As far back as when I was in high school I noticed a funny thing going on. A couple would have been going out for a year of two, and one or both sets of parents would start in with “The Question. " “When are you two going to get married ?" Some young couples I fear get married just so they don’t have to answer that question anymore ! So they get married. Then what do they hear ? “ When are you going to have a baby ?" These two questions have always made me wonder, do we rush our young couples to marriage/parenthood?
Don’t get me wrong marriage and parenthood are both wonderful things ! Yet they are happier, and have a better chance of success if they occur when the people involved are ready. This can mean a number of things. I have always believed every relationship has its own natural pace. The only two people who can accurately sense this are the people in the relationship.
We also have to consider are the two people “relationship ready ?" Many couples coming out of high school for instance may be very mature, but many are not. Have the couple thought hard about how the nuts and bolts of how their marriage will work ? Who will keep the checkbook ? How do their views on childcare compare ? Where and in what type of dwelling will they live ? If they can’t give specific answers to these and many more important questions, they are probably being rushed.
What about being financially ready ? Does either member of the couple have a full-time job? How does college fit into their plans ? Does either of them plan to join the military ? The military actually discourages its member from marrying in their first 2 or 4 years of service. This is because the salary paid the lower ranking members of our military is not enough to support a family. And the people in charge know it !
I have nothing against young couples marrying. Even these days people do marry young and live happy lives together. Its just sometimes I wonder if we are really acting in the you couple’s best interest, or rushing to grandchildren. Rushing into marriage or parenthood at any age is very foolish. The thing with younger couples is they are more likely to lean on the judgement of adults they trust. This is more than just a single sit down discussion. We always should be mindful of if we are unintentionally nudging things along faster than they should go. Of course the answer you get from the couple will probably go something like “ But we’re so much in love !" Love is great, no marriage can succeed without it. At the same time we experienced couples know that love alone is not enough. This is one of those times when we need to tell the young people we care about what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
Don’t discourage them. Love them enough to make sure they take the time they need to make the right decision form them.
Robert A. Crutchfield is president of Kingdom Relationship Ministries. He is a minister, public speaker, and success/relationships coach. He holds the Competent Leader Award from Toastmasters International, and is a Brainbench Certified Trainer. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Visit him online at http://www.kingdomrelationships.org