E is for Experience

Our young adult children, and the young adult children of our friends, are finding more and more of their friends getting married, getting pregnant, and shackin up. This makes for lively discussions and entertaining social media banter.


Every time I hear someone is 19 and getting married, I assume someone’s pregnant or those poor kids are saving themselves for marriage, and it’s gettin harder and harder to wait for the sex.
I suppose some people are positively frightened of being alone.
Or maybe they’re afraid no one better will come along.
Maybe they think it will make them a grown-up.
I can only presume weddings seem like the most magical things ever.


I’m going to generalize the fuck out of this post, so if you married young, and had babies right away, and you’re now over the age of thirty and still quite happy, then I commend you, and this post is not about you.
In keeping with generalizations, if you married young, and years later, you still don’t have a baby, because you don’t want a baby, you’re obviously exceptional, and congratulations on living through people asking you daily, “When are you going to have children?” and the even more vicious, “You’ll change your mind when you’re older” comment.
And in the same generalized format, if you’ve reached “a certain age” and you’re still willfully unmarried and/or childless, then I want you to throw really cool parties like this:

I hate weddings.
There, I said it.

I have been to gobs of weddings, and most of them were terrible. Several weddings involved me asking the bride if she was sure she wanted to go through with it.
I know happiness when I see it, and I don’t see it too often at weddings. When I attend a happy wedding, I am damn near euphoric, and eager to drink and dance.

I even hated my own wedding.
As soon as The Mister and I got into the car after the reception, we looked at one another and said, in unison, “We should’ve eloped.”

A good marriage lasts a lot longer than a bad wedding.

See, no one can really define what makes a marriage work. I mean, we throw around words like honesty, trust, communication, and compromise, but the definitions and boundaries of those words vary from user to user, and they change over time.

The thing is, only the people in the marriage can make the marriage, and only the people in the marriage can define it.
Now, I view marriage as a secular thing, so I don’t want to read what your particular god has to say about marriage. Adam and Steve are my family and friends, so your “morality” is of no interest to me.

What the hell do 18-19-20-year-olds know about marriage? Probably not any more or any less than grown-ass people do. They just don’t seem to consider reality…

Young people say really ridiculously cute things like, “She’ll go to school full-time and I’ll work full-time.”
And I ask questions that are equally cute and absurd, like, “Where will the baby be while y’all are doin that?”
They’ll work it out, they say. Then they smile at one another and squeeze their held hands.

Young people say things like, “I don’t know if I’ll ever want children.” Well, that’s pretty vague, yo. I’ve yet to meet any couples who have halfa baby because one wanted a child and one didn’t. Unless something is medically wrong, or people are surgically invested in sterility, babies just kinda happen with sexual activity.

Grown-ass people are liberated from their parents. They’ve dated plenty. They’ve tried on a lot of different people. They’ve experienced the demands of a career. They’ve traveled. They’ve purchased a car, or a property, or an insurance policy. They’ve managed their own money. Maybe they’ve even grown a plant or kept a pet.

They have a life to merge with someone else’s life.

The older you are, the more educated you are, the more likely your marriage will last. Having faith or hobbies or interests in common increases that likelihood.

Getting married right out of high school or college doesn’t leave you any time to be yourself, as one individual. Why would anyone want to miss out on that? Skipping a milestone entirely, there.

Sometimes, my girls want lots and lots of babies. Then some days, they say they’re never going to have children. I tell my girls all the time, “You gotta have that time, where you’re completely independent. When you have a job and a life all your own. You must LIVE. You gotta drink and dance and spend way too much money on shoes and music and books. Once you get married or have children, you can’t get it back.”

Here are some clues you may not be ready to get married:

Your parents are still paying on your orthodontia. 
You haven’t graduated high school.
You think FICA is like the SAT.
You still haven’t passed your driver’s test.
You don’t know how you got pregnant.
Your mom still does your laundry.
You aren’t old enough to drink the champagne at your own wedding.
You need a work permit.
You don’t know your social security number.



