I was participating in a discussion about Breaking Dawn. Stephenie Meyer was coming under attack because of Bella's teen pregnancy. During the discussion, I pointed out how very well perpared Edward was for marriage and fatherhood. I was asked what Bella had done to prepare. I wrote this article, but when I went to post it, the discussion was gone. So I decided to add it to my Blog.
Bella was prepared for the traditional roles of wife and mother. Bella had found a man to be her husband that she was certain would keep his wedding vows to her and to whom she was certain that she would be able to keep her wedding vows. Bella obtained the blessing of her parents. Bella made every preparation possible to become a good vampire. Bella had examined her options from all sides and was certain that was the right choice for her.
Bella was very well prepared both from a skill and temperament standpoint to take on the roles of a traditional wife and mother. Before she married Edward, Bella has been running Charlie’s house for about nineteen months. She had been working at Newtons Outfitters for a year. She graduated high school. These things demonstrate that she has the skills and temperament necessary to be a successful traditional wife and mother.
Bella began running Charlie’s household very shortly after she arrived. Not only did she take care of the cooking and cleaning but also the shopping given the amount that Charlie had budgeted for that purpose. It appears from comments made in Twilight that she handled these same functions for Rene as well. From all indication she not only handled these tasks, but handled them well. Since one of Bella’s love languages is acts of service, these things were not drudgery to her but acts of love. She did not take on these roles because Charlie ordered her, or because she felt like it was her job being the woman of the house. Partly she did it in self defense, but mostly she did it because it was something that she knew how to do, and it was a way for her to show Charlie that she loved him. Now I know that these individual skills won’t be of much value as a vampire’s wife; however, the discipline that she demonstrated shows her level of maturity and preparedness.
Bella worked at Newtons for about a year. By working for the Newtons, Bella has obtained real world experience. By all indications she did that job well and would be welcome back or receive a good reference. With only one or two notable exceptions, Bella always reported to work on time and performed her tasks acceptably. The only complaint that the Newtons had about Bella was when she chose to terminate her employment, but even in that she provided more than the customary notice. Now I know that Bella would never be able to support a family on the salary that she was able to make working retail; however, her ability to balance a job, school, and a boy friend demonstrates her commitment and maturity.
Bella graduated High School. Now I know that in today’s world that doesn’t seem like the major milestone that it was fifty years ago; however, when most people think of teen mothers, they are not thinking of women who had sex for the very first time after they had received their diploma. Also Bella didn’t just barely graduate. She may not have been valedictorian, but she was not at the bottom of her class either. We know that she was taking advanced placement Biology in her junior year. We know she was taking calculus in her senior year. These are some of the highest level courses that high schools offer.
The fact that Bella was able to manage Charlie’s household, work part time and go to school shows her ability to juggle competing priorities and do it well because she was very successful in all three endeavors. Although by themselves these skills and abilities may not be of direct benefit to the wife of a vampire and the mother of dhampirese, juggling competing priorities is something that every mother needs to do.
The traditional wedding vows read as follows:
Wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?
Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?
Finding someone with whom you truly want to spend the rest on your life with as husband and wife is probably the most important thing that one can do to prepare to have children. In Edward, she found a man that she honestly could believe would make and keep these vows not just for a human life time but as long as they both shall live. She knew that she could trust him to stand beside her through thick and thin because it would physically painful for him to be away from her. Edward had repeatedly demonstrated that her health and her happiness was more important to him that his own happiness. She could truly believe that he would put her first in all things. Likewise she knew that she would have no trouble keeping her vows. His life was more important to her than her own, his happiness was more important to her than her own. Not only were Edward’s words consistent with this sentiment, but he actions for the 19 months that she knew him before they were married were consistent with this sentiment.
Marriage is supposed to mean something. Those vows repeated before the witness of the church and before friends and family are not suppose to be an empty ceremony but are suppose be a binding covenant made in love that each member of the union may count upon. I am sorry to have to confess that over half the couples who get married will not honor their vows. It has been rightly pointed out that young ladies should be very wary because many a handsome prince has turned out to be nothing but a horny toad. These horny toads will just hop away when they discover you are expecting a child. There was ample evidence even before that they got married that Edward would never desert her and any child that he fathered, and his actions after the wedding substantiate that faith. When Bella faced certain death at the hand of the Volturi, Edward never once faltered at her side. The question is did Bella just get very lucky, or was their evidence that when she chose to marry Edward he had already demonstrated his faithfulness. I believe that there was abundant evidence of Edward’s faithfulness before Bella agreed to marry him or even considered making love to him.
