In his commencement speech, before the famous quiver line, Mitt Romney said, “If you meet a person you love, get married!”
During the address, he also said:
This is a promise: “Launch out into the deep, and your nets will be filled.” How do you do that? Well, getting married is one way to launch into the deep. I’m so glad I found Ann when I was still so young. Combining your life with another person … men and women as different as we are, this combination is tremendously challenging and enormously rewarding.
Some people could get married but choose to take more time, they say, for themselves. Others plan to wait until they’re well into their 30s or 40s before they think about getting married. They’re going to miss so much of living, I’m afraid. From the beginning of recorded time the prophet Adam recorded this life secret: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife.” Marriage is a gift from God. Now, some may dismiss the counsel coming from the Bible because it comes from a book which they’ve discarded. But the Bible is one of two things: either it’s the word of God, as I believe, or it’s the product of brilliant philosophers and sages who’ve observed lives and and nations and civilizations and history over thousands and thousands of years. Either way, the Bible is a pearl of wisdom, the distillation of lessons of life. So when it says “marry,” listen.
In Letters to Ellen, Gilbert Meilaender writes as a parent to a child away at college: “The point of marriage is that self-formation becomes a joint venture. I do not form myself, I am formed by another to whom I have given myself — another whom I love, yet who will prove to be strangely different and resistant.”
Julia Shaw, a young woman working in Washington, who got married at 23 made that somewhat controversial point in an article in Slate recently.
In “I got married at 23. What are the rest of you waiting for?,” Shaw writes:
Marriage wasn’t something we did after we’d grown up—it was how we have grown up and grown together. We’ve endured the hardships of typical millennials: job searches, job losses, family deaths, family conflict, financial fears, and career concerns. The stability, companionship, and intimacy of marriage enabled us to overcome our challenges and develop as individuals and a couple. We learned how to be strong for one another, to comfort, to counsel, and to share our joys and not just our problems.
The core point isn’t necessarily at what age you get married or even if you get married at all. It’s about knowing that marriage is a good thing for men and women and that it is good to cast out into the deep in life — now — knowing we’re not alone, never acting as if we are.