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A Helping Hand: Am I the Right Age?

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Am I too young to get married and move out on my own? My boyfriend asked me to marry him and I said "yes!" I feel like I'm the right age but I've been told I'm not. Most of my friends are married and on their own. I feel like I'm behind my friends because most of them are on their own, married, and have kids. I love my boyfriend and I think we'll make it. How do I know I'm making the right choice? There are no guarantees in life.

You didn't say how old you are, but regardless of your age, asking if you are the right age is an indication you're not ready to be married. Because you haven't been on your own yet, you don't have the experience that would help you readily decide whether or not you should be married. Marriage isn't "on your own." Living by yourself is "on your own."

Finances or the crime rate of the area in which you would live may call for roommates, but roommates are different than romantic interests and spouses. Roommates share space and expenses. Generally, they do not also share beds and lives. If you're not ready to be on your own, you're certainly not ready to be married.

To go from your parent/guardian's house to a house with a husband is to skip an all-important experience: the opportunity to get to know yourself and find out who you are without anyone else's help or support. The experience will help you grow, develop other interests, and learn new skills.

Consider the woman you’re going to be in one year or five years. For that matter, consider who you’re going to be in three months or six months. This is to say that living on your own will make you a new person – and that new person might not care for the idea of marriage or specifically the guy you're currently engaged to marry.

You can be on your own and still date the guy. Getting married is serious business. If you're serious about having a marriage for the long haul, bear in mind that this kind of commitment is best met by someone who knows what they want from life – not just from a man or a marriage. It’s also best to know what you don't want, who you are, and what kind of person best suits you.

We all are sure of our relationships in the beginning, but even those who have been part of a lifelong relationship will tell you of disastrous storms and times when they left, only to come back with very different expectations than they had in the beginning. This is especially so if one or both parties didn't have time on their own before getting married.

If you get married without the benefit of having lived on your own and things don't work out between you, how old do you suppose you'll be the first time you really are on your own? It will be enough to be heartbroken, but to also have to face being on your own for the first time will make the transition all the more difficult and even overwhelming.

If you delay getting married until you've had a goodly amount of time on your own (at least one year) and he doesn't stick around for that time, it's likely he'd have left within a year of being married. In this, you'll learn whether or not he can effectively contribute to one of the cornerstones of marriage: longevity.

There's no such thing as being "behind" one's friends. Everyone has a different timeline and there is no age by which you should be married and/or have kids. If you're getting married because you think you should, how do you suppose that will play out in six months, one year, or five years when you realize you were more particular about the timeline than the person you chose? Not getting married and/or delaying the decision until you're sure beats the hell out of the consequences of rushing a decision.

Take your time. Unless you're dying or old enough to check the "over 80" block, you've got plenty of time to decide.

About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • http://www.saintjuanchos.wordpress.com Saint Juanchos

    Lately, I have this pressure of getting married or at the very least, finding a stable relationship, from all sides. And that’s because most of my friends are either married or in a relationship. I feel left behind.
    So, thanks for this article… It made my day!

  • Marlon

    Bravo Di!
    I can’t count how many times I have given similar advice to the women in my life, friends, daughters, nieces and their significant others. One of the most troubling things I witness is when a person (male or female) makes the statement “I can’t stand to be without …” How sad to pin all your happiness on one other person and how daunting for that person, to be solely responsible for the others happiness. I tell everyone who will listen (not a large crowd when dealing with people who are just discovering independence) “how can you truly be happy in a relationship without coming to terms with being happy by yourself”? The quickest and most reliable route to self awareness is as you stated, “until you’ve had a goodly amount of time on your own” and I agree a year should be sufficient. I feel badly that so many young women especially, go from being somebody’s daughter, to somebody’s girlfriend to somebody’s wife without ever being known as just her self. I hope your reader(s) who are contemplating the jump take the time to get to know and be comfortable with them selves first.