Royal Wedding Inspires Cosmo Editor to Push off Marriage until 30

Royal Wedding Inspires Cosmo Editor to Push off Marriage until 30

One Cosmopolitan editor revealed this week why she wouldn’t say yes if her long-term boyfriend proposed today—and why she gives 2 thumbs up to “Waity Katie” Middleton who married at 29…

This is what she had to say:

(reprinted from Cosmopolitan Magazine)
By Zoe Ruderman

I have a confession to make: I look at wedding dresses online. A lot. I’m not in the market, but I just really enjoy virtually browsing through the gowns and imagining what I would look like in them. I’m guilty of doing the same with engagement rings, though only a handful of times. Again, not in the market. And I’d be lying if I said I’ve never put any thought into what song I want to use for my first dance. To anyone who doesn’t know me well (or has looked over my shoulder while I’m at work browsing Gilt Bridal), I probably seem like the kind of girl who’s dying to get married.

But actually, if Kris, my boyfriend of nearly four years, proposed tomorrow, I’d say no. Not because I don’t love him. I do. And not because I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with him. I can. And not because I’m morally opposed to marriage or anything. I’m not. I just happen to think 27, my current age, is too young to say I do.

Which is why I love that the most famous bride of the year—and probably the century—was almost 30 when she walked down the aisle…

I bet there was a lot Kate Middleton still wanted to do before becoming Mrs. Windsor. And I’m with her—I want to check off a few more things on my life to-do list before becoming a married woman. Travel, moving up in my career, adding a bit more to my savings account, finally learning how to cook a Thanksgiving meal…”

And this is what I think of all this…

What bothers me so much about Zoe Ruderman’s article is that it reflects such messed up priorities. Placing career and “self-fulfillment” in the center of one’s life rather than family and home.

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Women of my mother’s generation were feminists who often pursued higher education and demanding careers, but they still knew that family and home were VERY important. My mother, a psychiatrist, and my Mother-in-Law, with a doctorate in literature, were perfect examples of this phenomenon. They had and have a healthy balance in their lives between serious commitment to career and serious devotion to family.

But women of my generation and younger too often forget about the “commitment to family” part of this equation. They pursue career etc. and push marriage off for so long that when they finally become mothers (if they can still become mothers when they finally marry) many of them really struggle with the feeling that by caring for children and managing a home, they are wasting their potential.

What I think is beautiful about religious couples marrying young is that by doing so they are placing family at the center of their lives. They know that there’s nothing a person can do that is more important than marrying and having children.

That doesn’t mean necessarily that these young couple don’t also value education and career, but it does mean they understand that one of the greatest contributions they can make to the world is raising a strong and Jewishly committed family.

So that’s my 2 cents. What do you JewishMOMs think of Zoe Ruderman’s decision to wait until 30 to marry? When do you think is the ideal age to marry? I look forward to reading your comments….

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24 comments

  1. Goyim or those without strong Torah values cannot and should not marry young because …

    a) they still need to figure out where their lives are going and what life is about – they don’t “grow up” til 30 or later – whereas frum kids know where their lives are going and what life’s about by their teens and are passionate about it and committed to living that life

    b) there is no good system in place for finding the right one, so they are following their hearts (hormones) and not their heads. a shidduch system allows for those who are using their heads (ideally, parents) to find the shidduch and then the young couple, dating, can consult their hearts.

    c) as frum Jews we know that nothing is more important than our life’s work of raising a new generation of good Jews. why would we push that aside til 30 so that we can … what… what was that list again of things to do instead of getting married? oh, saving money… moving ahead in our “career” (I’m gagging)… all this makes sense for goyim but not for Yidden!

  2. Anonymous

    Rishe,

    Do you really believe that most “frum kids know where their lives are going and what life’s about by their teens”? (unlike non-Jews and people without strong Torah values, of course).

    Seems rather unlikely to me.

    • asifiwould

      I cant help but think they “know where their lives are going and what life’s about by their teens” because their life options are so narrow, that they women know they are going to become stay at home moms and/or some female friendly occupation like speech pathology and men will study/become businessmen/IT specialists/banker lawyer types.

      • Hmm… I would be inclined to say that the options you laid out represent a rather narrow perspective of frum life. I beg to differ.

  3. Sharona

    Rishe said it all.

  4. With the proper support from the families, I think the younger the better. 18-20 for a girl, 19-23 for a boy. When the families help the couple transition into adults, parents, and married, the whole thing can work. When the parents of either couple is not 100% behind the couple – it won’t work.

    There’s an awful lot of growing up people have to do. Having a spouse and family to anchor oneself is tremendously beneficial.

