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Are teenage marriages doomed to fail?

Updated on April 8, 2009

I just got off the phone with my 20 year old sister-in-law. "He wants a divorce. He said he couldn't do it anymore." That was the beginning of a 6 hour conversation that ended with "I guess I'll go call a lawyer. Thanks for listening".

They are 20 and 22 years old. I don't understand. If he beat her or she was abusive to the children, I could understand the reasoning, but that isn't the case. By the way, I did say children...two of them; my niece and nephew. Maybe that was where the problems started. Although, that is probably why they got married to begin with...mistake #1.

Why do teenagers think that because the law says they are adults, they think they know everything? Because they are stubborn and they know that they can do what they want...that's why. I'm not being cynical. I know exactly what I am talking about. I was one of them.

I got married when I turned 18. I was holding a 7 week old when I said 'I Do'. I never thought I got married because we had a child though. I justified it because, technically, we were engaged before I knew I was pregnant. I had great reasoning skills at that age. I was in love and knew that we would be together forever. The problem is that all teenage romances think that they will be the ones that beat the odds...they will be the one in a million that go the distance. We all know that that is not the case, so why is it a repeated cycle? Why do young people continue to put themselves through the emotional roller coaster of marriage when it ultimately leads to heartache?

The problem with most of these young relationships is that the two people are in love but don't really know what that means. They think that everything will always fall into place and their love will get them through it...that's bs. Being in love is more than promising to always be there. You have to actually do it. When times get hard, you don't blame the other person. You figure out how to get through it together. Most teenagers, and a lot of adults, don't know how to do that. I truly think that if a couple is in love once, they can stay that way matter what comes along. You just have to be mature enough to handle the pressure. I think that a lot of divorced couples could have survived if they had learned the secret to a happy marriage. Any future relationships won't work either if they don't figure out what they did wrong in the first marriage. It's a fact.

I know there are those of you who are screaming at the computer right now. You are the ones who got divorced or had awful break-ups and you think that it was all the other person's fault. Unless they beat you up, you are wrong. You did wrong too even if you aren't willing to admit it.


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So what is the secret to a happy marriage? It's not one big unheard of idea. It is an understanding; one that most teens don't learn until they have had many life experiences. The main reason these young marriages don't work out is because both of the people involves didn't love themselves enough. They weren't happy with who they were. It's a known fact that you cannot truly love another person until you love yourself. When you do love who you are, you can truly love another human being. And when you truly love another person, you are willing to do anything to make them happy and successful. That doesn't mean that you make yourself unhappy or give up on your dreams for the other person. It means that you know their most intimate thought. You know what drives them and you lift them up and never put them down. You can argue that you do all you can but your spouse didn't care. If that is the case, then you didn't put all of your heart into what you were doing. I know I'm really making some people mad now but that is fine with me. I am here to tell the can decide to listen.

The downfall of my brother and sister-in-law's marriage is their stubbornness and immaturity. He is working full-time while she stays home with the kids. He has single friends that keep him out too much and she is resentful of it. That is how most teenage marriages drive into the ground these days. He wants to get his youth back and she thinks she does it all. So who is to blame? Both of them.

Neither one of them are willing to see things through each other's point of view. They aren't willing to own up to their own mistakes. She is clingy and overbearing and he just wants to avoid conflict so he leaves. She blames all their problems on him and he retaliates with name calling. She calls and tells her father every time they have an argument; he doesn't want to be around her father at all now. All the while, they blame each other for everything while the children sit and watch. It's not a good situation for anyone involved. They have both given up now and are headed for divorce court.

"If you can't love me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best" -unknown

You might be asking yourself why I think I know so much or what happened to me to make me think I know so much. Well, I have 3 children with the man I married over 8 years ago. We had all of the problems that my relatives do and then some. I sympathize with their whole situation because I have been there. To add to the drama that is my life, my husband is a self-admitting alcoholic. That is what drove me to go see a divorce lawyer on more than one occasion. We never followed through with it though. I got to a point where I was willing but it was actually my husband that pulled us back together. He stopped drinking and pursued me endlessly. I told him that I didn't love him anymore and that I was seeing someone else. He didn't care. He found a way to love himself enough to stop drinking and get himself to a good place. He became a great father and was motivated enough to try to mend our broken matter what I was doing. Over time, I did fall for him again and we now have a better love. A deeper respect for each other than we ever could have known when we were teenagers. Looking back I see where our problems started and what we each did wrong. It's a kind of maturity that teenagers don't know or can understand. Do I think that my husband and I will last forever? I don't know for sure but I do know that we love and respect each other enough to give it our best. We have seen the worst in each other and it makes us appreciate the best in each other.

So back to the original question...Are teenage marriages doomed to fail...absolutely. But so is any other marriage if they don't truly know how to themselves and love each other.


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      Engaged 5 years ago

      I agree with everything being said in this article except the fact that age is the defining factor. I appreciate your clarifying that ANY marriage with these destructive qualities is doomed to fail. But I would like to point out that, although we are a small minority, there are those of us 18 years of age (or even younger) in healthy relationships pursuing marriage and already mastering the skills that make for a successful marriage. I'm not arguing that we're the majority. I know we're not. :) I'm simply arguing that we exist and that it is UNHEALTHY marriages that are doomed to fail, not "young" ones.

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      Jaime 6 years ago

      I don't know, every couple I know who has been married over 50 years got married before age 20. On the other hand, I know several couples that were well into their 30's and were divorced by time they reached 40. It totally depends on the couple.

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      Cindy G 6 years ago

      This is the truest thing I have ever read. I love it.

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      failedmarriage 6 years ago

      "unknown quote" is marilyn munroe