Thursday, July 21, 2005

Questions and Positions

The situation: you care for someone and know they are about to make (what could be) a tragic decision, one that could change their life forever.

Would you tell them they were about to make a huge mistake, even though it was going to make them upset with you? Is it worth risking a relationship to stop a likely mistake?

If your friend was drunk and about to drive, would you take the keys?
Or would you not say anything at all and just "hope" that it all turned out alright?

Just what is the role of one with more life experience when dealing with the younger and less experienced? Should any knowledge transfer be attempted by the older one?


I haven't thought so much about marriage in several years. It has been interesting to do a little research and talk with others about decisions, theories, and life-experiences. I found this website today, and really enjoyed exploring it.

Having said my piece about the issue at hand, I'll begin backing away from being so upfront about my opinions for the time being. For now, I felt it important to make a statement and start a discussion based on some facts and figures. The opportunity to influence the lives of those I love is a gift, one that I cherish.

Realize that I risk something when I state beliefs that might challenge or offend you. Understand that I seek not to harm but to protect; I would rather guide from the beginning rather than console after a tragedy.


Sarah LH said...

if it was me who was making a mistake and didn't see it, i pray that i would have someone who loved me enough to tell me!!! it doesn't mean i have to like it or listen, but i would want someone to tell me!!!

Clayton said...

Ok. I see now. I would rather be guided from the beginning than picked up in the end. There have been plenty of times where I have almost followed through with a big mistake and righted myself only to have several friends come up to me and tell me that they knew it all along. We should share our information and thoughts along with our opinions and experiences. Thanks Dr. Copeland.


Lauren Davidson said...

: ) that's all i have to say

Tara said...

Tell them the truth out of love, accept their rejection/opposition out of love, pray for them out of love, and support them and be there for them out of love! That's all a good friend can do. ~*Tara*~

Patrick said...

Okay, so I finally decided to comment on something. You wrote: "Just what is the role of one with more life experience when dealing with the younger and less experienced? Should any knowledge transfer be attempted by the older one?"

I think transfer of wisdom would be a better way to phrase it. There are plenty of people in the world with much knowledge but little wisdom. You probably know a few of them.

To answer your question: YES, wisdom should be shared, especially by the older with the younger! I think the importance of this increases with the difference in ages. In his Epistle to Nepotian, St. Jerome points out that in old age, almost all the powers of the body are weakened, but wisdom alone increases as everything else fails. He then goes on to link the lack of wisdom in youth (which he also mentions isn't necessarily universal) to the temptations of the flesh--how appropriate to our discussion of not marrying too soon!

I personally think the appropriate age for marriage is such a subjective thing that it's nearly impossible to simply pick a number based on statistics. In my opinion, the two most important factors are the maturity of the individuals concerned and their respective records of fidelity to weighty commitments--much more so than emotions, which are always liable to change, even after many years.

Some 18-year-olds are much better prepared for marriage than some 30-year-olds due to their maturity and to the circumstances in which they were brought up. It certainly helps for one's own father and mother to be happily married and to live with that example before entering into a marriage oneself. I also think that a young person (particularly a young man) who has lived on his own and comfortably supported himself for several years is much better prepared than someone who's still living with his parents. To me, this just seems like common sense.

I also think about my grandparents' generation. When they got married, it wasn't at all unusual for a woman to be married at the age of 18 to a man not much older. But, they understood it to be a life-long commitment. Divorce was rare and was frowned upon, which we all know isn't the case anymore. I know several people I went to high school with who are already on their second or third marriages, for example. How sad!

As a Catholic, I believe in the indissolubility of marriage. Unfortunately, this principle is little respected in practice today--even within the Church. This has resulted in countless marriages or supposed marriages which were never intended from the start to be permanent. Until this changes, I doubt the numbers will improve. Rather, the divorce rate will probably continue to rise.

That's just my two cents worth. I do want to say thanks, Dr. Copeland, for sharing your advice on this and other matters--important or unimportant. Of course, people won't always take heed, but at least the advice has been given and they can't say "nobody told me" later on when they screw up.


Philip L. Copeland said...


For me, life experience = wisdom. I don't like it when people SAY that they have wisdom; I have so much respect for the word "wisdom" that I do not presume to have it myself. However, I do have something to say to the issue at hand, so I said it.

As to an 18 year old mature enough for marriage, I've got to disagree with you, even though I would agree that some 18 year olds are more mature than some 30 year olds. Your point, however, is well taken.

Great post, Patrick. Welcome to the blog. And, may I say, you write well. Consider starting your own . . we would all enjoy the benefit of your thoughts!