Monday, March 2, 2009
This weekend I attended the wedding of my niece. It was a nice wedding and reception. I love her to death and hope that they have a long, happy, prosperous life together - but I have some concerns. They just started officially dating around Christmas this last year, and had only known each other for a short time before that. She says that she knew that they were right for each other, so why wait. Now, while I believe that it is possible to know relatively quickly that a certain person is right for you, I think that it is not particularly wise to jump into marriage that quickly. We do believe in chastity outside of marriage, so maybe that was a motivation. It would be for a lot of people, but I don't know if that's the case with them. I also believe in personal responsibility, and that people have the ability to exercise personal choice and control, so just because you love each other does not mean that you can't wait. I wonder if it is just youth and naievity, thinking that loving someone means that everything will work out just fine. In reality it is not that simple. Men and women "speak different languages". Individuals come form different homes where there are different values; things are done differently and there are different expectations. Marriage is challenging for people who know each other well, but if you haven't taken the time to do that, then your asking for some really difficult adjustments in an environment where you're the most vulnerable. That's were the engagement period comes in. It's not just so that you have enough time to plan a reception and send out announcements. It's a time to get to know the person much better, plan your life together, and make decisions about how you'll do things together, to lessen the "culture shock" of marriage and increase your chances of success. Once in a while, during this period a couple will find out that there are incompatabilities that were not obvious earlier on. While this is difficult and sad, it can be a very important function of engagement. It's much better to figure out before marriage than after. Well, like I said, I love her to death. So, having made her decision and gotten married, I'll pray for their success and be there to support it however I can.