Talking Marriage at 22 Years Old?

Ah to be 22 again...

I received an email asking for some advice from Chris. Here's the email, followed by my response.

If you'd like to weigh in and contribute constructively to Chris's situation, you're welcome to comment.

Chris' Dilemma

"I can see you are very wise in relationships and this is why I write.

My girlfriend and I have been dating for 2 years now. I am 22 and she is 21. I was the first to bring up the idea of marriage after 7 months of dating. She felt the same way and she continued to talk about it like we were going to do it soon. I guess I didn't take into account the time frame of when we were going to tie the knot until she expected me to propose before graduating college so that we could be married right after we graduate.

About 6 months ago she opened up to the idea of marrying after we graduate, but she still insists on a time frame being met. I really do see us getting married, and I am really excited about that moment in my life. However, I'm scared to talk about a time frame in getting married.

I know at this moment in my life that I am not ready to marry her and i guess its hard to give her a time when I will because there's a lot of things I need to figure out about myself before I take such a huge step. Things such as religion and my job.

Recently she has been pressuring me to tell her a date to get married because she wants reassurance that she isn't wasting her time with me. All of our arguments, big or small, always come down to this. I see us as being very young and having a while to think and talk about it. She just wants me to be open about talking about a marriage time.

I have no other way of reassuring her that I want to get married because we are still in college and very young. If we break up over this I do not want to look back at this time in my life and say "Come on, man, why didn't you just grow a pair and propose to her." I am very confused in my life right now and would appreciate some advice.

Thanks.

Chris."

Veronica's Advice

Chris,

Your note gives me the impression that you are smart, thoughtful, caring, and very mature for you age.

However I really need to point this out to you. There are parts of your brain called the frontal lobes that have not developed yet and will not develop until on average by the age 25 for men. This is the part of your brain that understands long term consequences, long term commitments, and will form your most basic decision making abilities as an adult.

What I'm saying is - you're right. You are too young to be setting a time frame for marriage. No matter how mature you are and no matter how much love you feel for this girl, you are not physiologically capable of making marriage decisions.

Your girlfriend does not sound nearly as mature as you are. That's not to say she doesn't really love you, or that you two weren't meant to be together. For her to be pressuring you into setting a date she is proving she doesn't understand what it is to be a partner. You're doing a lot of listening to her, and reacting to what she wants. I do hear the reverse though. It doesn't seem she is listening to your valid concerns of wanting to wait to set a time frame. She isn't trying to make you feel heard, the way you are for her.

The one sided thing is a pattern that will repeat over and over in your relationship.

I don't mean to shit on your parade in any way. It sounds like you have a nice little relationship going there. I'm sure you know from reading my articles that I personally think you are way too young to be in a serious relationship. You have years before you are even physiologically ready to understand consequences and commitments. If I were you I would be enjoying this time of life and learning all about different people, experiencing different things and going on different dates. Marriage is supposed to be forever. For ever and ever. The same person for the next 30, 40, 50, 60 years. I don't understand how you can possibly decide what you want for the next 60 years if you haven't experienced different possibilities. But hey, that's me.

You said you don't want to look back on this time if you break it off with her, with regret. Chris, I can pretty much guarantee you that will not happen. In a few years you will go through that frontal lobe development. You won't know it as it's happening but when you're 28, 29... 32... 34... you will look back on this time in your life from such a completely different depth and understanding. You will realize things about yourself, your needs, and you will see things with such clarity it will absolutely amaze you. You will not regret breaking it off with someone that wanted to pressure you into doing something you were not ready to do. You will appreciate people that respect your concerns and who are more patient about intelligent decisions.

You should NOT set a time frame. You're right on this.

As for where you are right now, if you really want to stay in this serious committed relationship, then you need to figure out why she is pressuring you so hard to set a time frame.

I'm sure you've figured out that women get wedding-happy. They often want a wedding much more than they want marriage. Another possibility is that she has a sibling or friend who is marrying and she feels the need to keep up or compete.

These of course are piss poor reasons to get married.

There are some other reasons you might want to consider. Does she have a really bad home life and just doesn't want to go home? If she doesn't even want to think about being on her own for a little bit out of college that might indicate her lack of independence, and that's not healthy. Another hard reason to think about is guilt. Sometimes if someone thinks about cheating they feel so guilty that it drives them to make a bigger commitment to their partner to compensate and prove their love.

