What does "mature" mean to you?

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Scheherazade Posts : 107 Registered: 3/12/07
What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 8, 2008 11:55 PM

I've seen threads where girls were told, "You're not mature enough to get married right now", and such. What does being "mature" entail? Everyone has their opinions, of course. What does it mean to you?

- Living on your own, paying your own bills?

- Having a steady job, or higher education?

- Taking care of someone else who cannot do it themselves (say, your child)? Putting their needs first before your own?

- Dealing with a life-changing event?

- Sacrificing for a long-term goal?

- Knowing when to ask for help?

- Choosing your battles?

- Confronting someone when you have a problem?

- Being accepting of other cultures and lifestyles (having an open mind)?

- Admitting you were wrong?

- Knowing not to eat rotten turkey? (kidding!)

 

These are only examples, not necissarily anything I believe. Do you have others? What do you think? This has made me curious!

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 12:45 AM Go to message in response to: Scheherazade

I'll just use your list, and say whether I agree with them or not, because it's easier and I'm tired :P 

- Living on your own, paying your own bills? - No, I don't think this is a fair judgement of whether someone is "mature" or not.  It might be a good idea, yes, but everyone has a unique situation.  I, for example, suffer from depression.  I do not think it would be healthy to live by myself.  I had no friends in the area to live with, and my sister got married.  It made more sense to stay in the family home...plus I was finishing school and really couldn't afford my own place.

- Having a steady job, or higher education? Again, I wouldn't say so.  A good idea, yes, but not everyone can get a higher education, whether it's because of finances or, frankly, a lack of brain power.  I would say that at least ONE of you needs a steady, reliable job with some job securitiy so that you know you can "make it" once you are married, though.

- Taking care of someone else who cannot do it themselves (say, your child)? Putting their needs first before your own?  I would agree with the "putting their needs ahead of your own" part, even if it's only with the person you intend to marry.  Marriage can not be selfish

- Dealing with a life-changing event?  Marriage in itself is a life-changing event, so if you feel ready to deal with that - really feel ready - than that's enough

- Sacrificing for a long-term goal? I would say this is a good sign of maturity, yes

- Knowing when to ask for help? Yes!

- Choosing your battles? Yes!  I mean, none of us are always going to be perfect with that, but I think it's a really important thing to learn before you get married.  My inlaws, for example, drive me nuts, but they are also nice people so I don't jump down their throats about their faults because it's  not worth it

- Confronting someone when you have a problem?  Yes, you NEED to be able to do this before you get married!  Especially with your spouse!

- Being accepting of other cultures and lifestyles (having an open mind)?  Yup!!!

- Admitting you were wrong?   A lot of people are bad at this, but yes, I think a mature person will be able to admit when they are wrong - even if it takes awhile to admit it

- Knowing not to eat rotten turkey? (kidding!)  What?  If it's green you are not supposed to eat it?

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 10:40 AM Go to message in response to: Scheherazade

Dear Sch,

All of the above.

"Maturity" is a mix. The essential elements are that you are independent of your parents. If you are living with your parents, then you are paying them market rent for your living quarters, doing your fair share of the housework, and cheerfully abiding by the house rules.

If you are not living with your parents, then you are paying for your own food, clothing & shelter out of your own earnings.

Maturity is also being responsible with your reproductive life. If sexually active, you practice birth control until such point you actively choose to bring a child into the world, one you can support with your own earned income. If not sexually active, you are still educated on contraceptive options so if "it" happens, you are prepared.

Confronting someone when you have a problem: This also means knowing WHEN to confront someone when you have a problem. You decide if a confrontation is necessary or would be at all productive. Then, you pick your time and place. Sometimes it's best for that confrontation to be very private; other times you need a neutral witness present. Grown-ups know how to handle that.

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kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 11:00 AM Go to message in response to: Scheherazade

If you can not live independantly, pay your own bills and take care of your other responsibilities how are you mature? 

I don't think in the past higher education was required and even now people have well paying careers that didn't require a college degree. But I do think you need to have a steady, honest income.

I don't feel that you need to take care of another person unless of course it is you child then their needs should be met.  Just know this if you don't take care of your need you can not meet the needs of anyone else.  The only person you need to be able to take care of is yourself. 