  5. Dear Anonymous,
    First I extend my sympathy to you that you cannot sign your name, for whatever reason.
    Second – yes I believe it – and it’s not a “belief” it’s a tangible reality, what I see in front of me B”H B”H B”H
    this is not to imply that there are no mixed up kids, on drugs, going off the derech, etc
    there are
    but the vast majority are living their lives as their parents raised them to do
    B”H B”H
    and they know what their purpose in life is – and to push it off til they’re 30 is not helpful or productive, in fact just the opposite, it’s a recipe for disaster chas v’sholom

  6. Yehudit

    I’m not entirely comfortable with using this womans, sorry to say it, goyishe drivel, to instigate what would otherwise be an interesting discussion. I for one as a Jewish Mom prefer not to support these absolutely disgusting publications with one single extra click, which i did without thinking, and thoroughly regret it: and on Pesach Sheni too!!!!
    The immodesty disclaimer should be a sign that it’s not appropriate for ANY Jewish Mom !!!

    • JewishMom

      hi yehudit, I do hear what you are saying. The truth is that my friend sent me this awful article, and said it was begging for a JewishMOM reaction. But I didn’t know what to write, and I knew that you moms would, so I posted it.

      • yehudit

        I understand your intentions fully: it SO goes against our grain, it DOES beg for a Jewish Mom reaction. I think you also opened up an interesting debate.

        It was a sensitive point for me, I guess. I know that in my sordid past, it was a habit of mine to surf all these sites and read the mags, and so for me to see it “kashered” here made me think it was ok to take a peek, but really, it wasn’t. For me anyway. But I DO love this blog, and I will continue to read it, of course, and thank you for being a shaliach to show me my weaknesses are still there and what to look out for…. I guess that’s the bottom line!

  7. myra werrin sacks

    dear jenny
    i am so grateful i married the “right person” aproximated 34 years ago. i am quite sure this would have been impossible had i been a child when we married. the idea of a person in their teens marrying is very disturbing in my world. i was encouraged by my parents to mature and absorb an education.

    while this may be insignificant in some groups it ignores the economic realities and limits the professional options for women. often events unforseen at 18-20 occur and a women should have a way to support herself and her children.

    while i enjoy your blog a great deal, i realize that it often derides and harshly judges people who are not frum. so be it…

  8. Anonymous

    Wow, Rishe- what a response.

    1) Please respect my privacy and right to remain anonymous, and don’t insult it by offering your sympathy.
    2) I did not say whether I agree with the author or not- I simply said that I don’t think most 19,20 year olds know where their lives are going or what life’s about. Nor do I think that non-Jews and people without strong Torah values are necessarily “lost” until they are 30.
    3) I don’t think not knowing what life is about or not knowing where you are going means that you are on drugs or off the derech. It just means exactly as read- you don’t know what life is about or where you fit into the world.
    4)I think different strokes for different folks. Some people need the time to “discover” themselves and ripen ALONE and some people are able to do it along with a spouse.
    5)I also think a lot of people, especially young women, get married younger because if they are afraid that if they do wait, they will “miss the boat” because guys want to marry younger brides.
    4)I am curious what you think about baalei teshuva who have adopted a life of Torah values and are then pressured to get married very quickly and end up divorcing soon after?

  9. yehudit

    OK, Chana Jenny, firstly I apologise for being critical online, it would have been far more appropriate to express my unflattering sentiments in a personal email than in public forum.

    I guess what I really wanted to say was, like our mother’s all say to us at one stage of our lives: “Honey, you look so gorgeous without all that STUFF on your face! You are beautiful just the way you are…”

    Your words, insights, stories and thoughts are far more meaningful than anything from the superficial world out there. This blog looks great just the way it is, au naturel. The way you instinctively draw spiritual insight from secular topics is just one of the things that makes this blog unique: no blush necessary… pun intended 🙂

  10. Yehudit

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful edit of the post, and so much more: this way we got to hear your perspective, too: which is why so many of us log in…
    I must say I find this so ironic: if one wants to have it all, do it all, see it all and be it all before marriage and children, then what are they saying about marriage, exactly?! Run, Kris, Run for the rest of your life!!!

  11. Hi everybody,hi jenny!
    i agree completely with yehudit and Rische, this stuff is a reflect of the spiritual garbage (as Rabbi Lazer Brody puts it!)of one can find in the media; it’s a perfect illustration of the yetser ara: since I read this stuff I have been thinking: “yes I married very young, with my wonderful Ben-zoug, yes i was right to have many children, and to set priorities such as family and education over money and career….yet….a little yester ara voice repeats in my head that those women marrying late, working a lot, earning much money are having fun and are not exhausted as I am, sleeping little, cooking big shabbots meals, working part time to pay for the bills etc……..please help me get this strong yetser hara voice from my nechama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jenny you are great, thank you!
    a French fan who dreams of linving in Nachlaot!!