My advice is to communicate openly and honestly. Try to figure out exactly what's going on in her head. Be a partner and a friend. Help her work through those feelings.

But be very clear with her - you have told her your feelings. You don't want to set a time frame. You're way to young to do so and she isn't respecting your feelings when she dismisses them and insists on things her way. You will help her as a partner but you will not continue unheard and disrespected, and you will not set a time frame. If she can't be partner enough to understand that then how can she possibly think she's partner enough to marry.

I hope you will keep me posted.

The Big Pink - Too Young To Love

This Hub was Written By Veronica

for HUBPAGES. If you are reading it anyplace else, it has been stolen.

If you liked this Hub, please click the Thumbs Up. Thanks!

Got a relationship question? Email me.

All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are courtesy of Youtube.

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34 comments

C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

First of all, that is interesting information about the frontal lobes. I was not aware of this before now, so thanks.

I have to completely disagree that solely because this part of the brain has not completely developed that one is incapable of making a decision such as marriage. There are so many factors that go into making a decision like that, and to suggest that because one part of the brain does not develop fully until 25 (which cannot be the same in all males) is pretty bold.

The best bit of advice here is to talk to the girlfriend. Chris needs to be able to talk with her, and if she can't give him a real reason as to why she needs to have a date set, then he's got bigger problems. She sounds needy (no offense), but there could be many reasons for that.

He should tell her how he feels about it...point blank. He's simply not ready yet, and he wants to marry her obviously, and if she can't accept that as being good enough, well then maybe she isn't right for him.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

my advice is not to get married at any age


C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

can't find love goldentoad?


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Got plenty. But once you're talking dirty diapers and going to the store to buy tampons, we're not talking love anymore.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

C.Ferreira - I listed many reasons for my advice, including her not hearing him and his concerns demonstrating she isn't ready to be a partner, and that she may want to marry for an array of reasons that aren't the right reasons. I have no idea why you think that I gave the advice "soley" because of frontal lobe development.

The comment the "best bit of advice here" is slighting. I wrote a whole response with a lot of thought and care, and you're saying there's only a bit of good advice in it, after stating incorrectly that I only listed one reason for my advice.

I realize from your comment you don't understand what frontal lobes are, or what they do, and you demonstrated that, but I still think your comment incorrectly summarizing my article and then slighting it,

was hurtful.


TheRealTruth profile image

TheRealTruth 7 years ago from Virginia

Sound advice, well written.

GT: Where were you 3 years ago to tell me not to get married toadie?


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

RT- I'm in the same boat :(


TheRealTruth profile image

TheRealTruth 7 years ago from Virginia

ha! no wonder our stuff is so dark!


Opera Ghost profile image

Opera Ghost 7 years ago

I can't believe what I'm reading. I thought I was cynical, but now I feel like a cock-eyed optimist.

I have been in the same position as Chris's girlfriend. Not long ago, I was a 21 year-old girl, a senior in college, and dating a 23 year-old guy. He talked about marrying me, but couldn't talk about when. Said he didn't want to be pressured, we were still in school, etc. I was fine with that, but I needed to know that I was honestly in his plans. I had no troubles I was running from, no one to compete with, none of the other ridiculous reasons you listed for wanting to know when we might become more serious.

It turns out that I was in a relationship that was going nowhere. The guy didn't have the nads to commit to a marriage, which he admitted after I confronted him about it. We parted ways because I value commitment, and I'm now in a healthy relationship with a guy who is very open to talking about the possibility of a future with me.

I don't think Chris's girlfriend has anything wrong with her, and I don't think his frontal lobe is to blame. I understand the instability of life at the end of/just after college, but the guy needs to man up and make some definite plans (that don't have to be in the immediate future) if he wants to keep her.


Desiree 7 years ago

Opera Ghost, you exhaust me. I don't understand your huge deal about marriage. Just enjoy the love you've got with a guy and don't get so caught up in that whole commitment thing. He'll fall in deep and hard with you, if you share something meaningful enough. Let it happen naturally. You're offended by this hub because it touches on your insecurity, this is a tough topic for you.

You say you didn't have a ridiculous reason for wanting to become more serious with that guy, but you shouldn't have been pushing at all. You should never push yourself on people. You should always be sensitive to their boundaries.

