My Responses to ... Your Responses

If you haven't read the post that spawned this one, go HERE.

In going through your comments on the "Mr. Perfect Is Out There..." post, I figured it would be easier to write a response via a blog post instead of writing an epically long comment in the comment form. Plus, I know that a lot of people don't want to go wading through all of that business.
Because there were so many wonderful responses there's no way that I can get to them all, but I will respond to as many as I can.

SIDE NOTE : Click on the names of the people to visit their blogs!!

Let's chat...

Nauplion wrote : "At 67, my life has become so good, so fulfilling, that the marriage at 21 was fine. I cannot imagine not having the three remarkable daughters I achieved. But for most of these 46 years, I thought 21 was too soon. I do know there is not necessarily a right person. Two people make their choices become right by how they are together. The present person, when we chose each other 7 years ago, is clearly the right person. But we needed the lives we had already had to be so clearly right for our old age.
I married at 21 because everyone who was anyone had a diamond engagement ring at graduation. Make yourself into a good and generous human being who is doing work that interests you, and you will find the marriage question fairly simple."
My Response : I completely agree with your "right person" comment. I've always been a big proponent of the "there is no such thing as soul mates," and I believe that you make a relationship work. Sure, there are people out there in the world with whom it would be easier to succeed, but like I said, if you want to make it work, you make it work.

Sarah wrote : "This is my first visit to your blog, and this topic caught my attention—mainly because our culture seems so down on the idea of getting married young.

I just turned 23 last month and have been married for a year, so I can’t give you much long-term perspective, but I will tell you that I don’t regret getting married this young at all. I wouldn’t have wanted to wait any longer. I should start by mentioning that we were both committed to waiting for our wedding day and that we weren’t okay with living together before marriage. That said, we had long-distance relationship for several months every year: my husband is from Minnesota, I’m originally from Michigan, and we went to school in Indiana; long distance is not fun, and waiting is hard. But that wasn’t the only reason we got married. We also knew the relationship was right—I knew I loved him and any amount of waiting wouldn’t change that. I recognize that it might sound like we jumped the gun, but since we don’t believe in divorce, we put a lot of thought into our decision.

Getting married right out of college has limited some of our career options, but that’s a sacrifice you have to make if you want a marriage. Marriage involves a lot of sacrifices. (I think this contributes to the high divorce rate because a lot of people don’t realize that and aren’t prepared to do it). But giving up the few things that I could've done by myself in order to do everything else with my husband by my side is so worth it.

To be clear, I’m not saying everyone should get married young. The right time is going to be different for different people."
My Response : You're right. The right time happens at different points for every person. I mean, consider the fact that 50 years ago it was normal practice to marry straight after high school. I was speaking to my grandmother about this topic, and she was married mere weeks after graduating from her high school. There were even people who got married during their Senior year.

Oddly enough, however, I was brought up in an environment (upper middle class, staunchly Christian white people) where marriage is expected pretty early on in life. So in my experience, I've always been pressured by my surroundings to find a good man and marry young.
Bruce Henson wrote : "Greetings Miss Stef. Like you, I too am an aspiring writer (I've been writing for years, but it is my belief that one's abilities can never be perfected, but striving for perfection is sure a lot of fun, albeit hard work). I admire your discipline in pursuing your craft. Regarding this particular article, it is what I would expect a free-thinking 24 year old woman to say. In that regard, it made you predictable. Predictability is never good. I picked up an undertaste of "all men are pigs" sentiment which, if people who agree with you are the target audience you're aiming for, you will do well with them. The older I get the more certain I am of life's uncertainty, people's motives, my own infalibility, and the utter randomness of being. All of which I consider immensely rich fodder for writing. But it is very refreshing to see you capture your thoughts now, because when you are 50, you will be amazed at your own growth. Strive on! And best of luck!"
My Response : You completely misread the "all men are pigs" sentiment. The majority of my close friends are men, and I prefer their companionship to women. That's not to say that women aren't great, but I relate better with men in my humor and the way I deal with relationships. There may not be such a thing as "the perfect man," but there is also no such thing as "the perfect woman" either.

