communicate with him better than anyone I've ever met (besides my dad), which is why we're the only long distance couple of our circle who survived.

Another reason I might "hurry to the altar" is because, after graduation, he wants to join the US Marine Corps...and, after my graduation, he wants me to live at the bases with him (I believe there are 3 possible.) He's said matter of factly that of course, we would be married... and I refuse to be a military girlfriend. I just don't want to do it. Yeah, I know no magic tolerance to long distance with a military man is going to be bestowed on me just because some pastor said some words, but...maybe it's just something I feel "should" happen.
I still don't know how I feel about changing my life like this and possibly having to leave jobs I really like...I haven't decided how far I'll go for love.

I believe that after three years of a happy, healthy relationship, I would know what I was doing if I got engaged. I'm glad I'm questioning myself, instead of just picturing the white dress and the ring and stopping there.

And the risk? If I didn't trust him and myself to make marriage work, I wouldn't say "yes" in the first place.

p.s. I realize this might sound contradictory and shifting, which is actually appropriate considering my thought process about this right now.

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hunnybunny888
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for rushing into marriage at a young age I can think of three reasons:

a) first love
b) second love
c)abusive family

first loves are just shocking in that way. Even if you have an idea of finding a "prince charming" or "mr right" theres really now way you can imagine just exactly what love will feel like and how intimate it will be. Thus first loves, may think how amazing it is that they have found this and that it is really truly something special( which it is). But i find, (i know I did and a lot of my friends) that this also makes people in their first "in love" relationship a bit irrational by thinking something this great can never happen again. Thus they decide this is the "one" they are going to marry

second loves are the realization that not only can you find that same feeling again, but you can find it with a better relationship and with a person you're more compatible with, this feeling may make you more inclined to want to marry this person, they couldve saved you from the heartbreak, or the emotional distress of thinking you would never find anyone again, and you could become more commited to them

I have a friend who is 19, has been dating a guy for about 6 months, and they are getting married in a month. However, she was abused by her father the last few years, and she eventually called the police with encouragement from some of us, and after that her brother began abusing her BECAUSE she had called the cops on her father. She's in a bit of a dilly because her mom is sick, shes very close with her aunt and she still needs her family for financial support, so she really does not want to leave on bad terms. when her boyfriend proposed to her, her reasoning was that she really loves him, wants to be in a longterm relationship, so why not do it sooner, when its a way out.

In general, i think the reasons for deciding to get married (in general or early) can be just as understanable as wishing to be in a relationship. My boyfriend and I were technically "together" for about 5 or 6 months before he asked me out/ we started calling each other our boyffriend/girlfriend, prior to that we were faithful to each other, but its just that extra step to commitment and security, that some people want earlier and some want to wait for. Being in a commited relationship is great, but what marriage does, to put it bluntly, is attatch strings. It's a higher level of commitment, because if you do want a divorce, it is a big hastle. Just as if, when i call someone my boyfriend, if i decide i don't wanna see them anymore I hafta break up with them, whereas if we are in a "relationship" but only refer to it as a friendship, I can just kind of stop talking to him and fade away, and I wouldn't be doing anything wrong, for you can do that to anyone you decide not to be friends with (it isn't very nice, but its the nature of the relationship)

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-Lauren-
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Let's get this going again. Why are you, or someone you know, in a rush to get married?
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diamonds4lucy
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I'm not in a rush at the moment, but I'll talk about this subject. Hypothetically if my relationship continues to progress as it has been, marriage is a possibility.

Since my partner and I are in two different countries, the only way we could legally live together is to get married. Additionally, if I married him and moved to Canada, I wouldn't have to worry about medical expenses.

When I was fighting with my parents, and concerned about having to pay for insurance on my own (an impossible task), marrying my boyfriend for health reasons seemed like a fine idea to me.

I was also very lonely in Seattle for a time, and the idea of moving and living with someone in a new city was very appealing.

