Monday, March 12, 2012

Response to "Should Catholics Marry Young?"

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After I left the Church at 18, I got married and had my first baby at 24. I remember thinking even at that age I already was set in my ways. I have a hunch that early marriage and early mothering might be better for women’s psychological health and make it easier for them to bond with their husbands and their babies. One reason is the one I mentioned, the habits of having your time to yourself aren’t as deeply embedded. Girls intuitively love babies and love to play with them. Another reason is that girls are not protected in the home any more and are allowed (almost forced) to spend lots of unchaperoned time with members of the opposite sex, which can be full of stimulation and fraught with temptation. Girls also start falling in love early with boys. Disappointment at attempted seductions with no prospect of marriage has a daunting effect on a girl’s sense of worthiness. I believe that the dating scene forces a woman to develop a habit of guarding herself and saying no to her natural impulses if she wants to remain chaste. This habit of self-protection can cause difficulties later when she should be able to be open to her husband and to her children. One comment pointed out that the desire for intimacy was one of the main motivators back when premarital relations weren’t the norm. The goal of the preservation of chastity in the young would seem to suggest that marriage should not be delayed. Just some thoughts. I hope no one jumps all over me because I stepped on one of their pet theories. :-) These are thoughts from a woman who remembers when you were considered at risk of never marrying if you graduated from high school without being engaged. If you didn’t meet a husband in college, you were probably doomed to spinsterhood. Marriage meant children, and there were lots of married student housing on campuses. Only nonconformists fornicated. Girls took a big risk of not being considered marriage material if they strayed, and there was a definite double standard that was unfair to women. Men wanted to marry “nice” i.e. chaste girls, and girls wanted to be married. The norm was early marriage. My how things have changed.

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