We have a few upcoming weddings, which have gotten me thinking about how our marriage started off. Everyone thought that we should wait to get married, we were too young, we didn't have any money, etc. Well, we got married anyway! People also seemed to think we should wait to have children, since we were so young (I was 20, dh was 22 when we married) and dh's job paid next to nothing. We didn't listen to that advice, either. It took us 11 months to conceive our son. He is now 8, and an only child, although we have only ever used NFP to increase our chances of conception. My fertility has gone rapidly downhill and so far, no one knows why. I shudder to think what our life would be if we had listened to all the well-meant advice. What if we had not been married and started trying for a baby until 1 or 2 years later? I am quite convinced we would be childless. Our beautiful son would not exist.
What advice does our culture give young couples these days? I think it is much the same advice we were given: Wait, you don't need kids yet! You have all the time in the world. Go finish that degree first, get your dream job, buy that house... and on and on. Anytime I see young couples, recently married or preparing for marriage, I want to scream the opposite: Don't wait! Don't listen to the culture! Don't hesitate to pursue the real goods of marriage: children!
Now, I know that there may be some couples who legitimately should postpone having children, and only they can discern this through prayer. However, I think the number of couples who do wait is probably far greater than the number of couples who should wait, thanks to the influence of our culture, which puts things before children. I also know that not everyone has fertility problems like mine, and thank God for that! Nevertheless, fertility problems are becoming more and more prevalent, and postponing starting a family is a big part of the reason. I hate to think that there are couples out there who will never have children because they thought they could just wait and have them later, or even couples who will not have as many children as they would like because they started too late.
My prayer for all couples embarking on married life is that they will be able to silence the voice of the culture in their ears and focus only on the voice of God when making these life-changing decisions.