What would you Desire More – Early or Late Marriage?
Montaigne says in his Essays, that “a good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.” In such humor is truth. She does not see his faults and he is spared her sharp tongue. Unfortunately for the state of marriage for many people, such knowledge comes too late. That is why late marriage is more desirable. Late can mean several things but here we ascribe to the view meaning maturity and not marriage at old age.
We are finding in contemporary society many young adults are living singly and not marrying or putting it off till later. This is at odds with history where people married at earlier ages. Down through the century, and especially the last two decades we see the age has started to increase.
What is the advantage of postponing marriage till a later age? Well, there are several. People who marry at a very young age are not mature. Socrates advises all men: “Know Thyself.” Those who marry early in their second decade have not formed an identity. They lack self knowledge. They do not know who they are—neither one does, so it is a problem to the second power. And it is very significant. Not knowing about yourself shows that you do not know where you are going or what you want in life. What are your goals, desires and aim in life? How can you get there? They yet have to answer the age old question of all mature adults: Who am I? Where am I going? How do I get there?
In America and perhaps elsewhere, when marriage is postpones to the third decade, divorce rates fall drastically when compared to those who marry in their 20’s. This applies to both male and female. The younger ones are in love and live in a dream world of whimsy and hope filled with daydreams. Reality has no place with them. Authenticity is totally lacking in the young. They have not determined their personal strengths and weaknesses yet. Experience of life, tincture of time, is needed to allow full maturation to adulthood.
In the middle ages, youngsters did not marry until they had a roof over their head and a way to provide for themselves and their children. Similar arguments should be made today too. One should have a way of earning a living to support a family and have a home before contemplating marriage. Thus, education and/or training become necessary in order to obtain a job.
Late marriage is desirable in the sense that we mean marriage between mature people living in reality and not a dream. Knowledge of self, goals aims and desires is what is needed for two people to marry. If you don’t know yourself, how can you possible know the one you plan to live with?