It will surprise no one when I mention that my parents met in 1954 when my mother was sixteen and my father was twenty-three. It probably won’t surprise anyone very much when I say that they were married two years later when my mother was still only eighteen.
|My parents getting married in 1956|
How they married is another story, and a romantic one, but something I’ll save for a future blog.
The fact is that in 1956 it wasn’t all that unusual for people to fall in love and marry young. I can tell you that the average age for a woman to marry in 1956 was twenty, and for a man it was twenty-two. My mother was a little on the young side, my father was a bit older than average.
The dort has been dating the boyff for eighteen months and they’re very happy together. We love him, and we like him for her. Recently people have begun to ask if it’s serious. I tell them that they’re just kids, that they’re very young. I tell them that they don’t have to do anything but enjoy themselves. I happen to think it’s good advice.
The boyff is at the beginning of a career and the dort hasn’t finished college yet. They’re both twenty-one. There’s a long way to go and a lot to do before they have to think about being responsible for one another. They barely have to be responsible for themselves yet.
The average age for a man to marry now is thirty and for a woman it is twenty-eight. That seems much more sensible on the face of it, but then you start to look at divorce statistics and you've got to wonder. Of course divorce is a good thing, and of course a lot of people stayed in terrible marriages because they had little choice fifty years ago, but I do wonder if there are other factors.
Here’s my point. As adults we might be a little afraid of young people falling in love, of them forming adult relationships and taking on adult responsibilities when they’re too young to know what they’re doing. We did it and we know how hard it can be. The truth is that it’s demanding at any age. The truth is, if you don’t fall in love when you’re young when the hell are you going to do it? The truth is, I’m not entirely sure that dating more people for longer is actually better, that it actually gives a person a better idea of what he or she wants in a partner. I’m not sure it doesn’t just lead to confusion and bitterness and cynicism.
I can’t help thinking that couples who grow together stay together, and maybe the best chance of that is to follow your heart if you happen to be lucky enough to fall in love when you're young.
@52Betty brought this subject to my mind. She tweeted recently that she has been with her partner for eighteen years, which is precisely half of her life. People said it wouldn’t last. People have been saying that about teenagers in love since time immemorial I suspect.
Maybe we should all stop saying it, wish them well, and just let them get on with it. Some of them will make it and some of them won't, but it was ever thus.