My advice to young love is to wait it out and see where life takes you. Be a whole person, ready to commit to another whole person. Make sure what’s offered is a huge improvement to your life, because marriage won’t fix your problems. Marriage will create new problems. Marriage is a lot of work. But then, I really don’t know anything, because I’m not young enough to be completely deluded. I’ve only got EXPERIENCE.


About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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29 Responses to E is for Experience

  1. Patti Hall says:

    Your generalizations are so accurate 🙂 You made truth and reality hysterical, as usual.


  2. Kat's Den says:

    I think that says it all, and I’m glad you said it out loud.


  3. Aussa Lorens says:

    Ah, me likey. The marriage image with the asterisk = my favorite ever. I have to agree, THOUGH of course I know several exceptions- both the “we got knocked up so we got married but now we are old and happy” and the “we got married at 19 so we could have sex and now we are both doctors and glamorously travel and still don’t have kids even though we’ve been married a decade.” But for the most part, I’m right there with you. I rarely go to weddings. I just missed one yesterday, actually. I’m not always convinced that the girls I know are all that in love or even interested in these people they’ve chosen to spend their lives with, it’s just that “it’s time” and he has a good job or family.

    I like that you teach your girls to get out there and do life and be independent. So much changes in your 20s… you’re only a shadow of who you are when you started them.


    • Oh yes, always exceptions! My in-laws, for instance. Although both willingly admit, they didn’t plan for that first baby coming so soon! Haha!
      We also know fabulous childless couple married young, and they’re happy, too.
      But it’s rare.
      I think marriage is always a leap of faith, regardless of age and education, but I hate to see young people missing out on themselves because they’re bound to someone else at the ripe old age of 19.


  4. Jewels says:

    Excellent Joey!


  5. Sherry says:

    I am shocked by the number of people I know (went to high school with)who married early and stayed…I mean were going together in high school. Still I feel bad for them, because they have no standards upon which to judge their own lives…they jumped from mom and dad to the boyfriend and parenthood…how you raise thoughtful wise kids from that is beyond me…I definitely think that one ought to experience A LOT before making that decision. 🙂


  6. Agreed. I bet they don’t want their kids married off at 19, either.
    I think you know when you know, and that’s a fact. But it’s hard to KNOW when you don’t know yourself! LOL


  7. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Excellent post. I think there oughta be a law – no one gets married until they’re thirty and only if they pass a test. I would have failed the test every time. Wish there had been one.


  8. At 22, I barely knew what my name was much less what I wanted to do with my life—- marriage never figured into the equation—though I had done the kid thing already. Not on purpose however. And I still barely know my ssn….


  9. suzjones says:

    I married at 22 (I was already a single mother) and made the worst decision of my life. However, I had a son from that marriage that is just a joy. At 31 I met the man of my dreams. Here we are 18 years later and still not married. He bought up my other two children, we had one together and I’m pleased I had that first marriage so I can appreciate just how wonderful the love of my life really is.
    Both of my older two are married. They married in their 20’s. One has had nothing but trouble (I’d so like to slap my son-in-law up the side of the head and yell at him) and the other is still blissfully in love. Good for them I say. 🙂


  10. mollytopia says:

    So true – very good advice! I’m so glad I found you through Aussa – yay!


  11. spacurious says:

    I agree so hard with your views here that I have a sudden desire to find out your address, kill your current neighbors and move in so we can have coffee every morning on the porch together. If there is no porch, I’ll build one.


  12. LindaGHill says:

    Been married 3 times – first time at 19 – and none of those husbands were my kids’ father. (They’re all from the same father though, we just didn’t get married.)
    Anyway, all this to say I’m not one to talk.


  13. Dan Antion says:

    I love the list 🙂


  14. Matt Roberts says:

    I wasn’t nervous on my wedding day. My wife cried the whole time (she realized who she said yes to). It was just like another day to me. I knew it was what I wanted and she was who I wanted and there was no doubt in my mind. That’s how I knew I was ready. In my past there were two others who I was ready to marry, and looking back on it, I’m so glad I didn’t. This time, I was more than ready, and while I may regret it every now and then (who doesn’t?) I can’t imagine being with anybody else. Great post.


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