As far as predictability goes, I'm fine with that, I guess. If my personal opinion makes me seem predictable then there's nothing I can do about that, can I? I don't really strive to be anything other than who I am, and I'm guessing that makes me boring on a few levels. Thankfully, I think I'm interesting enough on other levels that I'm not too worried about my predictability on the others.
Sara L. wrote : "If he's hiding, he's a loser and not worth it. And if he comes out of hiding, you still don't have to marry him right away ...or ever. ;)"
My Response : Too true!! What a stinker for hiding from me, right??? Grow some balls already! haha

Country Girl wrote : "Hi Stef! Read you on "Blogs of Note" and thought I'd comment (very unlike me). I married at 21, right out of college...that was 19 years ago. I like to think that I would marry the same man if I met him again later, but so much is determined by fate, isn't it? Most of my friends were getting married too, and being bound by religious "obligations" (at the time) to be married before engaging in pursuits that married people do, it was the thing to do. I don't regret it a bit, but there were some really hard times when we were dirt poor (who has money right out of college?). I think it's great that you are giving yourself the opportunity to do the things you want to for yourself before committing to life as a couple. Rock on!
Tonya"
My Response : One of my biggest fears about getting married is the money. There are definitely financial perks when married, but if you're both poor then it really doesn't make much of a difference. It just seems to me that a lot of marriages end because of fights pertaining to money, and I'd rather be stable on my own before dumping all of my debt on someone else.
Anonymous wrote : "Marrying young is a good idea because let's face it...you want to have sex before you are 30 don't you? Every time you have sex with someone you are giving away an important part of yourself. Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone knows it is true. But making a commitment to ONE person, and loving ONE person helps to keep you whole and happy.

No--you can't just go to Europe without having to answer to someone if your married. But seriously, even young unmarried people have no excuse for being so selfish that they don't want to think of other people.

Selfish people are lonely unhappy people."
My Response : Wow. This is why abstinence-only teaching is a bad idea. I was brought up in an incredibly conservative, Christian environment, and I am no stranger to the "giving away an important part of yourself" business. I'm not saying that it's not true, but I can't help but read your comment and think to myself, "This person is totally judging you." Not only that, but I've never even had sex! It's a personal choice, not because Mommy and Daddy told me to or because "the Bible tells me so," but because I believe myself to be completely unready to take part in that endeavor at this point in my life. Once I reach the point where I feel comfortable with having sex, then who are you to tell me that I can't take part in it? God will deal with me, not you. Additionally, I'd like you to show me a single verse in the Bible where it says "Thou shalt not have sex before marriage." It vaguely refers to "sexual immorality" or "sexual sins," but not once does it say that engaging in sex before a government-recognized union is a sin. It's all about interpretation. What, to you, is "sexual immorality?"

I won't even respond to your "selfish" comment.
I might have been a bit bitchy with that last response, but it irked me. Blargh...

And that's that, folks! If you have any desire to shoot me an e-mail or contact me in some way look at my new Tab up at the top labelled Contact Me! I'd love to hear your thoughts! Or you can always just leave a comment. I read all of them regardless of how many there are! I just wish I had the time to respond to all of them!

Peace.
Stef.

Comments

Blessed Rain said…
Your comment back to Bruce struck a cord with me.
If you are "boring and predictable" (which by your writing I wouldn't just jump to that conclusion) than you would still want to find someone that loved you for you - no matter what that was.
Loved your response and I am glad that you are not afraid to be yourself!
The Tiff said…
"I might have been a bit bitchy with that last response, but it irked me. Blargh..."

I'll second your response! And if it's bitchy, then I'll readily accept that and we can just be bitchy about it together.

I love this: "No--you can't just go to Europe without having to answer to someone if your married. But seriously, even young unmarried people have no excuse for being so selfish that they don't want to think of other people." So rigid and puritanical. Because pursuing your own interests is always selfish. AND because everyone dreams of having a marriage in which the phrase, "answer to someone" is applicable.

I'm 23. I was married at 18 and, sorry to say, divorced at 19. I'm not sensitive about it anymore because it's just the way things worked out. He was the type of man that I had to "answer to". I've been with somebody else for the past 3 years who, no matter what I say or do, supports my "selfishness" at every turn.

Excuse me for ranting in your comments, but I was also irked. Kudos to you for keeping it real! =]

- Tiff
http://zenalicious.blogspot.com
Stef said…
@Blessed Rain - Thanks for the kind words. :) That's what it's all about: someone who loves me for ME. "Not thinner. Not cleverer. Not with slightly bigger breasts or slightly smaller nose." Thanks, Bridget Jones Diary. hah

@Tiff - Yes! Selfish people unite!!! We'll kill the rest of the world with our self-involved, bitchy thoughts!

