At age 18, I thought a sky-blue velvet waterbed with built-in tape deck, chrome banding and matching chrome reading lights was the absolute bomb. What business does someone with that immature a mindset have getting married?
At that age - and into the 20s - the desire to marry is often fueled by the desire to set up house or throw an elaborate wedding more than is the foreverness of the union. Finding your person to commit to isn't like choosing teams with the fear of being the last one picked. Just because you're in love or comfortable together or smoking in the bedroom doesn't mean you should grab for the rings.
I suppose it might seem hypocritical for someone who has changed her last name as often as I to offer marriage advice, but to learn from my mistakes, I first had to make them. Now that I'm most happily settled, I want to enjoy a little ride on the high horse by sharing one small tidbit I've learned.
I've learned that you aren't ready for marriage until you're ready to be selfless. You have to be willing to always put your spouse's welfare before your own - and trust that your spouse will do the same for you. You should be willing to walk through fire for your mate if that's what they ask, but wanting what's best for you, they should never ask.
I know how painful divorces can be. And how expensive and time-consuming and stressful, and how damaging to your self-worth.
In many cases, all it takes is being patient enough to wait until you're both truly ready. Until you're both older and wiser and past the age of putting your own wants first. Until you're ready to love someone more than yourself, and to want what's best for them.
A recent study conducted by Paul Amato, author of "Generation At Risk," found that "the chance of divorce recedes with each year that a woman postpones marriage, with the least divorce-prone marriages being those where the couples got married at age 35 or higher."
So if people can reduce their chances for divorce simply by waiting until they're older to marry, then shouldn't the legal age to marry be raised? Imagine how the divorce rate would plummet if those wanting to vow "till death us do part" waited until they were 80 to wed.
I got the feeling the clerk at Kmart was being pressured into marriage. I hope she loves her man enough to say no.
Karin Fuller can be reached via e-mail at karinful...@cnpapers
.com. Her columns can be accessed easily online through her blog at thegazz.com.