Mary and Valerie are writing about marriage, and asked everyone else to voice an opinion. Okay.
Mary, I had the same experience when I moved too - my friends in Nashville mostly were not married. Some were dating, some weren't, and some who were married are now divorced. My closest friends were all single. It was great for me, at the time, because I was kind of living single too, with Brian traveling as much as he was.
When I first moved there, I thought a lot about why we got married when we did. I decided that if I had any regret, it's that we didn't get married sooner. I'm so glad Brian and I have had this much time together - we grew up together, more or less, and I'm really glad for those memories. I'm glad we got to travel and sleep in and do all of the things that college kids do, together. Especially now that I'm pregnant - as excited as I am to be having a baby, I'm just as glad that Brian and I have had six years together before s/he gets here.
I can also say that, in large part, I feel extremely lucky to have married so well. As good as it has been, it could have been that measure of misery, too. And I know without a doubt that it only by God's grace that I was spared that. I certainly, at 19, did not make logical decisions about falling in love.
So I guess that's all I have to say. As a societal expectation, I don't know. But in my own life, I have no regrets.