Direct Answers – Column for the week of August 11, 2003
I am concerned about a relationship, but it is not my own. My nephew aged 21 is planning to get married this November. While I think he is young, I think the bride to be is far too young at only 17.
My nephew was home-schooled through half of high school, and she was raised on a ranch and home-schooled as well. In other words, she has no real life experience. They have never dated anyone else. To top it off, he is financially irresponsible and currently holds a low paying job, while she has never worked.
Her mother is strongly in support of the marriage and is encouraging it, even though her daughter hasn’t finished high school. His entire family is against it. None of us feel either of them know themselves well enough to commit to another, or know enough of the big bad world.
How do I discourage them from getting married so soon, or should I? All of us prefer to see him wait until he has a more sturdy and stable position, or at least an idea where he wants to go in life, before they walk into a marriage they are unprepared for.
On one level I suspect the reason they are in a hurry is because they were both raised in a strict environment and don’t believe in premarital sex. That’s just conjecture, but I feel if they marry, they’ll end up divorced in under four years.
So should I keep my mouth shut, or try to talk them out of getting married?
Bea, with all the relationship books and counseling available in the US, you might think the recent leveling off of the astronomical divorce rate is due to some new technique or discovery. It isn’t.
The evidence seems to show it is linked to one main fact. Couples getting married now are on average about four years older than they were only a few decades ago, and they are about half a dozen years older than this couple. You are right to be concerned.
You are writing from experience, and they are acting from inexperience. It is wise to point out to them what married life requires and mention things they haven’t thought about. But if they didn’t absorb those lessons growing up, chances are they won’t listen to you now.
If your nephew is marrying to finally have sex, he won’t tell you. If she is marrying to get out of her parents’ house, she won’t tell you. If they are marrying because they don’t know what to do next with their lives, they won’t say that. After the wedding the question is, Will help really help them, or merely prolong a marriage destined to end?
Say what you think is appropriate now, then step aside. Only in hindsight are you likely to be appreciated.
Wayne & Tamara
On The Road
My significant other and soon to be permanent partner and I will be leaving in two weeks to drive cross-country, a trip of almost 3000 miles. My question is how do we spend hour after hour driving with one another?
The party not driving can read the newspaper, we can talk or listen to music. I’ll pack snacks and we can take turns sleeping. These things I know. They are the common everyday things people do when they travel together. I suppose I was looking for something different; I don’t know exactly. Any suggestions?
Kris, what are you asking?
Life is one long road trip. If the silence is too heavy, if you wonder what to say, perhaps that says it all. This trip may reveal the real nature of your connection. Tamara and I can drive in companionable silence, or we can talk for hours. We don’t even turn the radio on. It’s a distraction from us. Is that what you are looking for?