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Childhood sweethearts key to marital bliss?

Contributing Columnist

Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Updated: Saturday, October 10, 2009 10:10

Can you imagine marrying your childhood friend? What about someone who went to high school with you?

People find many paths to the altar. For instance, my sister introduced me to my husband. Sometimes friends set each other up on blind dates.

I can’t tell anyone how to find a mate. However, from just observing some of my friends, I think a key ingredient to finding a mate is to marry someone you grew up with.

When you marry someone you know there’s a common background already in place. The more a couple has in common, the more likely they’ll get along with each other, want to do things together and want to stay together. People want to find their soul mates. They don’t want to marry the wrong person and start over.

In the United States, 3.8 out of 1,000 people got divorced in 2003. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia reported this rate. In 2003, 2.2 million people were married in the United States. According to the 2002 Marital Status by Sex and Age U.S. Census Bureau data, 52.5 percent of women 15 to 64 years of age were married and living with their spouse. Approximately 51.3 percent of men in this same category were also married and living with their spouse.

These figures tell us that both sexes are committed to getting married, “although women were slightly more likely than men to be married,” the bureau report stated.

If women are slightly more likely than men to be married, how are they going about it? An Atlanta Journal-Constitution article titled “Landing a mate after 35, focused and creative women get serious in quest to hook Mr. Right” stated that some women are taking up male hobbies such as bowling or car mechanics. Some read books like Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Catching a Man or How to Find a Husband After 35. Women are also reading are How Not to Stay Single After 40, Mr. Right, Right Now and If I Am So Wonderful, Why Am I Single?

However, “others are taking a more low-key approach, spending their free time at speed dating, wine tastings and other events catering to those over 35,” stated the AJC article. “ There are at least seven such singles groups in metro Atlanta.”

Author Leon R. Kass believes “today, there are no socially prescribed forms of conduct that help guide young men and women in the direction of matrimony … there are still exceptions, to be found, say, in closed religious communities or among new immigrants from parts of the world that still practice arranged marriage.”

Kass continued, “But, for the great majority, the way to the altar is unchartered territory: It’s every couple on its own bottom, without a compass, often without a goal. Those who reach the altar seem to have stumbled upon it by accident.”

I agree with that because I used to feel that way. However, some of my friends found love in childhood sweethearts. I believe this has contributed to marital success for them.

My friends, Michelle and Dexter, have been married for 19 years. They met in high school. She wouldn’t give him the time of day. Now they’re happily married. Rosa and Norris met and fell in love in elementary school. They just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Tasha and Carlos met in middle school. They’ve been married for almost a year.

Lastly, my other friend didn’t even notice her future husband in high school. Years later, he saw her walking down the street. She didn’t remember him, but he remembered her. They’ve also been married for almost a year. This is her second marriage, and she says the second time around is better.

What does all of this mean? Love can be found in unusual places, especially when you’re not looking. Stay in touch with old friends. Go to that high school reunion. And, never, never, overlook a possibility. You’re grown-ups now. A common background can make a strong marriage. Why not seek out that childhood friend?

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