However, getting married and moving to a country where I cannot legally work right away and have no viable skills to offer when I can is a really, really bad idea. And, should my relationship fall apart, it would leave me much more isolated and alone than living where I am now ever could.

In the end, I made peace with my family, and made the decision to return to school. While I'm unhappy knowing that I can't see my boyfriend as often as we both would like, overall I feel it's an incredibly positive step for me- and us, because who wants to be in a relationship where you need the other person more than you want them? Being dependent on someone sucks.

When I'm a couple years older and (hopefully) with a degree, marriage, with all the benefits and draw backs it offers, might seem like a better idea- or it might not.

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libertatissacra
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quote:
Originally posted by likewhoa19:
A) Before you met your fiancé, did you believe in some concept of "one" ideal person for you, whether you got this idea from your parents, religion, romance movies, etc.?

Honestly, I don't really believe in "the one" in the sense that there is only one person on the planet that you're meant to be with. I think there are definitely people who we just "click" with for whatever reason, but one can "click" with any number of different people. I guess I don't really believe in any kind of fate, so based on that, I also don't believe that we're meant to be with any one person. That's something we have to choose and decide for ourselves.

quote:
B) Do you believe it is better to be in a longterm monogamous relationship than not?
If it's a good longterm monogamous relationship, then yes. If it's just a relationship for the sake of a relationship, then no. I was single through most of my teen years just because I didn't want to bother being in a relationship with someone that I didn't really want to be with. Now that I'm in a happy relationship, I love it, but I also didn't hate being single.


Regarding the issue of rushing into marriage...I don't really understand it either. I had a weird moment the other day where I was talking to an older friend of mine, and he asked if my boyfriend and I were thinking of getting married. Now, I love my boyfriend, but we've only been together for three months, and I'm only 18 (and he's only 21). My friend mentioned that plenty of people got married at our age...honestly, I can't imagine even seriously considering marriage at this point. Yeah, in a few years, if we're still together and happy, I can see it coming up and I'd definitely consider it, but a lot can happen in a few years, and while I certainly hope our relationship lasts a long time, I'm nowhere near ready to start thinking about words like "lifetime partnership."

The other thing is, as some others have mentioned, I dislike how marriage seems to be the one thing that validates a relationship in our society. Personally, if I love someone and want to be with them, that's what I'm going to do. I don't need a legal document to tell me that I love them and want to be with them. I'm also not religious, so I see no need to have a ceremony declaring our love to some higher being.

But, all that being said, I think that at some point, I'd probably like to get married to the right person. If nothing else, it's an excuse to dress up pretty and eat cake, both of which are thing I very much enjoy doing. [Big Grin]

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thismoment
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what's the rush?

For a lot of people, I think it's the pressure from outside influences to sort of 'certify' their relationship. A lot of people (at least of my parents' relations) seem to have the opinion: if you're in love, why would you choose to not get married?

Personally, I don't see a rush. The main reason I could foresee myself marrying is if, at some point, I decided I wanted to have children with my partner, because you have more legal stability if you are married (which I don't think you have if you're 'just' cohabiting). Perhaps you could get this done another way apart from marrying though?

Bar for the sake of children, I don't understand what marriage would add. I see, unfortunately, too many examples of marriages gone wrong, where you wonder why the people stay in the relationship. How can you know you're going to stay with one person forever? You can't, although you might like to believe it.

Personally, it just doesn't make sense. I don't like the tradition that goes along with marriage (asking the father, the father 'giving' away, the woman only wearing an engagement ring, wearing a marriage ring anyway, the way the bride typically dresses, the changing of the Miss to a Mrs, the taking of the surname, the fact there is a law which apparently 'grants' both people the 'right' to sex because it is in marriage...) -- all this stuff I wouldn't want imposed on me... plus, I use the title Ms anyway, and hopefully I'd want some great sex with my partner anyway! [Wink]

Where do you glean your perspective? In other words, how many long-term -- let's say, over six months --relationships have you had to have some personal perspective? And if you don't have it yourself, on whose do you rely?

