Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Marriage and Babies and Other Serious Things

For the last week now, every post I have written has been about me being drunk or tired, or some derivative or combination of the two. And I have been promising a more serious post, so that is what I have in store today. I am feeling more well rested, and ready to get some work done, and altogether more responsible and serious, so it seems like a good time;-) As with a lot of things I do...this is gonna get stretched over at least two days, and involves some homework on your part:-D

As a background, we need to hop into the Way Back Machine and go back to last Sunday. I thought I had cancer, and couldn't sleep and was probably not all that much fun to be around. I woke up really early and The Boy's Mother and I went down to the dock to have a little "talk". She actually thought that she maybe knew why I was so upset. She asked me if I was uncomfortable because so many members of his family were making off-handed marriage cracks (as in..."When are you gonna get married and have babies").

That made me laugh pretty hard for the first time in a while. And I assured her that all of that was fine. I don't have my own family to get on me about it, so I don't mind if his does...and it was all pretty good-natured. Beyond that, The Boy and I have talked about all of this, so it is not really an uncomfortable discussion.

He has also talked with his Mom about it, I am sure, but this was really the first time I ever talked with her about it. And since I was in kind of a philosophical kinda mood, we ended up talking about it for a while (after we talked about my impending death, of course...). Is it weird to have deep discussions with your boyfriend's Mother about marriage and babies? Probably. But I am weird, so I don't really know what to tell you... He and his mom have a really good relationship, so she knows all of this stuff already anyway. [This is also the context in which she said just the sweetest thing ever, but I am still holding that one as a secret...Na ni na ni boo boo!]

Anyway, that gets us back to the larger "life issues" discussion, and I have an open question for readers. Or, rather, a series of them. You can feel free to respond via comment, email, IM or any other means you can think of...(carrier pigeons work...)

The questions are:
1) How old were you when you got married, how old was your spouse, and how long had you been together before you got engaged, and how long before you got married? If you are not married, how close are you, and what will make you finally want to do it?

2) Be totally honest, do you wish you had done it differently? Either waited longer, not waited as long (not done it at all:-P)?

3) How many kids do you have, when in the course of your relationship did you decide to have kids (or if it was a mistake), and when did you actually have them? If you don't have any, how many do you what, boys/girls, years apart, etc?

4) Again, totally honestly, if you could go back, how would you do it differently? (More, fewer, older, younger, closer, whatever)

I have a pretty diverse group of readers, and the more answers I can get, the better...I am looking for a "collective wisdom" thing. And this is not to be limited to women, either! I want the opinion of my male readers, too. Feel free to give me specific advice, which I will feel free to ignore, but will at least read:-D

Tomorrow I will write my own thoughts on this, at least partially based on what you all have to say.


Airam said...

I'm not married and have never been close to it (though I dated a guy for 7 years and we both wanted to marry eachother impending circumstances decided otherwise for us).

I find that the older I get, the less willing I am to just jump into it. As odd as that sounds. I know of a lot of people who panic as they approach 30 or are in their early 30's and will just latch on to any Shmoe.

Marriage is something I take really seriously and I want to make absolutely certain that this person that I want to marry is someone that I will want around when/if shit hits the fan and someone I know I can depend on and vice versa. If I meet him tomorrow then so be it ... if I meet him when I'm 40 then so be it.

Basically I'm in no rush.

Scotty said...

I would have more than happily answered your questions... but, I am single :) Looking forward to the responses though!

Accidentally Me said...

Scotty - Unacceptable! Airam is single, and she answered... I suggest you think about this a little more;-)

Scotty said...

Fine then! I will think about it and post later.

ella w. said... does mama boy know about your penthouse forum escapades?

And are the questions a tease to some sort of large announcement you may have???

Accidentally Me said...

Ella - OK, so when I say he tells her a lot, I mean he tells her things like "Yes, we have talked about marriage"...not "So, I was going down on her the other day, and I had the funniest thought..."

And no, I don't have any large announcements, at least not of the variety you are implying;-)

EAJ said...

I'm also not married (I'm 35), but have been close. I'm thankful that it didn't work out because looking back, we definitely didn't bring out the best in each other. I knew it then, but was willing to look past it and assumed things would change. Without getting into the details, I happen to know it would not have changed.

