Indeed, being the provider is still first and foremost in the minds of many American men, and that could be a definite reason as to why men today are marrying at a later age than ever before. When I asked all the single guys I interviewed if they would ever propose to a girl at a time when they weren't financially stable, their answer was a resounding "No." They all recognized that marriage can be difficult, and that adding financial stress to the equation probably wasn't the best idea. 75% Of Women Would Not Marry Someone Who Was Unemployed
Rather than being flippant about their roles as husbands and fathers, many felt that waiting to begin either of those life stages was an integral part of taking them seriously.
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"I'm going to be a dad for the first time in December," says Ryan, age 33, "and I've waited a long time to say that." Ryan is a professional musician. He plays the standing bass in various jazz trios throughout Southern California, and has been with his wife for 11 years. "We dated six years, were engaged for one, and have been married for four. I didn't want to rush into anything because I know too many musicians who have screwed up their families on account of their careers."
Ryan spent an entire year mentally preparing for fatherhood, and coming to the point where he could confidently put his children first. He talks about his love of music and how he was originally inspired to pursue it after taking a college course on Duke Ellington. Yet, he also admits, "If I have to hang it all up as a musician because my kid is starving, or my wife is about to leave me, then I will. I'll hang it up."
Bryant is 21, a father, and quick to put his family first; yet, unlike Ryan, he did not spend years preparing for fatherhood and marriage. Bryant met his wife when he was 17 years old and then married her two years later when she became pregnant. "We knew we loved each other anyway," he says, "so we got married two weeks before the baby was due because we wanted to start things out right."
Bryant's son is 15 months old and he loves spending as much time with him as possible. "I'm young, so I have lots of energy," he says. "I'm always jumping with him, playing hide and seek, reading to him, and teaching him Spanish." Although he wasn't planning to be a husband and father at such a young age, Bryant says he wouldn't change it for anything.
Chris resolutely agrees. Chris is 34 years old and has an 8-year-old daughter. He and his wife took the opposite approach of Bryant, and waited until their daughter was four years old before finally tying the knot. "We loved each other, but never really thought about marriage. It just wasn't important to us," he says.
Even Chris, who has acted maturely and is quite content with his life, has not technically surpassed all the Milestones of Adulthood. He hasn't finished college and is in the process of taking classes towards becoming a Systems Administrator for a large company.
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Perhaps our definition of adulthood needs a bit of reassessing. Being A Single Parent Has Made Me A Better (Future) Husband