Chris does not need to "man up". That would be reckless. There should be no rush.


C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

Veronica, I apologize if I offended you with my comment. I did not however say that the only bit of good advice was to talk to the girlfiend, I said it was the best bit of advice. There is quite a difference in the two, and I meant nothing negative by it. In fact it is was somewhat complimentary in saying that it was indeed good advice.

I also did not say that you gave all of this advice solely based on the frontal lobe issue: "No matter how mature you are and no matter how much love you feel for this girl, you are not physiologically capable of making marriage decisions."

My point there was in saying that I think it is wrong to say that a person is not psychologically capable of making a marriage decision based just on the development of the frontal lobe. The comment and my opinion have nothing to do with the overall advice.

I'm sorry that you feel hurt by what I said, but I stand by it, and hope that perhaps this comment justifies it. Words and details can change the meaning of something a great deal, so when reading what I say, please be careful with your interpretation.


anon 7 years ago

I think there is something wrong if someone is pushing their partner for marriage. But just talking about it, that's different. Sometimes men see talking about the subject as pushing, but why shouldn't someone be able to talk to their partner about this if they feel they are ready for it? Not push, just talk. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish I guess as feelings can be strong on this subject.

If the girlfriend in this problem wants to get married one day and is pushing for a date, that's wrong. If Chris has said he wants to 'one day' that should be enough at their ages. Like Veronica says, there is much to be discovered in your early 20s. If he wants to stay in the relationship, that's fine and if not, that's fine too. Things do change once you get to your late 20s/30s.

I am 30 now and want to marry my boyfriend. Not for any of those stereotypical reasons like wanting a wedding or my friends are doing. Because I love him and I feel really READY. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But he is not ready. We talked (am not pushing him for a date, I would just like to know it is on the cards say within the next 4-5 years) He says 'one day' but does not think it will be anytime soon. So I think I have to leave. I am not pushing him, but there is only so much I can take of hearing 'I don't know, one day'. He says he can't imagine marrying anyone but me but he needs to gain respect and financial stability first. That's fine, I understand, but he says even when that is sorted, he can't say whether he will commit or not. I would stay if he said, 'I need to do x, y and z, and then I want to get married' but he doesn't. I love him but there's only so long I can wait and keep hearing his uncertainty. It makes me feel rejected and that he is controlling where this relationship is going and I don't get a say, so to take control of my life back I think I have to leave. I just don't know how when i love him and we are still getting on.

I wonder if Chris is hearing pressure when his girlfriend just wants to know if they are on the same page? She could be immature and pressuring him, I don't know but sometimes when the girlfriend gets written off as not being a good partner because she is 'psuhing', it might not always be the case. I think she has a right to know where things are headed. Not for a date exactly but maybe because she has been put off and put off, she feels the need for something specific to reassure her. Maybe that's not right, maybe she should walk, but it i can understand it. They are young, too young to think about marriage, I certainly wasn't at that age. now at 30, things are different. I want a marriage with the guy i love, I'm not bothered about a white dress or a big day. I'd just love to know he was as committed to me as I am to him.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

C F-

It's the word "bit" that is slighting.

And the rest of my "interpretation" is drawn from from this part of your comment: "I have to completely disagree that solely because this part of the brain has not completely developed that one is incapable of making a decision such as marriage."

You're saying you "completely disagree that solely because the brain hasn't developed..." So you're follow comment doesn't make any sense. You stated "soley because the brain is not completely developed" when I never did, and you stated this is why you "completely disagree."

You can't expect a 6 month old baby to speak because the part of the brain that governs that function has not developed. It doesn't exist yet. It doesn't matter if you "think" it's wrong to say that a person is not "psychologically" capable of making words just based on that brain development. The fact is, the baby is not "Physiologically" capable. Physiologically. Not psychologically.

You said, "I think it is wrong to say that a person is not psychologically capable..."

I never said that. I never said anything about psychological capabilities. No where in this entire article did I mention anything regarding psychology. BTW Chris proves he is psychologically ready to make the marriage decision in his awareness that he is not ready.

So I will quote you back to yourself: "Words and details can change the meaning of something a great deal, so when reading what I say, please be careful with your interpretation."


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Thanks anon.

