Monday, May 25, 2009

On to married life with a good start

Back in the end of 2007, I had no idea how soon my life would become a whirlwind of changes. In less than four months, from a single woman not knowing whether she will ever get married, I became a wife; and a couple of short weeks later I already had a baby on the way.

It's amazing how swiftly God can work the most incredible changes in our lives, and there is no way we can know His plan. Therefore, every single woman who is contemplating marriage, should put her best efforts into preparing - whether she has a potential husband in view or not. Even if you don't know it, he might be already on his way and when he arrives, you will be so glad that you put time and thought into preparation of mind, heart and soul, as well as into practical work of your hands which will be useful in a home of your own.

Lately, I've been following Tracy's blog with great excitement. Tracy and her husband Verne will be giving their beautiful daughter, Autumn, away in marriage. Autumn is only 16, but she is far better equipped for marriage than many women today who get married in their late twenties or thirties. Autumn is blessed to have two loving, involved parents and a protecting father, and to witness the wonderful example of her parents' marriage. She is homeschooled, and therefore knows better than the average young person how a home is run and managed. She can cook, she can clean and bake and sew, and to sum it up, knows so many essential things I had no clue about when I was her age. I'm so looking forward to reading all about the wedding, and the beginning of Autumn and Jon's new life together. I know many of my fellow blog pals are just as excited for Tracy and their entire family.

Unfortunately, many young women in our generation were raised by single mothers who were bitter and disappointed in marriage and men, and hardly spent any time at home. They might have earned prestigious education, but they know very little about the workings of marriage and family, or the womanly works and arts such as cooking, sewing, and everything involved in providing a pleasant home. And when these young women (such as myself back then) realize that in fact, what they want most of all is to have a good marriage and family, and an orderly, loving home, they discover that they are on their own and there's no one to guide them.

I felt this way in college, in particular during my final year. I was completing all my assignments and taking my tests, but my heart wasn't into it at all. I was growing to love more and more the simple daily doings of a home, and could hardly wait to get married and have a family and home of my own. In the meantime, I was stocking up on valuable practical homemaking skills - thank God for that, because I had no idea how soon I would meet and marry my husband. How thankful I am now that I spent the couple of years prior to my marriage catching up on all the basic domestic knowledge I had missed out on before! Marriage, then motherhood, just came upon me so soon and suddenly there's much less time to learn.

Over the time I've been blogging, I received emails from many young women who told me that they want to get married and dedicate their lives to raising a family and keeping a home, yet their parents are either absent, uninvolved or discouraging. It does make their path harder. It's my sincere wish that more young women had someone to understand the desires of their heart, and to guide them.

Without anyone to do that, we have to exercise an extra measure of caution and care. The world would have us believe that preparing for marriage and learning to love the home can be put on the back burner, while in fact it's one of the most important things a young woman can do. I'm firmly convinced that us coming to marriage unprepared, our expectations inflated and ambitions unsatisfied, is responsible in a large part for the horrible divorce rate of today. A good, solid marriage is so, so important for the well-being of the individual family and their children, and of society in general. Putting time and care into marriage (and in preparation for it) is one of the most important investments you'll ever make.

37 comments:

Katrina said...

Very interesting blog!

I was shocked at first reading the girl's age but I got married one month past when I turned 18. Not much difference there :D.

Getting married when I was younger really helped me be able to get into being a homemaker. All I could cook was pizza and Ramen noodles at first (poor Hubby) but I've learned over the years. I still have alot to learn though.

Great blog! Keep up the great work! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

Please don't publish this comment, unless, of course, you want to. I love your blog, I have been reading it almost since its inception. But you are being dishonest and it is wrong and dangerous to the young women who trust you. Back at the end of 2007 you were engaged to N.P. No idea how that ended, but you make it sound like it never existed. This kind of deception is common in Blogs, but it detracts from all the good you could otherwise do. If I noticed, I'm sure others did, too.

in His peace,
Mrs. Melody

Monnie said...

Thank you for your encouragement in this regard.

I am 22 and in a position to be learning the domestic arts. I am in a courtship, but the man that I am seeing needs to complete his education before we can marry. We are looking at three more years of courtship (all things being equal).