Additionally, please rant in my comments whenever you get the feeling to do so. I love reading it! haha
Teddi Hermes said…
I too grew up in a conservative Christian environment and heard a lot about abstinence only education. My parents are rather liberal, but I heard it preached from the church my entire life. This is an issue I am VERY interested in. I am sure we could have lots of conversations about it. If you want a good read pertaining to this abstinence, sex before marriage, etc., check out Jessica Valenti’s “THE PURITY MYTH.” It is incredibly thought provoking and majorly challenged some of my beliefs. I’d love to see you write a blog post about it! :-P
Besides that, your responses to these comments are eloquent and wise.

By the way, I have 13 new followers in the last 24 hours and I am sure that is because of your shout out. ;-) Thank you. Having famous friends really does come in handy.
Stef said…
@Teddi - Psh... I may have directed them to your blog, but your lovely writing and posts made them follow!! :)

I'll have to read that book. It sounds fascinating! Thanks for the recommendation! And yes, we should definitely chat about it. heh
Classified said…
I don't really ever know what to say about these things because of recent things. I'm 18 years old, and I don't know anything about the world. In fact, most people don't, and sadly, most people grow into age getting blinder with pomp and false "years-earned wisdom" rather than clarity and fulfillment. Like you, all my life, marriage was taught as a rite of passage that you must undergo to mark the milestone of love. Now what I'm about to say, I realize will be ridiculed or derided because of my fallible youth and ignorance, but when I was 16 years old I fell in love with a man who questioned everything. He protested against the modern day perception of "relationships" and marriages, reducing them to simulations of masochism and sadism rather than the transcendental affinity praised and taught in ancient practices and rituals. It took me two years of knowing him as a friend, mentor, and family to recognize him as the man I love to this day. And because of the indoctrination and imprinting of societal values into me at an early age, I cannot help but think I should marry him rather than just move in with him once I'm done with college. And if I don't, there's the fear that I might lose that testament to love, previously spoken of, and attract the antipathy of my family and friends. This story is typical of anyone who supposedly "breaks tradition" (a practice that is not so uncommon). When I spoke to him of these fears, he assuaged them instantly. Telling me that he does not need an official rite from any "priest" or "king" to love me as he does and neither do we have to be physically together to even accomplish that. And that there is nothing to worry about with my family, because underneath the external "traditions" and "scruples," there is the unbreakable kinship of family in which they will inevitably overcome such harrowing thoughts and judgment. He also added, importunately, that he exists as an autonomous human being without me, but the more beautiful part is that he can remain so even when he is with me. According to him, this is a trait where most people falter.

So what's this hole spiel about? Not an anti-marriage tirade, or an attack against the establishment. Rather it's to encourage others to be indifferent to such rites of passage or milestones. When it happens, as many others have mentioned, it happens. Don't feel bad or be fazed by societal values or pressure. Because there is absolutely no need for a marriage. Or a lover or even a friend. The beauty is volition, and I think that is the most admirable thing about love. Not to say that wanting is everything, because obviously when you want something, you have to work to get it :) And this should be true on both sides of the party.
Just Me said…
Hello, I know I'm a little late on this but while I was trying to comment on your Mr. Right post my computer crashed and one hard drive later I'm back to put in my two cents worth, hope you don't mind.

I must say I am shocked by some of the comments to you, especially the selfish one. Wow, since when is it selfish not to want to answer to someone? Take it from a woman who is almost 20 years your senior, don't listen to the marriage guru's. Although there is nothing wrong with getting married, there is most definitely nothing wrong with staying single.

I was married at 18, I know just a baby, and am still married to the same man. Which means I have the experience to say your comment in the original post about developing into who you will be happening in your 20's was right on, when your with another at to young an age it can divert that development until much later.

Word to the wise, those that have something against young intelligent woman keeping their single status, more than likely harbor just a little envy and perhaps a bit of jealousy over having to answer to someone else. Guaranteed.

So enjoy being young, single, and free! By the way love your blog and love to see young woman like yourself who are smart enough to know what they want and don't let anyone else tell them how to live their lives.
Maria Zannini said…
Stef, this October, I'll be married for 35 years. There were some ups and downs, but we never doubted it was the right decision. We're both alphas, it was bound to get noisy every once in a while. :) That's what makes it interesting.

Enjoy your life. It's your 80 years. Live it for all its worth. The right guy will show up along the way.

Love is a bliss found in tears, struggle and laughter. But it doesn't have to be found in a mate.

You'll find yours. I know it.
JesGansz said…
I would love to point out the irony in this anonymous person's narrowminded abstinence only thinking

"Marrying young is a good idea because let's face it...you want to have sex before you are 30 don't you?"

(and then in the same paragraph)

"Selfish people are lonely unhappy people."

I think the pot just called the kettle black. Did they REALLY just admit that the best reason to wed is to get some? Now, doesn't that sound selfish. I'm pretty sure that a marriage (or any relationship for that matter) that is based purely on sex is not going to thrive.

