It sounds like the ultimate in romantic fairy-tales. You’re youthful, you’re passionately in love so you get married. But is getting married young such a good idea?
Actually, research suggests that these days women are marrying their partners later on in life. In fact, the average age of a woman’s first marriage is 27 and the man is 29.
Marriage was radically different from our parents and grandparents. In reality, girls got married in their 20s in the 1950s and 60s. You could argue that nowadays women are more independent, both financially and emotionally.
They may have careers and not want to start a family when they are younger. So they intentionally wait for marriage until they are older.
But there are always some people that buck the current trends. Perhaps you’ve always pictured being a young married couple, walking up the aisle with the man of your dreams. Or maybe you’ve hoped to find the right partner earlier on in life so that you’ll always be together.
You could also argue that when you’ve found the right person for marriage why should you wait? On the other hand, marrying young means that you haven’t had the chance to fully experience life yet.
As with all the choices and decisions we make, there are pros and cons of marrying young. So, if you are a younger person and you’re thinking about getting married, perhaps you are reading this because you’d like some advice.
Or maybe you got married in your youth and you are starting to think that it was the wrong thing to do. Then again, you could have married as high school sweethearts and you are still going strong today.
Whatever the reason for landing on this article, I want to share why there are advantages and disadvantages to marrying when you are younger.
When you know you know right? So why bother waiting until you’re older for marriage? If you know that you’ve found your soulmate then you’re going to want to make a commitment to that person. Why let them slip away?
As Wesley says to Buttercup in the film the Princess Bride: “This is true love – you think this happens every day?” As a single woman of some years, I have to say that I am quite envious of couples who met and married at a young age.
Then again, you could say that I’m just glad I didn’t marry any of my teenage heartthrobs. My tastes in men have changed so drastically that there’s no way I’d be attracted to them now.
Of course, the other reason for not marrying young is that how do you really know this person when you yourself are immature and inexperienced? When we are older we can be a little wiser about people we meet. We might be more cynical than our youthful selves, which is not a bad thing.
Isn’t it a wonderful thing to hear someone say that they want to spend the rest of their life with you? To have such a commitment at such an early age must feel overwhelming.
It makes you feel secure in the knowledge that there will always be someone there for you. Someone in your corner to help you through life. You’ll never have to face life on your own again.
Are you the same person you were in your teens? I know our identities fundamentally stay the same, but our likes, tastes, and preferences can change over the years. And that includes who we married.
You might find that as you have experienced more of life what appeals and attracts you have changed. Your interests are different now. You don’t like the same things you used to like.
Isn’t it a relief to know that now you’ve bagged your partner you never have to go out into the dating scene ever again? You can say goodbye to awkward first dates. You never have to struggle with small talk.
You don’t have to put up with rejecting unwanted advances. All of that is over. You can relax, put your feet up, and enjoy the rest of your life. For many people, this is a huge advantage.
Then again, when we are younger we tend to sow a lot of our wild oats before we settle down with the right person. We use these experiences of different relationships to make a decision on choosing the right kind of partner.
Not having these experiences means that we have no framework or background from which to measure our current relationship. How do you know that this guy is the right one for you?
Being married means that there’s always someone there to help with problems. It’s kind of like you and your partner against the world. You are a team, working together towards a common goal.
It feels good to have that constant support when you are younger. It can give you more confidence as a person. For example, my sister married when she was 18 and her husband encouraged her to study while he worked. She qualified as a doctor thanks to his support.
Have you ever seen those couples in restaurants or bars that are sat together but never say a word to each other? Marrying young means that life can get boring. You hear the same old things day in day out.
In the end, you simply run out of things to say. Marriage is hard work at the best of times. But marriage at an earlier age could put additional pressure on you.
If having children is a priority then it makes sense if you got married when you were in your youth. Despite the fact that men can go on to father children well into their 80s, it is far better for women to have children when they are younger. A woman’s body can only produce so many eggs and she is at her most fertile under the age of 30.
But to give you some statistics; if a couple is both under the age of 25 it will take them, on average, 5 months to get pregnant with a 20% chance of being successful. However, by the age of 40, the chances of a woman becoming pregnant drop to 5% each month.
You could marry when you are in your youth, stay with your partner for 10 or 15 years and then divorce that person. If you haven’t had children with this person you may have already left it too late. Having kids at an early age puts added restrictions on you, both financially and physically. Or you could regret not having kids.
Of course, it’s not all about having kids. Most of us look back at our late teens and early twenties with fond memories. We were immature, reckless, fearless, and adventurous. We had no ties or strings dragging us down. We just did what we wanted, when we wanted to.
After the wedding cake has been eaten and the honeymoon period passes, a couple settles down into a routine of their own making. Experiencing life together can deepen love over time. Getting through the joys and successes as well as any hardships can only strengthen some relationships.
Your bond of love is cemented by all the events you share with one another. You both share the same life goals. Your partner becomes your best friend in the whole world. You feel more in love with your partner now than the day you got married.
On the other hand, you could find that your attraction fades over time. What initially attracted you now irritates the hell out of you. Those cute little habits that you once found endearing are now immature and embarrassing.
Or you could simply lose the passion you once felt for your partner. You could start seeing them as more of a best friend than a husband or wife. You might settle into a routine where sex is off the menu. It’s possible that you regard your marriage as convenient, or more of a habit these days.
When you’re married as teenagers you are starting from scratch. There are no children from a previous relationship to worry about. There are also no jealous ex-girlfriends or boyfriends to be concerned about.
But it’s not just about kids or exes. Those who get married young have no expectations based on previous relationships. They are not bringing the past with them to this present union.
When we are teenagers it’s easy to fall quickly and deeply in love with the first person that comes along. But in doing so we could miss the potential signs that this person is not suitable for us.
For example, I moved in with a guy that I had only met and started dating after a few months. He was kind, considerate, and caring before we lived together. It soon became apparent that he was controlling, manipulative, and jealous. However, you could never have known this from his previous behavior.
Even if you do happen to make a mistake and marry the wrong guy when you are younger, you still have plenty of time to move on and try again. Time even seems to move slowly when you are in your teens or early twenties.
There’s also an interesting statistic that shows that marriage at the age of 20 is less likely to end in divorce. But even if it does in your case, you can still marry again.
Some people are just too immature to commit to a lifelong marriage when they’re younger. Younger people can be prone to silly arguments and tantrums. Older folk might be more willing to compromise.
Add into the mix children and financial stresses and you can easily see why some younger couples seek separations. They are too immature to handle the additional pressures that a young marriage can force on them.
If you are asking this question perhaps you feel inside that it is too early for you personally. However, everyone is an individual and what might seem inappropriate to some may not be an issue with others. It is your choice how old you want to be when you get married.
By law, you have to be 18 or over to get married unless there are exceptional circumstances. There are many that would agree, however, that 18 is quite early to get married. People are only just forming their identities when they are adolescents and juveniles.
For some people, 22 would be considered far too soon to get married. But for others, it would be a perfect age. So it’s really up to the individual when and at what age they want to tie the knot. You shouldn’t be pressured either way. It’s your decision.
Personally I would say that yes, 18 is way too early to think about getting married. Remember, we are still establishing our identities and our character when we are in our teens. We will change a lot over the coming decades. What we once found attractive at 18 might not attract us when we are 30.
Getting married is a personal choice between the potential bride and groom. It may suit some people but for others, they might think the couple is not old or mature enough. What’s important is how you feel about marriage at 24. It either feels right or not. If you are having doubts it’s possible it is a mistake for you.
So then, I’d like to know, was your marriage young? Was it a success or a failure? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and feel free to share this article if you enjoyed reading it.