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Is Marrying Young a Good Idea?

Updated on August 30, 2011

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?

The Numbers

 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"


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    • HaileyAdams profile image

      Hailey 4 years ago

      I think you are write, about everyone should clearly understand the importance of marriage. Great tips.

    • profile image

      Jefferson Faudan 5 years ago

      oh well... i'm marrying in my 50's... i really don't want to pay up for someone else's jewelry, bags, shoes etc... sorry i'm a self-centered, self-consumed selfish person. Oh well, my choices may change if she has a high paying career and a small business at the side... but for someone waiting for a handout, i'd rather go for bed buddies, it's cheaper in the long run.

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 5 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      To summarize Bill Bennett, the three factors that can give a 90% chance of staying out of poverty are: finish high school, don't have children out of wedlock, don't get married before the age of 20, at least one person work full time. If someone marries at 20 before having children, they'll probably do fine. If they marry at 18 due to pregnancy or even having a child already, statistically, they won't stay together.

    • profile image

      Anon 5 years ago

      FYI- im not against having babies or getting married. I just feel that people are going about it the wrong way. Because of the way society is, and the rules surrounding marriage and divorce, issues with when to finally learn what unconditional love truly is, we have to go against the natural instinct (human instinct- the animal in all of us) that when we are so young, esp women ( I am guilty of this next point) want to reproduce...have babies, like NOW. And OMG, the wedding has to be big, with the perfect dress, the perfect cake! on and on and on.

      AS soon as I got closer to 30, I was like.....who cares about the dang dress? When I get to that point in my life where I have found not only personal happiness and love of myself, and found my soulmate that I can't imagine being with anyone else at that point, then let me go get a nice white prom gown, lets book a trip to Hawaii, take two friends, find a priest...and get married. :)

      I leave it up to fate. There's no going wrong there. If I wasn't meant to have a marriage, or children in this lifetime, so be it. Im not going to marry out of obligation or fake love, or expectations. I would be the woman that would want to be FREE from shackles.

      So again, Im not against it all, and I am not bitter or one of those women that doesn't trust men, im just a smart cookie ;)

      As another poster mentioned, because of my age, the only downside is meeting more men who are divorced and jaded. They also tend to be very clingy because they have been "taught" or "prined" the wrong things. As soon as I educate them....then they REALLY dont leave me alone! LOL! Gets annoying actually.

      Find personal happiness first folks. That doesn't happen overnight. Not for anyone. And does NOT result in getting married to find your happiness. Your partner for life should only ENHANCE what you already have within yourself. If your only with your partner because they make you feel good/happy from time to time, then your in it for the wrong reasons. Im right about this, your wrong. Every day of the week! You find ways to your own happiness when your alone, single, on your own. Grief, pain, heartbreak, loniless, etc...all part of human development. Along the way you finally realize and learn how to be happy on your own.

      Now your ready :)

    • profile image

      Anon 5 years ago

      I am in my ealry 30s, prof, single, independent female. Have dated, dated enough. I am not the same person I was 10+ years ago. Glad I never fell into that trap of marrying young. A couple guys wanted me to marry them. I ran for the hills before it was too late.

      I am a firm believer that we all have more than one soul mate, and very few find the one that they are meant to live forever til death at an early age. Very few. Most of my friends in their 30-40s are divorced. They married a soul mate that they shouldn't have married. Getting married is not a bad thing, and its not wrong, by any means. But it shouldnt be taken lightly either.

      MArriage back in the day was man made and developed so that people, women mostly, and men, could survive. Make family, have kids, help out with the farm, etc. Society has CHANGED. And people are still trying to follow this old style way of thinking to marry early and start a family, the american way even.

      Its not good. If women want to marry to have babies, thats selfish, in my opinion. Go adopt. If your boyfriend is not ready, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, let him go. Once a man and a woman reach 30 and they are still single, they reach a very crucial path in their life, an awakening, so to speak, and they realize they are different people. They take a long hard look at their life, their careers, etc, and make the necessary changes to eventually find true happiness in themselve before they meet another soul mate, for which they will be ready for. (maybe)

      Im tired but not surprised to see so many people marry, marry young, divorce, and remarry to divorce again. Stop marrying everyone you fall in love with, people! The people you meet and fall in love with are there to go through life with you, and you learn things in that relationship! Alot about yourself even! Marriage is a piece of paper, and just like divorce and all the rules, its man made. Its not fair, but its true.

