US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Girl talk: Dating and marriage

By Megan Sweas | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Working on the September young adult issue was quite personal for many of us at the office: Most the articles are about relationships. It made us think about our own relationships--in their various stages.

Catholic magazine and young adult dating advice (see our special section) wouldn't seem to go together naturally, but I assure you that our relationship content comes from editors at all stages of life. It's not just lectures from your parents here (though they probably are right, even if you don't want to admit it now).

My fellow editor Tina Herman and I had a lot of fun putting together the editors' note for September, so I wanted to share with you our own personal perspective on relationships, from two different places in life:

Megan: Well, I’m single. My boyfriend and I broke up, and according to "Don’t wait for marriage" (pages 18-22), I’m destined to be a spinster or divorced because the best marriages start when you’re young. I should have gotten married in my early 20s like you did!

Tina: Yeah, I joke that I was a child bride, but I don’t think my marriage is any better than those of my friends who married later.

Megan: Why did you get married so young then?

Tina: We were good little Catholic students who met at our university’s Newman Center. We wanted similar things in life and figured we would navigate young adulthood together. My husband and I were and still are best friends, and our relationship has always been based on mutual respect. It made sense to us. So what happened between you and your boyfriend?

Megan: We met in college, but like so many young adults, we spent our 20s figuring out who we are as individuals and putting education and careers over the relationship. As it turned out, we don’t share the same priorities in life. We weren’t on the same page—let alone in the same state!

Tina: So it’s actually good that you didn’t get married.

Megan: Yeah, and so many people have told me that they’ve gone through the same thing. "Better single now than divorced with three kids at age 40," a friend who went through a similar break-up told me.

Tina: I mean, looking at "Don’t wait for marriage," the author describes my marriage to a T, but I’m hesitant to agree with everything he says. Some aren’t ready for marriage in their early 20s—or maybe ever. And that’s OK. But in terms of finding a spouse, I can see how it can be difficult for someone who’s established and set in his or her ways to find someone who’s equally set in their ways. Tough call.

Megan: I worry about meeting the right person. I think that’s why the article struck a nerve with so many singles surveyed—dating is hard enough without someone telling you that you’re an old maid!

Tina: But look at you! You have a fresh slate, more opportunities to focus on hobbies, faith, friends. Oh, and to go out to eat on Friday nights. With a toddler at home, I don’t get to do any of that!

Megan: I am enjoying my life now. And while I do want children (like your cute little boy!), I suppose that married life isn’t perfect.

Tina: It’s difficult but worth it. I just wouldn’t worry about getting married at a certain age. I think it’s very healthy that people our age are thinking about why and when they should get married. Everyone has their own path these days, like the couples in our cover story, "First comes love . . . " (pages 12-17). My getting married at 21 was the best decision—for me. Now excuse me, I’ve got a diaper to change.