My son wants to get married at 18

Postby FL4Me » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:29 am

My son will be 18 in August but still has one year of high school and his girlfriend just graduated. He has a great head on his shoulders so I thought he was joking when he said that he and his girlfriend want to get married but now realize he is really serious. She firmly believes in no sex before marriage which I admire but also don't want them getting married just so they can have sex, but I don't think that is just it. I told him I will not give him permission, he is just too young, and I don't want to be the one that said OK if it doesn't work out. I love his girlfriend but just can't bring myself to say OK about getting married at 18. They both want to go to college. I know he will not be one to date a lot and have believed that he will find someone he wants to be with and will stick with her. I am just really stuck on the 18 and not finished with high school. He says he has always been told he is an old soul and he is much more mature than most his age, which I agree, but this is his first real love and he is so young. Any thoughts or words of wisdom are greatly appreciated.
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Postby Livetowin » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:04 pm

There's a reason why they call it your first love... It's because you have no expectation like you do on the twelfth one. You also know, hopefully, what to check off as superficial versus relevant by that twelfth episode. So let's go ahead and chop down some of the myths your son is currently swimming in since he thinks there's no sharks lurking under the surface of that calm, serene, water he sees on the surface.

First, it's never a good idea to wax poetry with the government. A legal bond really doesn't care how you feel about each other when you first get together. It's actually there to moderate your circumstances when you cease to get along and the dream has dried up. So if his girlfriend feels that having sex needs the government's permission, then perhaps she can see clear to sign a prenuptial agreement in advance in case she doesn't like it. Suddenly it doesn't feel so spiritual does it? That's because she needs to look at their vows from it's intended place and that's from the heart.

Since when did a marriage license inspire moral behavior? Can a man (or woman) really be pure of heart, but not turn into a wolf when the internet porn blooms or the advances from others shines bright? How does securing a marriage license measure the commitment one has for the other? Often times it reveals what we were not looking at with wiser eyes.

I respect the fact your son is trying to look at things from a sense of discipline. In this day and age of instant gratification, it's refreshing to hear about a young person wanting to do things in an orderly fashion. I respect his desire to go about things in a well-intended direction. But you and I know all too well what 'best of intentions" look like, don't we? Your son might feel his decisions have given him a flavor of being a person with an "old soul", but unfortunately his execution is revealing the notions of someone who hasn't been knocked down yet. And is he ever looking for a hard landing.

Here's ultimately what it comes down to. Both parties in this equation can have the very best of intentions. Both can be looking at it from a purely honest and well placed belief that if they just follow a principled pattern, the results will garner them the dream they both are holding onto right now. Unfortunately what neither one possesses is the experience of life to honestly communicate to them if their commitment can last.

Standing on a belief system has never been what kept most healthy marriages together. It has always been about learning to forgive and accept one another when the dream didn't show us everything we thought we needed to know. Typically two people can not survive that revelation without having the experience to persuade their judgement. It's difficult to shape your identity in the company of another person when the requirements of the relationship often demands you give them your attention when you need it for yourself.

If your son wants to do it the wise way, then tell him that his girlfriend needs to understand her belief has to come from something more meaningful than a government stamp. It has to come from within. If you have the commitment, then why wouldn't you consummate the relationship? Marriage will not purify the act if you are not pure of intent on the inside. So do it without the government so they both understand the true principle and meaning does not have to be notarized.

Also if both of them are going to head off to college, they both have that critical time to get their education finalized and careers lined up without the pressure of a marriage. If they do not believe their single relationship can survive the college experience, then they already found the first hole in their commitment to one another. Marriage will not prevent that issue so much as inflame it. If they want to apply a virtue here then patience and time are the best ones available to them. Time especially will tell them everything else they need to know.
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Postby popcorn123 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:36 pm

Hi FL4Me,

I agree with some of what Livetowin has said but I would also like to make some of my own points if you do not mind.

First of all can I just congratulate you on having raised a decent human being. Your son is in a relationship with someone, and rather than treating this person like a 'throw away' he is actually considering how he can enhance their relationship and is thinking in the long-term. He clearly respects her, and even if the only reason he wants to get married is for sex (for some reason I do not think this is the case with your son) then at least he is not doing what the majority of young men seem to be doing nowadays - getting frustrated and walking away to 'get it' somewhere else (sorry for being so crude), or even worse, getting abusive. I already have a lot of respect for your son and for yourself.