      There is no good reason to marry so young. We are living longer, its getting even more expensive to have children, espec. in a bad economy, and people are not thinking critically here. They keep settling, like they are afraid they will never live that dream to have a family. I am happy with my life, I continue to move forward with my career, travel, meet people, and men, date when the opportunity presents itself, and learn more about myself. You #1 goal in life should not be about popping babies out and shackling a man to stay with you forever. I have seen too many of my female co workers and friends do this and they have made so many of my male friends very unhappy. Its very sad!

      I come from a broken family myself, but I am not damaged. I am smart. I am learning to love myself and my life, and prepare myself to love another. I enjoyed my last boyfriend for about over a year, and our relationship ended, for its own reasons. Not every relationship was meant to last forever. Every relationship has a timeline. I still hurt when I see him, the pain is still there, but I know in my heart, there is another I will meet someday. It gets better and better each time! And I am so thankful to be where I am today. Many of my married and divorced friends envy me. :) Something to be proud of? Sometimes. Its just so sad that this is the majority of our married couples out there.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      To say the truth, i plan on getting married young. I know and have garnered experiences over the years which am sure will pave the way for a successful future. I will do all in my power to make it work. Thanks for sharing. Great hub and voted up

    • SummerSurf profile image

      SummerSurf 6 years ago

      When you meet the right guy i've heard how it totally changes things :)

    • CennyWenny profile image

      CennyWenny 6 years ago from Washington

      My husband and I had a conversation recently and I had to admit that if I hadn't met him I may not have ever gotten married. Most people who knew me in high school are a little baffled. They expected me to be a perma-student in some university, and so did I!

    • SummerSurf profile image

      SummerSurf 6 years ago

      So glad to be single ( I'm nearly 30) but love travelling and lack of responsibilty that comes with living at home. One day il grow up lol!

    • TheSloneGal profile image

      TheSloneGal 6 years ago

      I think it may depend on how mature they are for one thing that is a big thing right there

      but this is a very great a well written piece thank you

    • TammyHammett profile image

      TammyHammett 7 years ago

      In my life, I know very few people who have actually stayed happily married when they married young. I don't think there is a perfect time frame for all couples. For me, I was not ready to be married, nor wanted to be married early. My mom was on her 3rd marriage, the two previous being very poor decisions based on who her husbands became. But for her, the third time was the charm. I have seen it all, shot gun weddings, marrying for religious beliefs so they could finally have sex, and just plain wanting to have the fairy tale life. Two people may change over time and life sends them on different paths. There is no one constant, because everyone is different. I am never surprised when a couple who married young gets divorced. So for me, I do not believe in marrying young, but I certainly love to hear success stories of those couples that fight hard to battle their way through life's highway and being able to stay in the same car.

    • mikoas profile image

      mikoas 7 years ago from Nigeria

      getting married young is dangerous but is good if things needed is available for the couples.


    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 7 years ago from USA- Florida

      Great Hub: Good insight.

      I married my High school Sweetheart 22 years ago. I was 19 she was 18.

      The mark of a good hub is that it gets me thinking This you have done Thanks.

      There is one point that I would like to add. I will try to keep it short.

      In my case, my wife and I in a very real way grew up together, while we were married. I met her when she was 16 We finished high school a year apart.

      Over the years we have tackled life's tragedies together, made adjustments in paradigms together, We have laughed and cried together. But also I have given her the room she needs to follow her dreams her second calling so to speak. She has encouraged me to follow mine.

      My point is we bonded. Became one. I credit our young marriage for this. We did not have any past wounds from previous spouses to heal from, No defense walls erected during the previous marriage to tear down. She has been my only lover, My best friend. I can't imagine my self with another woman.

      Like all marriages we have had some major set backs and "issues" to work through. But they are our issues. We do not have to deal with someones else mess.

      Bonding must take place in all marriages. I have found that the older you get and the more spouses you have the bonding becomes harder.

      People get used to being independent, thinking only of themselves. Selfishness and individualism are enemies of the marriage life. There no room for them if you wish the marriage to last.

      In closing Bonding is crucial, The younger you are the easier it is to bond.

      Cennywinny excellent hub! I look forward to reading more of your stuff. Consider me a fan

      In Christ


    • louisxfourie profile image

      Louis Fourie 7 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      Nice hub, when you marry, must be forever or never.

