I read a blog recently call “In Defense of Young Marriage”, and it felt like I was reading my own engagement story. The negative comments from people, questioning if I was pregnant, and the general doubt that young marriages will not last.
One point that really resonated with me was her description of people’s attitude about what a young adult should be doing with their life.
Somewhere along the way, young adulthood has transformed into an extended adolescence. It is expected that I need to experiment, roam free, party…’Find myself’.
There’s two assumptions in such an attitude that I dislike. Firstly, the assumption that being young goes hand in hand with reckless and ‘experimental’ behaviour, and that anything done in these years is of no importance, but merely testing the waters for ‘proper’ adulthood. Secondly, that any of these things would be impossible with a spouse…as though by sharing my life with (my spouse) I lose my personhood. As though I have no room to learn, grow, change, adventure, explore, or anything else.
I loved the blog post and I was originally going to make this into a “young marriage is awesome” post, but I’ve decide that it wouldn’t really be an accurate reflection of my feelings.
I agree with all of the authors points, I absolutely love being married to Jeremy and don’t regret marrying him when I was 20; but I can’t categorize all young marriages as “defendable”.
In the four years that Jeremy and I have been married, I have seen many young marriages fail. I have seen many unhappy marriages and I have seen infidelity.
So while I don’t think getting married young dooms a marriage to fail, I am no longer defensive when people caution young couples to take it slow and I understand now why people had such a negative reaction to my young engagement.
The person I was at 19 is not the person I am now at 24..and that has only been 5 short years. People change, and it takes work to make sure that you and your partner grow together and not apart.
When I say ‘work’, I don’t mean fighting. I mean putting in the effort to make your marriage the best that it can be and working jointly towards fixing any crack that may appear in the foundation of your marriage.
Marriage takes so much more than just love.
So all those comments that I heard when I announced I was engaged at 19…I get it now. I understand that the people who love me were concerned about me and didn’t want me to get hurt.
Does being 18 mean that your marriage will fail? No, but it also doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to succeed.
I’ve been one of the lucky young couples who has a happy successful marriage. However, so many factors go into our marriage that it is impossible for me to put sole responsibility on age, or any other aspect of our lives.
I will end by quoting another part of the post that resonated with me, and this is a point that I can “defend” whole heartedly.
“Being married young is a blessing and not a trap. I am excited to learn and grow together with my husband, through all seasons of life. I am excited that marrying young will give us the chance of celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary one day, and having a lifetime of memories to look back on. I love that by marrying young I am able to grow into myself and my adulthood with him by my side…with our lives organically blossoming entwined, rather than trying to meld two separate lives together later on.”