Let’s Have More Teen Pregnancy?
The idea of returning to an era of young marriage still seems daunting, for good reason. It is not just a matter of tying the knot between dreamy-eyed 18-year-olds and tossing them out into the world. Our ancestors were able to marry young because they were surrounded by a network of support enabling that step.
Young people are not intrinsically incompetent, but they do still have lots of learning to do, just like newly-weds of any age. In generations past a young couple would be surrounded by family and friends who could guide and support them, not just in navigating the shoals of a new marriage, but also in the practical skills of making a family work, keeping a budget, repairing a leaky roof, changing a leaky diaper. It is not good for man to be alone; it’s not good for a young couple to be isolated, either.
In this era of extended education, couples who marry young will likely do so before finishing college, and that will require some sacrifices. They can’t expect to “have it all.” Of the three factors—living on their own, having babies, and both partners going to school full-time—something is going to have to give. But young marriage can succeed, as it always has, with the support of family and friends.
A rather refreshing example of rational thought in the rather polarized abstinence vs. contraception debate. Perhaps it’s finally time to admit that they both have failed, that (Barring forcible physical segregation) sex is going to happen and that our options are either young marriage or abortion?
I was 25 when we married and neither I nor Ros had yet finished Graduate school. It wasn’t easy — in fact, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I discovered just how fun it was to experience panic attacks and stress-induced skin rashes — and, I’d do it again. I had to grow up in one all-fired hurry — but it eventually had to happen. It could have been a lot easier if our society didn’t think I was 5-7 years too young and actually had some supports in place.
My kids will likely be out of the house and in college before I’m 50 and, with the current progress of modern medicine, I might actually still be around by the time their kids have children. Show me the downside of that…