Now, to get to the main point. Your son wants to get married to his girlfriend. OK. This in of itself I do not think should be any problem at all. I do not know why some people make such a big deal of it! Why do the majority of people seem to think that it's OK to call yourself 'boyfriend and girlfriend', but if you want to become 'husband and wife' - shock horror! It's for some reason seen as such a massive step. In my honest opinion, it's not really. The only difference is that the couple have to sign a contract and then there are just some laws that govern what happens if they split and maybe about rights on property, etc, but that's it really. The rest is all the same. They are a couple, in a relationship, doing everything else. Granted, your son is probably not living with his girlfriend and is not sleeping with her, but for some other people there is no distinction, yet for some reason they just can't sign that piece of paper. I think that's a real problem in society. It's all about having multiple relationships, before maybe settling down with one. This is because it's all about the hormone fuelled relationships - yes they want to have sex and yes young people just get anxious if they are not 'with someone' - it's even seen as an odd thing to not have a boyfriend/girlfriend by a certain age, and people get bullied for it (ridiculous!). It causes so much hurt, emotionally and people may end up as single parents. There is just a terrible commitment anxiety going around.

So then we say, your son wants to get married and he is 18. OK, that's another thing. He has not yet finished high school and wants to go to college. He needs to complete his studies - it's very important. This is where we need to question how getting married will affect his ability to study. Can he be married to someone and still study? I just read that and realised that it is quite a silly question, because if I were to change it and ask "Can he have a girlfriend and still study?" I have a feeling most people would say yes! I get the feeling you would be OK if he were just to call her his girlfriend and be studying, or even if he were to dump her and then get another girlfriend (I honestly hope that doesn't happen!) There are loads of people with 'boyfriends/girlfriends' studying. What is the difference? This is an honest question from myself because I genuinely do not understand....

What I am going to say now I have a feeling many people will not agree with, so I am just going to go ahead and say it: I suggest that you let your son get married to his girlfriend. This is first of all what I have said above - why is there such a huge difference between 'boyfriend+girlfriend' and 'husband+wife'? Then I would say it is because it is about letting him make his own decisions in life and learning from them. I know you said you don't want to be the one that said OK if it doesn't work out, but why not? I can understand that one of your concerns is that they will eventually break up and this would lead to hurt. Well, surely you are concerned that this would happen even if they aren't married?

As long as you know that your son is making this decision with a clear head - not being coerced, not high on drugs (sorry, but you know you gotta be sure), etc - and as long as you have spoken to him about it - have you asked him how he is going to make the relationship work when they go to college, living arrangements, etc? Then you should have confidence in your son that he has made a decision and trust him to go ahead with it. Oh and as long as you like the girl - she's not the sort to cheat or anything is she? Then what other objections can you have? In fact, you might also cause friction between your son and yourself - think about the future if he resents your refusal to let him get married and the anger and hurt this can cause. Also I know a lot of money goes into these weddings, so sorry about that, but that's up to you and the girlfriend's family...

So yes, those are some of my thoughts. I hope they help you and your son, because it would be absolutely lovely to hear of a true love story working out. And even if it doesn't work out, then at least your son had the heart to respect this girl!

Please let me know how it goes!
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:40 am

FL4Me wrote: They both want to go to college.

Will they be attending the same college?

Ask your son, other than sex what specific benefits there are to getting married now.

-1- Will he receive a tax break? I doubt this is a consideration, especially if he is going to college and not seeking meaningful employment past part-time.

-2- Is it for the ease of having family, signing birth certificates and such? Probably with college on the horizon family is years away.

-3- Is it so she has final say over if the plug is pulled if he is put on life support? She gets his accumulated wealth and gets to have control over burial conditions? Given he is 18, I doubt any of these practical benefit applies.

Another thing you can do is to ask your "old soul" how exactly "old" does he believe his soul to be? Is his soul the age of ancient kings where polygamy reigned as they married multiple wives as the norm rather than the exception? Or is his old soul only a generation ago? Provide him some resources on what marriage really is from a historical context, starting with it being a basis as a legal contract between families with love not part of the original concept.

Bottom line, have multiple conversations with your son about what marriage is verses what he believes it to be.
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