    • TylerCapp profile image

      TylerCapp 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Am I the first guy to comment on this hub? Either way, I liked it and I think you couldn't be more spot on. I think that it's really up to you if you get married young or not. If you see yourself with him/her for the rest of your life, then why wait? On the other side of the coin, if you know that you have a lifetime with this person, then why rush? I like how you put it in your hub.

    • aishsebastain profile image

      aishsebastain 7 years ago from IRELAND

      nice hub i love it

    • ProudWifenMom profile image

      ProudWifenMom 8 years ago

      Thank you for posting this, i got married at age 16. I was planning my wedding and before i knew it pregant. She was our little surprise. People doubt my husband and myself all the time, but i know we will make it. I agree with you on all your points, this is a great post!

    • CennyWenny profile image

      CennyWenny 8 years ago from Washington

      brookelynn26-Thanks for stopping by! I think that keeping a fine balance between compromise and completely giving things up is key to making a relationship work when young. You simply can't just set aside goals because you're with someone.I went to college too, but turned down a slightly larger scholarship to go to a school closer to my then fiance (now husband). You have to be true to yourself in order to be a whole person in a marriage. I don't believe in two halves becoming one whole, more like two whole people merging to become a far stronger force than "one".

      writer901-I'm sorry you feel that way! Unfortunately I don't think that it's always best to stay together "for the kids", and some of the most vicious divorces I've ever seen started out as shotgun weddings. It's ok to have kids out of wedlock or move on, if done amicably and with the child in mind. Heck, I'm technically a "bastard" whose mother remarried, and then divorced and remarried again, and I came out fairly decent (and also with some good lessons about how NOT to be in a relationship). Cheating yourself out of what you deserve (ie: a loving and satisfying relationship) doesn't make you a better parent I think, but it does make you resent you kids more.

    • brookelynn26 profile image

      brookelynn26 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great hub Cenny. I have been with my husband for 11 years, and we have been married for 8 years. I was 15 when we met and 19 when we married. I love him more and more each day. I think I should also note that we don't have any children. We get along great and we rarely fight. I also did not give up any gifts of child or young adulthood. I went to college, stayed on the dorms, went to parties. And now that I've graduated we travel and party together quite a lot. Young marriage can work with two people who love and respect each other, and at least one member of the couple should have their head on straight and it could definitely work out. Again good hub, I'm forever a fan!

    • writer901 profile image

      writer901 8 years ago

      I personally don't believe in getting married young. I had kids and got married young and I feel like I missed out on the time that should have been having fun and being carefree. Sometimes when we are young we glorify the idea of "playing house" in real life. When you realize its not all that it's cracked up to be its too late and you're 20's have flown by with only debt and ungratefull children to show for it. And you (well I) end up counting down the years before the kids are out of the house. The math plays in my head like a broken record. "Well." I say to myself "Little Sally Ann is so many years old (of course I need to go by the youngest) that means she will turn 18 in the year #### and I will be ###. Then I will buy my bus ticket and head out of town. LOL. Of course getting married and having a family has it's pluses and great times. I just think people should enjoy thier youth (while they have it). As it is now I will be riding a greyhound with my cane. hahaha

    • caitlinlea profile image

      caitlinlea 8 years ago from Texas

      Fabulous!! Very good points....=-D


    • CennyWenny profile image

      CennyWenny 8 years ago from Washington

      Lgali-I agree, I think another big measure of how well a marriage will work out is what each person's expectations are going into marriage. If a person has unrealistic expectations they are likely to explode in that person's face.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      CennyWenny -I think this depends on peoples and love

    • CennyWenny profile image

      CennyWenny 8 years ago from Washington

      Moonbun- Thanks for stopping by! My husband was the drama queen for our wedding:) It just went by in a blur for me.

      LondonGirl-Congratulations! Sometimes I do think that couples who start out living together at a younger age have an easier time adjusting to each other and living with another person. I lived alone at college for a year and getting used to living with my husband took about a year.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      My other half and I have been living together 11 years - since I was 20, and he was 19. So far, so good!

    • moonbun profile image

      moonbun 8 years ago from London

      I totally agree with you Cenny. I hear way too many women talking about the wedding, but not the actual marriage. It seems that some can't get past the dress and might as well be marrying anyone for that 'big day'. It's madness.

      Great read :)