- Gender and Relationships»
Is Marrying Young a Good Idea?
An Archaic Notion, or Not?
In today's modern world many people think that marrying young is a thing of the past. Many people wait until their thirties (especially men) for their first marriages, and some don't even marry or start a family until they are in their forties (my sister is one of these). Perhaps they were too busy living it up and taking advantage of all the opportunities that single life provides, such as a light load of responsibility and the ability to travel and go where the wind blows. But in this day and age many people still do get married at a young age (for definition's sake let's call "young" 16-21). And no, these aren't all shotgun weddings, some people decide to marry young for a variety of other reasons. But are these marriages between two fresh faced kids a good idea, or simply "starter marriages" ticking towards an expiration date like a carton of milk?
As of 2005 every yerar 3.6 couples out of 1,000 got divorced. This is the lowest rate since the 1970's and down from the peak in 1981 of 5.3 couples out of every 1,000 getting divorced. Certainly a lot has changed. Women now usually have jobs outside of the home and do not need a man to support them, so couple come together for love and shared interests instead of neccessity.
Reasons Why Young Couples Get Married
Reason number one involves the stereotypical shotgun wedding. Girl gets pregnant, wedding ensues, but not all is happily ever after. Some marriages that begin with pregnancy may work out, if the two people have respect for each other and shared interests that include their child. But others who get married solely to maintain "respectability" often end up in ugly divorces. The one shotgun wedding between two young twenty-somethings I attended ended up in bitter feuds, affairs, and two people who really can't stand each other anymore. Moral of the story: marriage doesn't always improve your unborn child's life.
Many young couples also get married for religious reasons, many because they believe in celibacy until marriage. Marriages based on a shared religion are often of to a good start because the two young people share a deep belief, and that belief usually dictates a strong respect for marriage. I think this is crucial to a lasting marriage, because sometimes you may really not like your spouse at the moment, but if you believe in marriage as an institution, you are more likely to ride out the rough patchs. That said, I have still seen religous based marriages fall apart, but far fewer than those that occur between young people for other reasons.
Finally we come to our third main reason...amore. To be young and in love is such a heady experience, and sometimes it carries two young people all the way down the aisle! There is nothing wrong with a marriage based on love, but there has to be friendship and respect underneath the mushy feelings. Chemical attraction and mushiness only last so long, and the first time a wife leaves the door open while she's peeing the real world can come crashing down on a young marriage.
My Two Cents
I see nothing wrong with getting married at a young age, after all I got married myself at 21. But, your reasons have to be right. More than anything else you have to want to get married because you respect the other person deeply, and they are your best friend. You also have to believe in marriage as an institution, a sacred (religious or not) union that is more than just mushy feelings and the desire to take of the other person's pants. There will be days when you wake up disappointed or even disgusted with your spouse, but if you believe in the marriage itself you can ride over these momentary (and most of the time they are temporary) feelings of displeasure with your other half. The clouds will part, and you will remember why you married the other person, and thank your lucky stars you stuck it out. Marriage is far from easy, and I think too many you people go into it with carefree hearts and high hopes that when shattered, result in divorce.
Remember that life is not about you, and also that the old adage holds true, the more you give the more you will receive. Living for someone and something beyond yourself can be incredibly difficult for many young people who, like me, have focused solely on their goals and desires. But the rewards laast a lifetime. After all, who wants to be selfish and greedy on their death bed?
So go on, take that walk down the aisle, but make sure your head is on straight, whether you are 18 or 80.
Like my two cents? Get even more at my Hub "Marriage Still Has Meaning"