There was a time not so long ago when getting married and starting a family-having kids-were prtetty nearly synonymous....Those who weren't yet in a position to start families-because of money problems or further schooling-put off marrying until their situation changed.
So goes Russell Shaw's last column for the Knights of Columbus' Magazine Columbia. I remember as a young man being told by a priest that if you weren't ready or prepared to have children, you weren't ready to get married. (Besides the obvious-Who is ever really prepared for children?) Of course when marriage is viewed apart from having children, then what follows (and what we have today) is that children are had apart from marriage and that marriage itself becomes nothing of true value (no-fault divorce and now homosexual unions).
But here is another debate. I am a believer that young people should not date one-on-one, but should go together in groups. When a young person is ready to be married (in a theoretical sense) then a more serious courtship can occur-but should occur primarily in the context and the setting of the family as opposed to a series of 'dates' where one spends more and more time alone with the boyfriend/girlfriend. (Granted in many situations, there may practical limits to this-but theoretically the ideal-but grant the more ideal for the moment.)
In this situation, then, the couple should not be dating unless it is with a view to marriage, and unless they are in positions to get married. So let's say the man is carrying a load of debt and in school. He doesn't seem ready until the debt is cleared and he has a job.
Yet in contrast to this-we know that marriage has been occurring later in life because of a "pattern of prolonged adolescence". This does not seem to be a good thing either.
So where is all this leading? Actually I can't say because I am out of time this morning-but will ponder these points today and maybe pick up tomorrow with either more confusion or wisdom. (Maybe the comment boxes will give me direction.)