  12. Yehudit

    Oh I MUST make another comment, at the risk of becoming a blog hog ( did I make that up? )
    This is for you, ann: a girl who marries young and has 3 kids by the age of 27, the age of our “esteemed” editor, has light years more real life experience than those who imagine they are acquiring it…. What did they do? Learn, work, earn, travel? Do they know how to take care of another human being, can the responsibility for an editing department possibly compare to the responsibility for another human life? Do they think they know what it is to work full time???? Running and raising a family is the true full-time work: it is a lifetime masterpiece. How can bringing out an issue of a magazine compare to bringing up a child, how can building a career be compared to building character? And I’m not judging another. I’ve been in those shoes. I’ve learned, worked, earned and travelled: and even run a department: and marriage and motherhood definitely eclipse all else for personal growth. Done.

    • thankk you yehudit, your words are Emet! but today, even in some religious families and schools, true valors have moved from family and raising children to having a career AND at the same time raise jewish family; I know very orthodox women who work full time as doctors or lawyers and let their babies(age 3 weeks) with foreign nannies! and they have a Kissouy roch and every thing!!so rabbies should talk about priorities and carreer, in this perspective!
      thank you and shabbat shalom

      • Is it really so bad for a woman to work as a full time doctor after having children? Not all of us are blessed to have nearby support from our parents and in laws to help us after having children. Having a nanny to help out when ima and abba have to work/study, while not ideal, is a reality if some of us plan to have children. Why no talk of abbas taking a childcare role too? Is this equally bad to this forum as having a nanny?

        • yehudit

          the way i see it, the issue here is not wether or not one should study or work, or wether one should even get married early or not: those are very personal issues, as everyone here has mentioned. the issue is wether or not those who deliberately put off marriage and motherhood to attain a certain level of perceived accomplishment are indeed accomplishing anything? I believe that it’s dimyonot, social pressure vis a vis our imagination, and that anyone who is lucky enough (or brave enough!) to throw themselves into marriage and motherhood comes to understand that is really where true accomplishment and life experience is to be found: as Chana Jenny’s beautiful pep talk about their world famous professor cousin so touchingly illustrated…..

        • i am talking about women marrying to wealthy men, very religious and very materialistic at the sametime, not women who are obliged to work of course!

  13. as a Back on the Derech girl who ran the whole nine yards prior to marrying and having consecutive children in complete dvakus, I can tell you that even after getting the degrees I wanted by skipping 2 grades- in college at the age of 15 to finish High School early –I was always multitasking -at the age of 20 I had 3 jobs (running a nightclub twice a week, waitressing 2 nights a week and working for an Ad Agency on the Coca Cola account, while taking 2 classes a week in the morning to finish a bA in cmmunications and MArketing. All the while focussing on climbing the ladder in the ad agency and nailing me a good job so that i could marry young and be a young grandmother like my mm, aunts cousins were…it was just a matter of finding a husband with my crazy schedule!! Well, once I got back on the derech and left the jobs that became inappropriate and then out of the ad agency that left me empty overworked and exhausted..I had time to really ask myself what I wanted…the good thing about this time alone is true introspection- I came to Israel and knew I wanted to live there- while back in the US I met my Israeli husband and we both were at the beginning of our tshuva and slowly climbed our way together. I know for a fact- because I was in bais yaacov for girls- girls raised frum, we were all confused about what we wanted- sure we all were raised knowing our role is very important but with the way life is today in the frum world its very confusing- woman are more pressured to getting better jobs and need to suddenly worry about how theyll support a family and husband who learns- these changes have affected the marrying age of most girls who I personally know are ready for marraige and would be the best loving mothers and wives, but are so distracted with what courses they need to finish and what job they can get to be able to 1 get a good shidduch and 2 support a family- look today I look back and I know for a fact that no matter how much I multitasked jobs college career etc, running a house and caring for children plus husband IS The most challenging career that challenges not only your time management capabilities or physical strength, it takes you inside out through every emotional tunnel you have and the reward in a day gone smoothly thru a routine with the kids, family, husband, laundry and phone calls that you made in time is beyond any promotion at work. Hashem has different plans for different people. Some people need to feel that they’ve seen a bit of the outside world before they can create their own, it doesnt mean its more important it just lets them kill the regret for it later. I know now how empty the world of of nightclubs and corporations are -with all the glitter and glow its so so empty and had Hashem not put me there to see maybe getting married young and feeling like I didnt use the potential or time I had early on to discover etc, wouldve led me to want out or to regret, resent etc etc etc.

  14. Yehudis, you inspired me – if you can apologize to Chana Jenny I can apologize to Anonymous. I am sorry for my condescending words claiming that I have sympathy for your need to write anonymously. I should have respected it.

  15. Elana Greenspan

    I’m just reading Dr. Laura’s “Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” and I highly recommend it for everybody! It’s a slam dunk as far as reminding us about our true priorities vis a vis this whole topic.

  16. Anonymous

    Thanks Rishe.

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