2 long-term relationships of my own. The idea of 'contracting' myself into a relationsihp with anyone freaks me out. I'm not something to be 'owned', nor are any of my partners. So why, apart from the potential question of children, would I want to get married? I see many marriages, which, sadly, are now loveless; where the people stay together because they could not lose social 'face' by divorcing, or because their crap relationship is too 'cosy', and they are scared of not being in a relationship... marriage just doesn't seem necessary, for me. I don't like the idea that goes with it. Personally, I'd rather have huge anniversary parties (which cost less, and are more fun!) as a public celebration of a relationship, something which my present partner also thinks is a great idea. [Big Grin]


Lastly, what brings you to this decision in the first place?

All the things mentioned above. I'm still young, I'm still not sure about lots of things (the idea of monogamy is something I'm still very hmmmm about, about where the boundaries are best), or what I really want, and I think it's gonna take me a while to work those things out.

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TheMadMorrigan
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You know, I've often wondered this myself. Especially in light of what's going on in my circle of friends from high school, college, and grad school:

-My best friend from high school, whom I've known since I was 13, just had her first baby with her husband, whom she married at 21. At her baby shower were people I was moderately acquainted with from over the years, and I was the only female present above the age of 21 who was still unmarried.
-I went to the weddings of two friends last year and heard about 2 more I wasn't invited to.
-Friends from college who weren't interested in marriage 6 months ago are suddenly moving in with their S.O.'s and flashing rings left and right.

I'll admit it, I don't get it. I do see the appeal in marrying eventually, but right now I don't think that 15 months of dating someone (which is the case with me currently) is enough to know that I want to vow to devote the rest of my life to them. My boyfriend and I are in the middle of our Ph.D programs. I want to join the Peace Corps afterwards, and he wants time to travel. I want to adopt and raise a few kids and he's not interested in that stuff right now. And you know what? Right now, at this stage of the game, marriage doesn't seem like a viable prospect, and that's <i>fine</i>. That isn't to say that my viewpoint won't change in a few years, though, when school has ended and the scenery is different.

There's an enormous amount of pressure to live the "adult" lifestyle when college is finished, and I think that a lot of couples choose marriage as a means to define themselves in a more adult way. This is especially true for women, at least women that I know... it's almost as if there's something "wrong" with you if you don't have immediate plans to marry and you're in your early and mid-twenties, and don't have your colors and bridesmaid's dresses picked. I don't know... I agree with my boyfriend that the ultimate goal of being in a relationship is to be happy with someone, and that can happen with or without a ring on your finger.

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saguy
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Growing up through high school, I never wanted to do any of the partying (that usually included getting smashed and having casual sex), I always dreamed of ending up with a high school sweetheart and starting a family by our early 20s. I know it's a typical movie-love thing, and it doesn't happen that way very often. I think I am influenced by the fact that my mother was 21 when I was born, and being almost 24 now and never having dated at all enhances my depression over my anxiety issues.

I have also seen a few people I recognize from high school around who have found their partners and started families. They are the people I am most jealous of in this world. There is nothing I can wish for more than to be able to grow old with it being realistic that I could see great grandkids.

As for marriage itself, I am not religious...in the least. A wedding ceremony is not important to me. That said, I would go through with it if my significant other wanted it...perhaps with a triple dose of anxiety medication. lol

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yohopanda
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There were a couple reasons for me wanting to get married in my early twenties.

The first one, and most important, is that I feel that I'm ready. My relationship with my fiance has been a hard, but rewarding one. There have been plenty of problems, but in the end he makes me happier than anyone. We've always had a very mature relationship for people our age, and we both realized that engagement and marriage were in our futures together from pretty much the first couple of months of dating. We really get each other, and we understand each other on almost everything.

Also, marriage doesn't seem like a huge step for us. We've lived together for a year and a half. We have a joint checking account. We've got the handling daily life with the other and finances pretty much under control.

Besides that, my mother is ill, and I want her to be able to see me get married, and to see her grandchildren grow up a little bit.

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