I love and have always loved the things related to homemaking. I like to make bread and to sew and anything that is creative like that. I am not so good at the tasks for "keeping up" the things that have already been created: cleaning, laundry, etc.

Thank you again for your encouragement. I am very grateful that I have the time, knowledge, and opportunity now to improve myself... rather than realizing too late how much I might have done to prepare for married life.

God bless!

Geniève said...

Hi Anna,

You said: "And when these young women (such as myself back then) realize that in fact, what they want most of all is to have a good marriage and family, and an orderly, loving home, they discover that they are on their own and there's no one to guide them."

I totally agree with this. I never really realised that I wanted these things until I was married and then I wasn't sure what to do to learn them. I think that this is a reality for young women because of the education that we get. I was never encouraged in school to be a homemaker, it's like it wasn't even an option. I was encouraged to pursue a career (or marry rich...)and I see that girls are the ones being encouraged to pursue careers more than boys now a days. We have noticed that lot of girls know what careers they would like to pursue when they graduate from high school, but boys lack the ambition that the girls have. This seems reversed to me.

There are so many skills and recipes that I want to learn from my grandmother now and just hope that I will get the opportunity to learn these skills before she passes on.

Thanks for this post.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Mrs. Melody,

The uncertainty of my engagement to N.P. was precisely what made me feel that I'm not sure I will ever be actually married, and eventually, caused me to break the engagement off. Therefore, I'm being anything *but* dishonest when I say that around the end of 2007, I had no idea whether I would be ever married - and that was precisely when I met my (now) dearest husband.

I didn't elaborate about that situation in the post because I felt it doesn't have much to do with the actual topic. Perhaps I should have.

katya said...

I love this post so much, especially the second paragraph!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

Thank you so much for addressing that issue for me. You see, I read another blog and recently found out that the lady in question had lied about a good many things. Things that were quite pertinent to the wisdom she was espousing and proposed to teach. I know a blog is just that, but notheless I felt betrayed (which is silly, I know). I really do love your blog. Even though I have been married 15 years and am expecting my 6th child, I find wisdom here.

in His peace,
Mrs. Melody

Anonymous said...

I wish this girl the very best, but I have to say I'm rather uneasy at hearing her age. Sixteen is still a teenager in my book. I know many 16 yr olds from all spectrums of the population--ultra Orthodox/conservative to ultra-edgy modern--and they are all still in the midst of puberty. Lots of hormones, mood swings, a tendency to be a drama queen. Not a good stage to be married, in my opinion. There is a huge difference between a 16 yr old and an 18 yr old.....and even if a given girl (sorry, I can't call a 16 yr old a woman) is especially mature, she will be so much more so at 18.
Actually, I think 18 is kinda young too, but certainly far more logical. (and this from a woman who married not long after her 19th birthday).

I do think people today often enter marriage unprepared, but I think the most crucial preparation is training both men and women to be flexible and capable of compromise. I had no idea how to fry an egg or run a washing machine when I got married (straight out of the university dorms)...but we had lots of fun learning that stuff together. I suppose had there been a baby in the first few years it might have made this knowledge more crucial.
But most young husbands that I know are not too stressed out about homemaking.
Tammy

Lydia said...

Anna,
I agree with what you say about preparation for marriage and running a home. And I know how gentle and respectful you put forth your views. But may I give a glimpse into my life. I am a wife and a mom with a full time career. I would like to say that not all cultures emphasize only a career or taking care of a home. In some countries middle class women are trained to do both. I am from a South Asian country, now an American. In my country I was raised to help in my home. I was 11 or 12 when I could find my way around a kitchen very well. I was taught skills like cleaning fish and crab, killing, plucking and cooking a chicken and all basic cooking. Our cooking is tedious. We grind stuff from scratch like pulses, make spice mixes fresh and we don't bake a lot. But I went to college too. I actually came to America for higher education and I work full time. I went back to my country for an arranged marriage and I have children now. But I cook every meal and have dinner as a family. We rarely eat out and it is possible because my husband helps me. I do not know if this is feminism or not. I just know this is my life and my culture. One does not have to be at home all the time or home school to have great children. My children are respectful, are very disciplined and I have arranged my career in such a way that either my husband and I are at home when they come back. In the west, it seems to be all or nothing. I plan my days carefully to see that my children come first, I tend to my husband needs. But most men in my culture especially who live in the west are great husbands who share all tasks, My husband is one of those people who mops the floor and cleans things without me asking or yelling at him. We have been married for more than 10 years and in our culture divorce is frowned upon. My marriage or my life is not utopia or perfect. But it is a real marriage that has its struggles but has two people who love each other committed to being together and raising a family of children who we love, discipline, will be expected to have an education, not be allowed to date and have limits. My guide is my culture and family values. Anna, there are people like me too in this world. I don't know what the world sees me as or labels me as. But this is my life. I hope I came across as kind as you are in my post.