I did receive an email back from Chris, but I think it shares to many specific details about who he is to post it. He did have a long talk with his partner, and he discovered the reason she wants to get married is actually one of the "ridiculous" according to Opera Ghost. She doesn't want to move home, she wants to move far away from her family. He communicated clearly that they are too young to marry, that he doesn't want to be pushed into doing something he knows he's not ready to do, but that he loves her and wants to be with her.

They have reached a compromise about living together in another state. She saw the "ridiculousness" in marrying so young, and focused on her real issue of moving away. He feels with her newly realized ability to communicate her true feelings and fears that they will be able to make a go of it in this next logical step in their progression. They have a host of other issues going on right now regarding finances but that's for another hub ;)

He sounds very much in love with her, and I of course wish them every success.


C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

You are right, I misread the word physiologically, so with my lack of knowledge on this point, I will succeed this part of our conversation.

The word "bit" can be interchanged with "piece". In this sentence, "bit" is a descriptive word for the large chunk of advice that you have given. It has no other meaning than to suggest a part, or a piece of a greater whole. There really is no way to see this as slighting, and again I apologize.

Does not seem like you are willing to accept that though. This is a discussion, that you requested. If you are not prepared to hear what others have to say, then you should not be soliciting comments.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

CF - I have serious issues with the tone and temper and word choice of many comments. I've debated not allowing comments because of the issues I have. But at this point I thought : "If you'd like to weigh in and contribute constructively to Chris's situation, you're welcome to comment," invited a certain type of comment. I see now that is very open to interpretation. Someone on here actually read that and felt it would be constructive to say there's nothing wrong with Chris' GF pressuring him into doing something he's saying he's not ready to do.

But you are right: I do have a problem with comments. In the example of "bit" I read your explanation and I would never have seen "piece" in its place which would have made all the difference. I really appreciate your coming back and working with me on that. Thank you.


katie schwartz 7 years ago

Veronica is a brilliant writer and her advice, in my opinion, is spot on. I agree with her a thousand percent.

The beauty of an open forum is discussion. We're all free to agree and disagree, of course.

Here's my question, why do individuals who disagree behave so atrociously to the author? What purpose does that serve? It's hurtful, mean and, well, vile.

Think about it like this: When you spend time doing something you care about and the intention is to serve the greater good, you feel good about it, right? Right. So, consider this, while you read other's work, take that into consideration, especially if you disagree.


quin browne 7 years ago

the hardest thing about comments, text messages, emails, even lovely richly written snail mail letters is this...

we write in one voice, even going so far as to remove full thoughts, since tones in actual voice gives over depth to the comments we are making..

...and we read in a different voice.

i actually will put stage directions when i'm writing something to someone, to assure they won't take it in the wrong way. and, sometimes, that fails, too.


IT'S CHRIS!! 7 years ago

Greetings,

Veronica I just want to say that your advice was dead-on which is why I wrote to you for help. Your advice is always dead-on when it comes to relationships. I didn't ask for help from other people on here, I asked for yours. You dated like a wild child through your twenties and you talked about lots of that in like a hundred hubs. You know what it's like to have your heart broken and you know what it is to break hearts. You have tons and tons of experience and the proof is in the pudding. You married your husband more than a decade ago and I read both your twitters all the time. You two are so happy and having such a great life. So of course I want your advice. You know what you're doing. I hate that you took the time to give me thoughtful advice and then had to feel bad because of comments. I hope all the tweets about it helped. Thanks V don't ever change. Chris.


CanadaTom 7 years ago

VW - I followed along on twitter, had to come to see for myself. Here's my 2 cents (they're Canadian and worth less haha) You were a little reactive about CF but I know from your blog how oversensitive you are and I think it's why you are the poetess you are so chris is right - dont change. and you both did a good job hashing that out and all is good. Also I concur with Chris about why he sought your input. You do know what you're saying. Look at the other advice that's out there otherwise. Opera Ghost is really off-kilter to a scarey degree. Man up at 22? Gee I wonder why Chris wasn't seeking her advice...Loved Desiree's dissection, hahaha. And about the subject at hand, I am now in my 40's. I know many couples that got hitched when they were early twenties and NOT ONE is still together. Getting married that early is just wrong, it's plain and simple. There's no reason for it there is no rush. I don't know how you explain to a 23 year old that you will be a different person when you are 33 but at least you tried VW and I think you did a bang-up job. Oh and one more thing - Rangers suck.


