This Grandma Has Just Upped the Acceptable Marriage Age For Her Grandchildren

The Good Marriage“Life is making choices and living with the consequences of the choices we make.”

In Boomers’ parents’ age, that saying meant once you married, you made your bed, so you must live with it….until death do you part. Our parents married very young, and many couples were mismatched, and unhappy most of their married lives. We Boomers were drawn to match up, mate, and marry upon college graduation. Some called it, “getting your MRS.” Again, too early, as the great number of divorces in the 1970’s attests to the lack of success of that path. In our Boomers’ youth, when those who went to their parents to tell them they intended to divorce, they heard, “doesn’t anyone stay unhappily married anymore?” Now the Boomers are among the largest segment of those divorcing in their retirement years, with a divorce rate higher than any other age groups, hovering at fifty percent. See this post heralding the onset of the trend,’ “Gray” Divorcees and Boomer Grandparents.’

All of this does not bode well for a decision to marry early in life.

What does that mean in 2018?

This Grandma has shared what was her early advice to her children, the parents of our grandchildren, from the time they were teens and early twenties in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. We, Grandpa and I, voiced that we would not accept their marriage before age 27. Our mantra was that one must be independent and able to take care of oneself. Even if our adult child knew who they were and want they wanted in life, a potential spouse may not know who he or she is before age 27. As a divorce lawyer, and later a circuit judge serving in the family division, I saw so many bad matches. I did not want that for my grandchildren, as I knew what divorce did to the children of a marriage when it broke up.

As a divorce professional, dealing with tens of thousands of relationships that had gone wrong, I was clearly ahead of the times.  Now, the statistics for those who marry later, 27 for women and 29 for men, show the divorce rate has plummeted. It is 16% for them! I know my advice, seeming outrageous in the 1990’s was sound.  Of course, I gave them more advice about choice of lifetime partner, what makes a successful long term marriage, and have shared it in a previous post, “Why We Boomers Should Respect and Acknowledge the Long Term Marriages Among Us.”

Yesterday, my daughter, my preteen granddaughter and I somehow got to the topic of age to marry. Of course, I threw my two cents in. My granddaughter should not marry until her early thirties, I said. My daughter protested that then my granddaughter would not be a young mother. I reminded her that she was in her late thirties when the preteen was born, her sister just had a baby at forty, and her brother was a father for the first time in his early forties. She protested again, saying she would be an old grandmother.

I understand. I am not the spry grandmother with the same stamina that I was when our first grandchild was born almost fifteen years ago. But, I am still rolling on the floor.   See post,  “This Grandma’s Top Ten Grandma Tips in Honor of Grandparents’ Day.” I am still experiencing the joy of grandparent hood. In some ways, it is better. I too now have the long years to appreciate each day and it’s changes—changes in each of the 365 days of babyhood—that I did not with the first four.

Besides, longevity is on the side of our grandchildren.  They are likely to live to one hundred years of age.  Having a first child in one’s thirties or forties is not out of the realm of realistic timing in their generation.  As I got to this point in my draft of this blog post, I picked up the Sunday New York Times, August 5, 2018, which answers the question posed above, “that women with college degrees have children an average of seven years later than those without – and often use the years in between to finish school and build their careers and incomes.” See, “Data on Mothers Reveal Schisms Across America,” by Quoctrung Bui and Claire Cain Miller, reported on www.wral.com.

The article, and the statistics within, show, in reality, none of this is about us, our adult children, or them.  It is about their children.  Divorce is not likely in their marriages, boding well for their children–our great grandchildren.

“Research has shown that, increasingly, children’s start in life determines where they end up.”

. . . .

 

“The strategy,” Rackin, the LSU sociologist, said, “is to provide the best opportunities for children.”

 

The well-being of our grandchildren and great grandchildren is paramount.  That is why this Grandma adds a new mantra — that we Boomer grandparents should promote upping the acceptable marriage age for our grandchildren to early thirties.

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

Speak Your Mind

*