What's happened to me as I've gotten older is that I have built a very fulfilling and fun life for myself & I don't really view that a marriage is necessary to have that. It's not that I don't want to get married, it's that I'm okay that I'm not. And as a result, I'm either pickier or I've set a standard that says that he is going to have to add a lot to my life to make me want to do it. It's no longer about wanting or needing to be married because I'm X years-old and all of my friends are doing it. It's about finding someone who adds more fulfillment and happiness to my life & me to theirs.

I hope that makes sense.

2xA+r0n said...

1.) I've been dating 5 months and I'm probably closer to getting married than you are! Actually, probably not.

2.) Since I haven't "done it," I don't guess I can answer? I would have liked to have gotten married earlier than I am now, but that's not the card I was dealt.

3.) Ideally, I think I'd like as many as I can afford. Hopefully, that'll be 4.

4.) Look me up in 20yrs.

Bis Sis said...

I'll play!

It is useless to think of marriage without a specific person in mind. You get married because you find a person that you want to marry because he/she makes you a better person, and because you think your life will be better off for having him/her around. And because you want to make the kind of commitment to them, and they to you, that marriage means.

I am getting married in a week and a half (in case you didn't know that) for no other reason than I met and fell in love with a man that I want to be with forever. I could give a shit whether I am 20, 40 or 80, it just feels right because of who he is, not because of what I feel like would fit well in my life at the moment.

Kids are sort of the same way. I never understand people who say, at age 23, "I want to have two by age 32." You can't plan being ready for something that big. You have to be mentally and emotionally ready, as well as being financially ready. And you have to really want them!

Until about a year ago, I was sure that I didn't want to have any kids. To me, the difficulties outweighed the rewards. But I have softened on that, to the point that I am now sure that I do want kids. Part of that is because I got older. Part of it is because he wants them badly, and the enthusiasm is contagious. And part of it is due to a newfound appreciation for children, for which I have your (can I say 'our'?) little sister to thank.

As for you, kiddo, I think you do a really good job of knowing what is right and wrong for you. You and The Boy are awfully good for each other, and you make each other tremendously happy. I think you already know that much. And someday, if you decide it is what you want, you will make a great Mom for at least one MORE lucky kid.

e.b. said...

Okay so I didn't read it all the way through the first time - my bad.

Being 28 and in a relationship for over a year and a half - I would say we are pretty freaking close. Ring talk, wedding talk and elopement talk are some of the basic conversations in my household right now. So yeah pretty close. And I am totally cool with it - mostly because it feels completely right and in most ways I am eager to make that step with him. I would not have been able to pin an age on it in the past - and I do not regret having "waited" and dated. It made me who I am.

I would love little kiddies. And have no problem with one coming around right now (see above - we are NOT married!). But in due time - as I don't honestly believe you are ever truly ready. But it is something we both want to share together. And really only once - but I wonder if that will change once one comes along.

kristin b said...

this might depress me more than anyone who reads it. i am 22. i never been in a serious relationship. i have never, ever been able to commit to anyone. i commit to things, not people. not men. i have this idea of wanting to have everything, in one person. and i know it sounds like i can't compromise. but it's not true. i'm certain that's not true.

but though i might sound young, you'd be surprised to know that my best friends are all, for the most part, married and settled. and i think once you find a guy that settles you.. that's when you know it's right. no doubts.

you're one of the lucky ones.

e.b. said...

AM I am hijacking your comments here for a sec - Kristen B: at 22 I had not been in a serious relatioship either. The past 6 years have brought me a lot of experiences and I have learned a lot. when he comes around you know it and there will be no more thinking about it - it just works. The over analyzing, the drama, the tears - they fall away. It really is that simple.

Thanks AM!

Still just me said...

1.)First marriage, I was only 18 and he was 24, we only knew each other for 5 months before we got married.-Mistakes? Age, and not really knowing each other.

2.) I wish I would have waited until I knew him better, and he knew me better, but if I had waited, I wouldn't have my children.