Thank you and God Bless you.

Rachel said...

My first time commenting here! I very much agree with you on the importance of preparing for marriage, both practically, emotionally and spiritually.

I also think it is important to prepare for the hardships of marriage - I don't mean that we should discourage people who are about to marry, more that it's important to go into marriage with the realisation that it may not be all hearts and flowers.

I married in August 2008. Only around 2 months later, my husband developed severe depression and so since then things have been very hard because he has been very very unwell.

And yet, it has been wonderful in many ways - our bond is strengthened because of this almost instant hardship, and our love is deepened beyond what perhaps many newly-weds of 10 months would experience. The Lord clearly has used this experience for our good, and to strengthen our marriage.

But I have to admit that when we married, I naively envisaged that we would have a peaceful first year of marriage. I suppose I knew that difficulties would be a possibilty, but when you're planning a wedding it's rather easy to get swept along with the romance and excitement and not even consider that things may not go according to [our human] plan!

I'm glad we were counselled by a godly couple before we married, and worked through how we would cope with difficulties. It may have been on a purely theoretical level at the time, but it has helped immensely since then.

Blessings

Rachel xxxx

Campakalata Devi dasi's said...

Dear Anna,

I read your blog regularly and love it! I especially wanted to thank you for this one. I was raised in much the same way Autumn was and felt fully prepared for marriage when, at eighteen, my husband came along and swooped me off my feet in a hurry. We were engaged a month after we met and married a month following the engagement! My knowledge of homemaking, cooking, sewing etc. has proved invaluable in the creation of a harmoniously peaceful, loving home. My dear husband of twelve years expresses appreciation daily (generally throughout the day!- he works from home)that I keep the home clean and beautiful, cook delicious, healthy, hearty meals etc.

(Heehee... like a sign from up above!... I just this moment pulled a batch of piping hot, freshly baked whole wheat buns from the oven. Husband says visibly sniffing the air, "That smells so good. Sinfully good. You should be taken to jail." LoL :P As you can see, he's got quite a sense of humor about his complements too. :P)

Homemaking skills are invaluable for a happy home and marriage. I'm homeschooling our ten-year-old daughter and she is easily imbibing this same mood and the corresponding skills. If a gal can make a home, 16 is plenty old. If she can't, 30 is probably too young. :o)

Thanks again, Anna. :o)

Ps. LoL :D He just said (with a big, sunshiny smile), "Stop writing about it and go do it!" :D I love being a wife. Can you tell? :P

Nurse Bee said...

I think you are mistaken in the idea that because a person has domestic skills that they are ready for marriage. Marriage is about a lifelong committment to loving and being with another person, not cooking and cleaning. While such skills may contribute to marital bliss (or not), they are not marriage.

Karen said...

16 is a bit young to be married...I'm not sure how I would feel if one of my daughters was so serious at such a young age. Marriage is a good thing don't get me wrong, and it's certainly a lot better than what many 16 year olds are doing, but once you are married you are married for life. And that's a huge step. I know I would not have been ready at that age. I hope that, as you say, she is more mature than I was though.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Nurse Bee,

I never said that a person is ready for marriage when they can operate the washing machine or bake bread. What best prepares us for marriage is witnessing a good, solid, working marriage as we grow up, I believe. And also prayer, and working on our character traits crucial to a good marriage. And yes, learning how to run a home is helpful, too!

CappuccinoLife said...

