Several weeks ago one of my students told me that a friend of hers, who is also Japanese and 31 years old, married an American while residing in Texas on what I'd guess is a student visa of some sort. This is certainly not peculiar on the face of things. The odd thing is that the man she married is 24 and still a student, and her friend only works part-time. That means she married a person with no income and she herself has a limited income as a teacher of some sort of musical instrument.
My student did not approve of this arrangement and felt that her friend, well, actually one of her acquaintances from high school, had acted imprudently. I'm sorry to say that I'm just as guilty of judging the people in this situation without knowing much about them. I judge them by their age discrepancy and employment status (or lack thereof). I reach conclusions about her motives based on the circumstances and his intelligence and sophistication based on the fact that he's from Texas and married while still in school.
This post isn't about whether or not my conclusions are reasonable or justifiable, but rather about the fact that I shouldn't be judging them at all. While the circumstances are peculiar and appear ill-advised, I don't know either of these people except a few bare bones facts. Beyond that, their life choices aren't there for me to weigh in on and I'd hate it if someone had done the same thing to me when I chose my partner. Okay, the truth is that other people did do the same thing to me when I chose my partner.
In fact, it's been so long since the CH and I first fell for each other and our relationship so wildly successful that I rarely reflect back on all the warnings and fear for my future that were sent my way back when I fell head over heels for a guy I'd never even met face-to-face or talking to in real time. For those who weren't following my old blog and don't know this tale, the CH and I were penpals who exchanged cassette tapes and talked to each other back in the days before VOIP, instant messaging, or even e-mail. Friends to whom I revealed the situation felt I was making a huge and glaringly obvious mistake, particularly when I went off to Japan to spend a month with this person whose eyes I'd never looked into but to whose voice I'd spent countless hours listening.
Given the surface facts, I'm sure my friends reached what they felt were justifiable conclusions, but they were wrong. They didn't know him at all and perhaps they didn't know me well enough. They certainly didn't know what it was like when we interacted. So, I'm going to wag a finger at myself for judging this couple who I've never met based on a few facts and try to remember that the same was once done to me and everyone's expectations of the worst were wrong then and I'm probably wrong about this couple now.