The mother of one of my son’s friends recently asked what my son was up to these days. Her daughter and my son were in the same high school crowd, but have since gone their separate ways. Both recently graduated from college.

“Tom just got married,” I told her.

“At 22? That’ll never last,” she scoffed. “He’s way too young.”

My own excellent manners prevented me from telling her just how rude this remark was. Apparently, she took my silence for encouragement.

“Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce,” she said, almost gleefully.

“Actually, the odds are even worse than that,” I told her. “I read that just 15 percent of marriages entered into by people under the age of 25 endure. But Tom and Amy can beat those odds. They’re both remarkable people.”

She snickered. “If you say so.“

“So what’s your daughter up to? I asked.

Turns out that she was living with her parents, baking cookies, watching reality TV, and trying to figure out what to do with her life.

And this mom was disparaging my kid’s life choices? Tom is independent, happy, and in love. He and his wife have good jobs, even in this crazy economy. Had they asked, I probably would have advised them to wait a few years before getting hitched. But my son didn’t ask me. He told me, expecting me to whoop with joy and wish them the best. And I did.

You get a wide range of responses when you tell folks that your 22-year-old son is getting hitched. Not all of them are welcome.

“Is she pregnant?“ more than one person asked.

Again, having been raised to be polite, I refrained from responding, “And exactly what makes you think that’s any of your bleeping business?”

My favorite responses, of course, were from all the folks who told me they’d married young and enjoy wonderful, long-lasting unions. Happily, there are more of them than I’d have thought.

“They’ll grow together,” one woman assured me.

“As long as neither of them expects the other one to stay exactly the same,“ a woman approaching her own 50th wedding anniversary told me,  “they’ll be just fine.“

Then there are the clowns.

“Married already?” one of Tom’s old teachers said. “That kid always was an overachiever.”

“They’ll have plenty of time to get married a couple more times,” joked one old codger.

Here’s a tip:  If you can’t bring yourself to be supportive, a simple “I wish them the best!” will do. If you have doubts, please keep them to yourself.  I don’t need to hear that getting married at 22 was the biggest mistake you ever made. Even if it’s true. (Especially if it’s true.)

I waited until I was 34 to get married, and I still married Mr. Wrong. Had I married the guy I was crazy about when I was 22, would we still be together? Would we be happy? Who knows?

Am I sorry I waited to marry? How could I be?  If I’d done anything else, I wouldn’t have my son.

There’s no way to know for certain how anyone’s marriage will turn out.  I raised my son to make good choices, and so far he has. The kids are in love. Why not get married? Somebody has to live happily ever after. Why not my son and his bride?







Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Suzy August 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Roz, thank you for this. Two of my sons are engaged. One is 23 but became engaged at 21 (still no date set), and the other is 24 and will be married this fall. I have endured such comments as you have, especially about my younger son’s engagement, and up till now I’ve been quite defensive about it. No more. True, it feels to me like my little boys are growing up too fast, but better that they grow up than come back home and bake cookies and watch reality tv. But they are men now, not little boys. How lucky I am that my family is expanding: that’s going to be my ‘tude from now on.

  • IB June 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Yes, it’s amazing how free people are with their comments. Your son sounds very independent and happy!

  • Treen May 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I LOVE this piece Roz. Love has No boundaries, not even age!
    God Bless TomAmy’s & marriage always.

  • Shawn Winck April 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I feel that too many people put far too much stock in age when it comes to relationships. All people are different, and depending on how your son was raised, may have a much higher mental maturity than others his age, able to cope better with the responsibility of marriage and the compromises that come with it.

    Far too many parents do not do their jobs correctly and therefore you see their children living at home and going nowhere with their lives, mostly because they are allowed to.

    On a side note, even if the marriage doesn’t work out, it will be a life experience for both of them, to learn from and make better decisions in the future. You cannot go through life not taking any chances at all, and the world should not be ruled by statistics.

  • irene April 26, 2012 at 1:11 am

    A little defiant, a little defensive — i like the tone of this piece. If people are right for each other and embrace their individual and joint personal growth, what’s age got to do with it?

  • Amy Smith April 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    @Ruth: Don’t you worry, we are already planning our next trip to visit you and Larry! Maybe we will get to meet more of the Nathan clan next time. <3

  • Jody April 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    YEAH! People are so full of themselves, aren’t they?

  • RozWarren April 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks, everyone, for all the wonderful and supportive comments about this piece and about the kids themselves.

  • Ruth nathan April 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

    This young couple visited us recently and my husband and I were sent down memory lane. We married at about the same age (rather typical 50 years ago). We noticed several behaviors: very encouraging to one another, tons of compliments toward each other, great respect between the two of them, most appreciative of every aspect of our hospitality, joyful stories upon every return to the house, care of their weekend headquarters, and careful, attentive, eager and authentic listeners to family stories. Needless to say, my husband and I got a welcome reminder about the power of love. Not a quibble between us for weeks! We can’t wait for their return visit, which they promised.

  • Steve Klaper April 24, 2012 at 7:52 am

    amen. If we can all just remember — I mean deep in our kishkes remember — what it was like to be 22, optimistic and and in love — we’ll all live happier and more fulfilling lives, no matter where the road leads.

  • Kelly April 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    so cute!!

  • RozWarren April 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I would like to state for the record that although my ex was Mr. Wrong for me, he is Mr. Right for the woman he is now happily married to. Just wanted to clarify that. Isn’t being Mr. Right usually situational? (And is there an essay in that?)

  • joan April 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I love this comment: “Married already?” one of Tom’s old teachers said. “That kid always was an overachiever.”

  • Just One Boomer April 23, 2012 at 10:59 am

    My experience with Millenials is that they are more romantic … and traditional. At age 27, our son asked his beloved’s parents permission to propose to their daughter. The night he proposed, he took her out to dinner and asked us to set the scene for him—rose petals, champagne.and chocolate covered strawberries. Our wedding was sandwiches in my parents’ little back yard. My dress cost $35. They are planning their own wedding (thank G-d) because they are having a “real” wedding. The $35 dollar wedding dress marriage has lasted 30 years, but it was preceded by a less than 2 year marriage when I married at 21. But, hey, your kid waited til he was 22.

  • b. elliott April 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Just what the doctor ordered! I will address rude questions in an up-coming column. Readers, please chime in with the most galling questions you have ever been asked . . .

  • drpatallen April 22, 2012 at 10:38 am


    Insightful as always. The inappropriate things people will say to other people never ceases to amaze me.

    Seems as though we need to have a discussion of this subject with B. Elliot at Modern Manners.


  • Madgew April 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I married at 19 and stayed married for 20 years and still had plenty of time to explore life. Had my kids young and now am a grandmother and successfully single for the last 20. There are many possibilities including staying together and I hope they do but plenty of time for a life if they last 20 years.

  • Chris Lombardi April 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Your piece reminded me, from the beginning, of the latest research on millenial guys (like your son), revealing themselves as quite romantic ( And the ones I know fit that stereotype far better than your snarky friends do.


  • Amy Hill Hearth April 21, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Astonishing how rude and thoughtless people can be.

  • Kate Rudd April 21, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Roz_- you are one of my favorite bloggers. Now I see that you are one of my favorite mothers too! TY for funny, wise and inspiring words. ~ Kate

  • Mark Lowe April 21, 2012 at 9:42 am