My wife and I married the summer before our senior year of college and conceived a child just a few weeks later. On purpose. And it was one of the best decisions of our lives.
With marriage rates going down, and the average age of marriage going up, we’re something of an anomaly, we know. But we honestly just sort of fell into the whole thing.
No, we’re not from a strange cult, and neither of us were pressured by our parents to do what we did (I can assure you we received opposite pressure). And not too long before getting engaged, we almost certainly would have said we agreed with the conventional wisdom that marrying and starting a family while still in college was a bad idea.
But then we fell in love.
Yes, the powerful winds of romantic love compelled us to get engaged with the plan to get married the summer before our senior year. But as I’ve written elsewhere, we did so with the implicit plan of contracepting (everyone does, what else would we do?). While trying to determine which kind of contraception to use, we came across Catholic arguments against it, and, to our own surprise, were convinced that the use of contraception is immoral.
We were fine with natural family planning, but we were also convinced that the primary purpose of marriage is family and should only be avoided by a married couple for good reasons. So we very joyfully decided to simply be open to having kids from the beginning. If we had not planned on using contraception originally, we probably wouldn’t have gotten engaged when we did, but like I said, we sort of fell into the whole thing.
All this is to say, neither of us set out to be young married parents. But by God’s grace, I’m very proud to say that we’ve been married four and a half years, we have two children, and a third one is due this summer.
And it’s been some of the best years of our lives! We don’t regret any of it but rather see all the great blessings we could have missed out on if we had followed the normal cultural path and (possibly indefinitely) postponed marriage and children.
Here is a non-exhaustive list with four reasons why it was a great decision:
1) We are getting to enjoy our sexual primes together in a healthy, fulfilling, and constructive way.
Young people have sex drives. This is a great thing! So it’s sad that our culture is basically designed to ensure one’s sexuality is frustrating, empty, and/or destructive.
Education extends far past physical maturity, making it practically difficult for people to make normal use of their sexuality by getting married and having kids. But people still have sex drives, so they fornicate, degrading themselves and using others. Despite people’s best contraceptive efforts, sometimes the procreative act (surprise!) still procreates, and women get stuck raising a child alone or with someone they don’t really love, or lose hope and decide the best course of action is to kill their child.
My wife and I aren’t perfect, but we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to truly enjoy our sexuality. We have the security of marriage and we’re not disrupting the natural process with contraception, so we’re letting our sexuality lead to what it was meant to lead to naturally: children.
And here’s the secret: it’s all very joyous, exciting, and fun.
2) We were first time parents during our physical primes.
Taking care of young children takes an incredible amount of energy, patience, and stamina – something that only decreases as people get older. And a couple’s first child is even more work since they don’t have experience. There’s a reason God made it so most people can’t conceive children after a certain age!