Dealing with a life altering event, that unfortunately is something that way to many young people have to deal with.  The loss of parents or the deaths of siblings or friends to violence is something children especially in the cities are dealing with everyday.   I don't know if it makes them mature, it does make me sad.

The other things also are signs of maturity.  Especially knowing not to eat rotten turkey.,


Kenny and Me Perfect Together,  10 years and counting.

 

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kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 12:33 PM Go to message in response to: Scheherazade

Probably the biggest sign of maturity to me is someone who doesnt feel the need to go around ADVERTISING and bragging about how "mature" they are. "Oh Im only 19 but Im soooo much more mature for my age." "Everyone says Im really mature." Blah blah blah. To me, thats like saying "I would never hit a woman or a child." Umm okay. Who asked you? The fact that you automatically feel the need to get that out there and defend yourself and your own character; to me; says that you have had problems with that particular issue in the past. IF you are truly a mature individual, there is no need to point it out to anyone. You simply act that way and ARE a responsible adult.

Being mature is exactly that. ACTING in a mature and responsible way to life situations.

That being said, adolescents and those who are under the age of 18 (and in my opinion even age 20 or so) are not fully matured adults yet. They just arent. They are still growing and changing and evolving at that age. And yes some people in that age group act more maturely than others and thats great - but in the end,youre still 18years old and are still in the process of entering into adulthood.


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Message was edited by: kelleyiskelley

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Mushaboo Posts : 2,165 Registered: 3/22/08
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 12:41 PM Go to message in response to: Scheherazade

I agree with the previous PP on what being mature means.  You can also get "a feel" for the person based on their situation that they are bringing up on the boards. 

The one thing which comes up A LOT on here is slamming people for decisions based on age (Kelley just posted good thoughts on this too).  It's very easy to default to "age equals maturity".  Well, not all the time.  I was more mature in the womb than my brother at 20.  He was a late bloomer.  I feel if you can make a concrete decision based on intelligence instead of hormones then you're mature regardless of age.  I'm never thrilled when someone so young wants to get married, but I know ladies on here who have a level head. 

Most of the time when we are encouraging someone to wait (when age is involved) based on the long term effects on one's life.  IE- I want to get married at 18.  Well, be prepared then to pay for everything, no college grants, no free insurance, etc.  Also, be prepared that you might grow apart from your BF the older you get.  I can't imagine dating the people today that I dated at 18-20.  I am a completely different person.  Also, I wouldn't have dated FH at that age.  I just wanted a hot guy to be seen with then. 

 



Message was edited because Kelley was writing about age when I was so hooray for thinking the same thing at the same time.

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totobride Posts : 641 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 12:54 PM Go to message in response to: Scheherazade

I think the biggest definition of being mature is being able to admit when you are wrong - whether it's an opinion or something you did.  I got married at 20 years old (8 months ago) and even now, I can tell you I got married too young.  So much has changed since then.  Would I still be with my husband?  Absolutely.  Did we need to get married at the time?  No way.

There are also many of us who have experienced a lot more in life at a very young age.  I think that helps a lot with acheiving some maturity earlier than others.

Maturity means being able to adapt and grow with changes as you go on in life.


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Message was edited by: totobride

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 12:57 PM Go to message in response to: Mushaboo

"If you can not live independantly, pay your own bills and take care of your other responsibilities how are you mature?  "

Ulgh. I missed the part where she said "pay your own bills".  I just read "live independently".  I don't think that part is a fair judgement of whether someone is mature or not.  Some people, like I mention, live with others because of sickness; people make live with a parent because that parent is aging and needs extra attention.  But yes, paying your own bills is a good thing!

Of course, many of us had our weddings paid for...so does that make us less mature?

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kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 1:05 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Of course, many of us had our weddings paid for...so does that make us less mature?

I don't think the fact that your parents or someone else paid for all or part of your wedding makes you immature.  I do think expecting someone to do so, or getting upset because someone doesn't do what you think they should do with their money is a sign of immaturity.


Kenny and Me Perfect Together,  10 years and counting.