3.) Three children, the oldest coming exactly 9 months to the day we were married (but she was late!) My kids are all 5 years apart. 2 girls and 1 boy, all "surprises". Even though none of them were planned, I would never call them mistakes.

4.) Doing it differently? I suppose I could have had them closer together in age, but again, it wouldn't be these same kids, so I would do it all over just the same.

That marriage lasted 18 years, with difficulity. I am now in the 4th year of marriage #2, so I am still learning things in this one.

OC said...

I'm 25 and single and ok with it (most of the time). I've never really been close to marriage, although I did live with a boyfriend for a couple of years. I think when you know who you are - you have your own life, your own interests, and your own friends - and someone else can blend in with that (and you blend into theirs), then you know. You don't have to give up yourself to be with someone else, and I think that may be one of the most common pitfalls to marriage (especially at a young age).

I know I would have been miserable if I had married the guy I lived with. I agree with many of the posters above me - there is no set age that I want to be married. I want it to be right. I don't want to settle or feel like I have to give up who I inherently am. People change, people grow, and people compromise - that's natural. But as long as I don't feel like I have to give up what's at my core... and I will wait for that person.

allbilly said...

I've done all of those things you asked about.

I think anyone that has hindsight can see where they could have made better decisions or changed some things, but what good does it do to look back? You obviously aren't going to make the exact same wrong decision twice because you'll be in a different situation. And folks that are younger and want to get married because they feel they've found that special person don't want to hear your reality, because they have theirs. Everyone has their own reality.

Plus the relationship section of the bookstore is already full.

I can sum up my experience by saying I wish I had been more true to my core values from the very beginning of the relationship that turned into marriage and then divorce after 8 years. By getting married at 25 I wasn't as sure of myself or my values as I am ten years later. Knowing yourself and what you really want and need and is important to you I think is the most important part of making a relationship last. And know going in that although people make strides, people rarely truly "change".

But as I sit here today, I'm happy. Did I make mistakes sure. Do I regret somethings, of course, but it's all part of the journey. We constantly evolve. Today I have me back, I'm moving forward with my life, I know much more about what is important to me, and I have two great sons.

Plus I have alot more insight into what I need to do from my standpoint to make my current relatinoship work.

I think the key for anyone in a relationship is do your very best to work on your relationship TODAY. Love, support, care, nuture today and the tomorrows will take care of themselves. Don't take today for granted and tomorrow will be there.

Scotty said...

Ok... I tried.. :) Might have went on a tangent. Here's my post.

Ys said...

I agree with what Big Sis said: it's hard to say when you're going to marry someone because it alll depends on the situation and the timing. Same for children, as well, obviously.

But for the fun of the questions, rather than getting too deep and meaningful about love and life (my favourite topics ;) ):

I'm not married or have children BUT I am with a guy who I love very much and believe one day I will marry him. I know it's not the right time now - for either of us - and it's really fun watching us both growing and falling more in love and becoming more "ready" for more commitment.

As for children: I want as many as my fictional house can hold. I don't mind when I start having children because I want to foster and adopt so there's no biological issues for me to worry about. Ideally I would be younger than thirty. But you just never know how life is going to work out.

This was a really interesting post :D Lots of fun as well.

Trixie said...

1. Me: 31; Hubby: 34
2. Wouldn't have changed anything
3. Working on kids. :) We wanted to wait at least 1 yr of marriage before trying for kids to give us some couple time. We'd like 2 kids, ideally.
4. We got married at the right age for us. We were both mature and settled in our lives at our age so we were ready for marriage - emotionally, mentally and financially.

Lisa said...

okay, this is an old post, but I'll answer you nevertheless, if only for your statistics :)

1. I married my then 31 year old husband when I was 23. This was last year and we had been together then for about 3 1/2 years. We've known each other since I was 15, though. Oh, and we got engaged in February and married August that same year.

2. I wouldn't want it any otherway, being married didn't change a lot, but now it's finally my "husband", not only my "boyfriend". It's a great feeling to be a family now.

3. No kids yet, but they're definately planned for next year or 2011.

I basically believe that you can't figure this stuff out with numbers. For example, I never met a 24 year old I would have considered marrying.