It's funny how it's "so shocking" that a 16 yo is getting married, while it's perfectly normal for 16 yo girls to be sleeping around, contracting diseases, having babies, having abortions....I sometimes get the "vibe" that a lot of parents would rather their daughter "mess up" in her teen years than get married. :/

I married at 19. Our first two years were hellish. But I don't regret who I married or when I married. I only wished I'd been better prepared, and I know I could ahve been better prepared, even at that age.

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

I think preparing for the hardships of life--emotionally and practically--and being sincere when one utters their wedding vows, as well as ready to ready to live up to all they just vowed to is the most important part of preparing for marriage. While not ideal, domestic skills can be learned "on the job" and this is especially true if one enters marriage with just the basic skills and then builds on them with time, as did I.

Life has a funny way of changing plans. Sometimes sickness and injury will be part of life, others times the new babies, celebrations, and much joy. There can be times of great financial blessing and times of poverty. Jobs can be lost and career changes must be made. People, including children, can get very sick and require care; they could even die. People can deploy to countries far away or have other reasons that take them away from their family for an extended time. Preparing for all the realities of life as an adult, both the good and bad, is important regardless of marital status, but all the more important when a husband and (presumably) children enter the picture as well.

I also think that respect for your marriage vows and your husband are immensely important. There is much vowed in the traditional marriage vows that isn't upheld in the world today, especially the "in sickness & in health, for better & worse, for richer & poorer" parts. It seems many people only look at the first word of each part, sorely neglecting the second. If you aren't ready to stand by your husband should he get cancer and this leave you very poor, for example, then you aren't ready to get married. Even many religious leaders and marriage counselors aren't this blunt when a young couple is considering marriages, but they need to be. Marriage really IS serious and shouldn't be gone into on a whim.

Being able to appreciate the lofty task he has on his shoulders, that of being the breadwinner, understanding the best you can what pressure this puts on him is important. Being ready and willing to make do, live poorly to save money, and possibly work from home as well are important. Being serious about respecting his leadership and choices for the family is also crucial. And surrounding yourself with those who will hold you accountable and help you get through rough patches should be done as well.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think that is what you really meant, but you did imply it.

I agree with you that seeing a good marriage is good preparation for having one, but in these times, not all of us are blessed with such. My husband comes from a very dysfunctional family, but he has distanced himself from it and is determined to raising our family differently.

I have my doubts that any 16 year old (is the boy 16 too?) is really ready for marriage, but hopefully it will work out for the couple you know.

Nurse Bee

10cosas said...

Hello Anna,

Thank you so much for this post - it was tremendous encouragement to me. I also enjoyed reading all the other comments. :-) Thanks for taking the time to share you life and heart with all of us.

Grace and Peace,
Susanna

Anonymous said...

I have a tough time understanding the notion of needing to spend a couple of years in full-time preparation for running a household. Yes, there are practical skills involved in running a household. Yes, it is hard work and valuable work. But, surely, it is not that difficult to learn these things as you go along?

I may not be a homemaker myself -- well, actually I am, though I hold a paid job as well. But my husband and I taught ourselves to cook when we got married, and now we are teaching ourselves to garden, and we have learned quite a few other skills along the way. These things largely seem to be a matter of picking up a book and following the directions, and perhaps picking up the phone and calling our mothers with questions. My mother, though a much more traditional homemaker than I, taught herself in the same way 45 years ago.

This is not meant to put down women's labors at home. I am proud of the cooking, and cleaning and yard work and decorating, and furniture restoration, and gardening and home repairs I have done over the years. But I never felt that these were things I needed to devote myself full time in order to master. So I question whether such is a good use of time for young women who do not yet have their own homes. I believe that such time is better spent (and will benefit the marriage more) making and saving money, and/or pursuing some higher education.

-- Pendragon

Anonymous said...

What a nice post! Thank you for writing .Always so encouraging I wish I had someone in my life as a friend 30 years ago who had thought as you do , I try to encourage my nieces and daughters now .

Green Eyes said...

As a woman who would have married my husband at 16 if given the chance, I find I am happy for the young woman. Of course there is some risk that she is "too immature," "not ready," etc, but that is a risk in any age group these days and I could never make such a judgement, especially over the internet!

My grandmother married at 15 (her husband was 18)... they have been married about 53 years now. As I mentioned, my (now) husband and I decided we would be married when we were 16, after dating about 2 months. Although no one would take us seriously, we privately committed to our future and were legally wed at 19... my only regret is that circumstances had us wait so long.