CanadaTom 7 years ago

VW - I followed along on twitter, had to come to see for myself. Here's my 2 cents (they're Canadian and worth less haha) You were a little reactive about CF but I know from your blog how oversensitive you are and I think it's why you are the poetess you are so chris is right - dont change. and you both did a good job hashing that out and all is good. Also I concur with Chris about why he sought your input. You do know what you're saying. Look at the other advice that's out there otherwise. Opera Ghost is really off-kilter to a scarey degree. Man up at 22? Gee I wonder why Chris wasn't seeking her advice...Loved Desiree's dissection, hahaha. And about the subject at hand, I am now in my 40's. I know many couples that got hitched when they were early twenties and NOT ONE is still together. Getting married that early is just wrong, it's plain and simple. There's no reason for it there is no rush. I don't know how you explain to a 23 year old that you will be a different person when you are 33 but at least you tried VW and I think you did a bang-up job. Oh and one more thing - Rangers suck.


C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

Veronica, I am glad you understand what I meant by "bit" now. I hope that it has not discouraged you from allowing comments. I'm sure you are aware, but just in case... you as the author have the power to delete comments or not allow them to be posted in the first place if you find them offensive or if you just don't want them on your Hub.

Katie, I'm assuming you are talking about me when you ask why other people act so atrociously towards the author. In no way have I acted atrociously. I have not done anything but state my opinion, and once I was made aware that it was hurtful, I apologized immediately and went on to clarify what I actually meant!


C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

And yes Katie...Veronica is an extremely talented writer.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

CF - I struggle with the comment deletion quite a lot. I even wrote a hub about it. I'm pretty sure Katie wasn't speaking about you, I am pretty sure she was referring to someone else. I'm pretty positive that was in reaction to the whole Twitter conversation, and that wasn't about you.


C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

Alright, well I just wanted to make sure everything was copasetic!


splum profile image

splum 7 years ago from USA

The right to marry when you can


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

There is no right or wrong answer to this forum. Why? - Because everyone is different. My cousin married his bride at 19 - she was 16 - and they are in 60's now and have been very happy together all through the years - I married at 30 and and am VERY happily divorced.

Go figure!


mdawson17 7 years ago

I can agree with Neil Sperling there is no right or wrong answer! I married when I was 32 years old and am happily married (I am 37 presently)!

However my first marriege was at the age of 22 and I was happily divorced until I meat my present wife!

mdawson17


mandybeau 7 years ago

Don't do it....../and worse still never be pressured, I did and I got a Divorce, which is what you will get, if you go through with it.

I have no idea who invented marriage it is a stupid thing. As for saying the kids need a name, what a daft reason...... I wanted to escape, and tried, but in the end because my partner was pushing it. I just went ahead a lot younger than you.

It cost me dearly in financial terms, its just such a waste of time. As Goldentoad says don't get married ever.


JoeM profile image

JoeM 7 years ago

I think marriage is a huge (HUGE!) deal and should never, ever, ever be taken lightly.

That said, I also think that sex should only take place inside a marriage relationship because sex is a huge (HUGE!) deal as well.

To me, it does feel like Veronica is on to something in hinting that the girlfriend from this example might have some insecurities and feelings of uncertainty about her future - but that doesn't mean that all of the problems in the relationship reside with her. 

She has to have some reason for feeling insecure, so I would recommend that you talk about this insecurity and get to the bottom of it to help her out and be a loving, caring boyfriend.


feeweewv profile image

feeweewv 7 years ago from Between A Dream And Reality

I got married young... and all I have to say is be sure you know yourself and what you want first. People grow and change, be sure you are comfortable in your skin before you invite someone else to settle into your life with you... it could get ugly.


men are dorks profile image

men are dorks 7 years ago from Namibia

veronica, tell the guy to go and have his head read, he's way to young and it's probably puppy love. If he is so happy with her, why not wait another 2 years, by then he'll know for sure if it is the right thing to do...


love guru 6 years ago

I am 23 my girlfriend is 22 and she is starting to talk about marrige. i am not ready. how can i tell her. i am a guy of few words


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

love guru,

Even if you are a man of few words, just make sure the few you use are clear. Don't be open ended, don't be misleading. exactly what you said here - "I am not ready," is clear. After you tell her clearly, if she still doesn't get it, don't let her go on and on ignoring your very clear statement.

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