Today we made a quick tip to the grocery store to pick up a few things in advance of a weather warning, including makings for sandwiches in case the electricity gets blinky or just because this local store has really good ham. We did our usual find-and-consult routine, got what we wanted and were checking out, when we picked up on the conversation between our checker, a fairly mature woman, and a young man checking at the next register. While I was fishing something out of my purse, the young man was saying he didn’t ever plan to get married because he wanted to get and stay financially stable, and the woman was teasing him that a cute young thing would come along and change his mind. To which he replied that what did he know, he was only twenty-two.
Standing there with my mate of over four decades, I couldn’t help but laugh, and pointed out that statistics indicate that married men live longer. “Although”, I continued, “some would say it only seems that they live longer.” We all laughed and went about the business at hand, but there was so much more I wanted to share, if the time and situation had been appropriate. For instance, sure, most young couples start out with very tight budgets or even with less than that. And sure, some couples have one or both in the partnership who are spendthrifts, who incur mindless debt. Of course, single folks have been known to be foolish, as well. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I wanted to tell him that marriage can also mean two people working together for their future, enduring the difficult times, making choices together, sharing the joy, and building whatever stability is possible in a world that never has been, is not, and never will be fully secure or easy.
I didn’t have the time or opportunity to tell him all of this, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever life lessons this young one has to learn, he must learn for himself, and neither we nor anyone can teach him. One could say that experience only comes from experience.