All that said, even at 19, I was woefully unprepared for the practicalities of running a household! I was doing good to have clean dishes and clean clothes, no joke. I had to learn about cleaning and cooking and errands and so on in our new home with very little help, and that was far more of a burden on me than my age could have been.

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

I ran into a similar problem with learning how to do manly things, such as fix a car. When I was a teenager, I couldn't handle tools worth a damn. So what did I do about learning how to fix cars?

I didn't use books written by guys for guys, because they already assumed that you knew the basics; I didn't know the basics, so that didn't help me. What helped me was finding a book about car repair written by a woman. Why was that helpful? Because she was at the same place I was then, and I was literally able to learn about cars from the ground up. The book's cover said that the book was for you if you'd never held a wrench; though I'd held wrenches before, I hadn't done so very often. What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?

Well, for the ladies out there who didn't learn feminine things growing up, couldn't they do the same thing I did? For example, if there's a bachelor's cookbook, wouldn't that be ideal for many women who know little or nothing about the domestic arts, yet have the desire to learn? A bachelor's cookbook would be targeted at those who do NOT know their way around the kitchen; wouldn't that help a young woman who needs to learn these things? It's just a thought...

MarkyMark

Anonymous said...

While 16 does seem a bit young(I know that my 17 yo daughter would not be ready for marriage!), with a strong extended family as a support system, and given the preparation the young woman has completed, I think they will be fine.

And a quick comment regarding the discussion here about the *need* to be a full-time homemaker, and the benefits of focusing intently on acquiring homemaking skills...women who value these things have a bit of a different perspective. They want to be self-sufficient, able to provide for their family's needs personally, and as independently as possible, without needing to depend on a second income. And in today's economy, it takes real effort and expertise to do without a second income---and the best way to gain this expertise is to train and practice the countless skills of homemaking full time! Just as working women have trained to become experts in their work tasks, homemakers have chosen to focus their energies on home and family, to become experts at things home-centered. They want a life that doesn't require them to divide their interests between work and home; they want to be more single-minded. I don't think Anna intends to imply that home-centerd women are somehow morally better. But she does a wonderful job of highlighting the richness of a home-centered, family-centered life. Keep up the great work, Anna!
~Roamie

Tracy said...

Wow... it's interesting to read the comments. I find it amusing that people think we are allowing Autumn to get married just because she can run a house. She certainly can, but there is so much more. ( I know that's not what you were implying, but it's how many perceived it.)

Autumn is a very mature young woman. She listens to her father's counsel, and is respectful even when she disagrees. Isn't that what we are to do with our husbands?

She's not the typical teenager who hangs out at the mall and buys a new outfit every weekend. In fact, she makes do with what she has instead of asking for or buying new things. Won't she be a blessing to her husband?

When someone gets sick, or stressed, she tries her best to comfort and steps up to the plate taking extra burdens upon herself so that housework doesn't get behind. She doesn't think of herself.

She's been keeping financial records for herself and now for her fiance. She knows how to be wise, and how to budget. They've done so together for several months, looking forward to keeping a household together.

She studies her Scriptures daily. Autumn has a personal relationship with the Lord, and is filled with joy because of it. She's not looking for her husband to make her happier than she's ever been...while loving your spouse is wonderful, it doesn't fill the void of a life without God. Women who hope to be fulfilled solely by their husbands are going to be disappointed.

She sacrifices for him. He sacrifices for her. That's how it should be.

Autumn comes from a long line of young marriages. My grandmother and my mother were 15. I was 18. My husband and I wish we would have married sooner! We were engaged for 18 months, and it was too long.

Jon is not 16. He's going on 21. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He isn't wealthy by any means, but he has a good job with a stable income. He's shown great maturity and respect to both us and Autumn.

Will life be hard for them sometimes? Most likely. But it will help them grow together. Is she ready? You bet.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tracy,

I was surprised to read some of the comments, especially those that I didn't allow here because they were offensive and I didn't want you or Autumn to read them.

To be honest, I don't understand why many of our grandmothers got married around 16 and it was normal, but now getting married at 16 is "child molestation" - however sex outside marriage is totally OK for a teenager... get the logic here??

