My son, in his early twenties, has no job but is in a hurry to get married.
Your son needs to prepare for marriage and develop maturity.
My son, recently graduated from university, has asked us for permission to marry
his girlfriend, with whom he has been intimate for the last two years. My wife and I flatly
refused because he has no job, and because this is his first real involvement. For his part,
he refuses to postpone the wedding, threatening to go ahead without our permission. How can we
resolve this problem?
All parents hope their children meet the right spouse and have a happy marriage. It is as
important as doing well at school and finding the right job. But marriage, called the "greatest
human affair," can expand or limit the future, depending on the choices made.
Your son's determination is understandable-at 23 years of age, with no previous experience in love,
passion convinces him that this feeling is forever. But there are no guarantees in love, and
clearly he needs to proceed with caution. Psychologists once defined adolescence as up to 17
years old, with adulthood beginning at 18. Now, wisdom extends adolescence to 25, as university
students as well as teens are still in the process of establishing self-identity. Can you really
love another person without really knowing yourself?
In previous times, the trend was to marry young, confident that the community that supported one's
parents would also support the offspring. The village's fate was shared by the entire community.
Our prospects were circumscribed and preordained. In these unpredictable modern times, isolated as
we are from one another, subject to the financial ups and downs of the global community, marriage
without careful preparation can end up in tragedy.
Studies suggest that about 90% of the general population will marry at least once, with 50% ending
in divorce. Studies also indicate that the divorce rate is lower for those who marry for the first
time at 28 or older. What this suggests is that by delaying marriage, one gets to know himself better,
and in so doing, make a better, more durable match.
Some people are mature and ready earlier than others. Socio-economic and cultural factors obviously
influence marriage age; however, your son has the luxury to go to university and establish himself in
life first, he doubtless will increase his chances of success in marriage.
Without knowing your son better, it seems that he might be well advised to wait a little longer, and see
if his relationship is a good fit. Nothing will be lost by waiting. But do try to find a gentle way to
help him see the truth in this. Offer premarital counseling as way for the couple to get to know one
Sometimes passion blinds us to the real issues. Talking, with the help of a neutral observer, may clear
the air. Do your son and his intended really hold the same values? What are their respective ideas
about childrearing, wives with careers, religion, etc. What are their respective personal goals, and can
they aid one another in achieving them?
Many a couple might be spared the heartache of divorce by examining their beliefs and goals beforehand.
Your son needs to be encouraged to lead with his head, not his heart, in this instance.
Since the word "proposal" is on the tip of his tongue these days, I suggest you offer him the following
one: if he will agree to a long engagement period of no less than two years, during which he starts his
career and the couple explore their bonds, you and your husband will give them most wonderful wedding
party and exotic honeymoon. That's something to think about it!