 

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Mushaboo Posts : 2,165 Registered: 3/22/08
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 1:24 PM Go to message in response to: kennysoldwife

I'll agree with Kennsoldwife here.  No, having your wedding paid for doesn't make you immature.  Being demanding, bratty, and downright selfish while expecting everything to be paid for and whining all the way to the chapel about "myyyy daaaaay" makes you immature.  It also makes you a bridezilla.  lol  Couldn't resist. 

If my parents were more well off than they are now, I have no doubt that they would pay for everything.  They are very gracious and giving people. 


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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 1:28 PM Go to message in response to: Scheherazade

All of the above - but none of the above answers ON THEIR OWN are enough to define someone as 'mature.' I'll comment one at a time.

- Living on your own, paying your own bills?

Ideally, a mature individual DOES need to do these things - but doing them does not MAKE you mature. Paying your own bills requires you to earn money and write checks. You can develop maturity by doing so, but the ability to do so does NOT make you mature.

Conversely, NOT paying your own bills does not make you immature. For example, a close friend of mine recently finished her MA. She's a responsible 27-year old woman, but just having finished school, she did not have a job. She chose to move in with her parents while looking for a job. Her parents paid her living expenses until she found a new job. Does that make her immature? I don't think so - in fact, I think moving home for a time was a very MATURE decision on her part. An immature person likely would have stubbornly tried to 'make it on her own,' even if that required maxing out her credit cards.

- Having a steady job, or higher education?

This is a question where (in my opinion) 'being mature,' 'being an adult,' and 'being ready for marriage' are NOT all the same. Yes, a mature adult who is ready for marriage needs to have a steady source of income - but having a steady job does not necessarily render someone 'mature' or 'ready for marriage.' 

You can be a mature adult while looking for a job, like the friend I described above. You can also be ready for marriage while looking for a job - the friend I mentioned got engaged while job-hunting, though as a mature individual, she knew that it would not be wise to start planning her wedding until she found a job.

Conversely, having a job or higher education does not necessarily make you mature. I'm not even going to get started on all the TOTALLY IMMATURE acquaintances of mine who have great jobs and college degrees. Another good friend of mine started grad school the same year I did. I finished my MA in two years, as scheduled, and moved on to PhD coursework and my dissertation. My friend has spent the last 3 years 'writing' her MA thesis. Note that 'writing' is in quotes because she doesn't do it. She talks about it and goes to the library every so often, yet she continues to pay for a credit each semester so she can 'finish.' If she was mature, she'd spend a couple weekends finishing her thesis rather than hanging out with her boyfriend. Her education means that she is educated - it has nothing to do with her maturity. 

- Taking care of someone else who cannot do it themselves (say, your child)? Putting their needs first before your own?

I think there are a lot of childless people in the world that would argue that having children isn't a requirement for being mature. I agree that taking care of a child can help you develop maturity, but taking care of a child certainly doesn't mean that you are mature. For example, DH and I went out for pizza a few nights ago. We sat at a table next to a group of young women (I'd guess between the ages of 16 and 22) who each had a kid or two. It appeared that the children's basic needs had been met, but the mothers were acting like spoiled children themselves. In this case, having a child did NOT make them mature.

- Dealing with a life-changing event?

How you deal with life-changing events CAN show maturity, yet 'not dealing well' with something does not necessarily mean that you're immature. If a woman's parents both die in a tragic accident and she develops a serious depression, does that make her immature? No, it makes her human.

- Sacrificing for a long-term goal?

I agree that sacrificing for a long-term goal can be a sign of maturity...however, (surprise!) it doesn't indicate maturity. The second friend I described 'sacrifices' every semester by paying $900 'to finish her thesis.' Does that make her mature? Nope - DOING IT would make her mature!

- Knowing when to ask for help?

That's an important thing to learn, but I think immature people can know when to ask for help as well as mature people can.

- Choosing your battles?

Yes, most mature people can pick their battles, but doing so does not render one mature.

- Confronting someone when you have a problem?

Absolutely not! TONS of immature people confront others when they have problems. Remember the bully on the playground?  

- Being accepting of other cultures and lifestyles (having an open mind)?