Personally, I am not married, I am not in a relationship, and I'm 25. Sure, I feel the familiar twinges of jealousy when I see a happy couple holding hands and laughing together. However, I know myself, I know what I need in my life and I know that I would rather be selective in who I date and consequently stay single than date someone who isn't a good fit for me just for the sake of having a dinner companion at family functions. I'd rather show up alone than with someone I resent.
Alessandra said…
I guess I'm a little late for this blog also, but better late than never. I got married at 19 and celebrated my 25th this year. I think if I had to do it over again, I would still marry my husband at an early age, but I wouldn't necessarily get married to just anybody. Reading all the other posts is easy to see that people have different experiences and opinions on this issue. Here's mine:
the best thing about getting married young is the opportunity to grow with that person, to become who you are together, and to form a bond that hopefully will last a lifetime. The worst thing about marrying young is the missed opportunity to become who you are by yourself....Well, better clarify. I married at almost 20 a man who was almost 35, so there was and is an age difference between us. He was already formed as a man, had his personality, character etc. figured out, while I was still refining mine. Today, I look at myself and realize that the person I am, has been influenced by my relationship. To be clear I am not sorry about it, to the contrary, I am happy to have met a man with a 'spine'and with principles. I just wonder sometimes, what kind of person I would have become, if I remained single for a longer period of time.
As far as the sex thing goes, I believe that sex brings you a million times closer to the other person and therefore should not be taken lightly. The bond between a man and a woman should be the deepest bond one has with another human being. That is why monogamy in a relationship, far from being viewed as puritanical, old fashioned, or not a big deal, should be seen as the key to a very happy, long term union, that can satisfy your physical as well as some of your spiritual needs. Rather than believe in Hollywood's image of sex, the more partners you have, the more you cheapen and endanger that part of you. Sex is not better with a stranger,on the contrary, the better you know a person, the more relaxed and open you are to 'swinging from the chandelier' as my grandma used to say.
Wow, that's long, sorry, didn't mean to be so verbose. Add me to your list of followers, I really like this blog. Here'smine
http://alexsblogginglife.blogspot.com
carmar76 said…
hi! found you thru blogs of note & wow, what a first post to read! the comments have been very enlightening, too.

as i said, this is my first visit to your blog, but have to say i didn't get the "men are pigs" vibe or a selfish vibe from your post! i, too, was shocked by those comments. keep up the good work, i say!

on the marriage question - well, i am 33, will be 34 in november. i am literally the last remaining singleton among my friends. i have 10 nieces and nephews, and i love them, love hanging out w/ them as much as i can. they make me happy! : )

when i was in HS & my early 20's, i thought about marriage all the time. it's all i wanted - to be married & have a couple kids. as time went on, and nearly ALL my friends had kids and/or got married and then had kids, i felt that left-out feeling, that being left behind, that "i want this SO MUCH why isn't it happening for me?" feeling.

and now i really don't want any of that! *laugh* maybe i'm "too set in my own ways" or whatever, but i'm happy. i don't lack for love, from and for the Lord, my family, friends and of course the kids! kids who i can hang out with, and then give back - and i don't have to pay for them to go to college! : )

okay, sorry for the novel! i was going to put this in a blog of my own & just link to it, but changed my mind. stop by & say hi sometime anyway!

carriesrandommusings2.blogspot.com
Rachael Melody said…
Alright, so I'm a little late posting a response as well - but I went through and read through ALL of the comments on the other blog, so I'm going to use that as my excuse for being late :-P

I'm 22. I've been married for a year and a few months. I met my husband at 19, and was firmly convinced three months later (right around the time I was turning 20) that he was "my intended." Because of purely technical reasons (he didn't want to propose before I met his sister - who lives in another country and only visits about once a year), we didn't become engaged until about a year later, shortly before my 21st birthday, and then five months after that we married.

I'm about as strait-laced as they come - forget sex before marriage, we didn't even kiss before our wedding day. Not because I felt that it would be "immoral" or "unbiblical" to do so, but because, for me, it was the right thing to do.

Leaving the question over the morality of sex before marriage aside, I have to say that I'm strongly opposed to it for other reasons. Sex is an incredibly intimate thing. I think a lot of marriages are failing today because people have developed a casual attitude toward physical behavior. If it's not a big deal to have sex with a stranger, what's going to make sex become "holy" again once you've married? Would it be a big deal to have sex with someone who is not your spouse? I'm not saying people who have sex before marriage are all cheaters. I'm saying that when you don't regard it as the intimate, beautiful thing that it is, you lose respect for it, and you lose respect for your partner.

