When do I get to start having fun?

Our daughter stayed home sick yesterday and was talking with my wife.  Somewhat out of the blue she asked When do I get to start having fun? Not sure of the context, my wife asked “Do you mean when you aren’t sick any more?”  No, later.  After college. “But college can be fun.”  At this point my wife was on the receiving end of an exasperated look.  The look reserved for when a grown up doesn’t understand. Then our daughter clarified:

When do I get to have a husband?  When can I be married?

This pleasantly surprised us both.  While you probably have guessed that I’m pro marriage, we don’t lecture our daughter on this issue.  But we are very happy, and laugh a great deal.  So I think our daughter was paying us a huge compliment in her own way.

My wife and I were talking about it and neither of us had this attitude as kids.  We both had it drilled into us that you had to “have fun” before getting married.  We married fairly young anyway, and both are glad we did.  Think of all the fun we would have missed otherwise.  My wife mentioned the standard bromide that you need to “see the world” before getting married.  As if this somehow wouldn’t be possible once married.  We both did do some international travel before getting married, but we have done far more since we got married than before.

While there are some good potential reasons to hold off on getting married for a bit (not mature enough to commit, haven’t found the right person), wanting to have fun first strikes me as the worst reason.  Not only is it not true, but it is an awful way to think about marriage.  What does this say to your future spouse? 

Yeah, I wanted to get the fun stuff out of the way before I got tied down with you!

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14 Responses to When do I get to start having fun?

  1. J says:

    I recall the first few years of my marriage to have been a whole lot of fun. I hope that the hubs and I are both healthy enough to have that again once the boys are in college–not that raising them hasn’t also been fun.

  2. Anonymous age 68 says:

    I started at the ole’ radio factory in 1966. I was 24, just out of the Army. Older men said,”When you gonna’ get married?”

    I said, “As soon as I find the right one.” Without going into the success of that task, that was the attitude of young men in those days.

    In the mid 70’s, a young man came in as a new tech. I asked him, “When you gonna’ get married?”

    He laughed and said, “First I am going to have fun.” He had fun a few years, then married, then they split.

    In the mid-90’s, we had an outstanding young man come in. When you saw this kid, any father of a daughter had to think, “SON-IN-LAW!!!” Excellent lad.

    I asked him one day, “When you gonna’ get married?”

    He immediately jumped up, got all red in the face, his fists doubled up, shaking with rage. I honestly thought he was going to hit me.

    When he calmed down and was able to speak coherently, I asked him about it. He said it was very offensive to be accused of being stupid enough to marry, with the things he had seen happen in divorce courts to his own age peers, and he couldn’t have been over 21 or 22 years old.

    These are only isolated anecdotes, of course, but I suspect they were not atypical for their times. This is not good for society. Not good for men; not good for women; not good for anyone.

  3. dalrock says:

    Marriage laws and customs have no doubt changed for the worse (massive understatement). Men’s willingness to marry has started to take this into account. I don’t fault any man for deciding this isn’t a risk he is willing to take. I also encourage any man considering marriage to make sure he has chosen well.

    I care about divorce because I care about marriage. I don’t think there is any other way. Make divorce too easy, remove the stigma, and even create incentives for divorce and marriage becomes a sham. I’ve been pretty critical of the church in particular for standing by while marriage fell apart, all because they lacked the will to pass any moral judgment.

  4. The true irony of marriage law changes is that they retroactively change the marriage agreements that have already been made.

    Your marriage agreement isn’t grandfathered in under the laws in which you married originally.

  5. JG says:

    Nice story dalrock. Too bad it is the exception and not the rule. Even decidedly middle age now, I have more chances for relationship with younger women than ever before once I was blessed enough to get rid of the screwball religious teachings about life and marriage I’d been taught by clueless people whose own lives discredited the teachings they taught others.

    But having seen guys get screwed in marriage like the young man in anon age 68’s example, I see no reason for getting married at least in the US. Sure there are good women but I’m not a fan of Russian Roulette. And that’s what marriage in the good ole’ USA has become.

  6. Badger Nation says:

    “When do I get to have a husband? When can I be married?”

    From the mouths of babes. I understand how endearing it is to your worldview, but I note two items of concern:

    1. Someone who feels they aren’t “having fun” until they get married is not going to develop into as rich a person and they could be, and richer attracts a better0quality spouse. It’s not that different from someone who feels they CAN’T have fun once they get married. I referenced this with the friend’s daughter J is counseling.

    2. Too many of our workaholic kids ask this question about the endless scholastic requirements, resume-boffing, extracurriculars, etc. It’s like we can never really enjoy ourselves, we have to always be working for the future. I was one of them; it hits home for me in a bad way.

    “Yeah, I wanted to get the fun stuff out of the way before I got tied down with you!”

    The exact reason Roissy and GBFM caution against playing Captain Save-A-Ho and paying for what a woman gave the bad boys for free.

  7. Badger Nation says:

    That last post was supposed to have “debbie downer” html tags visible to warn people I was about to go Eeyore on the post :-\

  8. terry@breathinggrace says:

    This was just a really cool post, Dalrock. Clearly your daughter is fortunate to have been born into a great family. So much so that she can’t wait to have one of her own.

  9. dalrock says:

    Good point on waiting until some milestone to start enjoying life. You can’t see her face in the photo but in the rest of the series she has a huge grin stuck on her face.

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  12. Thomas K. says:

    Totally agree. The way most people think these days is “I will have all the ‘fun’ I possibly can and you (future spouse) can have whatever scraps are left over”.

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