Some say that today, times have changed and 16-year-olds aren't ready for marriage anymore. To me, this means that onset of maturity is artificially delayed by our social norms and education system.

Tracy said...

Well said, Anna. I'd like to know who is at fault that young people aren't ready to get married. We live in such a selfish society. Since people can't give of themselves in a way that marriage requires, they can't imagine that a young person would be able to do it either. If you are raised to put God first, and others ahead of yourself it comes natural.

Today, people expect to have fun until they're "mature", but how do they mature if all they do is have fun? And to me, being married and being a mom is fun!

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

To be fair, not all who would object to allowing their daughter to marry while underage are doing so to shelter their daughter from blossoming into full maturity. Sean and I wouldn't allow Peapod to marry while she was underage, nor would we sign military papers for a son or allow our children to make any other decisions that are only recognized as legal with our signature.

We both believe there is a good reason why certain privileges are not granted until the age of eighteen, twenty one, and so forth. The teenage years are a tumultuous time when basic brain chemistry can make the best of decision making problematic, even for the most mature of children. With such momentous decisions as marriage, military service, taking on the responsibility of attaining a higher education, and so forth, this isn't something that should be jumped into quickly, but allowed time to be pondered in & carefully considered in the way such a decision deserves. We certainly wouldn't see anything wrong with our teenager preparing for whatever it is that lies ahead, but we'd want our sixteen year old to take the two years until they turned eighteen to best prepare for adulthood and to be sure they are making the correct decision when it comes to a choice or marriage partner.

Even if Peapod were engaged while still a teenager, we don't think it would be harmful for her to spend her years until she's of legal adult standing preparing for the road that lies ahead rather than marrying within a short time of the engagement. There are home businesses that could be launched, child development to study, and much more than could be mastered, to send her off to marriage in the best way we can.

The world we live in today is vastly different than the world our grandmothers married in. The skills they needed to learn versus what we needed to learn are different. We have opportunity to help our husbands in ways they likely would have never imagined (using the computer for a home based business, for example) and because of this, we can make the wise choice to learn more than basic homemaking skills. And if a daughter wants to homeschool her children, I don't necessarily believe a few years spent studying education, either at school or in books, upon homeschool graduation, is a bad idea and is something Peapod would be encouraged to do.

Also, as somebody who was married at just eighteen myself, I know well how cruel people can be to a very young wife and mother. I don't believe this is a reason not to marry, but this reality is there nonetheless. I received substandard prenatal care at times, which a doctor admitted was due to my young age. Rather than be able to receive help for my repeated miscarriages, I was told I just too young and should wait a few years. There is a bit more to marrying very young than just the couple involved and this reality is one that must be prepared for, as there can be adverse effects for yourself and your children.

None of this is to say that I doubt Tracy's decision for her daughter, Autumn, nor anything she says about Autumn's maturity, for I do not. If anything, I sincerely wish their entire family all the blessings in the world. :o) I just don't think the reasons why people may not make the same choice for their children or raise concerns to those who do is necessarily being represented fairly in this thread. It's not all about immaturity, selfishness, and people who raised their children incorrectly.

Talitha's Corner said...

Sixteen is very young, but looking at the photos and reading the blogs they seem so happy and with a strong support network all round. I would not have been ready to marry at that age, and I can't imagine any of my friends being ready, but a friend's mother married at 15 (she is Iranian) and they have a wonderfully happy marriage. Different things for different people, and I wish them much joy.

Sammybunny said...

How wise your words are, Anna! My own wedding is coming up in less than a year and I feel like I still have SO much to prepare for. As always your blog is a continued inspiration to me and I look forward to hear more about you and your husband over time!

Mrs W said...

I am wondering why exactly we allow the government to tell us when they think our children are old enough to make certain decisions? Shouldn't we as parents know that best.

If I ever have a daughter, who is ready for marriage at 16 and who has someone she wants to marry, I'll be all for it. The problem these days is that children are allowed to be childish while teenagers instead of growing up.

Long engagements are NOT a good idea, and once any child of mine is engaged I'll want them married within a few months of that. We believe engagement should be a period of time long enough to plan the wedding and that is it.

Anonymous said...