On that topic, respect and effort go a lot farther than "love" in a relationship. Sure, I'm still in the "honeymoon" phase, but that doesn't mean it's been a piece of cake. If my husband and I lacked our deep respect and appreciation for each other, we probably would have had a lot more problems.

And I just have to comment on the casual attitude toward marriage. I feel that another reason a lot of marriages fail is because the couples think "well, if it doesn't work out, we can always get a divorce," or "well, we have to get married so our families won't ostracize us." If you don't treat marriage as one of the most important decisions of your life, it's not going to be a big deal if you decide six months down the road that you don't actually want the marriage.

Ahem. Sorry for the tangent. :-P
Anonymous said…
Hello Miss Stef

I've read your post about marriage and some questions that you have asked,

and also I have some comments of your readers and their opinions.

Wow, it was so amazing,, I mean different cultures and what different people think about their marriage. I am from Iran and I have commented to let you know it was so amazing for me about world's people opinions.

Sajjad
peach said…
when you said "soul-mates" arent really true to be exact i was caught off guard it sounded like me own statement 2 years ago, let m just tell you for a fact that statement isnt true, soul-mates are real as day and night... there is only one man made for each woman some men and women however arent meant to marry and others are the ones that are have a man that they are meant for... so many years u waited and waited and met various guys they weren't right and i knew it fast. as a christian ive always wanted to wait to find the man that was the one for me. if two people arent meant for each other they cannt just make it work its like oil and water and you can try to mix it for awhile n even fake it for awhile but if your not meant to be its obvious. when i met the man i have today i knew he was the one cause has cheesy as it sounds "my heart said yes" and i knew from than on it was him of course there were various other reasons he is the one as well, but i know for certain he is my soulmate.. its TRUE, TRUST ME STEF.
Stef,

The guy who said you were boring and predictable sounds like a smug a-hole (sorry, dude). I suppose you are only to express opinions that are profoundly entertaining.

And Anonymous.. wow. As for your comment to anonymous, I agree abstinence-only education is awful. I went to a private school that endorsed this particular method. Yes, waiting til marriage to have sex is ideal but I remember kids treating the abstinence pledges like a big joke. I happened to take it seriously, but felt really uncomfortable and pressured.

I didn't consider myself a Christian til somewhat recently. And it's so sad how rampant self-righteousness is. Like you said, people judging you because they're not of the same opinion. And abstinence pledge aside (whoops), I'm not very virginal. But like you, I certainly don't think it's anyone's place to judge but God's.
Oh, and you asked where in the Bible it is says not to have sex before marriage. It doesn't say it in one convenient sentence. The 7th commandment is Don't Commit Adultery.. which is engaging in sex outside of marriage.. which includes fornication (hate that word, sounds so snotty), and adultery, of course, is considered sexually immoral. Didn't mean to sound preachy there. That's how I have understood the no sex before marriage thing. Also, I must say I don't look at the Bible as this condemning rule book. We grow into ourselves and well, shit happens. Our God is a forgiving one, I believe.
Melody said…
Hi all,

I am jumping in with a comment because I am about to go to Europe to study for a semester, a decision that I suppose some would view as "selfish". I have been dating an incredible man for the past year and have actually been feeling guilty because I am the one who is creating a long separation between the two of us.

While traveling across Europe is undeniably a selfish choice to make in that it is expensive and will take me away from my boyfriend, family, and friends, I believe there are changes in a person who has traveled that make the individual more selfless and less selfish; learning a new language and growing tolerant of foreign ways of life can only make an individual more able to think of others rather than just him/herself.

I hope to return a stronger and (possibly) wiser person, one who is MORE fit to be a member of society and MORE fit to be in a committed romantic relationship.

Committing to another human being is selfless when done at the right time, but making a commitment such as marriage before one is ready can only be viewed as irresponsible.
Bwarrilow said…
I like this blog. I am in the same boat as you where it seems like all of my friends are in uber serious relationships (meaning theyre talking about engagements and getting married or are already married), and it just bothers me because we are still so young. I am 22, will be 23 in November, and I am the oldest of my best friends...I know 22/23 is still young, but I feel left behind. You said it perfectly in your previous blog that youre not ok with feeling left behind, and I realized that I share the same sentiment. I want to be happy for my friends (and deep down, I really am happy for them), but Im also hurt for some reason too.

Being single is super fun...but not when youre the only one.

Sorry this sounds whiny. Just kind of relieved someone else feels the way I do.

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