By Herbert Vego
IN a past column, I warned nubile girls against becoming “June brides” for no other reason than “better luck”.
This time, I would like the boys to learn a lesson from a failed marriage.
I was only 22 years old and in my third year as a journalist in Manila when I married my 21-year-old girlfriend on June 25, 1972. The reason: She had wished for a “lucky” June wedding.
Eventually and unfortunately, that drove me in reverse gear: I had to withdraw what little money I had saved for my future to keep my wife and baby boy fed, clothed and sheltered. She had to quit college.
Wallowing deeper in debt, we forced ourselves to do what the couples in China were doing – limit the family to only one child. That shaky marital union, unfortunately, endured for only nine years before ending in separation.
Logic dictates that an underemployed worker must abhor marriage; he has not yet laid the foundation for a stable future. Our young people who go through this mistake realize that haste leads to the three “rings” – from engagement ring to wedding ring to “suffering.”
Of course, post-teenage marriage is not wrong when viewed against its moral perspective. It is a “given” that the human being’s sexual urge is strongest in his or her 20s. Because of our puritan upbringing prohibiting premarital sex, the young opt to marry, lest they “sin.”
Speaking from experience, I now see premature marriage as more “sinful” than premarital sex. Early marriage exerts so much financial pressure that the once rosy plans for the future simply wither. The birth of the first baby alone could prevent the young father from pursuing higher education and force him to prematurely join the rat race. In that condition, he is in no position yet to venture into riskier but more promising endeavors.
No wonder there are now used-to-be-good guys who get enmeshed in risky illegal activities, as in drug dealing. They justify the act as “the only way” to send their children to school. And so the vicious cycle goes on and on from one generation to the next.
The so-called “sanctity” of marriage should be de-emphasized. While marriage itself is socially desirable, that myopic moral view should not be taken as the only acceptable path to sex.
As an institution that benefits from its flock’s early marriages, the Church — which naturally earns fees from the newly-wed couples and donations from wedding sponsors – has the moral responsibility to counsel couples-to-be about responsible parenthood. Unfortunately, the Church has not been successful in this aspect. It has not shown alarm over our 110 million-plus population that congests our small country.
In today’s permissive society, it’s a must for every young woman to learn basic family planning. Far worse than premarital sex is premarital pregnancy which could lead to premature marriage, hence perpetuating poverty.
A piece of paper called “a marriage contract” has never been a guaranteed “passport” to wedded bliss. Everybody knows of people who fall in love, only to fall out when already married.
Oh, well, have you heard of people who rise in love?
My only son must have learned from my experience. He is now 50 years old and enjoying “unwedded bliss” in New York City.