This is very important to me, personally, but I don't believe that it is a sign of maturity or immaturity. I think there are plenty of people out there whose beliefs are affected by the time and place in which they were raised and various other factors. I personally think that it is morally wrong to NOT be accepting of other cultures and lifestyles, but I don't believe that it has anything to do with a person's MATURITY. For example, my aunt is against gay marriage. Does that mean she is immature? No, it means she's against gay marriage. 

- Admitting you were wrong?

A good thing to know how to do, but again, doing so does not mean that one is mature.

- Knowing not to eat rotten turkey? (kidding!)

Yes. Absolutely. Ok, I'm kidding on that. I don't believe that recognizing rotten turkey has anything to do with one's maturity, but I honestly do not understand how a mature individual would GET THAT WAY without also learning to recognize bad turkey.

I've babbled, but I think I've made my point that maturity doesn't come down to items on a checklist. And things that generally come with maturity do not always mean - on their own - that a person is mature. Maturity (to me) is a combination of many factors.

I look at it this way: When I was younger and more immature, I wanted to be seen as mature. I felt like I had to prove to someone that I'm old enough. It bothered me when people thought I was my own age or younger. Now I don't care. If a new contact for work indicates that I seem young, I feel no need to tell them my position or how long I've been in my job. I know that as soon as I open my mouth, they're going to realize I'm not an intern, even if I DO look young. When I was younger, it was important to me that I paid my own bills, because that would mean that I'm mature. Now, I don't care who pays them, as long as they get paid. When I was younger, I didn't want to wait for what I wanted. I wanted immediate gratification. Now I can recognize when (and if) it might be better to wait for better rewards. That doesn't mean I don't ever do stuff just because I want to. It means that I can wait on the big things. 


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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 3:14 PM Go to message in response to: ArtBride

All of the elements above definitely contribute to maturity. But, the one that defines it for me is taking responsibility for your own actions, your own life, your own "fate." By "responsibility," I don't mean just earning income or paying bills or paying for your wedding. It's about acknowledgin that much of what happens to you as an adult is due to YOU, not your parents, your upbringing, fate, accident, etc. Sure, stuff happens--to ALL of us. But, when you stop blaming and start handing ling your own life issues, only then can you really be considered mature. I think Freud said something about being mature when you stop blaming your parents (don't quote me on that). That one works for me.

myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 3:47 PM Go to message in response to: myra

I think when it comes to maturity and marriage, the real indication is whether you can recognize the kind of commitment and investment you're about to make.  There are tons of skills that will be required, some are the ones that you listed. But most of all, is Are you old enough to wrap your head around the word "forever."  You will be sharing your life with this person until death.  I think younger people (and myself, when I was getting in to marriage #1 7 years ago) just don't understand that people change, circumstances change, everything changes, and you're going to roll with the punches.  You and the person you're marrying are going to be a team in everything you do.  

I know that people get divorced, and often. And I do agree that divorce is the only way to stay sane sometimes.  But I don't think someone who is immature can really understand the scope of marriage and what it takes to make one successful.   


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Knoxvegas Posts : 951 Registered: 9/12/07
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 3:53 PM Go to message in response to: Nalamienea

Great insight Nala!

I was not mature enough to get married when we first got engaged and I admit that I was a brat about it to my parents. They told me to wait and we did (for other reasons). Now, several years later, we're both in a better place and can't wait to say I do!

Maturity has nothing to do with age, but rather with a mindset. A PP said something about putting others first and I totally agree. Not being selfish has to be a prerequisite of marriage or the marriage just cannot work. 


 

"Love is not a matter of counting the years -- it's making the years count."

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MrsRicecake Posts : 700 Registered: 2/2/08
Re: What does "mature" mean to you?
Posted: Aug 9, 2008 4:58 PM Go to message in response to: Knoxvegas

I think that all the characteristics that the OP brought up are factors in maturatiy. But there are exceptions. People may live at home to save money or to get through college.

To me being mature enough to decide to get married is not just want the wedding,  its wanting a marriage to a person that you want to spend the rest of your life. Some people get married just to have the wedding and all the stuff that goes along with it. You need to be selfless enough to take care of your partner but that also means you need to be able to take care of yourself.


Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married! December 27, 2008!

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