This summer has been one of seeing friends and catching up, with weddings and reunions, we’ve had the chance to see quite a few people.
Many of us are on the cusp of a new adventure, grad school and kids, etc. While we’ve been talking to these friends, a phrase came up a few times that made me stop and think.
“It’ll be the best thing for you and your marriage to do….X, Y or Z.”
Now, let me clarify. These comments came from darling, well-meaning friends. Some of them had been told this by other friends or family and were merely repeating it.
But it got me thinking.
Do I give this kind of advice too liberally?
For me, and my situation, falling in love in high school was the best thing for me. Not serving a mission was the best thing for me. Getting engaged quickly, and married young was the best thing for me. Graduating college in 3 years was the best thing for me. Getting a job and earning money right away, instead of staying for my Master’s Degree was the best thing for me, and my marriage.
But those don’t apply to everyone.
I’ve heard so many people say “Go away to go to school, it’ll be the best thing for your marriage.” Or, “Live outside the country if you can, it’ll be the best thing for your marriage.” Or, “Wait at least 3 years to have kids..” and even “Have kids right away…”
Hearing those kinds of comments have made me totally re-evaluate my life, which isn’t a bad thing. I’ve taken a look at where we are and where we’re headed and thought about what these people had to say. But every time, I’ve come back to what really will be best for me and my marriage, and gone with that. Sometimes it does follow the advice and suggestion of others, often it doesn’t.
For some people, getting married young is the best possible thing that could happen to them. For others, it’s not even a good thing. For some, living far away and having to rely on each other in that way is the best possible thing. For others, myself included, figuring out the family balance and learning to rely on each other in that way has been the best possible thing.
I guess the point is, it’s great to give advice from your perspective, to share your experiences. But blanket statements about certain things being “the very best you can do” mostly aren’t true. We don’t know what the best possible thing for another person or their family will be. Sometimes we have a hunch, and sometimes that hunch will be right. Sometimes you’ll be utterly correct. But sometimes, you won’t be.
So for me, I’m deciding to spend a little more time saying things like “Everyone’s different, for us being married young was great, though,” instead of “Getting married young is the best thing for you.”
Just some food for thought.