The argument for earlier marriage has generated no small amount of reaction. For some of these, visit The Other McCain, The American Scene, or TAS again. (For the record, I realize these links are all to posts by men. The Other McCain has some links to the feminist reaction if you really want to check that out as well.)
The op-ed aligns with my own pro-marriage views, so I think you should go read the whole thing for yourself. One point in the piece though, is worth emphasizing. It is one the author included, but didn't necessarily focus on:
Now we advise our children to complete their education before even contemplating marriage, to launch their careers and become financially independent. We caution that depending on another person is weak and fragile. We don't want them to rush into a relationship. We won't help you with college tuition anymore, we threaten. Don't repeat our mistakes, we warn.For the vast majority of middle class and upper middle class Americans, this represents the most damning case against early marriage, and yet for me it is the absolutely least convincing.
Sara, a 19-year-old college student from Dallas, equated thinking about marrying her boyfriend with staging a rebellion. Her parents "want my full attention on grades and school because they want me to get a good job," she told me.
It boils down to, don't get married and have kids at 20 or 22 because they will be teenagers when you are only 33 or 35. You won't have hit your peak earning years yet and teenagers need braces, and name brand jeans, and a cell phone with unlimited everything - you don't want them to be socially handicapped do you? Oh and don't forget the trip to Mexico or Florida for those long mid-western winters, and a car, and you shouldn't make them work - their grades will suffer, then they won't get into a good school, then they won't earn a lot of money, then what will their kids do?
I can think of reasons to not get married at twenty, but not being able to buy the latest sneakers for your kids ain't one of them.
The Other McCain really unpacked the marriage issue in a recent post over at Hot Air in which he calls this aspiring middle class ethos idolatrous. (Warning: Radical ideas at the Hot Air link. Those invested in American cultural norms which elevate comfort and material prosperity above all else, pregnant women, and those with heart conditions should think twice before clicking.)
This is not to say that everyone should get married early. I mean, if 20 year old Suzi and Bobby get into a knock-down drag-out in the Burger King parking lot stemming from the fact that they wanted to split an order, because they thought it would be cute, but then couldn't decide between the chicken fries or the jalapeno poppers; the result of which is the police being summoned, reality TV crew in tow, and disorderly conduct citations being issued, then maybe these are not the type of 20-year-olds that are ready for marriage.
Matching court dates are not the basis for a long and happy marriage. But neither are his and hers SUV's with vanity plates that read "W8D2MRY."