Recently, I chatted with some young—early to mid-twenties—friends about the challenges they face in relationships. These particular friends are indeed interested in marriage, creating families, and having successful careers. As we talked honestly about the up-to-the-minute trends weighing down on life and their relationships, it occurred to me that youth in our society are in a hazardous position when it comes to marriage preparation.
Whether our parents were married or stayed married during our childhood and adolescence, we have all learned about marriage by observing those in our personal environments, communities, as well as via the media. Observation certainly yields understanding in life, but it can’t be the only way to get educated. Does anyone ever sit down with a child or adolescent and talk opening about how to prepare for this chapter in life? I do know a few parents who do this, but only a few.
On the whole, I don’t see youth being guided and groomed to think about marriage and its influence on their lives. Is it assumed that they will just figure it out? Do people believe that there isn’t really any way to prepare for how to choose a partner or how to contribute to a thriving relationship? And if the answer is “yes” to both questions, then that’s really good to know.
However you slice it, preparing young people for marriage includes having open—age appropriate—conversations including how our individual, unique, qualities can contribute to a functional relationship, as well as the ABCs of life in a household. The more we discern how crucial healthy relationships and marriages are to the functioning of our society, the more experienced adults will take young people under their wings and prepare them for their own flight.