Choosing a faithful spouse, who will keep the wedding vows, is more important, in my opinion, than choosing a financially secure spouse. Royce King was financially secure, but he was a scoundrel, and Rosalie would never have been happy married to him. Vera’s husband was a humble carpenter, a laboring man who have to work very hard, but could provide a living for his family. However, Vera’s husband loved her and their son very much. Vera’s husband’s kisses were so sweet that Rose couldn’t help but notice. It even made her jealous. Not of Vera’s husband, but their relationship. Their love and commitment to each other was obvious to even someone as shallow as Rosalie. Of course Edward is both financially secure and totally devoted.
Bella and Edward had the full blessing of Charlie, Rene, Carlise, and Esmee. Intelligent young people understand that they are lacking wisdom in many areas and seek the advice of older and wiser mentors that have a vested interest in their happiness. Parents are the most logical choice. This is very important for several reasons. No one has a more vested interested in your happiness you’re your parents. Distance also gives them perspective that couples deeply involved in a relationship seldom have. Almost more importantly usually when parents give their blessing they are also willing to give their support. This could mean helping the young couple find a good job, or a place to live, or baby sitting from time to time. Charlie and Rene were concerned that Bella was young, but they had no doubts about her maturity or of Edward. Carlise and Esmee were certain of their son and already loved Bella like a daughter. All four parents were confident that Edward and Bella would be able to keep their vows, were willing to lend the young couple their full support.
In Bella’s case we need to consider for what kind of life Bella was preparing. A college degree would not assist Bella in her goal to be a good vampire. Unlike most normal people Bella would not need to be in a hurry to prepare for a career. It was much more important that she gain control of her thirst, once her thirst was under control, she would have all of the time in the world to pursue college and a career. For Bella emotional education and self control were the skills that would benefit her most. When Edward left, Bella experienced seven months of intense emotional control training. Her life having fallen completely apart, see my blog entry entitled, “I have not yet begun to over dramatize,” she had to put herself back together and survive for Charlie and Rene. Even though her heart was missing, she got up each morning and took care of her responsibilities. She learned how to control her thoughts to keep from dwelling on those things that hurt too much. I am not saying that she couldn’t have handled the situation better. I am saying that this provided some of the best possible training for being a Vampire. Bella learned how to deal with pain. Her frequent accidents taught her many lessons about suffering in silence and working through pain. This was excellent preparation for both the conversion process and dealing with the painful thirst. In Eclipse, Jacob exercised her ability to control her temper. So Bella may have lacked a college degree, but she had a doctorate in self control which is the one thing that would benefit her most in her new life as a vampire.
Although Bella would have been happy to leap into a new life as vampire with Edward at the end of Twilight, fate and Stephenie Meyer would not allow this. Bella was required to thoroughly examine the choice that she was making from every angle. She got a first hand look at a new born vampire to see what it really would be like. She was presented with an alternate future with Jacob that would have been enviable by anyone’s standards. She was confronted with everything that she was giving up to be with Edward, and she made an informed decision. It was necessary for Bella to think and rethink her choices several times; however, she always came back to the same choice. Bella’s decision to marry Edward was in no way rash, but very well considered.
In conclusion, people are very different. They each mature at a different rate. They each have different backgrounds and experiences. There is no one age that is “old enough” to get married. Some people are ready for marriage and children in their late teens. Vera seems to be an example of one such person. Some people are not ready for marriage until their late thirties. Rene seems to be an example of one such person. An 18 year old who has proven that she has the skills maturity to successfully run a household, has a plan to provide financially for the new family, is legitimately certain that her fiancé will able to keep his marriage vows and that she will keep hers as well, has her parents blessing, is in control of her emotions, and has really considered all of her options is much better prepared for marriage than a 25 year old or a 30 year old that has not done these things. Age in and of itself isn’t that important. One would assume that a 25 or 30 year old would have obtained enough wisdom to be more likely to do these things than your average 18 year old, but alas it is not always the case.