I think it comes down to how each person is. Everyone is different. Each family has their own expectations of what a 16 year old should be capable of. While I generally dont agree with girls marrying young, it does seem that Autumn is quite different from most 16 year olds. I believe that she would quite alright, given her obvious love for the home and family life.
Even within the same family, there are differences in personalities.. Im sure that Autumn's family has given their blessings only after making sure that she is capable of such an undertaking.
:)

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

Mrs. W- Shouldn't we as parents know that best.This is precisely why Sean and I believe in certain non-negotiable age limits being in place for Peapod and any other children we might have, before major life decisions are jumped into. We are her parents and we will guide her as we see fit, not be influenced by others, especially strangers from the internet. :o)

If you think short engagements and teenage marriage are acceptable for your family, then that is your right. Just as we have a legal right and a godly obligation to raise our children as we see fit, even if it happens to coincide with what the government also thinks.

Anonymous said...

I try to do my best for my kids. But I want them to choose their own mate, and not have me choose one for them. I think a 16 yr old is still too deeply under the influence of his or her parents to decide.

I will advise, recommend and warn my kids about the person they want to marry. But ultimately, I want my child to be at a stage in their life when they can make the final decision on their own, out of maturity, and with full knowledge of the responsibility it entails.

I really don't understand those who idolize child marriages. Not everything that once was done is right for today. Many rabbinical scholars say Rebecca was three when she met Isaac. Should we marry off our three year olds?

Those girls who got married at 15 did not necessarily have easy lives. And most of those marriages were totally arranged; the parents decided who their daughter (or son) would marry. I know more than one arranged marriage that is not happy. Sorry, I do NOT want that responsibility. I am not so arrogant to think I know it all.

I personally am not for overly long engagements, but I can see situations where that would be the best option. I don't think I would want my 16 yr old dating, as I can see where it could be frustrating to have to wait another two years to get married.
Tammy

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great post. My dh and I married at 20 (he was 23). We should have married at 17 or 18, but we waited due to pressure because we were "too young." Even at 20, my mom thought the wedding was a waste because she figured our marriage would only last a couple of years. Imagine (gasp!) when I had a baby the next year. My mom was sad that I would have to burden a child with a divorce.

I was fully prepared to run a household at 18, and was ready. It led to much frustration (in many ways, wink!) and I was so sick of college and my "career". My heart was not there at all. We have been married 15 years this year and I still think of those couple of years we lost.

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

Tammy- You summed up my thoughts on this issue better than I did. Something else that intrigues me about idolizing the past has to be the fact that numerous elderly ladies I know express how they feel they missed on on much of their children's lives, simply due to the workload they had to bear when they were raising children. Sure these women may have gotten married young, but it wasn't all rosy and quite the same luxurious circumstances as most of us have today. A good portion of us get to enjoy our husbands, children, and life in general in ways those just a generation or two ago didn't.

I'd also agree with you on teenagers not dating until they are old enough to seriously consider marriage. There is just so much those last few years of childhood can be spent learning & preparing for adulthood and besides cultivating patience and contentment are so very important for life and true maturity. I personally don't think allowing one's self to become frustrated, rather than striving for joy, just because life isn't what we want right now is a good thing. Rather a person needs to learn to "bloom where they're planted" and embrace the season in life the Lord has placed them in. And I say that as a woman whose husband has been deployed since last July and has experienced many fertility troubles, so obviously there is much I so badly want that I've had to learn to wait for and enjoy life despite my longings.

As difficult as it is, I sincerely hope my daughter will be able to smile through the tears and storms in life and learn to look on the bright side in difficult circumstances, not mope around and be discontent simply because a circumstance isn't what she'd like, including such an important matter as marriage.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I'm very impressed that you answered the question about NP. I respect your privacy and know it's entirely up to you what you reveal here, but I too had been wondering about that and I'm glad things worked out for the best.

Beth

Anonymous said...

I am 35 and often wonder if I remain unmarried, not because of domestic skills, but more because of character issues. I grew up in a fighting home and I am an argumentative person. I try to be at peace with everyone but revert to my true self if I relax. (I wish I could say "old self" but it's my true self.) It's extremely frustrating. I don't think I will *ever* be good enough for marriage.