The following is a brief response to a friend posing the question on Facebook (after observing so many of her early-20s friends were already engaged or married) of why people would be in such a “rush” to get married (her post was called “Will You Marry Me?” hence the title of this response, which is cut-and-pasted from my Facebook note):
I understand the early marriage thing entirely, though I haven’t always. When I first came to college, I was pretty convinced that people should absolutely not get married before they graduate. I have since become convinced otherwise. There are several reasons for this:
1) Pushing marriage further into the future only allows people more time to get set in their ways and, quite frankly, more difficult to live with. We’re more flexible (no pun intended) when we’re younger, and earlier marriages often turn out better simply because the people grow together rather than expecting the other person to put up with the idiosyncrasies developed over a prolonged period of singleness.
2) My friends who did get married earlier have had quite successful marriages to this point. After seeing their successes, I see no reason for people to put it off.
3) The whole notion of pushing marriage into the undetermined future “until you’re financially and emotionally stable” is actually a symptom of our particularly self-centered culture. It is really a code for “I want to live my life for me as long as I can, but I’ll eventually settle down when I’m ready.” That mentality is a destructive one, not only in singleness, but also in marriage, because that self-centeredness is precisely what most often causes divorce.